Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Yaquis and the Empire

The Yaquis and the Empire: Violence, Spanish Imperial Power, and Native Resilience in Colonial Mexico

Raphael Brewster Folsom
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 312
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Yaquis and the Empire
    Book Description:

    This important new book on the Yaqui people of the north Mexican state of Sonora examines the history of Yaqui-Spanish interactions from first contact in 1533 through Mexican independence in 1821.The Yaquis and the Empireis the first major publication to deal with the colonial history of the Yaqui people in more than thirty years and presents a finely wrought portrait of the colonial experience of the indigenous peoples of Mexico's Yaqui River Valley. In examining native engagement with the forces of the Spanish empire, Raphael Brewster Folsom identifies three ironies that emerged from the dynamic and ambiguous relationship of the Yaquis and their conquerors: the strategic use by the Yaquis of both resistance and collaboration; the intertwined roles of violence and negotiation in the colonial pact; and the surprising ability of the imperial power to remain effective despite its general weakness.Published in Cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University

    eISBN: 978-0-300-21076-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Introduction: Imperial Ironies
    (pp. 1-14)

    The Yaqui people have long been known as Mexico’s fiercest, most indomitable Indians. They earned this reputation in the nineteenth century as the Mexican state tried to gain control over its vast and fractured territories. Surveying the disorder of their newly independent nation, Mexican thinkers looked to political liberalism for solutions to the country’s many problems. To unite the nation and develop its economy, successive regimes passed laws and made proclamations promoting democratic reform, the exultation of race mixture, the expansion of industry and scientific progress, political centralization, and the reform of land law. Such ideas rose to the height...

  5. 1 A Failed Conquest: The Northwest Before the Jesuits, 1500–1591
    (pp. 15-43)

    In the late summer of 1569 the settlers of San Juan de Carapoa decided they could endure no more. Five years before, they had traveled to this remote plot of land in the far northwest of New Spain in the hope of conquering fabulous kingdoms, winning immortal fame, and, in the process, getting rich. They had good reason to think they could live out their dreams. They had chosen the banks of the Río Sinaloa for their settlement, and, like all the river valleys of northwest Mexico, it was populous and fertile. Native people brought timber from pine and oak...

  6. 2 A Mestizo Conquest: 1590–1610
    (pp. 44-70)

    In early September 1601 Diego Martínez de Hurdaide, the captain of the Villa de San Felipe y Santiago, decided to punish the Zuaque Indians. The Zuaques terrified the Spanish settlers. They sometimes seemed to want friendship with the newcomers and at other times rejected offers of alliance with contempt. They harassed the settlers and menaced the Indians allied with them. Worst of all, the Zuaques were completely unpredictable, making it impossible for the settlers to relax and attend to their fields. Captain Hurdaide wanted to make the Zuaques pay. So he traveled to the Zuaque towns on the Fuerte River...

  7. 3 The Jesuit Reduction: The Birth of the Yaqui Mission Towns, 1610–1617
    (pp. 71-95)

    How did the Yaqui mission come into existence? Yaquis tell the story of their conversion to Christianity in the Legend of the Talking Tree. There are many versions of this tale, but they all have a few elements in common. They all tell of an ancient race of little people called the Surem who lived near the mouth of the Yaqui River. One day a tree began to make dire pronouncements in a language no one could understand. Only one of the Surem, a woman called Yomomúli, or Flower Woman, could decipher the tree’s speech. Yomomúli, variously described as a...

  8. 4 Mission and Empire: 1617–1700
    (pp. 96-119)

    In late spring of 1668 the Franciscan friar Juan Caballero Carranco found himself stranded on the coast of Sonora. He had been part of an expedition to explore the Gulf of Cortés and to supply the nascent California missions. When supplies ran low, the ship’s captain put in about twenty leagues north of the Yaqui River, hoping to find support from the Jesuits. Fray Caballero waded ashore and did a little exploring among the dunes and bushes of coastal Sonora. He was dismayed by what he found. The Guaymas Indians he met were not baptized, and there were no priests...

  9. 5 Cracks in the Foundation: Early Bourbon Reforms and the Breakdown of Negotiated Peace, 1700–1740
    (pp. 120-149)

    In July 1739 two Yaqui leaders named Juan Ignacio Jusacamea and Bernabé Basoritemea presented themselves before the viceroy of New Spain. They had traveled overland for months, covering more than a thousand miles of rugged territory in their journey from the Yaqui mission to the viceregal palace in Mexico City. They had numerous grievances. They complained about the exactions of certain unprincipled Jesuits, the cruelty of the Jesuits’ mixed-race attendants, and the meddling of both groups in Yaqui politics. They accused the Jesuits of removing them unjustly from the governorships of Rahum and Huirivis. Both men told of their service...

  10. 6 “Now God Wants All This to End”: The Shattering of the Colonial Pact, 1740–1744
    (pp. 150-181)

    On January 21, 1740, a black slave named Francisco Parralo told Governor Huidobro the tale of his captivity among the Yaqui rebels. Placed under oath and interrogated in the mining town of Álamos, Parralo recalled his journey out of Sonora carrying one hundred marks of silver for his owner, Francisco Rojo. Riding south with a train of three mules toward Rojo’s home in Culiacán, Parralo was assaulted by five hundred Yaquis in a place called El Sauze, near the Mayo River. The rebels took the silver and supplies Parralo was transporting and were at the point of killing him when...

  11. 7 Reorientations: The Collapse of the Mission and the Rebirth of the Yaqui Towns, 1744–1810
    (pp. 182-208)

    On July 10, 1744, the Jesuit Lorenzo José García wrote to the father visitor, Lucas Luis Álvarez, of rumors that the Yaqui were preparing a second insurrection. Representatives of the government rushed to the Yaqui Valley to investigate reports of Yaquis stockpiling weapons in hideouts near the mission. They carefully questioned many Yaquis and vecinos and at length came to the conclusion that the reports were false. The investigators were perturbed, however, to find that Yaquis were performing dances and rituals that Governor Agustín de Vildósola had expressly forbidden. García wrote that his fellow Jesuit Agustín Arriola had allowed the...

  12. Epilogue: Republican Ironies
    (pp. 209-216)

    In January and February 1828 the provincial governor of the independent Mexican state of Occidente issued two decrees that rang the death knell of the old regime in the Yaqui Valley. The first offered a blanket pardon to former rebels who had risen under the leadership of Juan Ignacio Jusacamea, better known as Juan de la Cruz Banderas, and restored their citizenship in the Mexican Republic. The second created a new political unit comprising the eight Yaqui communities, with the presidio of Buenavista as its head town. It also ordered that Indians and whites were to be treated in terms...

  13. Abbreviations
    (pp. 217-218)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 219-256)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-286)
  16. Index
    (pp. 287-296)