Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-ix

This book would not have been possible without a great deal of help from many individuals and institutions over the past twelve to fifteen years. I am immensely grateful to my mentor Jane Landers for more kindnesses, and more adventures, than I could possibly enumerate. Even as I filled out graduate...

Contents

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pp. xi-xii

List of Illustrations

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pp. xiii-xiv

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xv-xvi

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Editorial Note

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pp. xvii-xix

For the sake of convenience, historians of colonial Latin America and the Caribbean have long employed the easily recognizable term “Spain” as shorthand for the Crown of Castile. I have largely done the same. However, readers should bear in mind that early modern Spain was not culturally, linguistically...

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Prologue

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pp. 1-4

From his concealed position on the river’s opposite bank, Pedro Yalonga observed the Englishmen who had come to Panama in search of Spanish American silver. Setting sail in 1595 with twenty-seven ships and twenty-five hundred men, the infamous pirate and privateer Sir Francis Drake had already assaulted...

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Introduction

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pp. 5-19

In 1534, city council members in San Juan, Puerto Rico, described the island’s heavy reliance on enslaved sub-Saharan African workers as a necessary evil: “Like one who has the wolf by its ears, so that it is neither good to let it go nor to keep holding on, in the end we cannot live without black people; it is they...

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1. The Rivers of Guinea

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pp. 20-67

Sailing from the Cape Verde Islands toward Cartagena de Indias, the slave ship Nuestra Señora de la Concepción wrecked off the coast of present-day Colombia near the mouth of the Magdalena River in 1593. The caravel’s crew members and passengers, and most of its captives— those who had survived the transoceanic...

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2. The Kingdoms of Angola

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pp. 68-103

In January 1590, black ranch hands found eleven half-starved African men wandering across westernmost Cuba, near Cabo San Antón. Though one was too ill to make the sixty-league journey to Havana, the others were soon brought before the island’s royal officials. To learn of the circumstances behind...

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3. Tangomãos and Luso-Africans

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pp. 104-141

Departing the port of Buguendo on Christmas Eve 1574, the caravel San Jorge followed the São Domingos River until it emptied into the larger Cacheu River, a direct passage to the Atlantic Ocean. As its crew and passengers later testified, they were bound for the nearby Cape Verde Islands. They expected...

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4. Nharas and Morenas Horras

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pp. 142-180

In 1583, Cartagena’s city council sent a petition to the Spanish crown in hopes of obtaining assurance that soldiers, sailors, and Indies fleet passengers would have to abide by local laws while in port, rather than answering exclusively to their own commanding officers or other maritime...

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5. Black Peasants

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pp. 181-215

Known as the Hospital of Saint Lazarus, Cartagena’s leper asylum was located just outside the city, on the main road leading to and from the province’s interior. Alarmed by an outbreak of leprosy in the late 1620s, city council members requested royal funds to pay for the construction of an outer wall...

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6. Becoming “Latin”

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pp. 216-252

Like other non-Iberians in early modern Iberian societies, African migrants to the Spanish Caribbean were commonly classified according to their degree of familiarity with Spanish or Portuguese languages and cultures. At the bottom of a widely employed scale of perceived acculturation, sub-Saharan Africans...

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Conclusion

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pp. 253-266

In April 1635, Spanish shipmaster Francisco Fernandez set out from Nicaragua on a routine business trip to Portobelo. Upon reaching the Caribbean coast, he was surprised to discover a “white man” trudging along the shoreline. The stranger immediately surrendered, walking toward Fernandez with his hands...

Appendix 1: Population Estimates, circa 1600

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pp. 267-282

Appendix 2: Bishop Córdoba Ronquillo’s Proposed Sites for Agregaciones in Cartagena’s Province, 1634

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pp. 283-286

Appendix 3: Africans, Afrocreoles, Iberians, and Others Baptized in Havana’s Iglesia Mayor, 1590–1600

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pp. 287-294

Appendix 4: Sub-Saharan Africans Baptized in Havana by Ethnonym and Year, 1590–1600

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pp. 295-298

Appendix 5: Free People of Color in Havana’s Baptismal Records, 1590–1600

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pp. 299-304

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A Note on Sources

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pp. 305-306

This study of western Africa’s influence on the early Spanish Caribbean would not have been possible without a rich, preexisting historiography of the region, most of which is published only in Spanish. Although a number of documents are discussed here in English for the first time, readers should be aware that many have already been...

Glossary

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pp. 307-314

Index

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pp. 315-332