Nineteenth-Century Pueblo Establishment on the Northern Central Luzon Plain:
What Can Be Told from an Archaeology of Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija



The creation of pueblos in the northern parts of the Central Luzon Plain during the 19th century was influenced by international economic, technological, and social developments. The reasons for establishing pueblos during this period significantly differed from the causes of colonial settlement creation in earlier centuries, the latter due to the need to concentrate populations to further ecclesiastic and administrative motives. Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija is a case in point. It exemplifies a tiny settlement of homesteaders formed around the mid-1800s that grew into a town as migrants from the Ilocos coast and the surrounding areas of the Agno and Rio Chico de Pampanga basins continued to flock into the frontier community. An archaeological investigation of a Cuyapo residential compound shows an apparent short span of settler occupation accompanied by high-status artifacts. This suggests a quick emergence of a middle class in the community as the town was drawn into the transformative events prevailing at that time.

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