It is difficult to envision the sheer quantity of pearls dredged up from the New World by sixteenth-century colonists. An average of a 1,000 pounds of pearl per year in tax revenue alone. The social, political, and ecological challenges of producing such richness is the subject of a fascinating book by historian Molly Walsh reviewed here.
After the conquest, Tenochtitlan became Mexico, but the city remained predominantly indigenous. As a viceregal capital and global commercial hub, Mexico City underwent profound changes as ethnic newcomers from Oaxaca to Manila elbowed out the Nahua from their barrios, and Aztec systems of water management survived even as dikes and canals were modified.