Need help? We are here

Purpose: As discussed in the lecture, the establishment of Spanish colonial rule in Mesoamerica was uneven. Even with the widespread destruction caused by disease and forced labor, Indigenous people never disappeared and the Spanish never entirely replaced Indigenous forms of social and political life (and it was rarely advantageous for them to try). Our readings this week discuss these trends of continuity and change at different scales: the república de indios and the household. In this discussion, we’ll use these broad trends to read these texts in different ways.

Task: In these readings, Martínez discusses the transformations of Indigenous leadership with colonial rule, and Sousa explores the resilience of certain Indigenous concepts of household, community, and gender. In this discussion, we’ll read these texts the other way arouns. 

In your post, choose one reading and answer: where does Martínez explore the continuity of precolonial political, social, economic, cultural, and other forms? Or, where does Sousa note changes to precolonial political, social, economic, cultural, and other forms? 

week 4 lecture below 

  • Hello everyone. Welcome back to LH 4430, history of Mexico. In this lecture, we’ll be doing a couple of things.First, because we are finishing off with Camilla Townsend’s fifth son, will be moving on to a couple of new book. So I’d like to give you some of the, a couple up, some of the context and some of the background necessary to understand the excerpts who will be reading from Medina Martinez as genealogical fictions first. And Lisa Sue says, the woman who turned into a Jaguar, I suggest you read the Martinez first and then the Susana Martinez will be a little bit more specific about some of the definitions she gives. And Susa,because she’s focusing on households, specifically, will sort of assume that you know a little bit of what you get Martinez. However, in this lecture I’m going to explain just what some of those things are. You’ll reread them and Martinez and hopefully by the time you will get to sue, so you’ll have the background and contextnecessary to sort of get what she’s arguing. However, this time around, I have made some extra annotations on the readings. I’ve signaled a couple of things I’d like you to think about for reading strategies andhighlighted a couple of things that I consider sort of key points like, why did I assign this? What do I want you to get out of it this time around? I’ve tried to just tell you that to help with your annotations and comprehensions.So let’s go ahead and get started with a few takeaways.Alright, so, so what do we want to get out of this module? Lectures, readings, discussion generally? Well first I think like the Aztec Spanish War we’ve been discussing with Townsend something I’ve tried to highlight last lecture is the war, what we call the conquest, was not a single thing and it wasn’t predetermined. There was a long-running process that unfolded at different rates, in different places and could have gone down very differently. Now, Spanish colonialism, to the extent that we can call it that, I think function kind of similarly, as Martinez will put it in or reading Spanish colonialism and involved the degree ofpolitical and social experimentation, but careful balancing of different Spanish interests. Ecclesiastical, that is from the church, royal and civilian. End quote, ended digits reactions. Alright, so we talk about colonialism. Sometimes they’ll like it were a single thing.And we sometimes talk about Spanish colonialism, likethe Spanish colonization of the Americas. Like it was a single thing. But when we get into the, into the detail that Martinez and so, so do we see that unfolded very differently in very different ways. Now, nevertheless,colonialism would come to transform what had been Mesoamerica to New Spain in some very important and long-lasting ways. However, it would be a mistake to think that Spanish colonialism just did away with all ofthe indigenous political, social, cultural structures andreplaced them with Spanish things. As I’ve, as I’ve already highlighted, we should be suspicious when we hear of those terminal narratives. If you remember that term, narratives are historical accounts that emphasize the disappearance of or alienation of Indigenous peoples from their past and heritage should be suspicious of those. Same with colonialism, right? That can easily become a terminal narrative. But as we will see, colonialism, what transplant transform New Spainin very important ways. But, and to do so, it would appropriate, it would use certain indigenous institutions, political, social, economic to do so. And as a result, kind of ironically, there are certain aspects ofindigenous cultures and likewise, that would remain resilient for a good chunk of the colonial period, if not until today. That being said, colonialism effects on social structures, cultural practices. Really most everything and contemporary mexican, mexican society continue tobe felt today, right? So we’re talking about the establishment of what would become nearly three centuries of colonial rule. So of course, the imprint left will be very deep indeed. It’s maybe just a little bit more complicated than we have been sort of inclined to think about sometimes. Now to get us started, we have to go back to Spain. Are very purposefully wanted to start this course with Townsend, with, with Mesoamerica with a machine gun. Because often, as you, as you may have noticed in the textbook example I used for the Canvas discussion this week, there’s a tendency to put sort of,you know, everything that happened before the conquest. And like a paragraph or a couple of folks were talking about this in the discussion section today as well.And then sort of history starts with the colonial period and the arrival of the Spanish. So I very purposely wanted to remind us that that isn’t the case.Nevertheless, to understand why the Aztec Spanish War and why the early colonial period sort of developed as it did. We have to go back to span those paid.Understand a little bit about what was going on in Spain.Such things happened in New Spain as they did. Bills are being a little bit vague so far. So let’s get into the specifics. So first things, first, Spain, the nation state, as we know it today, was not really a thing. Alright? The Iberian peninsula was predictably very different 500 years ago. And in fact, for a good chunk of that period before or 500 years ago, well before 1500 or thereabouts, the Iberian Peninsula had actually largely been under the control of different Muslim groups.Moorish, Arab, et cetera. Quick primer on Spanish history. Spain was colonized for first by the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians was conquered by the Romans beginning with the Second Punic War, 218 BC. That’s, you don’t have to remember the dates. This is not a classical archaeology class. But basically, after the Romans, the Visigoths invade. So they set themselves upto be sort of the heirs of the Roman Empire. But they themselves are conquered in 7-11 by the first of a series of, of Caliphate, some dynasties that would come to control really most of the Iberian Peninsula. And that is what that map is. This is, among the other things thatthis rather colorful map is illustrating here. So actually, in the first couple of centuries after the invasion of Spain, really the bulk of the peninsula was under the control, that will my out dynasty. Now there would be success or the Umayyad caliphate, sorry, which will be succeeded by the more of a dynasty later by the Omaha caliphate, right? So Spain, so Muslim Spain, as it’s sometimes known, is also not a single thing, right?These, these, these, these groups had different ways of settling and sort of thinking about the role in the broader peninsula. But, but the thing to remember is that the Christian, that is the Catholic kingdoms of what we now call Spain had been and some kind of war thatwe now call that I conquistadors or the reconquest,really since 7-11, right? And over the course of the 700 years between 7111492, different kingdoms had sought to retake territory from different marsh forces. And the sort of the, the biggest and the best known of these kingdoms were cast steel located here in the center, and Aragon here to the East. And in 1479 is when we see the, the union of Castile and Aragon are that would form the foundations for what we now know as Spain. But at this period, we’re talking about the joining of two crowns under two monarchs that you may have heard of, Ferdinand and Isabella. They are most known of course, for a sponsoring Columbus’s voyages across the Atlantic. But they’re also known Spanish as the radius Catholic, also the Catholic monarchs. And for good reason, as we’ll see, after the unification of Castile and Aragon with the, with the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479, will set the stage for a kind of kind ofimperial consolidation that would eventually result inthe Siege of grandmother. Grandfather gives me down here to the south of the very south of Spain. By this peered grandmother was sort of the last, was the last Moorish stronghold on the peninsula. Ferdinand and Isabella forces late see sugar and other conquered at thus completing their, their con keystone. Such as it was, I should say historians debate whether about I,conquistadors we, as I’ve been calling it, sort of a real thing and how that went down. But that’s a slightly different body of scholarly literature. But that doesn’t have quite as much to do with this class. So we can leave that aside for the moment. What followed? The seas of Granada was something sometimes described as a crusading mentality or really a drive for religious purity.It’s, it’s not at all a coincidence. But after the season conquest of Granada, months after all of the Jews, people, the Jewish faith, were expelled from Spain in 1492. Now they had been there in different places early since, since Roman times, but were expelled in 1492,and shortly thereafter, another ten years. All of the, all of the remaining Muslims in Spain were expelled in 1502. Now typically, I say expulsion in some cases they were literally forced out. In other cases they were forced to convert. In which case they would, they would be known as conversos were. We’ll read about this terma little bit more on Martinez and more discourse, or sometimes new Christians, recently converted and Christians. Now the, they, the Catholic monarch, sort of strive for religious purity and the concern with religious orthodoxy. Now, we’re really kinda concerned about these conversos and these moriscos. Because what if they continue practicing their traditional face? A real problem for these folks during the period there was a fear of heresy that would eventually lead, lead to the, to the use of what we now call the, the Spanish Inquisition,designed to try and get rid of Herod heresy and also all sorts of forms of an orthodoxy. But dealing specifically with recently converted Jews and Muslims. But as we will see this mindset, this way of, of understanding relationships between people of different faiths and from different places would come to influence how the Spaniards ended up colonizing Mexico, New World more generally. So sort of by, by contrast, there was a, a preference for, especially among the nobility and upper classes, for Old Christians, that is, people who couldtrace their blood lines back to the sort of two to Roman times, the Visigothic times basically could trace their bloodlines back without having any sort of Muslim or Jewish ancestry. Martinez actually has the whole, the whole book is about this, about this, this doctrine will be come to known as limpieza de Sangre de or cleanliness of blood. Because sort of Moorish, Muslim or Jewish ancestry was considered to be attained, right? That, that was the, the terms in which medieval Catholicism here understood it. And that would also, of course come to influence how they deal with indigenous people in the Americas. Now. Before we go on, I should make a note that because of these because of these topics, something has, there’s, there’s often a particular lens through which we view Spanish colonialism generally, or a Spanish colonialism specifically, I should say, this is what is sometimes referred to as the land and Agra or the black legend. And that is the idea that because of things like the the Inquisition, these religious expulsions,the drive for religious purity, the brutality of the conquest, et cetera. There’s this sort of idea, sort of popular and some places academic idea that Spanish colonialism was exceptionally violent and destructive.Now I put exceptionally here sort of in italics because that’s the idea, right? That in comparison to other forms of colonialism, like the English colonization of what’s now the United States. In comparison, the Spanish colony was much, much worse. Whatever that means. I want us to be just, you know, we won’t be reading workthat takes that perspective. But I do want us to be aware of it. Because there can be a tendency to overemphasize the brutality of Spanish colonialism. Forums in relation with other forms of colonialism does not mean that Spanish colonialism was better, but it does mean that all colonialism was bad, immensely destructive, though in very different ways. But beware, if you hear accounts or you read accounts, especially on the internet that really emphasize the brutality and violence of Spanish colonialism specifically. And look at the way they treat other forms of colonialism, right? The reality is that colonialism and all times small places is very destructive. Button different ways. Alright, so that’s sort of lets us something to be aware of going forward in this class and as you read history more generally. So what was the result of all this, this drive for religious purity, sort of all these kind of ideas about the cleanliness of blood and ancestry. Generally. Well, as Martinez puts it, early modern Spanish society came to accept as normal that, for example, a candidate for a religious order, right, someone status would present the hierarchy with the genealogical information about his old Christian antecedents, ancestry, that a holy office commissioner the Inquisition would inspect local archives and conduct interrogations about a certain lineage and that the noblemen are wealthy communist would pay a genealogists to invent him. Some cases appear a pedigree NPER, end quote. In other words, this was very important to the people of the period. So as I’ve mentioned a couple times, this would come to affecthow the Spaniards would come to understand indigenous people in the discussion as it’s developed so far this week in the lecture forum. Allison and 7b asks,here, I should say, sorry. And I asked about sort of how the Spanish used and changed the concept of indigeneity. If you all remember from Townsend, from our lecture last time. And Mesoamerican societies,people tended to identify themselves based on wherethey were from, right? So the Waddell speak, speaking person from the capital denotes state land would notsay, oh, I’m a nasdaq. They would say, I’m too Nazca. And from to not speak land. Someone from the city of La Scala would be a classical thicker. Right? Now, when the Spaniards came, sort of the story that Columbus arrived, thought he’d reach the Andes. He called the people he found Indians is, is pretty well-known. The question then though is so, so what does that mean?Effectively, the Spaniards, especially during the first couple of decades after the conquest, would really try and debate the theological status indigenous people.And sort of be the, the question in the, the way the Spaniards understood the question at the time was how to consider them relative to people like to Jewish people and Muslims, right? Where they were they the kind of heretics, for instance, against whom one could wage a holy war and take us captive. Slaves. Or where theywere they better considered as like the convert. So like free people who had, who had accepted the faith and should be kind of left to their own thing, left to their own devices. Rarely. There would be debates about this.Most famously, one that we will read about and Martinez between bipolar made their last cost usremembered as a defender of indigenous people. And one he knows de Sepulveda, who was sort of more onthe heretic and slaving side of things. The effective result of these debates was a set of laws called the new laws in 1542. This Martinez puts it effectively. The result was that Indians, as they were now called, who accepted Christianity and Spanish rule, we’re entitled to their liberty, right? So they, so they should not be taken as slaves as captors. This did not apply to Africans or Afro descendants. Important indigenous people ingeneral came to be officially regarded as recently converted Christians who did not have tainted blood in their veins. Right? So, so when the Spanish tried to apply some of these ideas of cleanliness of blood, there would change as they were implemented in the Americas.However, these theological debates on sort of what to make of the indigenous peoples doesn’t necessarily lead to the creation of colonial institutions, things like governance, right? So deciding that indigenous people should not be enslaved does not tell us anything necessarily about how the Spanish actually govern the colony and how indigenous people reacted, for example.So I think it’s useful to review a couple of colonial institutions that we will be reading about and that will likely come up in a future course content as well.Probably the first and perhaps one of the most infamous is that of in Colombia Enda and technical terms. And then call me NDA, is. Grant of the right to indigenous labor from the crown to individual Spaniards. And then turn the Spaniards were supposed to protect and convert the indigenous people that worked for them for free. The now in practice, the first generation of conquistador, especially really tended to err on the side of labor. Exploitation. Much more so than Protection and conversion. The incoming and the system was immensely destructive. First in the Caribbean where it was developed, and eventually in Mexico. In fact, the new laws is 1542 that we just talked about. We’re in part an effort to try and restrain the income and debt,almost like the people who had these and gone beyond us from doing as much damage as they were to indigenous populations. Now in Call Me and those were in theory, we’re in practice, mostly granted to the, the, the, the initial conquistadors and their descendants as kind of like, it’s kind of like a Wages for conquest wassometimes how they would phrase interpretations,right? This is sort of what they deserved for playing their part. In the conquest. However, the institution was relatively short-lived in the sense that things like the new laws would come along to curb the power of these people. But unfortunately, the exploitation of indigenous labor and violence towards indigenouspeople or would continue especially towards the northof what was now the Vice royalty of New Spain. Where there were indigenous groups who were, who were nomadic or lived as hunter gatherers. Especially. Now I’ve mentioned this, this term, just briefly, Vice royalty.And this is the form of government that the Spanish Crown set up after the conquest was sort of advancing right after it looked like the Spanish were really going to be able to set up the territory that we’ve been calling Mesoamerica would become the Vice royalty of New Spain. And at the full extent of its, of its territorial empire, Spain would have a number of vice royalties.The Vice royalty of Peru, New Granada, what’s now Columbia, et cetera. But effectively, Vice Royalty was headed by Vice worry or a visceral Roy who governedthe colony on behalf of the monarch. Now, importantly, these viceroys and the income and doodles didn’t always get along, right? And in fact, one of the things that really concerning the Spanish crown during this period was the power of the incoming data. One of them down in Peru, Gonzalo peas, ADL, brother to Fransisco pasado, who had one of the conquistador, those of Peru,had actually led a rebellion that overthrew and kill the Viceroy down in Peru. So the Crown was very concerned about the power of income and their idols.And as a result, actually was invested for that reason in protecting Mexico’s indigenous people in certain ways, right? If nothing less for humanitarian reasons and some cases, although there were religious ones, then for trying to curb the power of the income and that all are having a block of people that could work against them if necessary. However, we shouldn’t, we shouldn’tunderestimate the crowns desire to, to civilize, to Christianize the indigenous peoples of New Spain,either through the viceroys, they would implement a number of policies and practices designed specifically for these ends. Probably some of the best known are the process sometimes called or they do axion reductionand cognitive gaseon congregation. This refers to a similar process. Effectively, the concentration of indigenous communities in Spanish style towns by those towns that had sort of a central plaza, town square.Often a church, often and administrative building on the same square and set out in a grid pattern, right? That was sort of a classic spanish style town. And a Spanish style local, local government called a cabbie low, or like a town council. And this was really important to the Spaniards. The sort of having a, having a city. So having, having a Spanish style city or town sort of laid out in a grid pattern with these administrative buildings laid out in this way. It was sort of the epitome of civilization. And just so happens at made indigenous people a lot easier to surveil, to watch for any signs of heresy, and a lot easier to convert as well. And the legacies of these processes are actually still very clear today. So for instance, it is no coincidence that if you go to Mexico City here, the heart of Mexico City, the part first settled by the Spaniards. You can tell, is very much a grid system. In fact, the, the Socolow, the town square shown here, is in fact bordered by, well, what were once the administrative buildings of the colonies and the city’s metropolitan church here. And I’m not entirely sure what, whatever is going on here. But town squares weresort of a common feature of Spanish urban planning during this, during this period. And it’s not a coincidence that many cities across Mexico continue to be laid out in this way as well. Now importantly, these policies were applied specifically to indigenous people. But will be reading about another one from, from Martina’s later this work or later this module that dealt specifically with a form of government. Alright, so I’ve, I’ve mentionedtown council’s, but reality. There were parallel town council’s for Spaniards and for indigenous peoples, right? This is what Martinez call and others called it the two Republic model. Because on the one hand, the Spaniards set up that are probably got a NGOs. And on the other that it’ll probably got their spine OLS. In theory, these two Republic AS were to remain separate and practice that was never really the case. But importantly, one thing I want to emphasize here that will become important later as well. Is that the Republic? Are they induce? Although it was subject to the Spanish crown, although its members were often subject to conversion. In legal terms, it allowed for autonomists governance, right? The, they were still able to, many communities were able to elect their own leaders,elected officials, and importantly, the ownership of communal lands. Now this does not mean they were all equal, either within or between that republic us. But it does mean that there was a degree of autonomy and self-determination that we don’t necessarily associatedwith a colonial period. Later on we’ll see some exampleshow indigenous people turkey, the advantage of that system. And we’re able to use the colonial system for their own ends. Something similar happened with the, what’s called the, the general Indian court whose gobbledy and deals. This wasn’t an institution really a, a legal system that offered free or rather were paid for by tribute, representation to indigenous peoples. This was, on the one hand, something I came out of the, the crowns efforts to sort of recognize the indigenous people as meeting of protection, right, and crisp immunization rather than enslavement. But it also provided the crown a useful way to occasionally decide and indigenous peoples favors whenever the income in there, those or later, the Creoles, Spaniards, people born of Spanish parentage. But Mexico, whenever theystarted getting too powerful, finding court cases in favor of indigenous people and indigenous communities was also a way to curb their power. So it’s, it’s kinda funny and somebody, because of the crowns, because of the different groups competing with a crown. Other kinds of elites. In the colonies. Indigenous people found different ways to play these groups off of each other, advance their own objectives. Something that we will also see over the course of the colonial period. Alright, I’m getting towards the, towards the general time limit here, but just to sort of remind us what we’re coming back to, colonialism would transform Mesoamerica into New Spain. There, there is no doubt about it, and there’s no doubt about the devastating effects it would have in demographic terms and social terms and economic terms. However, as a reminder, I do want us to think about the ways in which indigenous people were able to leverage these difficult circumstances to make the most out of a, out of a bad situation in many cases and continue to persist over the course of the colonial period. So I will look forward to seeing what you allmake of these books. But it’s, it’s, it’s a different reading style. This is, it’s a little bit more conventional as far as historical writing goes.