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Defining Nations

Defining Nations: Immigrants and Citizens in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America

Copyright Date: 2003
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Defining Nations
    Book Description:

    In this book Tamar Herzog explores the emergence of a specifically Spanish concept of community in both Spain and Spanish America in the eighteenth century. Challenging the assumption that communities were the natural result of common factors such as language or religion, or that they were artificially imagined, Herzog reexamines early modern categories of belonging. She argues that the distinction between those who were Spaniards and those who were foreigners came about as local communities distinguished between immigrants who were judged to be willing to take on the rights and duties of membership in that community and those who were not.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12983-0
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The construction of a community of natives of the kingdoms of Spain, one that in the early nineteenth century would be defined as the ‘‘Spanish community,’’ is at the center of this book. I argue that this community emerged as a result of the establishment of a distinction between immigrants who were willing to integrate themselves into the community and take on both the rights and duties of membership, and those who were not. In the Middle Ages, this distinction applied only to immigrants. In the early modern period, however, it became instrumental in defining the status of people already...

  5. 2 Vecindad: Citizenship in Local Communities
    (pp. 17-42)

    Castilian citizenship originated in the Middle Ages. During this period, the northern provinces of Castile gradually expanded southward, conquering territories previously under Muslim domination.¹ This effort, though cast as a ‘‘reconquest’’ in an attempt to stress continuity between the pre-and postconquest periods and to claim legitimacy, was clearly the beginning of a new age, in which Christian control was extended throughout Spain and in which new forms of government and territorial management gradually emerged. From the eleventh century onward, people moved to the lands reclaimed from the Muslims and formed new communities or transformed existing ones. Often spontaneous in nature...

  6. 3 Vecindad: From Castile to Spanish America
    (pp. 43-63)

    Soon after their arrival in the New World, and even before the territory was under their actual control, Spanish conquistadors proclaimed royal jurisdiction over the land and founded new settlements.¹ Standing in open territory and in the presence of notaries when these were available, expedition commanders announced that, under the authority received from the king, viceroy, or governor, they were founding a settlement. They then set the territorial jurisdiction of the community, nominating the local authorities and dividing the land by plots, assigning sites for the main square (plaza mayor), local council hall, and jail. Asking those present if they...

  7. 4 Naturaleza: The Community of the Kingdom
    (pp. 64-93)

    Spain emerged from the Middle Ages as a highly complex and fragmented political entity. It included two crowns (Castile and Aragon); various kingdoms, provinces, and principates; and thousands of local communities.¹ The kingdoms included in the crown of Aragon, whose units—Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca—each maintained their autonomous legal and political structures, had their own governing and representative institutions and their own laws. Some of the kingdoms and principates included in the crown of Castile, for example, León, Asturias, and Galicia, were integrated into a single system and were subjected to the same institutions and laws.n Others, such...

  8. 5 Naturaleza: From Castile to Spanish America
    (pp. 94-118)

    Soon after the Spanish arrival in the New World, the Spanish king began regulating the relationship between the Old World and this overseas domain. In a series of laws dating from the early sixteenth century, the crown instituted a legal monopoly: only natives of the kingdoms of Spain could immigrate, settle, and trade in Spanish America.¹ Also, only certain certified Castilian ports—mainly Seville—could maintain contacts with similarly certified American ports, and only Spanish ships, manned by Spaniards, could travel between them. In the following decades, the presence—despite these prohibitions—of foreigners in Spanish America set about an...

  9. 6 The Other: Conversos, Gypsies, Foreign Catholics, and Foreign Vassals
    (pp. 119-140)

    My hypothesis as developed in the preceding chapters suggests that the community of Spanish natives in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was a highly complex social and legal construction, based not on cultural or linguistic traits nor principally dependent on birth. Instead, it was founded on the assumption that people who wanted to live together and who were willing to commit themselves permanently to the community had the right to consider themselves members, both as citizens (vecinos) and as natives (naturales). This organic community depended on natural processes of integration and was limited in only two respects. First, in order...

  10. 7 The Crisis of an Empire
    (pp. 141-163)

    In 1808, the Iberian peninsula was invaded by French troops. The Spanish king was forced to abdicate in favor of Napoleon, who instituted his brother Joseph as the new monarch of Spain. Many Spaniards refused to recognize Joseph as their king and maintained allegiance to Fernando, the captive monarch. Adopting early modern contractualist theories to nineteenth century conditions, they claimed that in Fernando’s absence sovereignty returned to the ‘‘people’’ and was now to be exercised by local assemblies (juntas), established throughout Spain and Spanish America.¹ After a short period of anarchy, during which eachjuntaacted on its own, claimed...

  11. 8 Was Spain Exceptional?
    (pp. 164-200)

    The question of whether Spanish eighteenth-century citizenship practices were exceptional involves not just an exercise in comparative history. Within Spanish scholarship and Spanish history, this is an essential question, one that—whether it is explicitly stated or not—is still present in the minds of many historians. For most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Spanish exceptionalism was an accepted fact. It was cherished and lamented by Spaniards and foreigners alike.¹ ‘‘Europe’’ served as the standard against which Spain was measured, and it appeared that Spain was indeed different. For some people, this difference meant that Spaniards were superior to...

  12. 9 Conclusions and Afterthoughts
    (pp. 201-208)

    In February 2001, Spanish television aired a mock newscast staged by a comedy puppet troupe.¹ It presented Spain’s minister of the interior on board a helicopter. Looking down at boats carrying immigrants trying to reach the Spanish coastline and illegally enter the country, he ordered the ‘‘good’’ immigrants who wanted to work and integrate into Spain to stay on the boats. He then instructed the ‘‘bad’’ immigrants, those who wanted to commit crimes, to jump in the water and disappear. The same idea was expressed years earlier in a pop song that invited immigrants to integrate into Spain. The song...

  13. Abbreviations
    (pp. 209-210)
  14. Notes
    (pp. 211-270)
  15. Glossary
    (pp. 271-274)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-322)
  17. Index
    (pp. 323-326)