During the summer of 1792, a man wearing the rough garb of a vaquero stepped out of the night shadows of Mérida, Yucatan, and murdered the province's top royal official, don Lucas de Gálvez. This book recounts the mystery of the Gálvez murder and its resolution, an event that captured contemporaries' imaginations throughout the Hispanic world and caused consternation on the part of authorities in both Mexico and Madrid.
In this work Lentz further provides a readable introduction to the Bourbon Reforms as well as new insights on late colonial Yucatecan society through the vast depictions of the cross-section of Yucatecan people questioned during the decade it took to uncover the assassin's identity. These suspects and witnesses, from all walks of life, reveal the interconnected layers found in colonial Yucatecan society and the social networks of Mérida's urban underclass as well as their unexpected ties to the creole elites and rural Mayas that have previously been unexplored.
Mark W. Lentz is an assistant professor of history at Utah Valley University.
"Murder in Mérida is an engaging study of the local dynamics of Bourbon rule in a particularly diverse corner of the Spanish Empire, as well as an exploration of cultural, political, and socioeconomic change in late eighteenth-century Mexico."--Nathaniel Morris, Journal of Latin American Studies
"A historical whodunit that is not just a good read but is also brimming with insights into the effects of broad historical processes on local societies, this book shows the possibilities of microhistory in creating alternative narratives of resistance and change."--Rajeshwari Dutt, The Americas
"A fascinating case study of an overlooked event in the history of New Spain. Scholars of the Yucatan Peninsula will find Lentz's archival research particularly rewarding."--Andrew Konove, Journal of Early American History
List of Illustrations
Chapter One. Introduction: A Province at Risk
Chapter Two. The Intendant's Enemies: Chronicle of an Assassination Foretold
Chapter Three. The Suspects of 1792: Prosecuting the Powerless
Chapter Four. Neither Free nor Family: Criados and Slaves in Spanish Households
Chapter Five. Into the Countryside: Outsiders, Intermediaries, and the Maya World
Chapter Six. A Stratified Cah, United by Language: Cabildos, Church Auxiliaries, and Indios Hidalgos
Chapter Seven. Divided at the Top: Politics of the Personal
Chapter Eight. A Strange Turn of Events