Most of the world's Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) zinc-lead deposits occur in orogenic forelands. We examine tectonic aspects of foreland evolution as part of a broader study of why some forelands are rich in MVT deposits, whereas others are barren. The type of orogenic foreland (collisional versus Andean-type versus inversion-type) is not a first-order control, because each has MVT deposits (e.g., Northern Arkansas, Pine Point, and Cevennes, respectively). In some MVT districts (e.g., Tri-State and Central Tennessee), mineralization took place atop an orogenic forebulge, a low-amplitude (a few hundred meters), long-wavelength (100-200 km) swell formed by vertical loading of the foreland plate. In the foreland of the active Banda Arc collision zone, a discontinuous forebulge reveals some of the physiographic and geologic complexities of the forebulge environment, and the importance of sea level in determining whether or not a forebulge will emerge and thus be subject to erosion. In addition to those on extant forebulges, some MVT deposits occur immediately below unconformities that originated at a forebulge, only to be subsequently carried toward the orogen by the plate-tectonic conveyor (e.g., Daniel's Harbour and East Tennessee). Likewise, some deposits are located along syn-collisional, flexure-induced normal and strike-slip faults in collisional forelands (e.g., Northern Arkansas, Daniel's Harbour, and Tri-State districts). These findings reveal the importance of lithospheric flexure, and suggest a conceptual tectonic model that accounts for an important subset of MVT deposits-those in the forelands of collisional orogens. The MVT deposits occur both in flat-lying and in thrust-faulted strata; in the latter group, mineralization postdated thrusting in some instances (e.g., Picos de Europa) but may have predated thrusting in other cases (e.g., East Tennessee).