Abstract

In early colonial Latin America many of the women who had been distributed as war booty, taken in village raids, or illegally branded as slaves became the partners of Spanish men. This article privileges these severely compromised historical subjects to consider how relations of violence and intimacy formed an integral part of their lives. An analysis of notarial and parish records reveals that deracinated women in bondage maintained intimate family ties—sometimes over great distances—despite continual vulnerabilities and legal restrictions. Intimacies involved sexual and other forms of bodily, material, and emotional expression and knowledge. This article questions the usefulness of definitions of "family" based largely on Spanish genealogical models and it also exposes the historiographic gender gap in Latin American colonial history between the "invasion" (Part One) and "early colonial settlement" (Part Two) periods which has stigmatized non-elite indigenous women for so long.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 13-43
Launched on MUSE
2012-03-21
Open Access
No
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