The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Book Reviews

Always contrasting the "modern" against the "primitive," as tourists and others
probably consciously or unconsciously did, Dilworth paints an extraordinary land-
scape of actions and reactions of the first American visitors to the villages and cer-
emonials of the first Americans. Whether in praise of Native Americans for their
oneness, spirituality, or artistic abilities, or out of sheer curiosity, these intruding
players-tourists, artists, writers, scientists, collectors, or just wealthy Americans
with a guaranteed inheritance and far too much time on their hands-are all
characterized vividly. This is a riveting and scholarly, albeit often esoteric, study of
late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Indian-white contact.
University of Texas at El Paso DONNA EICHSTAEDT
The Encomenderos of New Spain, 1521-1555. By Robert Himmerich y Valencia.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996. Pp. xvi+348. Foreword, preface,
acknowledgments, tables, maps, glossary, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-292-
73108-6. $19.95, paper.)
The 50o6 individuals profiled in this study were the earliest recipients in colo-
nial Mexico of encomienda grants, allotments in trust of the King's Native
American subjects, whose tributes, payable in goods and services, were due to
the grantees, or encomenderos. The latter, in turn, were theoretically bound to
provide for the general welfare of their charges, as well as for their instruction in
the Catholic faith. As the author, Robert Himmerich y Valencia, points out, the
encomienda as an institution has received a generous measure of attention from
historians, particularly those whose works are focused on New Spain, such as
Leslie Byrd Simpson's The Encomienda in New Spain (1950) and Charles Gibson's
The Aztecs under Spanish Rule (1964), together with such general studies as La
encomienda indiana, by Silvio Zavala (1935). Few scholars have produced collec-
tive biographies of the encomenderos themselves; a rare exception is James
Lockhart's treatment of those who participated in the first phase of the conquest
of Peru, The Men of Cajamarca (1972). Himmerich y Valencia observes, however,
that while Lockhart tells us a great deal about the Peruvian encomenderos, he
gives little attention to their encomiendas.
The author attempts to do justice to both, synthesizing a mass of information
from archival as well as printed primary and secondary materials. He begins with
the origins of the Mexican encomienda and follows its trajectory from Hernin
Corts's earliest awards of American tributaries in the 152os to the decline of
the institution by mid-century, the product in main of the postconquest collapse
of the indigenous population of central Mexico. Himmerich y Valencia then
devotes several lucid chapters to the Mexican encomenderos as a group, detail-
ing their origins in Spain or elsewhere and their social standing in America, as
well as the military or other achievements that earned them access to tributary
goods and labor. Three of them, in fact, were Native Americans, including two
members of the Aztec ruling dynasty and another who was apparently an Aztec
aristocrat. The balance of the book consists mostly of brief but richly detailed
biographies of each of the grantees.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117155/. Accessed July 31, 2014.