Race and Empire

        I.            Both empires initially seek to create complex racial tracking systems and separation

A.      Legal terms designated for wide variety of combinations

1. Mestizo – European-Amerindian

2. Mulatto – European-African

3. Zambo – Amerindian-African

4.  Many other terms for various gradations and combinations

5. This system becomes unwieldy and largely replaced with a less formal understanding of racial and color gradations

B.      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 Africans

3.  Each republic had its own laws, each race its own communities

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

C.      In both Spanish and Portuguese empires, these plans unrealistic, as miscegenation and acculturation become common

1. Few European women in 1500s

a.       Averaged out over colonial period, about 500 Portuguese women migrate each year; 2900/year for Spanish

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

c.       Gender parity in Spanish colonies by 1600; not till lat 1600s for Portuguese

2. Castas (mix-raced people) quickly become common

      II.            Spanish and Portuguese

A.      Spain strongly regionalist, carries over to colonies

1.  Portugal more unified, but regionalism remain important

2.  Spanish and Portuguese treated people from home town/region as extended family

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

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

B.      Why immigrate?

1. To join families (see above)

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. Important to both Spanish and Portuguese

2. Ability to prove an all Christian, all European ancestry

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

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

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

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 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

    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 in Spanish realms

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.  More likely to simply retreat from Portuguese rule in Brazil

    IV.            Africans

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

B.      12 to 15 million imported as slaves, mostly to Brazil and Caribbean, but all colonies involved

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.  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

3.  Palenques and quilombos emerge

a.       Maroon 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 becomes dominant in regions with high Amerindian population, notably in Mexico, Central America, and Andean countries

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

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

3.  Go-betweens and innovators

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

b.      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.      Mulatto populations significant in areas with large black populations, like Brazil, Caribbean, many port cities

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

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

3.  In regions with small African populations, free blacks and mulattos generally merge into the mestizo and Amerindian populations

4. Successful individuals sought to officially upgrade racial categorization (as did mestizos) – most successful in Brazil and remote rural areas.

    VI.            Racial prejudice

A.      Spanish and Portuguese colonies largely develop 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. Iberian colonies develop system with greater flexibility, more emphasis on gradations

4.  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 can trump race in most Iberian systems

B.      Why the difference?

1.  Not just about Iberian culture – British Caribbean resembles Latin world more than it does the 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, Latin American and Caribbean colonies had to afford non-whites more opportunities to enable colonies to function