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an Indian chieftain in Mexico, the West Indies, and Central America before the Spanish conquest. The post of cacique was usually hereditary in a particular clan or family. The caciques and their descendants formed the aristocratic elite among the Aztecs, Mayans, and other tribes. Some of the caciques went over to the side of the Spanish colonialists and became feudal landowners and officials.

In Latin America and in Spain, influential politicians from among landowners, the bourgeoisie, and the military who have seized power in a particular region of the country are called caciques. The system of administration whereby the central government exercises its authority in localities with the help of caciques has come to be known as caciquism.


Zorita, A. Breve y sumaria relación de los señores de la nueva España. Mexico City, 1942.
References in periodicals archive ?
Both Red-rumped Caciques and Giant Cowbirds are sexually dimorphic in size, iris color, and plumage brightness (Jaramillo and Burke 1999, pers.
Red-rumped Caciques breed in Misiones Province and northeastern Corrientes Province within Argentina.
Only female caciques built nests, incubated eggs, and fed young.
Caciques reacted to visiting cowbirds with loud anal rasping alarm calls, but the volume of colony noise was lower than in the presence of raptors or other nest predators.
Caciques and cemi idols is masterful in bringing together archaeology, linguistics, contemporary and historical ethnography, dose readings of the accounts of early European observers, and myths--both recorded at the time by Friars such as Ramon Pane and others, and drawn from the broader corpus of South American texts.
12) Ao longo do periodo colonial, caciques e principais acataram, em grande parte, os costumes hispanicos: construiram casas aos moldes espanhois e adotaram camas, comodas, mesas e cadeiras.
No mesmo periodo, porem, o soberano intensificou a distribuicao de terras novas e destituiu caciques antigos com privilegios de raiz pre-hispanica.
15) De fato, a estreita convivencia entre caciques e conquistadores viabilizou a rapida aceitacao dos costumes e usos da nobreza castelhana.
Contando com glebas, os caciques ainda dispunham de isencoes tributarias, da posse de armas e cavalgaduras.
Of Herckmans' attempt to enlist the natives' assistance, it notes: "This all pleased them well enough, yet as soon as they [the Dutch] began to say that they had come to barter for gold (which was the only motive of the West India Company) their caciques or chieftains began to excuse themselves, [saying] that for many years they neither had had nor had sought any gold.
However enthusiastic they might have been about the deal, the caciques pleaded ignorance when asked actually to sign an alliance - though European writing, in theory, would not have meant all that much to them.
To emphasize the solemnity of his offer, Herckmans issued each cacique an authorized letter from His Majesty, the prince of Orange.