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The Cambridge History of Latin America
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    The Cambridge History of Latin America
    • Online ISBN: 9781139055178
    • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166
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Volume 2 in The Cambridge History of Latin America examines the history of colonial Latin America before its independence.

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  • 1 - The population of colonial Spanish America
    pp 1-36
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.002
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter deals with the initial sudden and violent clash between invaders and invaded, which was followed by a serious decline in the native American population. It examines the way the Indian population slowly recovered, from midway through the colonial period, and the white and mestizo population expanded rapidly, especially in the eighteenth century. The chapter addresses the population of Spanish America, region by region, at the end of the colonial period. The demographic history of Andean South America is better documented than that of the Antilles or the Isthmus. Mobilization of the Indians to carry weapons or baggage, or as auxiliaries in the fighting, cost them more in labouring capacity than in reproductive potential. Migration from Europe remained a significant source of population growth in the late colonial period. Fifty-three thousand Spaniards are estimated to have migrated to America during the eighteenth century.
  • 2 - The population of colonial Brazil
    pp 37-64
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.003
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The study and reconstruction of the Brazilian population during the colonial era, not only its size over three centuries but also its regional components and its rhythm and patterns of growth, is a task which is only now beginning to interest Brazilian scholars. Throughout the colonial period, the number of Europeans entering Brazil was relatively small. In the sixteenth century, what European immigration there was limited to three main zones of settlement and bases for penetration: the coast of Pernambuco, Bahia and the Reconcavo, its surrounding area, and the coast of Sao Vicente. During the period of Spanish domination, European emigration to Brazil was freer and was open to individuals of all nationalities provided that they were Catholics. With the discovery of gold in central southern Brazil at the end of the seventeenth century, along the banks of the tributaries of the Sao Francisco river in Minas Gerais, there occurred the first mass migration in Brazilian demographic history.
  • 3 - The urban development of colonial Spanish America
    pp 65-104
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.004
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Like much of Spanish American colonial history, the region's urban development has two prehistories: one indigenous, the other peninsular Spanish. Urban form in America was consonant with certain medieval Spanish treatises that in turn owed much to St Thomas Aquinas' On the governance of rulers. At the close of the Middle Ages the Iberian city ideal drew from assorted classical and Christian sources that had been fused and reinterpreted since the thirteenth century. The Castilian plan for urban development was not immediately asserted on Hispaniola, scene of the Spaniards' initial colonization effort in America. Colonization was largely a labour of urbanization, that is, a strategy of settlement nucleation for appropriating resources and implanting jurisdiction. The study of seventeenth-century Tunja shows how a regional settlement plan might ramify and become consolidate. A central goal of Spanish settlement policy was the creation of two republics, one of Spaniards and one of Indians.
  • 4 - Mining in colonial Spanish America
    pp 105-152
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.005
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter explores the mining of precious metals: silver and gold in colonial Spanish America. The accumulated gold of centuries was looted during the two decades, 1520-40, which saw the Spanish military conquest of Middle and South America. The search for sources of both metals carried the Spaniards far and wide across the Americas, contributing much to the amazing rapidity with which they explored and settled their portion of the continent. The great Valenciana mine at Guanajuato exemplifies many of the developments of late colonial Mexican mining. In Chile, gold production seems to have become negligible by the mid seventeenth century, but revived again in the 1690s, climbing steadily in the eighteenth century. The conquest, exploration, settlement and exploitation of Spanish America were all spurred on by the prospect of mining; and mining determined to a remarkable degree the internal economic arrangement of the colonies.
  • 5 - The formation and economic structure of the hacienda in New Spain
    pp 153-188
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.006
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The first revolution to transform the land in Mesoamerica was the invention in prehistoric times of agriculture itself. The second revolution took place some decades after the conquest, when the brutal decline in the native American population coincided with the Spaniards' penetration of the land and the propagation there of European plants and animals. Stock raising, agriculture and silver mining, attracted successive waves of white, Indian, and black settlement in these territories, and completed the process of colonization and the integration of the economy. African slaves formed an important part of the permanent labour force, but the development of agriculture, cattle raising and mining in New Spain would have been impossible without large numbers of seasonal workers, who could only be Indians. The hacienda emerged in order to satisfy the domestic demand created by the urban and mining-centre markets. The problem in the formation of the hacienda lay in the availability of ready cash to create, develop and maintain it.
  • 6 - The rural economy and society of colonial Spanish South America
    pp 189-218
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.007
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The Andean chain forms the warped backbone of South America. Spaniards wanted primarily to re-establish in the New World the kind of urban-centred society they had left behind them in southern Spain. Towards the middle of the sixteenth century Spanish immigration in the New World attained higher levels and some Spanish towns expanded quickly. In Spanish South America, rural properties held by the church probably never constituted such a large share of total landholdings as in New Spain. The spread of Old World domesticated animals was more revolutionary owing to the absence of New World counterparts, except for the llamas of the central highlands. A European-type market economy, based on exchange value, was superimposed on the traditional Indian economy based on use value and functioning through barter and collective work. Towards the end of the seventeenth century the basic rural institutions had attained stability and the pattern for the remainder of the colonial period had been set.
  • 7 - Aspects of the internal economy of colonial Spanish America: labour; taxation; distribution and exchange
    pp 219-264
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.008
  • View abstract
    Summary
    In colonial Spanish America much of the economic history which people know has emerged from studies of Spanish attempts to make the colonies serve metropolitan needs. This chapter examines three aspects of the internal economy: labour systems, taxation, and trade within the empire, both local and long-distance. The various labour systems represent one of the most important means of extracting wealth in the Spanish American colonial economy. For almost the entire colonial period, and indeed until the late nineteenth century in some parts of Spanish America, the main tax imposed on the lower classes was the tribute, a head tax collected almost entirely from Indians as a symbol of their subject status. Minting began in the New World in 1535 and for most of the colonial period the colonies produced their own coinage. Currency and coinage were a problem throughout the Spanish colonial period, an ironic situation given the wealth pouring out of the silver mines.
  • 8 - Social organization and social change in colonial Spanish America
    pp 265-320
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.009
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines general patterns of social organization in a somewhat atemporal fashion in colonial Spanish America. It discusses some of the dynamic principles of social evolution and change. Spanish society in America was essentially urban. The bulk of Hispanic and Hispanicized people, especially in the earlier half of the period, were urban dwellers. The entire Hispanic sector of a given province made an indivisible, city-centred unit in every social, economic, and institutional dimension. The idea of gentility or nobility played a very large role in discussions of the social standing of individuals. One of the idiosyncrasies of New World nobility was its close association with the first stages of the Spanish occupation of America. The nature of the Indian category raises the question to what extent people of non-Spanish origin accepted the Spanish ethnic schema. Over time, Indians-among-Spaniards, because of their maximum exposure to the Spanish world, were the fastest-changing group in colonial society.
  • 9 - Women in Spanish American colonial society
    pp 321-356
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.010
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter examines the first movement of Spanish women to the newly discovered lands, which, although not long-lasting, helped to shape the cultural transfer and to form the biological nucleus of social elite. It addresses marriage, as the basis for the formation of families and kinship. Both Spanish and indigenous cultures ascribed strong social value to marriage and in the sixteenth century both cultural streams merged to consolidate matrimony as the essential foundation for a good and ordered society. Male-female relationships in colonial Spanish America were as complex as all other social relations. The status and historical role of Indian women in colonial society was a result of the gradual accommodation between the values and customs of their societies prior to the discovery of America and those brought by the Spaniards from the peninsula. The education of indigenous women for their social and family roles was administered informally at home or through community tasks.
  • 10 - Africans in Spanish American colonial society
    pp 357-380
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.011
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The large-scale and systematic introduction of African slaves into Spanish America posed two problems, one moral and one economic. The moral problem had several aspects, the first of which concerned the probable impact of growing numbers of Africans on the Christianization of the Native Americans. Both critics and defenders of the slave trade were in agreement on one point: the enslavement of the African could be justified only by the simultaneous propagation of the Catholic religion. The limited numbers of slaves imported into the Spanish American colonies during the sixteenth century were supplied, under royal authorization, by the Portuguese. The Spanish government consistently underestimated colonial demand for slaves, precipitating an extensive contraband trade which in many years doubled or tripled the authorized import quotas. As the colonial period advanced, slavery came less and less to be the predominant status of the African in continental Spanish America.
  • 11 - Indian societies under Spanish rule
    pp 381-420
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.012
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The defenders of Spanish colonialism took the position that the American civilizations, with their cannibalism, human sacrifice, and other barbarities, could deserve only to be destroyed. In the nineteenth century, the same idea was reinforced by the literature of travel in Spanish America. The Indian described here was an impoverished and depressed person, essentially unchanged from the time of Cortes and Pizarro. Indians first encountered Spaniards at the time of the discovery by Columbus in 1492. The most important early secular institution governing relations between Spaniards and Indians was encomienda or repartimiento. Spanish rule fragmented all the larger political structures of Native America. Local Indian leaders in the towns were instrumental in promoting the Spanish institutions of church, encomienda, and corregimiento. In an Indian community of the seventeenth century anywhere in Spanish America, Christianity played a leading role. In the Spanish American cities, as in rural areas, Indians performed most of the labour.
  • 12 - Colonial Brazil, c. 1580–c. 1750: plantations and peripheries
    pp 421-500
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.013
  • View abstract
    Summary
    During the century from 1580 to 1680 Brazil was the world's largest producer and exporter of sugar. It was in the context of plantation agriculture and sugar that colonial society was formed. By 1580 Brazil had become a colony of settlement, but of a peculiar kind; a tropical plantation colony capitalized from Europe, supplying European demand for a tropical crop and characterized by a labour system based on the enslavement first of American Indians and then of imported African workers. Climatic, geographic, political, and economic factors made the captaincies of Pernambuco and Bahia the centres of the colonial sugar economy. North-western Amazonia was opened up in the late seventeenth century. New Christians played a major role in the colony throughout the seventeenth century. The period of the Iberian union brought the New Christians to the centre of the stage in the colony.
  • 13 - Indians and the frontier in colonial Brazil
    pp 501-546
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.014
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The European frontier was a sharper division: the limit of penetration or permanent occupation by an alien culture. The men who explored, exploited or attacked the frontier were often mamelucos of mixed European and Indian blood. The Brazilian interior had only one commodity of interest to Europeans: its native inhabitants. There were four main theatres of expansion of the frontier during the period up to the discoveries of gold at the end of the seventeenth century: the south - the area penetrated by Paulistas, embracing the modern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Parana, Sao Paulo and southern Mato Grosso; the centre, inland from Salvador da Bahia; the interior of the north-east; the Amazon, which was exploited from Maranhao and Para. The Jesuits restricted their own activities to the south bank of the Amazon upstream to the mouth of the Madeira.
  • 14 - Colonial Brazil: the gold cycle, c. 1690–1750
    pp 547-600
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.015
  • View abstract
    Summary
    For almost three centuries following the discovery of Brazil in 1500, the Portuguese court was flooded with reports of fabulous gold strikes in Brazil. The royal ban on development of mines in Bahia had been prompted by the strategic consideration that they would induce people to desert the city of Salvador and the Reconcavo. Traditional lines of supply and demand for foodstuffs were disrupted by the sudden increase in demand from the mining areas. The religious and social repercussions were the subject of extensive correspondence between governors of Minas Gerais and the king. The most evident characteristic of the emerging society of Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, and Goias was its instant quality. From the beginning of the eighteenth century sesmarias were granted by the crown within Minas Gerais, and especially along the routes to the mining areas, to people who wished to raise cattle. Higher prices in Minas Gerais had inflationary repercussions throughout the colonial economy.
  • 15 - Late colonial Brazil, 1750–1808
    pp 601-660
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.016
  • View abstract
    Summary
    If the years 1808-22, following the dramatic arrival of the Portuguese court at Rio de Janeiro, are considered for Brazil a period of transition from colony to independent empire, then the years 1750-1808 may be regarded as the last phase of Brazil's colonial experience. This chapter summarizes various contemporary counts and estimates of the size of Brazil's principal cities and towns during the last decades of colonial rule. Brazil received its slaves from a number of African sources. The expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759 constituted the first serious crisis to beset Brazil during the late colonial period. Land transportation remained extremely backward in late colonial Brazil. In the midst of the general Luso-Brazilian depression coastal Brazil began to make an economic recovery, but the depression lingered on in the interior. The two decades before the transfer of the Portuguese court to Rio de Janeiro in fact witnessed several abortive conspiracies intended to free parts of Brazil from Portuguese rule.
  • 16 - Literature and intellectual life in colonial Spanish America
    pp 661-704
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.017
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The writings of the first discoverers of America at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries convey the amazement, and frequently the awe, of Europeans confronted by a new world. The manuscripts have the distinctive feature of being arranged in columns: one contains the transcription of the account given by Indian informants in the Nahuatl language, and the other contains a line-by-line translation in Spanish; the third column, left empty, was intended to receive a Latin translation. The urban colleges created by the members of different religious orders at the beginning of the seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth accepted exclusively the children of the Spanish and Creole minority. The Jesuit college of San Pedro y San Pablo in Mexico City was a model of its type. The Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, promoted within their entourage the development of a literature about the New World.
  • A note on literature and intellectual life in colonial Brazil
    pp 705-708
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.018
  • View abstract
    Summary
    The first account of Brazil dates from Cabral's landfall on the coast of South America: the letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha to Dom Manuel I, 1 May 1500 The voyages of Pedro Alvares Cabral to Brazil and India from contemporary documents and narratives. There are a number of collections of Jesuit letters. The Jesuits dominated secondary education in colonial Brazil until their expulsion in 1759. Unlike colonial Spanish America, no university was ever established in colonial Brazil. The Dutch occupation of north-east Brazil produced important studies by Dutch scholars and scientists. Brazilians had to travel to Coimbra for a university education, but in the middle decades of the eighteenth century a number of attempts were made in both Bahia and Rio de Janeiro to set up scientific and literary academies and societies. During the last decade of the eighteenth century and the first decade of the nineteenth, a number of important political and economic works were produced in Brazil.
  • 17 - The architecture and art of colonial Spanish America
    pp 709-746
    • By Damián Bayón, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Spanish South America
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.019
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This chapter focuses on the religious architecture, sculpture, and painting in two broad regions: first Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean; then the rest of Spanish America, that is Spanish South America. The architecture and art of colonial Spanish America is certainly more than an imitation of Spanish or European models. The most important of the Franciscan convents founded in the middle of the sixteenth century were Huejotzingo, Calpan, and Cuernavaca. The seventeenth is the century of the cathedrals and great urban convents that are still standing in Mexico and Central America. In Guatemala, from the sixteenth century onwards, there was a school of sculpture which could boast at least two real masters, Juan de Aguirre and Quirio Catano. The turn of the seventeenth century saw the establishment in Mexico of an illustrious dynasty of painters, the Echaves. In the province of Cordoba the Jesuits set up a number of estancias, notably Santa Catalina, Jesus Maria, and Alta Gracia.
  • 18 - The architecture and art of colonial Brazil
    pp 747-770
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.020
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Throughout the colonial period, Brazil was subject to invasion, threat of invasion and piracy. Germain Bazin, in his classic survey of colonial religious architecture in Brazil, catalogues 297 churches and chapels. Within the coastal belt one-third of the churches are concentrated in three major urban nuclei, those of Olinda-Recife, Salvador da Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. By far the most important seventeenth-century structure surviving in Brazil is the former church of the Jesuit college, now the cathedral, at Salvador. The Franciscan convent at Salvador da Bahia offers a series of architectural and ornamental splendours, in particular the facade and interior decoration of the church, the cloister and its azulejaria. The cloister of the Franciscan convent at Salvador is another masterpiece of Brazilian colonial architecture. The modest showing of civil architecture in Brazil from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century is a reflection of Brazil's colonial status.
  • 19 - The music of colonial Spanish America
    pp 771-798
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.021
  • View abstract
    Summary
    As early as the 1550s, only half a century after the arrival of the Europeans, Latin America displayed the musical diversity which was to be characteristic of the entire colonial period. In Mexico City the 1550s witnessed a dramatic revival of Aztec cult songs. Augustinian missionaries sponsored the publication in Mexico City of the first music book printed in the New World. The excess of both musicians and musical instruments of all types provoked the First Mexican Church Council of 1555 to pass an ordinance forbidding their further multiplication. The earliest surviving music with Spanish text in Spanish-speaking America dates from the last decade of the sixteenth century. Political independence merely strengthened the central role which European-born composers had come to play in the musical life of late colonial Spanish America. From Argentina to Mexico, throughout the nineteenth century, every nation that could afford imports fattened itself on a preponderantly foreign musical diet.
  • A note on the music of colonial Brazil
    pp 799-804
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.022
  • View abstract
    Summary
    Brazil's known musical patrimony begins in the second half of the eighteenth century. The earliest music with a Portuguese text is a cantata dated 1759 consisting of recitative and da capo aria for soprano, paired violins and continuo. In the mid-1940s Francisco Curt Lange began recovering the music of a pleiad of eighteenth-century Minas Gerais mulatto composers headed by Jose Joaquim Emerico Lobo de Mesquita. From about 1776 to 1798 he pursued a career combining church organ playing, office holding in various confraternities, and military service. Until Pernambuco and Minas Gerais began yielding their colonial music treasures, Rio de Janeiro was always regarded as the principal centre of mulatto composition. Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia succeeded Joao Lopes Ferreira as cathedral chapelmaster. For Christmas 1799 he composed Maitinas consisting of eight responsories, each an elaborate symphonic movement. Like all Brazilian mulattos, Nunes Garcia spent a long and fruitful career composing nothing reminiscent of Africa.
  • Bibliographical essays
    pp 805-894
  • https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521245166.023
  • View abstract
    Summary
    This bibliography presents a list of titles that help the reader to understand the Latin American history. The sources for population history, tributary counts, parish registers, etc. are abundant in Spanish America. Even though the first century after the conquest continues to attract most of the research in population history, a recent shift has begun to favour the late colonial period. From tax assessments and civil or ecclesiastical censuses the spatial and social distribution of the population and its increase or decrease have been studied. The study of the hacienda as a productive unit in the creation of new forms of exploitation of the soil and of labour is a relatively recent phenomenon in Mexico. The transformation of large tracts of Indian land into private estates owned by Spaniards gave rise to new forms of soil exploitation based on new systems of labour, which in turn created a new pattern of relations between workers and landowners.

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