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Calidad, Genealogy, and Disputed Free-colored Tributary Status in New Spain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2016

Norah Andrews*
Affiliation:
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona

Extract

In 1787, a group of Indians from the town of Almoloya, part of Apan in the Intendancy of Mexico, aired their grievances against several prominent local leaders. The petitioners claimed that their predominantly Indian community was plagued by a group of free-colored people who were masquerading as Indian nobles, or caciques, and enjoying privileges to which only those with noble lineage were entitled. One of these was exemption from the economically onerous and socially stigmatized royal tribute that had symbolized the relationship between the Spanish monarch and free-colored subjects since the sixteenth century.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Academy of American Franciscan History 2016 

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References

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74. Ibid., fol. 13v.

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78. Patricia Seed observes that complaints based on “racial heritage” alone were in the minority. More petitioners interpreted the Pragmatic in terms of a wide range of disparities, including honor and economic status. See Seed, , To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico: Conflicts over Marriage Choice, 1574–1821 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), p. 207Google Scholar.

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82. BNAH, “Diligencias,” fol. 5.

83. Ibid., fols. 1v-2. The document is damaged here, but it is clear that the petitioner attributes the confusion of calidad to the adoption.

84. Ibid., fol. 3.

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88. Ibid., fol. 19.

89. Ibid., fol. 20.

90. Ibid., fol. 26.

91. Ibid., fol. 33v.

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101. AGN, Tributos, vol. 55, exp. 12, fols. 340v-341.

102. Ibid., fols. 344v-345.

103. AGN, Tributos, vol. 55, exp. 11, fol. 300v.

104. Ibid., fol. 302v.

105. AGN, Tributos, vol. 55, exp. 12, fol. 357v.

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109. Martínez, Genealogical Fictions, p. 199.

110. This was not the case for all types of petitions disputing free-colored caste and calidad. In the context of the gracias al sacar, some free-coloreds in Venezuela used hierarchies of color and physical appearance to pursue individual advancement. See Ann Twinam, “Purchasing Whiteness: Conversations on the Essence of Pardo-ness and Mulatto-ness at the End of Empire,” in Imperial Subjects, p. 157.

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