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Map of the Colonial Cities

Beginning in the late sixteenth century, cities became home to the majority of friars and to the orders' wealthiest houses, and mendicants became deeply embedded in urban social and cultural life. Friars ministered to urban residents of all races and social standings and engaged in traditional mendicant activities, serving as preachers, confessors, spiritual directors, alms collectors, educators, scholars, and sponsors of charitable works.

Colonial Cities in Mexico

Each order brought to this work a distinct identity that informed people's beliefs and shaped variations in the practice of Catholicism. Contrary to prevailing views, mendicant orders flourished during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and even the eighteenth-century reforms that ended this era were not as devastating as has been assumed. Even in the face of new institutional challenges, the demand for their services continued through the end of the colonial period, demonstrating the continued vitality of baroque piety.

Individual chapters in this book offer sophisticated and subtle portraits of urban religious life.


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Impressively researched, Melvin's study will be sure to revise our assumptions about the role of friars in New Spain as a whole—beyond the traditional focus on friars in the countryside, as language experts, or as missionaries to indigenous populations. The study will appeal broadly to social historians, sociologists of religion, and students of global religious history.

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Historians interested in early modern religious orders of colonial Latin American religion will find this material valuable and this book in general a rewarding read. Larkin, Renaissance Quarterly. The conclusions are nuanced, and they make clear that the orders were distinctive in some ways, but also identifiable as part of shared mendicant traditions.

In the end, we are left with a clearer understanding of these organizations whose functions were essential to the community of New Spain throughout the long colonial era. Melvin's book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on Spanish colonialism and early modern Catholicism. Built upon copious research across numerous archives, Building Colonial Cities of God opens a new vista onto mendicant presence in New Spain.

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This brought a unique cultural fusion that resulted in colonial cities that still exude architectural prowess, tempestuous history, and cultural richness. Yes, there is much more to Mexico than Instagram-perfect, nofilter beaches and margaritas. It would be a terrible mistake to omit the state responsible for what has essentially become an American holiday.

This quaint, picturesque town with winding cobblestone roads and verdant plazas was also declared a National Historic Monument in and is located in the state of Guanajuato which is northeast of Mexico City.

Art & the History of Art | The Colonial City | Amherst College

Guanajuato is a former silver mining city with a distinct colonial past -- hundreds of narrow cobblestone streets make it easy to get lost and find museums in unlikely corners, small plazas, beautiful churches, pastel-colored facades, balconies trimmed with ironwork and flower-filled window boxes. Paying homage to its colonial history , the city has no traffic lights or neon signs!

Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos located just south of Mexico City. The city was nicknamed the "City of Eternal Spring" because of this warm climate year long and lush gardens. Another impressive and iconic colonial marvel is the Cuernavaca Cathedral which consists of four buildings that date back to the 16th century.

Tours of Mexico Colonial Cities

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