Publication Date

Spring 2-2-1941


The purpose of this thesis is a study of life in the Michoacán proceeding the conquest and the changes in this life during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries due to the rule of the Spaniards. An attempt has been made to define, in the manner of common to acculturation studies, the cultural base upon which the pro-conquest Tarascans lived and to show how that was blended with the European or changed outright by it. The end of the eighteenth century was selected as a stopping place inasmuch as the rebellion which eventually resulted in Moxican freedom from Spain began in Michoacán at that time. With the new regime began a life far removed from that under the Spanish crown.

Little work, of this exact nature, has been done in Mexico. True, Parson's Milta, Redfield's Topoztlan and Chan Kom, and Gamio's San Juan Teotihuacan are well known. Those intensive studies, however, all have as their core, an examination of the changes in one small town or area, and the cultural status of its present inhabitants. This study, on the other hand, is more general, concerns itself with a larger area and a more discreet historical period. It is, in reality, an attempted compilation from the earliest ecclesiastical, governmental, and historical reports from the period of concern. Therein should lie its value and justification.


Michoacán, Hispanic America, Ethnography, Social Systems, Art, Linguistics, Belief Systems


School of American Research

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Anthropology

First Committee Member (Chair)

Donald Dilworth Brand

Second Committee Member

Florence M. Hawley

Third Committee Member

Stuart A. Northrop