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  1. Early Spanish American Narrative
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The impacts of the demographic collapse has continued to garner attention following the early studies by Sherburne F. Cook and Woodrow Borah , who examined censuses and other materials to make empirical assessments. Henige's Numbers from Nowhere , a useful contribution. Regional studies of population decline have appeared for a number of areas including Mexico, Peru, Honduras, and Ecuador.

The moral and religious implications of the collapse for Spanish Catholics is explored in an anthology with case studies from various parts of colonial Spanish America, The Secret Judgments of God. The institutional history of Spain's and Portugal's overseas empires was an early focus of historiography.

Laying out the structures of crown rule civil and ecclesiastical created the framework to understand how the two overseas empires functioned. An early study in English of Spanish America was Edward Gaylord Bourne 's four-volume Spain in America , a historian who "viewe[ed] the Spanish colonial process dispassionately and thereby escape[d] the conventional Anglo-Protestant attitudes of outraged or tolerant disparagement.

Parry on the high court of New Galicia and the sale of public office in the Spanish empire. Burkholder and Douglas S. Chandler examines collectively the high courts. Andrien has examined the viceroyalty of Peru in the seventeenth century. Israel 's work on seventeenth-century Mexico is especially important, showing how creole elites shaped state power by mobilizing the urban plebe to resist actions counter to their interests. The early Caribbean has been the focus of a few important works, but compared to the central areas, is much less studied.

Worth noting are a study of sixteenth-century crown efforts at defense [] and works on colonial Florida. The limits of royal power have also been examined. Church-state relations and religion in Spanish America have also been a focus of research, but in the early twentieth century, it did not receive as much attention as the subject merits. What has been called the "spiritual conquest," the early period of evangelization in Mexico, has received considerable treatment by scholars. Greenleaf examined the Inquisition as an institution in sixteenth-century Mexico.

The Bourbon Reforms of the late eighteenth century have been more broadly studied, examining the changes in administrative arrangements with the Spanish crown that resulted in the intendancy system. An important shift in church-state relations during the Bourbon Reforms, was the crown's attempt to rein in the privileges of the clergy as it strengthened the prerogatives of the crown in a position known as regalism.

Trade and commerce in the Bourbon era have been examined, particularly the institution of comercio libre , the loosening of trade strictures within the Spanish Empire. In the late eighteenth century Spain was forcibly made aware in the Seven Years' War by the capture of Havana and Manila by the British, that it needed to establish a military to defend its empire. The crown established a standing military and filled its ranks with locals. Scholars of Latin America have focused on characteristics of the region's populations, with particular interest in social differentiation and stratification, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and family history, and the dynamics of colonial rule and accommodation or resistance to it.

Social history as a field expanded its scope and depth beginning in the s, although it was already developed as a field previous to that. An important essay by James Lockhart lays out a useful definition, "Social history deals with the informal, the unarticulated, the daily and ordinary manifestations of human existence, as a vital plasma in which all more formal and visible expressions are generated.

As one historian put it in , "for the social historian, the long colonial siesta has long given way to sleepless frenzy. The social history of the conquest era shift in the way the period is treated, focusing less on events of the conquest and more on its participants. James Lockhart's path-breaking Spanish Peru concerns the immediate post-conquest era of Peru, deliberately ignoring the political events of the internecine conflicts between Spanish factions. Instead it shows how even during that era, Spanish patterns took hold and a multiracial colonial society took shape.

The prosopographical study of these conquerors records as much extant information on each man in existing sources, with a general essay laying out the patterns that emerge from the data.

Early Spanish American Narrative

Gender as a factor in the conquest era has also shifted the focus in the field. The work has aided the rehabilitation of her reputation from being a traitor to "her" people. The role of blacks in the conquest is now being explored, [] as well as Indians outside the main conquests of central Mexico and Peru.


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Among elites are crown officials, high churchmen, mining entrepreneurs, and transatlantic merchants, enmeshed in various relationships wielding or benefiting from power as well as the women of this strata, who married well or took the veil. Many are immortalized in contemporary portraits and the subject later, individual biographies or collective biographies. The history of elites and the role of economic stratification remain important in the field, although there is now a concerted effort to expand research to non-elites.

A large number of studies of elites focus on particular cities: vicregal capital and secondary cities, which had a high court audiencia and the seat of a bishopric, or were ports from overseas trade. The intersection of silver entrepreneurs and elites in Mexico has been examined in D. Advocates for the formal church recognition of holy persons, such as Rosa of Lima , St. Modern scholars have returned to colonial-era texts to place these women in a larger context. Studies of ecclesiastics as a social grouping include one on the Franciscans in sixteenth-century Mexico.

Taylor's Magistrates of the Sacred on the secular clergy is a major contribution. Elite indigenous women in Mexico had the possibility of becoming nuns, although not without controversy about their ability to follow a religious vocation. The publication of The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas gave recognition to the field of indigenous history or ethnohistory that had been developing during the twentieth century.

Two volumes, each with two parts, cover the prehispanic and post-Contact history of indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica [] and South America [] In the twentieth century, historians and anthropologists of studying colonial Mexico worked to create a compendium of sources of Mesoamerican ethnohistory, resulting in four volumes of the Handbook of Middle American Indians being devoted to Mesoamerican ethnohistorical sources.

Gibson was elected president of the American Historical Association in , indicating how mainstream Mesoamerican ethnohistory had become. Indigenous history of the Andean area has expanded significantly in recent years. The topic of indigenous rebellion against Spanish rule has been explored in central and southern Mexico and the Andes. Andean resistance and rebellion have increasingly been studied as a phenomenon.

The indigenous writer Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala ca. The nearly 1,page, richly illustrated manuscript by an elite Andean is a critique of Spanish rule in the Andes that can be considered a lengthy petition to the Spanish monarch to ameliorate abuses of colonial rule. The study of race dates to the earliest days of the Spanish Empire, with debates about the status of the indigenous — whether they had souls, whether they could be enslaved, whether they could be Catholic priests, whether they were subject to the Inquisition.

The decisions steered crown and ecclesiastical policy and practices. With the importation of Africans as slaves during the early days of European settlement in the Caribbean and the emergence of race mixture, social hierarchies and racial categories became complex. Much scholarly work has been published in recent years on social structure and race, with an emphasis on how Africans were situated in the legal structure, their socioeconomic status, place within the Catholic Church, and cultural expressions.

In Tannenbaum's work, he argued that although slaves in Latin America were in forced servitude, they incorporated into society as Catholics, could sue for better treatment in Spanish courts, had legal routes to freedom, and in most places abolition was without armed conflict, such as the Civil War in the United States. The s marked the beginning of an upsurge in studies of race and race mixture. His major monograph, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, African Slave in Colonial Peru, , marked a significant advance in the field, utilizing rich archival sources and broadening the research area to Peru.

The debates about race, class, and "caste" took off in the s with works by a number of scholars. These paintings from the elite viewpoint show racial stereotypes with father of one race, mother of another, and their offspring labeled in yet another category.

Latin American literature - Wikipedia

Elites' concern about racial purity or "limpieza de sangre" purity of blood , which in Spain largely revolved around whether one was of pure Christian heritage, in Spanish America encompassed the "taint" of non-white admixture. The incorporation of blacks and indigenous into Spanish American Catholicism meant that they were part of the spiritual community. Recent work indicates that blacks in Castile were classified as "Old Christians" and obtained licenses to migrate to the Spanish Indies, where many became artisans and a few became wealthy and prominent.

The Church generally remained exclusionary in the priesthood and kept separate parish registers for different racial categories.

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Work on blacks and Indians, and mixed categories, has expanded to include complexities of interaction not previously examined. Works by Matthew Restall and others explore race in Mexico. Gender has been the central issue of recent works on urban and indigenous women. The history of sexuality has expanded in recent years from studies of marriage and sexuality [] to homosexuality, [] [] and other expressions of sexuality, [] [] including bestiality.

Records of the Holy Office of the Inquisition have been a fruitful archival source on women in Mexico and Peru, which include women of color. Inquisition records by definition record information about those who have run afoul of the religious authorities, but they are valuable for preserving information on mixed-race and non-elite men and women and the transgressions, many of which were sexual, that brought them before the tribunal. A useful contribution to gender and the history of medicine is Nora E. Jaffary's Reproduction and Its Discontents: Childbirth and Contraception from , which examines the understandings of virginity, conception, and pregnancy; contraception, abortion and infanticide; and "monstrous births" in Mexican colonial and nineteenth-century history.

Women have been studied in the context of family history, such as the work of Pilar Gonzalbo Aizpuru and others. The conversion and incorporation of the indigenous into Christendom was a key aim of Spanish colonialism. The classic work of Robert Ricard examines the sixteenth-century "spiritual conquest" prior to the arrival of the Jesuits. Although much scholarly work has been done it was originally published in in French, it remains an important work. There is a long tradition of writings by Spanish religious personnel, but more recently there has been an expansion of research on indigenous Catholicism and deeper research on cultural aspects the spiritual conquest, [] such as religious theater and dance.

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Art and architecture playing an important role in creating visible embodiments of religious culture. Images of saints and religious allegories, and churches that ranged from magnificent cathedrals to modest parish churches and mission chapels. Reshaping indigenous worship also entailed the introduction of Christian saints. In Mexico, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe , said to have appeared in to a Nahua man, Juan Diego , became the major religious cult of colonial Mexico and into the modern era, an essential part of Mexican identity as well as "Queen of the Americas.

Colonial architecture in Mexico has been the subject of a number of important studies, with church architecture as a significant component. Replacing sacred worship spaces of the ancient religion with visible manifestations of Christianity was a high priority for the "spiritual conquest" of the early evangelical period. Publication on colonial art has a long tradition, especially in Mexico. Rituals and festivals reinforced religious culture in Spanish America.

The enthusiasm for expressions of public piety during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were seen as part of "baroque culture. The autos de fe of the Inquisition were public rituals enforcing religious orthodoxy with the participation of the highest civil and religious authorities and throngs of the faithful observing. Mocking religious sacraments could bring one before religious authorities, such as the case of the "marriage" of two dogs in late colonial Mexico. In the eighteenth century, the crown sought to curtail public manifestations of piety "baroque display" by bringing in new regulations.

Pamela Voekel's Alone Before God: Religious Origins of Modernity in Mexico shows how the crown targeted elaborate funerary rites and mourning as an expression of excessive public piety. Mandating that burials be outside the consecrated ground of churches and church yards but rather in suburban cemeteries, elites pushed back.

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They had used such public displays as a way of demonstrating their wealth and position among the living and guaranteeing their eternal rest in the best situated places in churches. Also to better ensure public order of plebeians, the crown sought to regulate taverns as well as public drinking, particularly during festivals.


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Since elites consumed alcohol in their private residences, the regulations were aimed at controlling commoners. At the same time that the crown was attempting to suppress baroque religious culture, it was promoting scientific work, to which eighteenth-century clerics contributed. The Spanish American Enlightenment produced a huge body of information on Spain's overseas empire via scientific expeditions.

The most famous scientific traveler in Spanish America was Alexander von Humboldt , whose travel writings and scientific observations remain important sources for the history of Spanish America, most especially his Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain ,; [] but other works as well.

Humboldt's expedition was authorized by the crown, but was self-funded from his personal fortune. Prior to Humboldt's famous expedition, the crown funded a number of important scientific expeditions to Peru and Chile —78 , New Granada , [] New Spain , [] [] which scholars are examining afresh. Beyond examining particular expeditions, history of science in Spain and the Spanish Empire has blossomed generally, with primary sources being published in scholarly editions or reissued, as well the publication of a considerable number of important scholarly studies.

Trade and commerce, commodity production, and labor systems have been extensively studied in colonial Spanish America. In the development of the agricultural sector, the availability of fertile soil and adequate water, expanses of land for grazing of cattle and sheep, as well as the availability of labor, either coerced or free were factors. The export economy relying on silver production and to a lesser extent dye for European textile production stimulated the growth of regional development.

Profitable production of foodstuffs and other commodities, such as wool, for local consumption marked the development of a colonial economy. General works on economic history continue to contribute to the understanding colonial Spanish America. Following on precedents in Spain following the Catholic reconquest of Muslim Spain, conquerors expected material rewards for their participation, which in that period was the encomienda.

In Spanish America, the encomienda was a grant of indigenous labor and tribute from a particular community to private individuals, assumed to be in perpetuity for their heirs. Where the encomienda initially functioned best was in regions where indigenous populations were hierarchically organized and were already used to rendering tribute and labor.

Central Mexico and the Andes presented that pattern. The encomienda has an institution has been well studied concerning its impacts on indigenous communities and how Spanish encomenderos profited from the system. This also had the effect of undermining the growing power of the encomendero group and the shift to free labor and the rise of the landed estate.

The encomienda there was less labor coercion than mobilizing networks of indigenous kin that Spaniards joined. Slave labor was utilized in various parts of Spanish America. African slave labor was introduced in the early Caribbean during the demographic collapse of the indigenous populations. The slave trade was in the hands of the Portuguese, who had an early monopoly on the coastal routes in Africa.

Africans learned skilled trades and functioned as artisans in cities and labor bosses over indigenous in the countryside. Studies of the African slave trade and the economic role of blacks in Spanish America have increased, particularly with the development of Atlantic history. Asian slaves in Spanish America have been less well studied, but monograph on Mexico indicates the promise of this topic. The mobilization of indigenous labor in the Andes via the mita for the extraction of silver has been studied.

There were multiple sites in Mexico, mainly in the north outside the zone of dense indigenous population, which initially necessitated pacification of the indigenous populations to secure the mining sites and the north-south transportation routes. Silver and silver mining have occupied an important place in the history of Spanish America and the Spanish Empire, since the two major sources of silver were found in the viceroyalties of New Spain Mexico and Peru, where there were significant numbers of indigenous and Spanish colonists.

With changes in eighteenth-century crown policies, silver production was revived after a slump in the seventeenth century. American Treasure and the Price Revolution in Spain. For a number of years scholars deeply researched landed estates, haciendas , and debated whether haciendas were feudal or capitalist and how they contributed to the economic development. Once Europeans developed a taste for chocolate, with the addition of sugar, cacao production expanded.

The production of mind-altering commodities was an important source of profit for entrepreneurs and the Spanish administration. Tobacco as a commodity was especially important in the late eighteenth century when the crown created a monopoly on its production and processing. Production and distribution of coca became big business, with non-indigenous owners of production sites, speculators, and merchants, but consumers consisting of indigenous male miners and local indigenous women sellers.

The church benefited from coca production since it was by far the most valuable agricultural product and contributor to the tithe. Most high quality textiles were imported from Europe via the transatlantic trade controlled by Iberian merchants, but Mexico briefly produced silk. Cochineal was for Mexico its second most important export after silver, and the mechanisms to engage indigenous in Oaxaca involved crown officials and urban merchants. From Spain, sailings to the major ports in Spanish America left from Seville. It was a distance up from the mouth of the Guadalquivir river, and its channel did not allow the largest transoceanic ships to dock there when fully loaded.

Since trade and commerce were so integral to the rise of Spain's power, historians undertook studies of the policies and patterns. Parry 's classic The Spanish Seaborne Empire remains important for its clear explication of transatlantic trade, including ports, ships and ship building, [] and there is new work on Spanish politics and trade with information on the fleets.

Transatlantic trading companies based in Spain and with partners, usually other family members, established businesses to ship a variety of goods, sourced in Spain and elsewhere in Europe and shipped to the major ports of the overseas empire. This book is a masterful reminder that often the chroniclers of the Indies chose 'the etheral airiness of myth to the cold antechamber of the archive Shop the books.

Skip to main content. Description Reviews Awards Table of Contents. Highly recommended. Moreover, Adorno's clear prose and nimble introductions to complex subjects will appeal to non-specialists as well. This superb synthesis will find readers among literary historians and critics as well as historians and anthropologists. Google Libros. Ver eBook. Early Spanish American Narrative. Naomi Lindstrom. Williams, University of California, Riverside, author of The Twentieth-Century Spanish American Novel The world discovered Latin American literature in the twentieth century, but the roots of this rich literary tradition reach back beyond Columbus's discovery of the New World.