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Bound Lives

Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

Rachel Sarah O'Toole

Publication Year: 2012

Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah O’Toole examines how Andeans and Africans negotiated and employed casta, and in doing so, constructed these racial categories. This study highlights the tenuous interactions of colonial authorities, indigenous communities, and enslaved populations and shows how the interplay between colonial law and daily practice shaped the nature of colonialism and slavery.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Pitt Latin American Series

Title Page

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p. vii


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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction: Constructing Casta on Peru's Northern Coast

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pp. 1-16

How did Africans become "blacks" and and Andeans become “Indians” during the “long” seventeenth century that spilled from the 1600s into the 1700s?1 Named as “Indians,” indigenous people were considered by the crown as vassals and therefore corporate members of colonial society. In this capacity coastal Andeans were expected to pay tribute, serve labor obligations...

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1. Between Black and Indian: Labor Demands and the Crown's Casta

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pp. 17-34

In the early seventeenth century, Father Bernardino de Cárdenas lamented that indigenous people in the viceroyalty of Peru were treated as slaves. He warned that Spaniards forced “poor Indians” to work in the highland mines. Indians, declared the Franciscan, were free people and as...

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2. Working Slavery’s Value, Making Diaspora Kinships

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pp. 35-63

The application of royal mandates varied according to economic and political circumstances. As mentioned previously, however, enslaved Africans and their descendants could claim limited protections from abusive owners, were able to be married and baptized as Catholics, and participated...

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3. Acting as a Legal Indian: Natural Vassals and Worrisome Natives

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pp. 64-87

Secular legal discourse communicated an exclusion of Africans and their descendants from colonial society and extended more rhetorical inclusions to Andeans as Indians. Africans, especially those who recently survived multiple slave trades to Peru, invested in kinship connections and employed their market value to build new relationships within enslavement....

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4. Market Exchanges and Meeting the Indians Elsewhere

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pp. 88-121

In the 1640s Captain Gabriel, his lieutenant Domingo, and those who inhabited their palenque—or community of escaped slaves—relied on their market relations with coastal Andeans to survive in their hillside settlement. Though accused of attacking Indians, Gabriel and his companions traded...

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5. Justice within Slavery

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pp. 122-156

If Andeans negotiated with the impositions of tribute and the reducción, the enslaved contended with how slavery functioned, especially as sugar estates expanded in the northern coastal valleys during the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century. To understand possibilities encapsulated in the casta “black,” this chapter examines the mechanics...

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Conclusion: The Laws of Casta, the Making of Race

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pp. 157-170

In the early seventeenth century, the Andean chronicler don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala composed a lengthy, illustrated letter to the king describing, among other themes, how the Spanish had disrupted indigenous society. Writing as a native vassal, Guaman Poma petitioned the crown to...

Appendix 1: Origin of Slaves Sold in Trujillo over Time by Percentage (1640–1730)

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pp. 171-171

Appendix 2: Price Trends of Slaves Sold in Trujillo (1640–1730)

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pp. 172-172

Explanation of Appendix Data

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pp. 173-173


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pp. 175-222


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pp. 223-226


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pp. 227-250


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pp. 251-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780822977964
E-ISBN-10: 0822977966
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822961932
Print-ISBN-10: 0822961938

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Pitt Latin American Series
Series Editor Byline: John Charles Chasteen and Catherine M. Conaghan, Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 809317648
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Bound Lives

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Government relations.
  • Indians of South America -- Peru -- Colonization.
  • Africans -- Peru -- Government relations.
  • Africans -- Peru -- Colonization.
  • Slavery -- Peru -- History.
  • Caste -- Peru -- History.
  • Peru -- Colonization.
  • Peru -- Foreign relations -- Spain.
  • Spain -- Foreign relations -- Peru.
  • Spain -- Colonies -- America -- Administration
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