This article examines the history of warfare in the largely indigenous Mixteca region in Oaxaca during the Mexican War of Independence. Paying special attention to the relation between royalist and insurgent armies and native Mixtecans, the article argues that in the years 1814 and 1815, warfare became a pervasive fact for people. Unlike people in other regions of Mexico, however, Mixtecans showed relatively little interest in the war’s political and ideological stakes. Their engagement with modern Mexico’s foundational war took place largely on the level of military violence.

Este artículo analiza la historia de la guerra en la región primordialmente indígena de Oaxaca durante independencia de México. Prestando especial atención a las relaciones entre los ejércitos realista e insurgente y los mixtecos nativos, el artículo sostiene que en los años 1814 y 1815 la guerra se convirtió en un hecho generalizado para el pueblo. A diferencia de muchas otras regiones de México, empero, la Mixteca mostró relativamente poco interés en los intereses políticos e ideológicos de la guerra. Su involucramiento en la guerra fundacional del México moderno ocurrió en gran medida en el nivel de la violencia militar.

Research for this article was made possible by a SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Master’s Scholarship, a SSHRC CGS Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement, and financial support from the Graduate School of the University of British Columbia, and took place under the hospitable auspices of CIESAS Oaxaca. I am grateful to Daniela Traffano for her guidance during my archival work, to Kate Mooney, Alejandra Bronfman, Alec Dawson, and Peter Guardino for comments on early versions of this article, and to Bill French for invaluable support during research as well as critical comments at various writing stages. Feedback from anonymous reviewers for Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos have greatly improved the final version of this article.