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Edited and translated by S. L. Cline
The Book of Tributes
Early Sixteenth-Century Censuses from Morelos
1993
328 pp.
0-87903-082-8 Paper $18.95 Available Now. Latin American Studies, Vol. 81; Nahuatl Studies Series, No. 4

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The Morelos censuses housed in the Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City represent the earliest known set of documents in Nahuatl. The Book of Tributes contains a complete transcription and English translation of volume 549 of the censuses. The texts provide a unique statistical base, examples of early Nahuatl sociopolitical terms, an illustration of the Nahuatl language still hardly touched by Spanish, and much human flavor. The editor’s extensive commentary advances understanding of the indigenous world as well as our grasp of the process of cultural change and development of colonial society. “[Cline’s] findings reveal important information about the fundamental structures of local-level indigenous life not more than 20 years after the conquest, as well as the degree to which colonial rule had already had an impact on the natives and their language. It is an engaging view of home and life, the natives’ struggle to cope with adversity and survive, and it conveys a wealth of detail that remains without counterpart in other early colonial-period documents, whether recorded in Spanish or in Nahuatl. This exceptional contribution to the study of cultural change in colonial Mexico will be essential reading for scholars for many years to come.” —Hispanic American Histoircal Review “This is a very important work. It will serve scholars for years to come as a critical view into early colonial native society. Many additional studies can be made of this material, such as indigenous naming patterns, the physical structure of land-tenure, the relationship between tribute obligations and any number of other variables. . . . It provides yet another important contribution to our understanding of early colonial Mexico, based on sources in indigenous languages. —The Americas