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Africans to Spanish America

Africans to Spanish America: Expanding the Diaspora

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Africans to Spanish America
    Book Description:

    Africans to Spanish America expands the Diaspora framework that has shaped much of the recent scholarship on Africans in the Americas to include Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, and Cuba, exploring the connections and disjunctures between colonial Latin America and the African Diaspora in the Spanish empires. While a majority of the research on the colonial Diaspora focuses on the Caribbean and Brazil, analysis of the regions of Mexico and the Andes opens up new questions of community formation that incorporated Spanish legal strategies in secular and ecclesiastical institutions as well as articulations of multiple African identities. Editors Sherwin K. Bryant, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, and Ben Vinson III arrange the volume around three themes: identity construction in the Americas; the struggle by enslaved and free people to present themselves as civilized, Christian, and resistant to slavery; and issues of cultural exclusion and inclusion. Across these broad themes, contributors offer probing and detailed studies of the place and roles of people of African descent in the complex realities of colonial Spanish America. _x000B__x000B_Contributors are Joan C. Bristol, Nancy E. van Deusen, Leo J. Garofalo, Herbert S. Klein, Charles Beatty-Medina, Karen Y. Morrison, Rachel Sarah O'Toole, Frank "Trey" Proctor III, and Michele Reid-Vazquez.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09371-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    On August 1, 1708, the now infamous privateer Woodes Rogers departed Bristol to sail around the world, “first to the South-Sea, thence to the East-Indies, and homewards by the Cape of Good Hope.” Sailing down the Atlantic coast of South America, and passing Cape Horn, the Rogers expedition sighted the uninhabited San Fernández Island, located nearly 400 miles off the coast of Chile, on January 31, 1709. After spending nearly two weeks there repairing the Duke and the Dutchess, the Rogers crew pushed off, prowling the Peruvian coast for several weeks before capturing their first prize—a small, sixteen-ton coastal...

  4. Part 1. Complicating Identity in the African Diaspora to Spanish America

    • 1 The Shape of a Diaspora: The Movement of Afro-Iberians to Colonial Spanish America
      (pp. 27-49)

      The presence of Afro-Iberians who helped shape the cultural and physical webs that bound together the African, European, and American continents forces us to broaden our understanding of the history of Iberian empires and the African Diaspora. The creation and activities of populations of African descent in Portugal and Spain, their work in expanding and sustaining the Atlantic system, and their resettlement in the Americas make Afro-Iberian intermediaries as essential to empire as the indigenous go-betweens described by Alida C. Metcalf in the colonization of Brazil.¹ The view of how imperial systems develop and function on display in J. H....

    • 2 African Diasporic Ethnicity in Mexico City to 1650
      (pp. 50-72)

      On January 21, 1640, Pedro Sánchez and Mariana filed a petition for the right to marry at the Catedral Metropolitano, which served the main parish of Mexico City. The prospective bride and groom were both slaves, owned by Diego de Barrientos and Antonio de Almaras, respectively, and, as required in all such applications, both listed their calidad (personal quality, which was generally expressed in racial or ethnic terms),¹ as “Angola.” In addition, Juan de la Cruz and Ana María, also identified as Angola slaves, served as testigos (wedding witnesses) for Pedro and Mariana, testifying that the bride and groom were...

    • 3 To Be Free and Lucumí: Ana de la Calle and Making African Diaspora Identities in Colonial Peru
      (pp. 73-92)

      In 1719, Ana de la Calle paid a notary in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo to compose her will. She identified herself as a free morena of casta lucumí or, as I will argue, a free woman of color from the Yoruba-speaking interior of the Bight of Benin.¹ In doing so, Ana de la Calle asserted her identity using terms, morena and lucumí, that were familiar to the notary and to slaveholders (such as herself) in coastal Peru. Yet unlike her Spanish and creole counterparts, she used the term “lucumí” to name not only her slave but also her...

  5. Part 2. Royal Subjects, Loyal Christians, and Saints in the Alley

    • 4 Between the Cross and the Sword: Religious Conquest and Maroon Legitimacy in Colonial Esmeraldas
      (pp. 95-113)

      It has repeatedly been remarked that the beginning of African slavery in Spanish America brought with it the earliest rejection of slave life. Revolt, rebellion, and escape, along with myriad other forms of resistance, emerged in Spain’s colonies in the 1500s. Among these, perhaps the most successful (and longest lasting) was escape followed by the formation of maroon societies. Colonies across Spanish America—in Panama, Santo Domingo, Mexico, Colombia, and Peru—witnessed the formation of communities (and sometimes roaming bands) of escaped slaves. In many cases they were short lived, but others, such as the maroons of Esmeraldas, managed to...

    • 5 Afro-Mexican Saintly Devotion in a Mexico City Alley
      (pp. 114-135)

      In October 1699, María Lópes de Avilés informed Mexico City inquisitors about a rumor that Isidro the sweet seller, along with others, had “made in his house a certain feast, or celebration to which a variety of men of all species gathered.”¹ She claimed they “had founded there in their fashion a religión of Saint Augustine,” saying Mass and other prayers in Spanish and Latin.² According to her, they wore “habit[s]” of brown scapulars with red hearts and “suits of seculars” (referring to secular clergy, those unconnected to an order).³ She reported they had other “religions,” including one for women...

    • 6 “The Lord walks among the pots and pans”: Religious Servants of Colonial Lima
      (pp. 136-160)

      In his sermon given in 1681 at the profession of a donada, José de Aguilar emphasized that each nun was the señora of her own cross but that each servant, whether a criada (servant) or a donada (religious servant who took informal vows), carried the cross of the señora “upon which they could not recline”:

      To profess as a Nun and remain a Nun among the Señoras … is to carry the Cross of Christ, each with the honor of being the Señora of her Cross. But to profess as a Nun and not remain among the Señoras, but rather...

  6. Part 3. Comparisons and Whitening Revisited:: Race and Gender in Colonial Cuba

    • 7 Whitening Revisited: Nineteenth-Century Cuban Counterpoints
      (pp. 163-185)

      Two unreconciled perspectives on “whitening” have shaped the historiography on Latin America’s African descended people for the past forty years. On the one hand, scholars have defined whitening as a reproductive strategy pursued by black and mulatto individuals in the effort to improve their social standings.¹ On the other hand, other writers have viewed whitening as a political and social ideology promoted by members of the Latin American elite to presumably improve the racial qualities of their nations.² The connections between the two frequently are left as implicit assumptions, including the notion that people of color tacitly accepted racist, elite...

    • 8 Tensions of Race, Gender, and Midwifery in Colonial Cuba
      (pp. 186-205)

      In February 1828, the Cuban newspaper El Diario de la Habana reported a “truly painful” discovery: the “honorable” profession of midwifery had become “disgraced.” Its demise, the article claimed, centered on shifts in the female population and overall deficiencies in midwife training. Initially, the article suggested that the decline of the profession could be traced, in part, to the “scarcity” of white women on the island. It alleged that the insufficient numbers of Spanish women and criollas (women of Spanish descent born in Cuba) had naturally hindered the increase of white parteras (midwives). The true reason for the damaged character...

    • 9 The African American Experience in Comparative Perspective: The Current Question of the Debate
      (pp. 206-222)

      I would like to return to a theme that has been much neglected in the recent discussions on the African Diaspora in the Americas, and that is the question of the comparative differences and similarities between slave regimes in the Americas and the influence of those differences on the post-manumission integration of Africans. This is a theme that goes back to the first modern studies of Africans in the Americas. From Fernando Ortiz in Cuba to Nina Rodrigues in Brazil, there was a general awareness among Latin American scholars that there were differences in the way Africans were integrated into...

  7. Glossary
    (pp. 223-228)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 229-262)
  9. List of Contributors
    (pp. 263-267)
  10. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 268-268)
  11. Index
    (pp. 269-280)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 281-283)