Building the Cosmic Race

        I.            Spain sought to create a complex system of racial and separation

A.      Spanish law sought to separate racial groups all together, creating distinct legal systems

1.  Republica de Indios for the Amerindians

2.  Republica de Espanoles for the Europeans (and effectively everyone else)

3.  Each republic had its own laws, each racial group meant to have their own communities

4.  Races were to be kept separate in terms of marriage, jobs, social organizations

B.      These plans unrealistic, as miscegenation and acculturation become common

1. Few Spanish women in 1500s

a.       Only about one in ten of the early Spanish settlers

b.      No more than about 15% of Spanish immigrants are women in 1500s and 1700s; peaks at perhaps 40% in mid-1600s.

2. As a result, castas (mixed-race people) quickly become common

      II.            Spaniards

A.      Spain strongly regionalist, carries over to colonies

1.  Spaniards treated people from home town/region as extended family

2. Tended to focus on regional identifications more strongly than national ones

3. This affects immigration patterns, job opportunities for immigrants, marriage patterns, etc.

4.  Officially, the Conquest was a Castile-only affair

a.       This meant that Arogonese regions (mostly northern and eastern Spain) were not supposed to immigrate, though some did

b.      Largest sources of migrants were Andalucia in the south and Extremadura in the west.

5.  Non-Spainish Europeans were generally barred, but Crown allowed some high-skilled immigrants, and some drifted in on their own

B.      Why immigrate?

1. To join families

2.  Artisans looking for job opportunities

3. Many arrive in retinues of royal officials

4. Very large number came as indentured servants

C.      Limpieza de sangre (cleanliness of the blood)

1. Ability to prove an all Christian, all European ancestry critically important to Spanish

2. On paper, many jobs and economic opportunities only open to people who could document this

3. Spanish Basques in particular asserted a particularly high degree of “purity”

4. Divide between creoles (American-born whites) and peninsulares (European-born) exacerbated by sense creoles were not strictly “pure”

a.       Penisulares dominated government positions and trans-Atlantic  trade

b.      Only four of the viceroys were not penisulares

c.       80% of bishops and 2/3 of all Church positions held by peninsulares

d.      Thus creoles largely focused on land ownership, mining, and local trade and manufacture

D.      Masters of the urban domain

1. Cities tended to be islands of European society in a sea of African, Amerindian, and mixed-race rural populations

2. European culture radiated out of cities, with lessening influence across greater distances

E.       Creoles (criollos) gradually develop separate identity from peninsulares, cease to European

1.  Largely a result of acculturation from other racial groups

2. Regional identities from Europe slowly erode as well

3. Meanwhile, most peninsulares sought to return to Spain as soon as their duty was finished and their fortune made (hacer America)

    III.            Amerindians

A.      No sense of single identity prior to colonization – this idea develops much later

B.      Demographic disaster from disease means end of Amerindian cities – become a fully rural people

C.      Tribute contributes to acculturation

1.  Must pay in European goods (pigs, chicken, wool) and grow to like them for themselves

2.  Need for cash for tribute and taxes pushes many into market life

3. Desire to escape tribute pushes many into the towns

D.      Identity as “indio” increasingly depended on language, clothes, where one lived

E.       Amerindian communities held together by strong sense of family and community identity

1.  Amerindian  families made few concessions to European practices

2. Acculturation was fastest in communities near European settlements

F.       Revolts

1. Amerindians broadly accepted Crown authority, though with important exceptions

a.       Were quick to revolt over grievances and violations of perceived rights

b.      Stronger government intrusion and any threat to land in particular triggered revolts

c.       Tended not to challenge legitimacy of basic system; officials often lenient in response

2.  Greatest resistance in peripheral areas away from Central Mexico

a.       Maya in the Yucatan retain high degree of autonomy and in some areas actual independence for centuries. As a result, less acculturated than other groups

b.      Long struggle to pacify northern Amerindians, particularly in mountain areas

c.       Major Zapotec revolt in Oaxaca 1660-61 reflects strength of traditional culture

3.  Tlaxcala retained high level of autonomy as a result of their assistance in the conquest

    IV.            Africans

A.      Juan Garrido, Cortez’s valet, a rare example of free African immigration

B.      Amerindian slavery banned in 1542, spurs a significant turn towards African slavery

1.  In the 1500s, importation of African slaves imported outnumbered white immigration

2.  Mexico City and Veracruz were majority African or African descended (including mixed race) in late 1500s

C.       Worked in sugar, pearl fishing, mining, ranching, and numerous crafts

D.      Culture

1. Because of mixing, regional African identities largely disappear in colonies after one or two generations

2. Become agents of acculturation, as had little choice but to absorb much of European culture, particularly language

E.       Revolts

1.  Slave revolts common, particularly during times of weaker government control

2. Major slave riots/revolts (and free blacks and mulattos) in Mexico City in 1546, 1570, and again in 1612

3.  Tended to be dealt with harshly by authorities – see as inherently threatening to basic system in way Amerindian revolts were not

a.       Amerindians usually revolted to protect privileges given them by colonial system

b.      Slaves revolted to obtain privileges not given to them by colonial system

4.  Maroon (cimarron) communities emerge

a.       Communities of escaped slaves

b.      Authorities tended to give official recognition to communities they could not destroy

      V.            Castas and free blacks

A.      Mestizo population gradually becomes largest demographic group

1.  Spanish law did not fully recognize their existence until 1700s

2. Particularly after 1500s, seen as inherently illegitimate, further limiting economic opportunities

a.       Because of laws banning racial intermarriage, most in fact were not

b.      Barred from religious orders, much government work, many professions

c.       Generally barred from guilds, though some worked as artisans

3.  Go-betweens and innovators

a.       Denied official place, sought out opportunities on the margins of tradition and world between racial communities

b.      Worked as peddlers, haulers and mule-train operators, miners, in the textile mills, and day labor

c.       Generally identified culturally with European culture, sought legal white status if sufficiently successful

4. Genetic vs. cultural mestizos – personal identity depended more on cultural characteristics (and wealth) than genetic heritage

B.      Mulattos and free blacks

1. Largest populations found in port cities and the Caribbean coast, mining and sugar areas, and Mexico City

2.  Through manumission, maroons, family ties, free black communities emerge

3. Manumission more common than in U.S. experience, particularly among non-plantation slaves

4.  Free blacks and mulattos tended to live in same world as mestizos, in terms of jobs and physical communities, contributing to further race-mixing

5. Also barred from the militias until late colonial period, and often faced curfews and even restrictions on the clothes they could wear

6.  Because of limited importation of African women, free blacks and mulattos generally merge into the mestizo and Amerindian populations.

    VI.            Racial prejudice

A.      Mexico develops a racial system distinct from USA

1.  U.S system becomes bi-polar, dividing world into black and white (and other)

2.  Little recognition in U.S. system for mixed-race people; racial categories become quite rigid

3. Mexico, like other Iberian colonies, develops system with greater flexibility, more emphasis on gradations

4.  Pigmentocracy - Actual skin color and appearance more strongly determinant, but money counts for a lot as well

5.  Race trumps class (wealth) in U.S. system, while class could trump race in Mexico, particularly away from the capital

6. Possible for people with enough money to buy certificates improving their racial status

B.      Why the difference?

1.  Not just about Spanish culture – British Caribbean and Brazil resemble Mexico Latin world more than USA

2. Demographics would seem to be critical

a.       British mainland colonies imported more women, entire families from a very early period

a.       Less opportunity for legal intermarriage

b.      Less miscegenation in general

b.      Outside of South Carolina, no colony in British North America is ever majority non-white (not counting minor frontier settlements)

c.       In general, Mexico had to afford non-whites more opportunities to enable colony to function