Despite the wealth of Mexican archival data pertinent to understanding the ecological interaction between livestock and landscape during the sixteenth century in New Spain, some fundamental methodological issues persist in the use of the mercedes, or land grants. The degree of completeness of the extant mercedes record and the de facto areal extents of the cattle and sheep estancias both remain uncertain. A cartographic method applied to mercedes for the central Veracruz lowlands addresses those issues and suggests a general method for rigorous analysis of the data base. That method demonstrates that the extant mercedes provide a nearly complete record and that the de facto areal extents of the estancias fairly closely reflected the legal stipulations.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Yearbook. Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers
Sluyter, Andrew, "Landscape change and livestock in sixteenth-century New Spain: the archival data base" (1997). Faculty Publications. 60.