Bureaucratic reforms on the frontier: Zooarchaeological and historical perspectives on the 1767 Jesuit Expulsion in the Pimería Alta

Nicole Mathwich, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Spanish colonialism in the Americas went through major periods of change as imperial goals shifted in response to European politics. The 1767 Jesuit Expulsion represents one widespread colonial reform where an entire religious administration was replaced within a year. The expulsion and subsequent economic reforms altered the relationships between indigenous people in Jesuit mission communities and surrounding colonial settlements. Archaeological data offer a new perspective on the impacts of this global transition at the local level in the northern Pimería Alta, encompassing what is now Arizona and Sonora. We use zooarchaeological and historical evidence to evaluate the resilience of colonial settlements following the expulsion and review its effects on indigenous O'odham groups living at these sites. The proportions of animal use at colonial settlements remained consistent before and after the expulsion. The scale of ranching activities, however, intensified under Franciscan direction in the decades following the expulsion. Local dynamics, including population loss and raiding violence, shaped settlement dynamics more than imperial policy. We separate settlement resilience from O'odham persistence under Spanish colonialism and assess the value and limits of resilience in relation to indigenous experiences at interdependent colonial settlements. Distinguishing indigenous persistence from systemic resilience adds nuance to the use of resilience within colonial archaeology scholarship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Indigenous persistence
  • Jesuit Expulsion
  • Resilience
  • Spanish colonialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bureaucratic reforms on the frontier: Zooarchaeological and historical perspectives on the 1767 Jesuit Expulsion in the Pimería Alta'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this