Lineage and across Race in Spanish Atlantic Family History

Familiar: Thinking beyond Lineage and across Race in Spanish Atlantic Family History
Author(s): Bianca Premo
Source: The William and Mary Quarterly , Vol. 70, No. 2, Centering Families in Atlantic
Histories (April 2013), pp. 295-316
Published by: Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Stable URL:
Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article:
You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide
range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and
facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at
Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture is collaborating with JSTOR to
digitize, preserve and extend access to The William and Mary Quarterly
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
Thinking beyond Lineage and across Race
in Spanish Atlantic Family History
Bianca Premo
Familia: . . . Children, and parents and grandparents as well, and
the rest of the descendants of the lineage . . . that by another name
we call parentage. And it is understood that this word, family,
comprises the lord and his wife, and the rest that he has under his
command, such as children, servants, slaves.
Familiaridad: The highly domestic communication and friendship
that one customarily has with another, and although one of these
might be a lord, he usually treats the inferior familiarly, sharing
with him the business of his house, possessions, and person.

—Sebastián de Covarrubias Orozco, 16111
R ESTRICTED definitions of the family served as midwife to the twin
hierarchies of social class and color born in Iberia and nurtured in
the Americas. Hegemonic Spanish concepts of family—the “parentage” in Sebastián de Covarrubias Orozco’s definition—were predicated on
“genealogical fictions” that tied limpieza de sangre (cleanliness of blood) to
Bianca Premo is an associate professor in the Department of History at Florida International University. The comments of the panelists, participants, and organizers of the
conference “Centering Families in Atlantic Worlds, 1500–1800,” held at the Institute for
Historical Studies at the University of Texas at Austin from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1, 2011, as well
as the helpful advice of Alex Borucki, Karen B. Graubart, Karin Wulf, and an anonymous
reader for the William and Mary Quarterly all strengthened this article. Gracias. 1 “Familia. . . . Los hijos, pero también los padres y abuelos y los demás ascendientes
del linaje . . . que por otro nombre decimos parentela. Y debajo desta palabra familia se
entiende el señor y su mujer, y los demás que tiene de su mando, como hijos, criados,
esclavos”; “Familiaridad. La comunicación y amistad muy casera, que uno suele tener con
otro, y aunque sea uno dellos señor, suele tratar al inferior familiarmente, comúnicandole
los negocios de su casa, hacienda y persona,” in Sebastián de Covarrubias Orozco, Tesoro
de la lengua castellana o española, 2d ed., ed. Felipe C. R. Maldonado, rev. by Manuel
Camarero (1611; repr., Madrid, 1995), 536. All translations are my own unless otherwise
William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 70, no. 2, April 2013
DOI: 10.5309/willmaryquar.70.2.0295
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
296 william and mary quarterly
the legitimacy of sexual unions and their progeny.2 During Spain’s colonial
rule of the Americas, such notions of family legitimacy linked elite status,
economic fortune, and political power primarily to European ancestry,
Catholic heritage, and sacramental practice. And these definitions were not
confined to colonialism but continued to function as mechanisms for legal,
political, and economic exclusion well into Latin America’s republican and
modern periods.3
Thus, family, insofar as it ideologically set up boundaries to demarcate status, was intimately related to broader categories of difference in
the Spanish Atlantic. Historians of the Latin American family have long
been acutely aware of the generational durability of elite family networks
and the regulatory violence of the ideal of Catholic marriage—consider,
for instance, scholarship on the Inquisition’s role in sexual surveillance
or works on women’s enclosure in the Hispanic world.4 But, of course,
ideology and practice were not the same. Elite family formations might
have been normative, but they were not the norm. For more than forty
years, scholarship on the family and gender during the colonial period has
emphasized the region’s marked “illegitimacy.”5 Extramarital sexual rela2 I borrow the term genealogical fictions from María Elena Martínez, Genealogical
Fictions: Limpieza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, Calif.,
2008).3 On the endurance of elite definitions of family, see Nara B. Milanich, Children
of Fate: Childhood, Class, and the State in Chile, 1850–1930 (Durham, N.C., 2009). Milanich points out that in republican Chile “‘family’ . . . marked a distinct, and distinctly
privileged, set of gendered and generational dependencies to which not all progenitors,
nor all offspring, belonged.” Ibid., 12. 4 Note that more than twenty years ago, Asunción Lavrin remarked that studies of
marriage had been dominated by scholars who viewed the institution as a “social and
economic mechanism binding the interests of families and expressing class or group
objectives rather than personal emotions.” See Lavrin, “Introduction: The Scenario, the
Actors, and the Issues,” in Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America, ed. Lavrin
(Lincoln, Neb., 1989), 1–43 (quotation, 2). 5 On Spain, see Allyson Poska, “Elusive Virtue: Rethinking the Role of Chastity
in Early Modern Spain,” Journal of Early Modern History 8, nos. 1–2 (2004): 135–46.
On Spanish America, see Pablo Rodríguez, Seducción, amancebamiento y abandono en la
colonia (Bogotá, 1991); Pilar Gonzablo Aizpuru and Cecilia Rabell, comps., La familia
en el mundo iberoamericano (Mexico City, 1994); María Emma Mannarelli, Pecados
públicos: La ilegitimidad en Lima, siglo XVII (Lima, 1994); Rodríguez, Sentimientos y
vida familiar en el Nuevo Reino de Grenada, siglo XVIII (Bogotá, 1997); Guiomar Dueñas
Vargas, Los hijos del pecado: Ilegitimidad y vida familiar en la Santafé de Bogotá colonial
(Bogotá, 1997); Ann Twinam, Public Lives, Private Secrets: Gender, Honor, Sexuality, and
Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America (Stanford, Calif., 1999), esp. 126–83. Pioneering
work on illegitimacy also includes Muriel Nazzari, “An Urgent Need to Conceal: The
System of Honor and Shame in Colonial Brazil,” in The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame,
and Violence in Colonial Latin America, ed. Lyman L. Johnson and Sonya Lipsett-Rivera
(Albuquerque, N.Mex., 1998), 103–26; Nara Milanich, “Historical Perspectives on Illegitimacy and Illegitimates in Latin America,” in Minor Omissions: Children in Latin
American History and Society, ed. Tobias Hecht (Madison, Wis., 2002), 72–101; Linda
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
tions, natal illegitimacy, and child circulation were so prevalent throughout
Iberia and its American colonies that the days are long gone when scholars
regarded these practices as “pathologies.”6
But historians might consider doing even more than acknowledging
that Iberian and Latin American families were nonnormative in the face of
strict norms. We might approach Spanish Atlantic history sensitive to how
our own inherited concepts of family—based on genealogy and, ultimately,
constructed notions of racial and ethnic bloodlines—subtly pervade our
work. They can lead us to seek out diasporas and kinships among those
whom we view, a priori, as part of the same racial or ethnic group. They
can lead us to trace genealogical networks of so-called Spaniards, who
generally had the means to follow sacramental norms, or to look for evidence of (authentic) African and Indian kinship concepts among slaves and
natives, who either did not follow sacramental norms or insinuated their
own cultural notions of family into dominant practices. Or they can inspire
us to pick through marriage records for signs of exogamy, surmising that
the presence of mestizos or mixed-race castas in Spanish colonial society signals the failure of caste-obsessed family proscriptions.7
To approach Spanish Atlantic family history aware of the essentially
constructed (some might say fictive) nature of all families, including those
based on blood relations, leads to different questions. More specifically,
assigning historical value to cross-caste or cross-class affinities, just as we do
to those relations understood to be biologically endogamous, forces a serious
consideration of the nonbiological affective ties that drew together peoples
from all shores of the Atlantic, often placing them under the same roof.8 In
Lewin, Surprise Heirs, vol. 1, Illegitimacy, Patrimonial Rights, and Legal Nationalism in
Luso-Brazilian Inheritance, 1750–1821 (Stanford, Calif., 2003); Lewin, Surprise Heirs, vol.
2, Illegitimacy, Inheritance Rights, and Public Power in the Formation of Imperial Brazil,
1822–1889 (Stanford, Calif., 2003). 6 On the shift away from viewing diverse family forms as inherently dysfunctional,
see Robert E. McCaa, “Introduction,” in special issue, ed. McCaa, Journal of Family
History: Studies in Family, Kinship, and Demography 16, no. 3 (1991): 211–14 (quotation,
211). On child circulation, see Ondina E. González and Bianca Premo, eds., Raising
an Empire: Children in Early Modern Iberia and Colonial Latin America (Albuquerque,
N.Mex., 2007); Jessaca B. Leinaweaver, The Circulation of Children: Kinship, Adoption,
and Morality in Andean Peru (Durham, N.C., 2008); Milanich, Children of Fate. 7 On the tautology inherent in viewing the existence of castas—hybrid race categories—as a failure of a (presumably already fixed) caste system, see Martínez, Genealogical
Fictions, 4. Also see Kathryn Burns’s comments on academics’ contemporary construction of race categories and the complex histories of colonial caste: Burns, “Unfixing
Race,” in Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Difference in
the Renaissance Empires, ed. Margaret R. Greer, Walter D. Mignolo, and Maureen Quilligan (Chicago, 2007), 188–202. 8 Here I am indebted to Ann Laura Stoler’s description of the “tense and tender
ties” of colonialism and of the centrality of “sentimental education” to the colonial
project. She argues that “identifying the production and harnessing of sentiment as a
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
298 william and mary quarterly
particular, what Nara B. Milanich has termed “vernacular kinships” come
into better view.9 For Milanich the term refers to the family practices and
relationships of nonelite actors that the modern Chilean state excluded
from recognition, often rendering them illegible in the historical record. In
the Spanish colonial period, family-like relations as they were formed outside of legitimate lineages had a name, familiaridad, which, as Covarrubias
states, carried a more precise connotation as well. It specifically referenced
nonbiological relations across class and caste divisions and down through
generations within shared households.10 It was not so much that these
relationships were excluded from definitions of family as that family was
extended to encompass them, making the relationships integral, indeed
familiar, to the reproduction of the social order in the Spanish Atlantic.
In this respect, Spanish Atlantic familiaridad should be distinguished
from the concept of “familiarity” in the British Atlantic world. As Sarah
M. S. Pearsall shows, British Atlantic familiarity frequently formed between
social equals in order to patrol the borders of the elite class and their households.11 It is true that Spanish Atlantic familiaridad looked something like
the “household-family” ideal type that Naomi Tadmor discusses in her
study of families and friends in England.12 As an ideal type in Britain, the
household-family was to be distinguished from family as lineage, kinship,
and friendship. But when these family types are viewed on the ground and
up close in the Iberian world, the distinctions can blur and turn back on
themselves. For example, the language of lineage expressed itself within
the household as well as in the family, such as when slaves assumed their
masters’ last names.13 Or bodies could be linked through more than reprotechnology of the colonial state . . . sets a research agenda [that allows us to] appreciat[e]
how much politics of compassion was not an oppositional assault on empire but a fundamental element of it.” Stoler, “Tense and Tender Ties: The Politics of Comparison
in North American History and (Post) Colonial Studies,” Journal of American History
88, no. 3 (December 2001): 829–65; Stoler, Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power: Race
and the Intimate in Colonial Rule (Berkeley, Calif., 2002), 19 (“sentimental”). However,
her focus is on state-led programs of fostering proper sentiment between servants and
the children of colonizers. I propose here that colonialism, at least in the context of the
Spanish colonies, also relied on the creation of multiple cross-caste, circum-Atlantic,
intergenerational alliances that predated a strict divide between the public and the private and operated sui generis, outside the coordinated state programs that intensified in
the late eighteenth century. 9 Milanich, Children of Fate, 23, 27, 74, chap. 5. 10 Familiar had an additional, perhaps tangentially related, meaning in the Spanish
Atlantic, referring to informants of the Inquisition who were required to prove purity of
blood. See Martínez, Genealogical Fictions, 64. 11 Sarah M. S. Pearsall, Atlantic Families: Lives and Letters in the Later Eighteenth
Century (New York, 2008). 12 Naomi Tadmor, Family and Friends in Eighteenth-Century England: Household,
Kinship, and Patronage (Cambridge, 2001), 21–24. 13 As an example of the overlap between concepts of family and household, Sandra
Lauderdale Graham has observed the interchangeability of the terms family, dwelling,
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
duction and the labor of childbirth, such as when a wet nurse who tended
the healing umbilical cord of a newborn later recalled the act as a uniquely
intimate progenitor of affection between adult and child. These circuits
of experiential lineage, based on both labor and affect, did not, it must be
emphasized, ameliorate the inequalities of social class, caste, and colonialism in the Spanish Atlantic. In a sense, they fostered them.
When encountering references to relationships between patrons and
clients or masters and slaves in historical documents, it is tempting to focus
on their exploitative aspect and to dismiss their accompanying language of
affection or affinity as bureaucratically ritualized formulas. Yet to separate
proclamations of emotion from their material reality is a problematic exercise. Here, it might be profitable to consider what William M. Reddy has
called “emotives,” or the statements or cultural practices concerned with
emotion.14 He argues that emotives possess a reciprocal relationship with the
actual experience of feelings.15 In other words, in a given historical setting,
the experience of emotion is related to (if not reducible to) the language one
employs about it. Though it might be difficult to believe a master loved a
slave simply because he used such a phrase in his will, the fact that the emotive formula existed in the first place is nonetheless meaningful.16
Analyzing the language and practices of familiaridad cannot tell the
whole story of how families, castes, and communities were made in the
Spanish Atlantic, but it does permit us to connect relationships among
diverse sectors of society in a more dynamic way. It captures something
of the horizontal cultural ties forged among nonelite actors who were not
and hearth in nineteenth-century Brazil. See Graham, House and Street: The Domestic
World of Servants and Masters in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro (1988; repr., Austin,
Tex., 2002), 11. Adopting a last name was not a requirement for slaves and servants in
the Spanish Atlantic since there were other means of identification, such as regional
origin, ethnicity, color, or occupation. Research on Lima suggests that when slaves
did adopt, or were prescribed, a last name in ecclesiastical and legal documents, that
last name was most frequently their owner’s. See María del Carmen Cuba Manrique,
“Antroponimia e identidad de los negros esclavos en el Perú,” Escritura y Pensamiento 5,
no. 10 (2002): 123–34, esp. 134. R. Douglas Cope finds that around 6 percent of all slaves
in seventeenth-century Mexico City used a master’s last name. See Cope, The Limits of
Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660–1720 (Madison, Wis.,
1994), 61. On Indians and Spanish patrons’ last names, see Karen B. Graubart, With
Our Labor and Sweat: Indigenous Women and the Formation of Colonial Society in Peru,
1550–1700 (Stanford, Calif., 2007), 108. 14 William M. Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: A Framework for the History of
Emotions (New York, 2001), 104–7. 15 Ibid., 105. 16 Many scholars have begun to profitably work around the formulaic language of
wills. See Kris Lane, “Captivity and Redemption: Aspects of Slave Life in Early Colonial
Quito and Popayán,” Americas 57, no. 2 (October 2000): 225–46; Michelle A. McKinley, “Till Death Do Us Part: Testamentary Manumission in Seventeenth-Century Lima,
Peru,” Slavery and Abolition 33, no. 3 (September 2012): 381–401.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
300 william and mary quarterly
related by blood. In the New World, these lateral relationships played a part
in the formation of ethnicity and casta, a term that, as Ruth Hill reminds us,
was “not biology” but rather “a cluster of somatic, economic, linguistic, geographical and other circumstances that varied” by region and person.17 Even
more, familiaridad forces us to contend with the fact that lateral caste relationships among nonelites, such as indigenous servants and African slaves,
were often generated through or reinforced by the establishment of vertical
ties of emotion, dependency, and labor that linked them to Spanish elites.
Perhaps nowhere in the Spanish Atlantic did social hierarchies so
dynamically cross as in the rearing of children and the training of youths.
Interactions involving children in the city of Lima, Peru, provide a focal
point for observing how diverse city inhabitants became familiares and
formed complex, diagonal relations. Counterintuitively, organizing a discussion of familiaridad around the three principal “races” of the Spanish
Atlantic who gathered in that urban milieu—Indian, black, and white (or
español )—undoes the easy logic that says families primarily make bloodlines
and that bloodlines (eventually) make races. In Lima becoming castes, diasporas, and ethnicities—including those viewed today as integral races or
pure categories, such as “Spanish” or “Indian”—could involve literal familiarity and dependencies between people of contrasting groups.
Of course, these dependencies varied by time as well as space, but
examples from different periods as well as distinct caste groups reveal
the diverse forms that familiaridad took in Lima. First, analyzing patterns among early colonial indigenous migrants to the city reveals the
complexities of ethnic community creation and the important role that
Spanish households could have in the process of making “Indians.” Second,
a compelling story about the construction of Atlantic slave kinship at the
turn of the eighteenth century anchors a discussion of the multiple, and
sometimes competing, loyalties bred by familiaridad in bondage. Finally,
a brief consideration of the sentimental ties between hired wet nurses and
girls from the city’s foundling home who were considered to be of pure
Spanish descent raises both methodological and historical points about
affective ties in the Spanish Atlantic. Deciphering the language of love in the
girls’ eighteenth-century admission records demonstrates that their affective
experiences with their caretakers were not uniform. What did bind the girls’
experiences was the ultimate fate of leaving the sides of their often-humble
wet nurses to capitalize on their complexions.
Each of these instances makes it clear that even as familiaridad traversed ethnic categories and cut through lines of ancestral descent, it also
fostered the creation of colonial categories of difference, particularly in
17 Ruth Hill, Hierarchy, Commerce and Fraud in Bourbon Spanish America: A Postal
Inspector’s Exposé (Nashville, Tenn., 2005), 200.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
Spanish American cities such as Lima, where diverse inhabitants easily
mingled. Although it tilted from the Andean foothills into the Pacific
Ocean, Lima, the so-called City of Kings, could be described as an
Atlantic hub. In 1700 the city was populated by more than thirty-five
thousand inhabitants, drawing together Europeans, native Americans,
and Africans in a rich tapestry of groups. A census from that year shows
that one-third of Lima’s population was counted as having some degree of
African descent; just over half were considered Spanish. It might be a surprise for those who know Peru to be an Indian country that only 11 percent
of the denizens inside the fortress walls of the capital city were registered
as “indios.”18 To be sure, this number undercounts native peoples in and
around the city, but it nonetheless reflects an important aspect of the city’s
profile: indigenous peoples were a minority.
What is more, Lima’s indigenous peoples actually were not, strictly
speaking, “natives.” This is in part because, shortly after the city was
founded in 1535, the relatively small local population that lived in the area
battled disease and relocation and diminished in number. Thus, the capital was a destination for Atlantic migrants of all types, even for so-called
Indians. By the early seventeenth century, approximately 95 percent of its
native population was comprised of immigrants.19 To speak of the native
population of early colonial Lima obscures the highly diverse—and the
highly Atlantic, not just Andean—origins of the indigenous peoples that
made up its first colonial generations.
18 On the failure to segregate city inhabitants by class and a general questioning of
race-based hierarchies as the most pervasive parts of colonial subjects’ lives, see Karen
Vieira Powers, “Conquering Discourses of ‘Sexual Conquest’: Of Women, Language,
and Mestizaje,” Colonial Latin American Review 11, no. 1 (2002): 7–32, esp. 25. On the
desegregated living arrangements of the lower classes and prevalence of patron-client
relations in the colonial city, see Cope, Limits of Racial Domination. This, of course,
begs the question of whether familiaridad was an exclusively or especially urban phenomenon. Work on rural areas of Latin America, such as Alida C. Metcalf’s nowclassic study of family in Santana de Parnaíba, Brazil, convincingly show that different
groups—in this case, class groups of slaves, peasants, and planters—had “fundamentally
different family lives.” Metcalf, Family and Frontier in Colonial Brazil: Santana de
Parnaíba, 1580–1822 (1992; repr., Austin, Tex., 2005), 6–7 (quotation, 7). Yet certain
kinship ties between rural groups, for example in the form of “vertical” godparentage,
did exist. Ibid., 188–90 (quotation, 189), 138. On Lima as a South Seas hub and Baroque
border city between the Andes and the East, see Alejandra B. Osorio, Inventing Lima:
Baroque Modernity in Peru’s South Sea Metropolis (New York, 2008). Population numbers derive from my sample of 16.7 percent of the households from a 1700 census, reproduced as Noble David Cook, comp., Numeración general de todas las personas de ambos
sexos, edades, y calidades q[ue] se hà hecho en esta Ciudad de Lima, año de 1700 (Lima,
1985). For sampling methods, see Bianca Premo, Children of the Father King: Youth,
Authority, and Legal Minority in Colonial Lima (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2005), 257. 19 Paul J. Charney, “El indio urbano: Un análisis económico y social de la
población india de Lima en 1613,” Histórica 12, no. 1 (July 1988): 5–33, esp. 7.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
302 william and mary quarterly
In the early days of the city, in the mid-sixteenth century, the first
waves of indigenous migration to Lima were peopled by hundreds, perhaps
thousands, of Indian slaves brought in chains to the city from other parts of
Spanish America. Writing of the female portion of this population, Nancy
E. van Deusen describes how the migration of enslaved natives to Lima
spawned a kind of affective creativity: “the urban diasporic site of Lima was
a space where abducted, exchanged, and raped women from Nicaragua, the
island of Cubagua, and a broad swath of the Andes formed consanguineal
and fictive family ties, and intimate sexual and cultural relations; some with
their male perpetrators cum consorts, and others with indigenous, European,
and African peoples whom they encountered in the unfamiliar locale.”20
Therefore, the Indian population of this capital city was not simply
“there” when the Spanish arrived: it arose through a distinctly (gendered)
colonial process of ethnogenesis in which a seeming contradiction—an
indigenous diaspora—was created by means of simultaneous deracination
and laying down of roots. This was no abstract process of becoming Indian.
It was the culmination of a thousand everyday acts that shaped identity,
family, and community, ranging from human servitude and forced migration to colonial subjugation. Some of the connections were the predictable ones in a colonial setting where sexual coercion and social advantage
came hand in hand, as, for example, when masters freed Central American
female servants because of the “good service” of having borne them mestizo children. But some of the connections were also more horizontal or
diagonal. Crowded together into the urban “ant hill[s]” of cramped residences or mingling at the market known as the gato (cat), Nicaraguan men
married coastal Peruvian mestiza women in the Catholic Church, Central
Americans served as extra-ecclesiastical godparents to children born of
parents from the Andean sierra, and African slaves integrated into Indian
pueblos or even patterned their own diasporic communities on Andean
concepts of belonging.21
More to the point, in the seventeenth century, after Indian slavery had
been abolished in all but cases of captives of war, the creation of an ethnically Indian Lima relied to a degree on natives’ ability to forge familiaridad
with Spaniards by sharing households through service, apprenticeship, and
20 Nancy E. van Deusen, “Diasporas, Bondage, and Intimacy in Lima, 1535 to 1555,”
Colonial Latin American Review 19, no. 2 (August 2010): 247–77 (quotation, 249). 21 Ibid., 255 (“good service”), 258 (“ant hill[s]”). The adoption of the SpanishAndean concept of originario, a local native as opposed to an indigenous migrant, by
peoples of African descent in the seventeenth-century coastal city of Trujillo is described
in Rachel Sarah O’Toole, Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in
Colonial Peru (Pittsburgh, 2012), and the Indian adoption of the concept of Americanborn slaves encapsulated in the term creole is discussed in Karen B. Graubart, “The
Creolization of the New World: Local Forms of Identification in Urban Colonial Peru,
1560–1640,” Hispanic American Historical Review 89, no. 3 (August 2009): 471–99.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
educational tutelage during youth. Much of the early literature on the massive waves of Andean migration that took place in the wake of contact and
conquest has emphasized the dislocation and deculturation among Indians
who moved to the city during the Spanish colonial period. In this formulation, hispanicization entailed the loss of native identity. But more recent
research has demonstrated that the processes of indigenous migration were
far more complex than can be conveyed in such cultural victimologies.22
It is certainly true that, as some indigenous immigrants to Lima were
exposed to colonial norms and developed familiaridad with the Spanish
inhabitants of the city, their memories of native communities faded and their
bonds with families of origin strained or snapped. Using a 1613 census of the
city’s indigenous population, Lyn Brandon Lowry shows that the vast majority of Indian migrants who arrived in the city in the early 1600s were teenagers
or younger—in fact, around 30 percent arrived before their fifteenth birthday. The experiences of two youths—Tomás Aquino from Cajamarca, who
contracted himself as a buttoner’s apprentice for two years in 1699, and Juan
Bautista from the highland town of Huamanga, who arranged a three-year
apprenticeship to a haberdasher in 1722—may be considered emblematic of
the family situation of many of the young newcomers to the city.23 These
adolescents from the Andean interior seem to have had no relatives in Lima
and did not recount details about their parents or communities when they
entered the workshops of Spanish patrons to learn their trades.
Yet, unlike Tomás and Juan, about a quarter of the apprentices who
signed contracts in Lima from 1640 to 1800 did so under the watchful eye
of parents or other guardians. Even when Indian youths such as Tomás
and Juan migrated to the city alone, the move did not necessarily signal the
death of community relations. Some Indian youths, such as those counted
in the 1613 census and others captured in a sample of the city’s apprenticeship contracts, remembered vivid details about parents and native leaders;
some were signed into apprenticeships by members of their community;
22 See Paul Charney, “Negotiating Roots: Indian Migrants in the Lima Valley
during the Colonial Period,” Colonial Latin American Historical Review 5, no. 1 (Winter 1996): 1–20. For this view in the case of Indian women who migrated to cities, see
Elinor C. Burkett, “Indian Women and White Society: The Case of Sixteenth-Century
Peru,” in Latin American Women: Historical Perspectives, ed. Asunción Lavrin (Westport,
Conn., 1978), 101–28. 23 Lyn Brandon Lowry, “Forging an Indian Nation: Urban Indians under Spanish Colonial Control (Lima, Peru, 1535–1765)” (Ph.D. diss., University of California,
Berkeley, 1991), 207. The census, a 1613 count undertaken by Miguel Contreras, has
been published as Contreras, Padrón de los In[dio]s que se hallaron en la ciuda[d] de los
Reyes [del] Pirú hecho e virtud de Commisió del s.RMR Qs de Montes claros Virei
DL Piru, transcr. Mauro Escobar Gamboa (Lima, 1968). These asientos de aprendiz
(apprentice contracts) are found in Protocolos Notariales, Notary Juan de Beltrán, 1699,
Protocolos 215, fol. 93, Archivo General de la Nación (AGN), Lima, Peru; Protocolos
Notariales, Notary F. C. Arrendando, 1722, Protocolos 59, fols. 789–90, ibid.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
304 william and mary quarterly
and a few indigenous male youths sent tribute payments back to their
pueblos after migrating to the city. Many went on to marry native women
from their communities of origin, who had likewise migrated to Lima.24
Thus, the experience of migrating to the city and forming ties with
colonial patrons could just as easily entail multiplying familial connections as
losing them. Establishing ties with Spaniards or other patrons in the households of the city often involved a layering of families as multiple generations
entered into the service of Lima’s elite. Just less than half of the indigenous
children counted in the 1613 census lived in the city with their parents (235
of 520), frequently in a Spanish home. When natives performed work or
service for elite patrons as part of family units, this was no less a process
of cultural transformation than was the integration of a single apprentice
or servant into a Spanish household. However, rather than producing a
deracinated, hispanicized individual, family servitude produced a colonial
“Indian” family. Even when familiarization in an elite colonial household
exposed Indians to the language, dress, and practices of Spanish society, it
could simultaneously preserve an Indian biological family unit or cement an
ethnic identity. In fact, family servitude could intensify ties of obligation on
the part of Spanish masters to provide for their indigenous servants in ways
that facilitated the very creation of caste-based communities.25
Noble Indian boys entered the homes, the offices, and sometimes the
institutions of elite Spaniards—such as the Jesuit-run Colegio del Príncipe,
which had been established to educate the native elite—precisely so they
would return to their pueblos of origin as leaders who could serve as interlocutors and advocates for their communities. Telling in this regard is the
story historian Teresa C. Vergara recounts of don Martín Talpachin, cacique (lord) of the Andean town of Huamantanga, who brought two of his
24 For an analysis of adult representation at apprenticeship signing, see Premo,
Children of the Father King, 57. Also see Teresa C. Vergara, “Growing Up Indian:
Migration, Labor, and Life in Lima (1570–1640),” in González and Premo, Raising an
Empire, 75–106, esp. 80–81; Charney, Colonial Latin American Historical Review 5: 11–12.
Some Andeans moved into urban areas only temporarily, later resettling and creating
new rural communities of forastero (foreign) Indians in the countryside or integrating
through marriage into originario (native, original) communities depopulated by migration, death, and coerced labor. See Ann M. Wightman, Indigenous Migration and Social
Change: The Forasteros of Cuzco, 1570–1720 (Durham, N.C., 1990), esp. 85. On indigenous marriage patterns, see Jesús A. Cosamalón Aguilar, Indios detrás de la muralla:
Matrimonios indígenas y convivencia inter-racial en Santa Ana (Lima, 1795–1820) (Lima,
1999), 138–49. 25 Traditional visions of apprenticeships as workshops of hispanicization cannot
account for the fact that at least 10 percent of the young native boys who arrived in
Lima worked for non-Spanish masters according to Teresa C. Vergara’s analysis of the
1610 census: Vergara, “Growing Up Indian,” 103 n. 45. Vergara’s figure seems consonant
with my review of the apprenticeship contracts themselves, though those I examined,
which were recorded by dozens of artisans during a 160-year period, do not consistently
record the caste of the master artisan.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
sons to the city to learn Spanish legislation from a local notary.26 In this
way Spanish education reproduced a colonial indigenous nobility prepared
to defend their communities from encroachment by other communities or
abuses by Spaniards and to serve in spiritual and political occupations that
regulated the functioning of pueblo life.
Outside the circle of noble males, the overwhelming number of Indian
youths worked instead of being educated. Native girls and commoner boys
became servants, known as criados, in Spanish homes. Yet the ties of obligation between at least a few Indian girl servants and Spanish overseers
transcended the service that the girls provided their masters. Spanish adults
occasionally left legacies to them in wills or even provided them dowries to
marry Indian men deemed appropriate matches for them.27
Thus family, kinship, and community among Lima’s indigenous
inhabitants were nurtured not only by sharing an ascribed identity or presumed interest based on biological affinity or ethnic kinship with others but
also by living, day in and day out, in the same household or same neighborhood as those who were different from them. The social reproductive processes of familiaridad were not exclusive to Lima’s indigenous population.
They were well recognized in the everyday practice and parlance of African
slavery in Lima. Indeed, it was among slaves of African descent and their
masters that the term familiar gained the most emotional, economic, and
legal currency.28
26 Ibid., 90. 27 In the first generation after conquest, noble indigenous girls were enrolled in
convents, where their families, like those of Spanish nuns, could enjoy a financial relationship with the institution that Kathryn Burns has dubbed a “spiritual economy.”
Burns, Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru (Durham,
N.C., 1999), 3–6. For the complexity of family metaphors inside Lima’s convents, see
Luis Martín, Daughters of the Conquistadors: Women of the Viceroyalty of Peru (Albuquerque, N.Mex., 1983), 192–200; Premo, Children of the Father King, 83. On commoner
indigenous girls, see Vergara, “Growing Up Indian,” 95. For similar ties of reciprocity
in late colonial northern Mexico, see Laura Shelton, “Like a Servant or Like a Son? Circulating Children in Northwestern Mexico (1790–1850),” in González and Premo, Raising an Empire, 219–37, esp. 230–32. Patronage extended well into adulthood. Domestic
service could also be a stopover for single adult Indian women on a larger trajectory
of entrepreneurship. See Graubart, With Our Labor, 65–67. In addition, a significant
number of elites carrying the honorific title “don,” a large percentage of whom can be
presumed to have been Spanish patrons, served as witnesses for indigenous marriages in
Lima. See Cosamalón, Indios detrás, 139. 28 The prevalence of the term familiar among servants and slaves might be due to
the etymological relationship between the words family and slave. Note David Herlihy’s
observation that the Latin root of familia derived from famulus, or “slave.” Herlihy,
“Family,” American Historical Review 96, no. 1 (February 1991): 1–16, esp. 2. For a legal
delineation of what it meant for a slave minor to be a familiar, defined in terms of the
limits on the state’s power to punish a slave, see “Autos criminals que se sigue por don
Antonio Lopes,” 1789, Cabildo, Criminal, legajo (leg.) 9, causa (c.) 2, fol. 106, AGN.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
306 william and mary quarterly
Familiaridad and crianza (rearing) had a particularly close relationship
to the condition of slavery. Better said, they were directly related to manumission. Long ago, scholars noted that the majority of slave manumissions
in Latin America occurred before slaves reached the age of fifteen. That a
child was born and reared in a master’s house was of special significance to
both parties, as was the work that female domestic slaves did in rearing a
master’s children. Frequently, Lima’s slaveholders granted freedom based
on such familiaridad.29 For example, doña Magdalena de Llanos left a will
stating that an eighteen-year-old slave named Matías should be freed at the
age of thirty “because he was born in my power and I raised him.”30 It was
not unusual in testaments and court cases for owners to speak formulaically
of their “love” and “favor” (amor and voluntad) for their slaves, sometimes
even stating they loved them like their own children.31
Of course, promises of freedom based on rearing, or crianza—especially contractual conditional liberty achieved on arrival at a certain age, the
death of an owner, or the completion of service—worked to the master’s
advantage. It bound slaves to faithful service until the promise was fulfilled.
And crianza could have another economic benefit. Owners could raise the
price of slaves by claiming they had invested in their rearing, making it
impossible for slaves or their relatives to save enough to purchase freedom.
Slaves, however, also used those promises to their advantage. In the
hundreds of slave lawsuits against masters for freedom aired in colonial
29 Criado, an alternate term for servant or slave, derived from the Spanish verb criar
(to raise). See Milanich, Children of Fate, 190. On gendered and generational patterns
of slave manumission, see Stuart B. Schwartz, “The Manumission of Slaves in Colonial
Brazil: Bahia, 1684–1745,” Hispanic American Historical Review 54, no. 4 (November
1974): 603–35; Frederick P. Bowser, “The Free Person of Color in Mexico City and
Lima: Manumission and Opportunity, 1580–1650,” in Race and Slavery in the Western
Hemisphere: Quantitative Studies, ed. Stanley L. Engerman and Eugene D. Genovese
(Princeton, N.J., 1975), 331–63. Historians logically have wondered whether the freed
slave children were male masters’ illegitimate offspring, and in Lima slave mothers certainly regarded bearing their masters’ children to be grounds for the manumission of
either themselves or their children. See for example the case a slave woman named Rosa
leveled against her priest-master in 1791: “Autos seguidos por Rosa Montenegro contra
Manuel Baeza, presbítero, sobre que quell e otrorgue escritura de venta,” 1791, Causas
de Negros, leg. 32, no. 29, Archivo Arzobispal de Lima, Peru. But Frank “Trey” Proctor
III challenges the assumption that most manumitted children were the offspring of male
masters, finding instead that in colonial Mexico, female owners frequently manumitted children who had been born into their households. See Proctor, “Gender and the
Manumission of Slaves in New Spain,” Hispanic American Historical Review 86, no. 2
(May 2006): 309–36.
30 “Por haver nasido en mi Poder, y haverle criado,” from “Autos seguidos por
Francisco Pimentel, padre de Matías Pimentel, contra Juana Zagal, sobre la libertad de
su hijo,” 1786, Cabildo, Civiles, leg. 57, c. 1127, fol. 1, AGN. 31 Note the master who says she favored a slave “more than if she were my daughter” (más que si fuera mi hija). “Autos seguidos por Juan Manuel Belsunce contra doña
Petrnila Vásquez, sobre que venda su sobrina,” 1794, Real Audiencia, Causas Civiles,
leg. 323, c. 2938, fol. 24r–v, AGN.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
Lima, testamentary liberty and the promise of future freedom, especially
based on having been raised in an owner’s house, figure centrally as legal
arguments. Slaves also invoked familiaridad in cases over a fair price when
attempting to force an owner to permit self-purchase. By the end of the
eighteenth century, slaves in Lima successfully challenged many masters
who elevated their price based on having reared them in their home. The
market, not the master, these slaves argued, should determine their worth.32
For slave women, familiaridad with male masters could carry connotations of sexual impropriety. Some indicated that owners had seduced
them with “familiar” treatment and promises of freedom. In 1797 Antonina
Guillén accused her master of precisely this behavior and testified to the
“treatment and familiaridad that follows from having seduced her.”33 But
familiaridad was not always sexualized in slavery.
For slaves such as Lorenzo de Aguilar, the familiaridad derived from
chaste intimacy with owners of both sexes could be interpreted as an
implicit promise of liberty. In 1755 he brought a suit for his freedom,
claiming that he had been lovingly reared “from his earliest years” by his
master. “Such was the love and the relaxed atmosphere (distensión) that I
earned from him (although I am of this sphere),” Lorenzo explained, that
it was clear his owner intended to free him. The familiaridad that Lorenzo
believed he had earned implied a promise of freedom, and it was something, he said, that was well known among their shared network of familiars, which extended to his master’s “sisters, relatives, the other domestics
and Friends.” Lorenzo’s master, for his part, admitted a deep “love” for the
slave and having reared him with special care. But he denied ever signing
papers to free Lorenzo and repeatedly expressed his disappointment at his
slave’s “ingratitude” in suing for freedom.34
Even if slave familiaridad and crianza were especially charged because
of their tense relationship to freedom, and even if slaves believed the “love”
their masters felt for them was “earned,” this did not mean that slaves
regarded as fiction the significance of being born and raised among their
masters and their families or living in their masters’ households. We still
32 On conflicts surrounding crianza and price, see Premo, Children of the Father
King, 238. Also see Christine Hünefeldt, Paying the Price of Freedom: Family and Labor
among Lima’s Slaves, 1800–1854 (Los Angeles, 1994). 33 “El trato y familiaridad que esta siguiente de haverla seducido,” from “Autos
seguidos por Antonia [sic] Guillén contra D. Joaquín Barandiarán, su amo, sobre su libertad,” 1797, Cabildo, Causas Civiles, leg. 83, c. 1566, fol. 12, AGN. For more on these
kinds of cases, and how they created tensions with owners’ wives, see Hünefeldt, Paying
the Price of Freedom. 34 “De mis primeros años,” “siendo tal el Amor y distensión (que aun siendo desta
esfera) que le merecí,” “sus hermanas, parientes, demas domésticos y Amigos,” from
“Autos seguidos por Lorenzo de Aguilar contra Don Manuel de Orejuela sobre su libertad,” 1755, Cabildo, Causas Civiles, leg. 37, c. 663, fol. 1, AGN.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
308 william and mary quarterly
need more research on what influenced slave decisions to continue working and living among masters after they had been manumitted, but in 1738
slave María Josefa Balcazar’s boyfriend provided a reason he believed would
be plausible in court. He indicated that María Josefa stayed on with her
mistress, doña Juana Balcazar, for years after she achieved freedom because
of “much love and favor [presumably that the owner held for the slave]
and for having raised her.”35 Slaves referred to familiaridad not only with
masters but also with other slaves when testifying in court cases of all types,
which they were frequently called to do as purveyors of especially intimate
household knowledge. What is more, as Herman L. Bennett has found for
colonial Mexico, when slaves decided who would serve as compadres, or witnesses, in their marriages, they factored into their choice African ethnicity
and color. But they also selected based on familiaridad, choosing other slaves
or servants who were their neighbors or who served in the same house.36
That household origin mattered both among Lima’s slaves and between
slaves and masters perhaps made clashes of loyalties unavoidable. A story
about the surreptitious circulation of the baby of a slave named Juana
Teresa demonstrates the powerful, and at times countervailing, pull of
African origins, Atlantic experience, and the condition of slavery within the
practices of familiaridad.
Juana Teresa and her sister, María Josefa, women in their late twenties,
had been in the capital city for fewer than three years. María Josefa, to be
sure, was not technically Juana Teresa’s sister. But they were both from the
region of Africa called Guinea, and, more specifically, they were both of
the Chala ethnic group (located in today’s Nigeria). Their sisterhood was
engendered on the sea, during their Atlantic beginnings as slaves. Juana
Teresa recounted that they “had come from Guinea on the same vessel,”
and María Josefa concurred that they “contracted their friendship on the
ship” (trataron su Amistad en el barco). From that point on, Juana Teresa
reported, they “treated each other as siblings although they were not daughters of one mother, and since arriving two years and eight months ago,
[she] has not had a friendship with any other black woman from her same
caste.” Although Juana Teresa reported that they had “been raised together”
35 “Por el mucho amor y voluntad, y por haverla criado,” from “Autos seguidos por
doña [sic] María Josefa Balcazar contra doña Juana de Balcazar sobre su libertad,” 1738,
Real Audiencia, Causas Civiles, leg. 70, c. 549, fol. 1, AGN. 36 Slaves also privileged information gleaned from nonslave individuals whom they
deemed to be familiares in master households. See the dubbing of a mestizo tundidor
(fabric cutter) as a “familiar” and confidante of slave residents in the household of the
Provisor General of Ica in “Autos seguidos por Antonio Ansieta,” 1785, Real Audiencia, Causas Civiles, leg. 256, c. 2252, n.p., AGN. On marriage, godparentage, and
familiaridad among slaves and free blacks in Mexico, see Herman L. Bennett, Africans
in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570–1640
(Bloomington, Ind., 2003), 88–91.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
(se [h]an criados juntas), this was a reference to their shared time on the
Middle Passage and possibly their adjustment in Lima; they did not, María
Josefa later stated, know one another in Guinea, and in fact only reunited
after having been in Lima for some time.37
The two women’s remarkable sisterhood was preserved in the historical record because in 1713 they ended up before the criminal judge of firstinstance in Lima. At some point, they had plotted to hide Juana Teresa’s
newborn from her mistress—a plot that went terribly awry for the baby’s
mother. María Josefa had boasted of her own birthing experience in Africa
and of having served as a midwife in Lima, so Juana Teresa decided that
when the time came she would give birth in María Josefa’s home. It is
unclear whether the plan had always been to hide the birth. Both women
connected the pregnant slave’s reluctance to tell her owner that she had
given birth with the newborn’s mixed race—the little girl was described as
a “mulatilla” (little mulatta)—and reported that the slave was “ashamed”
to return to her mistress. (Perhaps the baby’s appearance would have given
away the father’s identity.) They agreed that María Josefa would quietly
raise the baby in her home, and Juana Teresa reported that, after she gave
birth, María Josefa tucked rags under her dress, telling the new mother to
feign illness so she could later report that she had miscarried. And so Juana
Teresa returned to her mistress’s house, as she said, “without a belly and
without a baby” (sin barriga ni hija).38
After two or three months (“dos o tres lunas”) had passed, Juana
Teresa’s mistress finally became suspicious.39 Questioning her slave and
peeking under her dress to find her belly flat, doña Lorenza promised not to
punish her, saying she only wanted to know where the baby had gone. And
so Juana Teresa easily confessed.40 But when the midwife, María Josefa,
37 “Doña Lorenza de Salazar y Rojas contra Maria Josefa de casta Carabalí, esclava,
por ocultarle a una esclavita suya recién nacida de su hermana Juana Teresa, negra de
casta chala,” 1714, Causas de Negros, leg. 26, no. 68, fols. 1–7 (fol. 2r, “had come,”
“treated each other,” fol. 1v, “contracted”), Archivo Arzobispal de Lima, Peru. “María
Josefa assí mismo de casta chala . . . con la qual se [h]an criados juntas y benido de
Guinea en una embarcación y se trataron siempre de hermanos [sic] aunque no son hijas
de una madre en más de dos anos y ocho meses que a que llegó a esa ciudad no a tenido
amistad con otra negra de su casta,” ibid., fol. 2r; “trataron su Amistad en el barco,”
ibid., fol. 1v; “Theresa y esta confesante heran de un pueblo pero no se comunicaron
allá,” ibid., fol. 3r. 38 Ibid., fols. 1v (“mulatilla”), 2v (“ashamed”), 1r (“without a belly”). It is unclear
how this case ended up in the ecclesiastical archive; perhaps the first petition in the case,
from Juana Teresa’s owner, doña Lorenza, was to a church official who remitted it to
secular authority, or perhaps during a later development the parties took the autos (case
record) from the criminal case to church officials. It appears that María Josefa induced
labor at the pregnant Juana Teresa’s request: “dijo que quería parir y que ella le enseñaría la que en guinea la abia parido un a bes y aquí en esta ciudad tenido otro parto.”
Ibid., fol. 2r. 39 Ibid., fol. 1r. 40 “Le confessó s[i]n que le hubiese hecho ningun castigo.” Ibid., fol. 1v.
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
310 william and mary quarterly
was confronted, she protested that she had no idea of the whereabouts of
her friend’s child. She speculated that the baby must have died, saying that
Juana Teresa had bled profusely in labor and that they should be looking
for the baby’s bones rather than her living body. More critically, although
she admitted friendship with Juana Teresa, she denied the kind of closeness
and familiarity with her African counterpart that had been the cornerstone
of Juana Teresa’s testimony.
Although they were from the same African ethnic group, came to
America on the same ship, and arrived in the same city, the women’s ideas
of sisterhood were not the same. This perhaps was because their adjustments to life as slaves in Lima were not identical, notwithstanding Juana
Teresa’s claim that they had been raised together. Juana Teresa had been
purchased for domestic service by an elite española and learned Spanish at
least proficiently enough to give unaided testimony to officials investigating the whereabouts of her missing baby. María Josefa testified that she
was a baptized Christian, but she was the slave of a man whose name was
never given in the court record and who was described only vaguely as “un
hombre congolillo/a”—perhaps “a man with a fancy collar” (con golilla) of
the type worn by bureaucrats in the Spanish colonial government.41 This
man never showed up to bail his slave out of prison, where she was held
for questioning.42 It was relatively common that male owners of slaves
were frequently away from the city on business, leaving slaves to their own
devices during their absences. (In fact, some slave parents began to complain later in the century that it was inappropriate for men to own female
slave children, since the girls would be unsupervised.)43 Thus it is highly
likely that María Josefa was not as well integrated into a Spanish household
as Juana Teresa and for this reason did not master the Spanish language;
she gave testimony in a language called “Guinea” through a Mina language
interpreter. What is more, whereas Juana Teresa made a point of saying
that María Josefa was the only Chala woman in the city with whom she had
a friendship, her African “sister” made no such claim.44
41 “Esclava de un hombre congolilla que bibe una quadra mas allá de la plasuela de
Ynquisición.” Ibid., fol. 2r. 42 Ibid.
43 See for example “Rafaela Araujo, esclava de Florentina López, contra don Juan
José Castro, amo de su hija menor, sobre se le extiende boleta de venta teniendo en
quanta que por la falta de atención pudiera prostituirla,” 1812, Real Audiencia, Civiles,
leg. 107, c. 1139, AGN. 44 It is also worth noting that even Juana Teresa’s narrative did not imply that her
trust in her Chala sister was absolute: she was careful to state that María Josefa had convinced her that she possessed expertise in birthing in Africa (expertise garnered, it was
later revealed, during times of warfare) as well as in Lima, and it was this experience—
not any feature of their shared background—that she claimed led her to deliver the baby
in María Josefa’s home.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
Clearly, although ties of familiaridad forged inside a Spanish master’s
home were, broadly speaking, coerced, those forged outside of the master’s
house were no less fraught with conflict and divided loyalties. The point
here is not to emphasize ethnic fault lines and divisiveness over solidarities
among peoples of African descent in the Spanish Atlantic. Until the final
conflict, this story offers a uniquely intimate glimpse of the intersection
between Atlantic discourses of African kinship and diaspora formation in
the Americas.45 The point is that no single familiar relationship defined
any one of the historical actors. Juana Teresa had several strained familiar
connections that bound as much as they cut across caste categories: she
displayed some degree of adherence to imposed notions of sexual propriety (and perhaps special shame at sexual relations with a man of European
ancestry), expressed in her fear of returning to her owner’s household and
her eventual confession to having concealed the birth; she fostered a kinship to the African woman she met on board a slave ship; and she had a
tense connection to her mixed-race infant daughter, whose fate is left a
mystery in the archival record.
Pondering a familiaridad forged through mastery and slavery might
make us uncomfortable. To view affection as part and parcel with domination subverts modern notions of the disinterested nature of love or sentiment.46 What is more, it raises questions about whether the feelings of
loyalty and affinity spawned by hierarchical relationships are more coercive
than others, especially when based on labor. But just as historians should
interrogate the presumption that some families in the past were more real
than others, they should be wary of labeling any emotion or statement
of emotion false simply because the affiliation on which the emotion was
based had a material or labor component (Figure I).
The economic functioned as the cradle for the emotional in at least one
other phenomenon beyond servitude and slavery: foundlings presumed to be
45 For similar processes of slave-route kin making in Brazil, see James H. Sweet,
Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World,
1441–1770 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2003), esp. 32–33. For Mexico, see Bennett, Africans, 112,
117–20. 46 Of course, affection itself was a changing concept during the colonial period
in Spanish America. Scholars have various opinions on precisely how romantic and
paternal love evolved, with some claiming that traditional early modern Spanish notions
of love were subordinated in the late eighteenth century to the passion of interest and
others pointing out that expressions of romantic love and paternal sentiment grew in
the late colonial and republican periods. For the first view, see Patricia Seed, To Love,
Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico: Conflicts over Marriage Choice, 1574–1821 (Stanford,
Calif., 1988), 23, 48–56. On the greater expression of romantic love, see Rebecca Earle,
“Letters and Love in Colonial Spanish America,” Americas 62, no. 1 (July 2005): 17–46.
On parental love, see Premo, Children of the Father King; Jeffrey M. Shumway, The
Case of the Ugly Suitor and Other Histories of Love, Gender, and Nation in Buenos Aires,
1776–1870 (Lincoln, Neb., 2005).
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
312 william and mary quarterly
Figure I
Artist Pancho Fierro captured how physical intimacy and labor entwined in
familiardad in his early nineteenth-century watercolor titled Servant delousing her
mistress. Francisco Fierro, Sirvienta espulga a su ama, from the album Costumes
de Lima, ca. 1840. Watercolor on paper, 25.6 x 19.3 cm. Colección Museo de
Arte de Lima. Grupo de donantes.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 De on Thu, 01 Jan 1976 12:34:56 UTC
All use subject to https://about.js
of Spanish descent reared by diverse city inhabitants in Lima. In particular,
the familiaridad that developed between baby girls from the city’s foundling home and their caregivers, many of whom were wet nurses who breastfed the infants for a wage, allows for the analysis of the range of statements
of emotion that can be embedded even in a relatively standardized form of
historical document: short biographies written as a part of applications to
attend an exclusive school for female orphans called Santa Cruz de Atocha.47
To enroll in Santa Cruz, the girls were required, by all appearances, to be
white and to have no knowledge of living parents; these qualifications would
permit them entrance not only to the school but also, eventually, into the
elite of Spanish colonial society. As a result, these entrance records only
reveal the relational experiences of a small subset of abandoned children in
the city whose caregivers gave them back to institutional care. Many other
children withdrawn from the city’s foundling home, the Casa de Niños
Expósitos, continued to live with wet nurses into adolescence or adulthood,
presumably deepening their ties of familiaridad with the adults who raised
them but to whom they had no blood relationship.
Not that caregivers always surrendered the care of the applicants to
Santa Cruz cheerfully. Consider the sadness expressed by the slave María
Andrea, who petitioned the school to offer early acceptance to a little girl
by the name of María Pasquala, whom she had raised for three years. In a
special twist that extended ties of familiaridad into institutions as well as
homes, María Andrea considered herself related not only to María Pasquala
but also, in a sense, to the foundling home. Her owner, she pointed out,
was the brother of don Gaspar Orué, the institution’s director. When she
removed the girl from the Casa, she made no money since the baby had
already been weaned. Like the caretakers of other applicants, most of whom
kept the children years after the Casa stopped paying stipends for breastfeeding infants, María Andrea said she worked out of charity and emotion.
She was heartbroken to have to return little María Pasquala to institutional
care at the young age of four. But she said she was unable to stretch the
daily ration (real de pan) that she was given by her owners far enough to
“take care of her as is necessary” or “dress her or teach her to read or other
civil instructions.”48
Women (and occasionally men) who took in foundling girls often claimed
that they saw themselves as “mothers” and “fathers” and expressed deep emotion for their charges.49 It is important to note that in their petitions for the
47 Santa Cruz de Atocha and its students’ applications have been previously
explored by Martín, Daughters of the Conquistadores, 99–100; Mannarelli, Pecados públicos, 282–305; Premo, Children of the Father King, 103–7. 48 Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1758, leg. 2, entry 29,
49 Examples of caretakers claiming that they acted as “mothers” and “fathers” or that
they raised children as “their own” can be found in Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones,
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
314 william and mary quarterly
girls to enter the school, these adults’ narrations of their young charges’
early lives rested on formulaic language to express affection: frequently they
were recorded as saying that “it was not worth it” (no tuvo valor) to return
the child to institutional care after they stopped receiving stipends “because
of the love and tenderness that the child collected from me” (por el mucho
amor y cariño que me cobró).50 Significantly, both formulaic statements
utilized a language of economy—valor means “value” and cobrar means “to
collect,” usually payment. But they did so in unexpected ways. These words
referred not to the labor exchange the wet nurses had established with the
Casa but to the emotional exchange they had fostered with the girls.
Even though some of the affective expressions that were recorded on
the application petitions were formulaic, it should be emphasized that
not every adult used the same kind of emotive language and not every
adult detailed the same relationship or attachment to a child. Some were
especially effusive, such as the mulata Casimira Cabeza, who said even
though she originally wanted a boy from the foundling home, she pitied a
sick five-month-old girl named Paula and took her home, where Casimira
grew to love her so much that “she never wanted to return her.”51 Some
departed from the script in other ways. Unlike many petitioners, the parda
(mixed-race of African descent) María Navidad, who lost her own biological baby and withdrew a girl from the foundling home in 1777 in order to
profit from her breast milk, did not refer to herself as “like a mother” to
the child, nor did she claim that she treated her “like her own daughter.”
Rather, the important point for her was that she was the girl’s baptismal
godmother.52 Some caregivers eschewed parental or affective language and
spoke in symbols. They referred to having been with babies when their
umbilical cords healed and fell off, something that seemed to carry special
emotional weight. Others made no emotive or familiar claims at all. A girl
named Manuela, who petitioned on her own to enter Santa Cruz in 1808
after having been returned to the foundling home as a toddler, not only did
not know who her biological mother was but also reported having no idea
who the “Mama who raised her” was.53
Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1753, leg. 2, entry 27, ibid.; Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones,
Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1769, leg. 2, entry 68, ibid.; Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones,
Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1774, leg. 2, entry 52, ibid. 50 See for example Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha,
1767, leg. 2, entry 33, ibid. 51 “Que le tomó tal amor y cariño que no quiso volva nunca,” from Inquisición,
Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1783, leg. 2, entry 38, ibid. 52 Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1785, leg. 2, entry 37,
ibid. 53 “No la conose, ni tampoco sabe, ni conose la Mamá que la crió,” from Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1808, leg. 1, entry 4, ibid.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
Often the ties between adults and children pluralized as the girls got
older and needed an education in reading, writing, sewing, needlepoint,
and occasionally music. It could be that the caregivers of these foundling
girls deemed such an education, as an adornment of elite women, necessary for the young women’s future prospects, preparing them to enter into
Spanish society through enrollment in the school of Santa Cruz, followed
by entry into a convent or marriage. Yet the girls’ nonwhite caretakers
themselves provided this education, or they commissioned other women
with whom they shared familiaridad to impart to the girls the basic tenets
of literacy and Christian doctrine. The bozal (African-born) slave María
Porras kept three children, whom she described as “sisters,” for years past
their weaning. She managed to provide one of the girls, María Manuela, an
education in “praying, Christian doctrine, and reading and writing,” and
she bestowed on the girl her last name, appending it to “Atocha,” the surname given all foundlings in honor of Our Lady of Atocha, the patroness of
The story of María Porras and María Manuela Porras de Atocha serves
as an apt final example of familiaridad. That an African-born slave taught
Christian customs and Spanish literacy to a little white girl whom she
endowed with her own (adopted Christian, perhaps master’s) last name
goes far to destabilize any easy correlation between Spanish Atlantic families and bloodlines and challenges the notion that child rearing, or social
reproduction overall, was racially hermetic.
Nevertheless, in the end, the endeavor to trace cross-caste and intergenerational familiaridad in the Spanish Atlantic provides more than just
another view on the creation of colonial intimacies. It also demonstrates
that, at times, familiaridad could channel individuals into their “appropriate” caste, reproducing those very categories that, to present-day observers, the familiar relationship appears to have transgressed. Spanish patrons
arranged the marriages of native migrants who grew up as criadas in their
households to other indigenous migrants, producing an “Indian” Lima.
Slave owners promised freedom based on their “love and favor” for the
slaves born in their homes, hoping to create a stable, loyal supply of slave
familiares who would work for them in the meantime. And wet nurses and
caretakers of all castes not only fed white foundlings at their breast but also
taught them to play the harp and count so that they could gain access to
the special paths carved out for Spanish women—entering a convent or
marrying an elite man.
Being legitimately blood related, then, was only one way of being family in the Spanish Atlantic. While historians have rightly pointed to the
54 Inquisición, Colegios, Fundaciones, Santa Cruz de Atocha, 1771, leg. 2, entry 62,
beyond lineage and race in the spanish atlantic
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht
316 william and mary quarterly
intense ideological force of genealogy, legitimacy, and religious-racial purity
in definitions of family, it is critical to keep in mind that elite inhabitants
of the Spanish Atlantic world insisted on the importance of these exclusive
concepts because they were continuously defied in the diverse experiences
of everyday life. In their insistence, they confronted not only the renegade
practices of nonelites but also the ironic fact that their own status and survival—as a social class and a caste—depended on drawing nonelites close,
broadening the very definition of family through familiaridad. How poignant it would be if extending our own search for the meanings of family
in the Atlantic world beyond lineage and across race helped rid us, finally,
of the exclusive concepts of bloodlines and biology that they bequeathed us.
This content downloaded from on Sun, 13 Dec 2020 22:39:10 UTC
All use subject to ht

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper