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HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America

Unit 5: Colonial Society   Caste and social standing structured Spanish colonial society in the Americas.  Clear social distinctions existed between European settlers, native-born colonists, people of mixed ancestry, and Indian and African natives.  People of mixed ancestry and Criollos (people of Spanish ancestry born in the colonies) had fewer political and legal rights than Peninsulares (individuals that had been born in Spain and immigrated to the colonies).  Peninsulares dominated colonial society and held important civil and religious positions.  This strict caste system bred resentment among Criollos and native people. 

Family connections and gender also played an important role in structuring colonial society.  In Spain, women had relatively little social power, but in the colonies, they often played a far greater role in their communities, as they managed homes and local businesses while their husbands were away fighting or overseeing distant business.  In this unit, we will examine the political, economic, and social structure of Spanish colonial society and look at the important caste distinctions between different social groups.  We will also discuss the role of families in colonial society and look at how women expanded their social and economic presence in daily life over the course of the 16th and 17th centuries.      

Unit 5 Time Advisory
Time Estimate: This unit will take you 4.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 0.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - Analyze the structure of Spanish and Portuguese colonial societies, and assess the role of indigenous peoples, and Afro-Latinos in these societies. - Describe and analyze the structure of families and their role in colonial society.   - Assess the role of women in colonial society, in particularly their legal rights, their role in colonial economy, and their economic distinctions.

5.1 Caste, Class, and Social Distinctions   - Reading: American Historical Association: Julio Cesar Pino's “Teaching the History of Race in Latin America” Link: American Historical Association: Julio Cesar Pino's “Teaching the History of Race in Latin America” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers subunits 5.1.1-5.1.3.  Read this page in its entirety for an examination of the concept of race in Latin America, with a particular emphasis on how and why mestizaje or “mixing” happened.
 
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5.1.1 Peninsulares: The European Elites   5.1.2 Criollos: The Middle Classes   5.1.3 Peoples of Mixed Decent   5.1.4 Africans and Indians   - Reading: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American Slavery: Alan Gallay’s “Indian Slavery in the Americas” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

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  • Reading: University of Calgary: The Applied History Research Group’s “African Migration to the New World”: “The Impact of the Slave Trade – Demographic Impact,” “Economic Impact,” and “Cultural Impact” Link: University of Calgary, “Forced African Migration”: “The Impact of the Slave Trade – Demographic Impact,” (HTML) “Economic Impact,” (HTML) and “Cultural Impact” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read all sections: “4.5a Demographic Impact,” “4.5b “Economic Impact,” and “4.5c Cultural Impact.”
     
    These articles will help you gain a better understanding of how the slave trade affected Africa and the world.
               
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5.2 The Family   - Lecture: Oberlin College: Professor Steven Volk's “The Construction of Hispanic Patriarchy” Link: Oberlin College: Professor Steven Volk's “The Construction of Hispanic Patriarchy”(Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: This lecture covers subunits 5.2.1-5.2.2.  Please listen to or watch the entirety of the lecture (41 minutes), which looks at the construction of the “Hispanic Patriarchy.”  It studies its cultural, materialist, social, and historical origins.
 
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5.2.1 Family Networks   5.2.2 Family Identities   5.2.3 The Role of the Family in Colonial Society   - Reading: Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa's from *A Voyage to South America, 1748* Link:  Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa's from A Voyage to South America, 1748(HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this text in its entirety.  In this mid-18th century travelogue, authors Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa describe the residents of Lima, Peru.  They focus on family life in the city and provide detailed descriptions of the clothing, housing styles, and lifestyles of various inhabitants of Lima including wealthy Spanish descendants, people of mixed ancestry, and Africans.
 
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5.3 Women   - Reading: Michigan State University, Professor David W. Walker's “Women in Colonial Latin America” Link: Michigan State University, Professor David W. Walker's “Women in Colonial Latin America” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading covers subunits 5.3.1-5.3.4.  Please read the entirety of this page to gain an understanding of the dual standard value system for women in Colonial Latin America, and it particular their economic role and their legal rights.
 
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  • Reading: George Mason University’s “Women in World History:” Dr. Nora Jaffary’s “Gender and Race in Colonial Latin America” Link: George Mason University’s “Women in World History:” Dr. Nora Jaffary’s “Gender and Race in Colonial Latin America” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This reading covers subunits 5.3.1-5.3.4.  Please read the entirety of this webpage, and then, read the three primary sources listed on the left hand-side of the page (“Scandal at the Church,” “Don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrion Protests,” and “The Most Vile Atrocities”).  These readings will help you gain an understanding of the dual standard value system for women in Colonial Latin America, and in particular their place in colonial society and their legal rights.
    This website contains the lecture notes for Professor David W. Walker’s class in Latin American History.
     
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5.3.1 Legal Rights   5.3.2 Place in Colonial Society   5.3.3 Role in Social Economy   5.3.4 Economic Distinctions