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By Herman L. Bennett

Colonial Mexico used to be domestic to the biggest inhabitants of loose and slave Africans within the New global. Africans in Colonial Mexico explores how they realized to make their approach in a tradition of Spanish and Roman Catholic absolutism through the use of the felony associations of church and kingdom to create a semblance of cultural autonomy. From secular and ecclesiastical court docket files. Bennett reconstructs the lives of slave and unfastened blacks, their law by way of the govt. and by way of the Church, the effect of the Inquisition, their felony prestige in marriage, and their rights and tasks as Christian matters. His findings display the malleable nature of African identities within the Atlantic global, in addition to the facility of Africans to set up their very own mental assets to outlive displacement and oppression.

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Additional info for Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640

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Yet the ease with which indigenous persons could pass as mestizos and the proclivities of the clergy make marriage records a problematic though impressionistic source with regard to de¤nitional precision. Most persons of indigenous descent who formed liaisons or petitioned for a marriage license with non-Indians de¤ned themselves for pecuniary, if not other, reasons as mestizos or were characterized as such. Also, one cannot ignore the static views that governed Spanish perceptions of who constituted an Indian.

58 For the period 1521–1639, this amounted to a little more than 900 per year. This 22 Africans in Colonial Mexico longitudinal perspective, however, obscures the vicissitudes of the slave trade. Spaniards received more enslaved Africans during the ¤rst four decades of the seventeenth century than they had throughout the entire sixteenth century. Ebbs and ®ows also characterized the seventeenth-century slave trade (1595– 1639), which roughly corresponded to the union of the Portuguese and Spanish Crowns.

The pioneering studies of colonial Spanish American slavery acknowledged the Siete Partidas and its importance as a mediating factor in the master-slave relationship, but these studies isolated that legal code from canon law. Roman law, of course, de¤ned the master-slave relationship. But in adjudicating over human affairs, even when individuals were de¤ned as masters and slaves, crown and clergy assumed primacy. In the course of their evolution, ecclesiastical and royal laws competed for jurisdiction in most affairs and steadfastly encroached on the master’s domain.

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