Edges of Empire

KNW 2399: Edges of Empire

Colonized Soldiers and Mexican Family


  This photo tells a lot about what was important to Native Mexicans in colonial Mexico. Based on the surplus of utensils and plates, this family seems to be economically stable. However, the family’s clothing, most notably the lack of shoes, shows that this the family is by no means wealthy. All of this tells us that money was either not of priority to these people or it was made unobtainable by the colonists. There is truth in both of these. This photograph shows how important family is to these people. It also provides a striking contrast between Mexican families and European families in Mexico. These men are spending time relaxing and dining with their family which shows that they truly care about their children and wives. Meanwhile, the European men who lived in Mexico only cared about glory and gold, so much so that they left behind their families to sail across the world to explore and start new families. This glimpse of every day life for colonial Mexicans shows the Mexicans resiliency and ability to cherish the important things in life even when they were subject to oppressive conditions.

The photo speaks volumes about Indian soldiers in British India. Based on their posture and facial expressions it appears that these men are determined yet anxious. One can’t help but wonder what these men are about to do and what lies behind the wall. These soldiers’ facial expressions remind us of the great turmoil that occupied India at this time. Beyond the facial expressions, their uniforms tell us a lot about these men. They were very adamant about looking perfectly uniform, as we can tell by their uniformity down to the nearest detail such as the exact height that all of their pants are rolled up to. While the British often portrayed Indians to be rather scatterbrained, the orderliness of these men says otherwise. Although they were most likely forced to wear these uniforms by the British, they still carry themselves with pride and make a point to look uniform in all aspects. The way they stand with impeccable posture and their rifles held tightly to their sides shows that these men took their duty very seriously.

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