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Volume 52 / Humanities


Colonial Period

MICHAEL T. HAMERLY, Associate Professor of Library Science, University of Guam
SUSAN M. SOCOLOW, Professor of History, Emory University
KATHY WALDRON, Citibank International, Miami

BY THE TIME HLAS 52 APPEARS, the quincentennial of 1492 will have come and gone. One of the legacies of 1992 is the exceptionally large number of recently published studies on the Iberian world. Regardless of how substantive the works in question prove to be, their sheer volume is impressive. Altogether we have included over 300 items on colonial Spanish South America this biennium - more than half again as many citations as in any previous Handbook. Inevitably we have annotated some older items that heretofore eluded us. At the same time we have not yet seen all of the new studies. Not only has much been published of late, but there is more to come.

Overshadowed by 1992 but not altogether overlooked was 1986. The two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the earth measuring expedition of the 1730s prompted: 1) a 1985 colloquium in Paris, the proceedings of which were published (item bi 92002232); 2) a new, critical edition of Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa's Discurso y reflexiones políticas... or Noticias secretas de América (item bi 92002248); 3) a 1986 congress in Quito, whose papers do not appear to have been published; and 4) an excellent book on Los caballeros del punto fijo (item bi 89004356).


There was a substantial increase in the number of general colonial studies and source materials on Spanish South America, not that any of them had anything to do with 1492 per se. Almost all of the new general works are highly specialized, as are the colony-specific books and articles. Some will welcome this development; others will not. But what few of us welcome is the increasing lack of clarity: cutting-edge historians should be able to write for the general literate public, not just for the specialists.

Peter T. Bradley gave us a readable account of foreign interlopers in the Pacific in the 1600s (item bi 90004026); José Miguel Oviedo a lovely coffee table book on the Incas and their conquerors (item bi 89004355); Arturo Alvarez a new edition of that gem of an early travel account, Diego de Ocaña's truly fascinating Viaje fascinante... (item bi 90009897); and Franklin Pease a new edition of Raúl Porras Barrenechea's basic Los cronistas del Perú (see HLAS 50:724). Other significant studies include: Laura Escobari de Querejazu's thesis on trade between Upper Peru and neighboring colonies (see HLAS 50:724); Carlos Daniel Malamud Rikles' book on French trade with Peru during the War of the Spanish Succession (item bi 92002249); the essays in Reform and insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru (item bi 92002250); and Pablo Emilio Pérez-Mallaína and Bibiano Torres Ramírez's major monograph on the South Sea Fleet (item bi 92002251).


Output on colonial Venezuela increased, but not by very much. Publications of the Academia Nacional de la Historia continue to proliferate. For colonial Venezuela and Nueva Granada, the topics being covered are more diverse, and the level of scholarship has improved since the last biennium. Studies of the 16th and 17th centuries tend to concentrate on the conquerors and the conquered. Especially interesting and somewhat novel are Neil Whitehead's book on the Caribs in colonial Venezuela and Guyana (item bi 92006722) and Susana Romero de Febres' article on the discourse employed in Oviedo y Baños' 1723 account of the conquest (item bi 89008617). Of several volumes of newly reproduced maps, one is well done (item bi 89008587). Two others (items bi 89008630 and bi 89008591), the first reiterating Venezuelan claims to former British Guiana, are marred by poor graphics.

Regional studies continue to enlarge our understanding of the complexities of the colony. Scholarship on the llanos is still dominated by Miquel Izard who has synthesized many of his earlier studies in a new book (item bi 92015470) which focuses on the llanero as a social bandit. Mariano Useche Losada offers important new perspectives on the high llanos (item bi 89008602), emphasizing the importance of pacification by missionaries and soldiers, and attempting a more complete study of, and a more integral approach to, the plains area examined. He succeeds admirably in that attempt.

Andean towns and districts are also being scrutinized, beginning with Lucas Guillermo Castillo Lara's exhaustive book on San Cristóbal in the 1500s (item bi 89008592). Mérida has also received considerable attention. In addition to Milagros Contreras Dávila's institutional study (item bi 89001250), see Roberto Picón-Parra's genealogical study of the town fathers (item bi 89008627) and Nelly Velázquez's exciting "La Participación del Indígena en la Formación de los Circuitos Económicos en la Provincia de Mérida" (item bi 89001253).

Given all the ground-breaking local and regional studies that have been done, more thematic and interpretative essays would not be remiss. One such study is Robert J. Ferry's superior The colonial elite of early Caracas (item bi 92005504). Ferry employs the methodology of family reconstitution to demonstrate that the elite of the capital maintained its status and wealth over two centuries primarily through strategic marriages.

Institutions and bureaucrats, especially the Audiencia of Caracas and its members, continue to attract attention. While the new edition of Mario Briceño-Iragorry's biography of José Francisco de Heredia (item bi 89008606) is far from definitive, the noted Audiencia scholar Alí Enrique López Bohórquez provides a useful interpretation of the regent's political philosophy (item bi 92015473). There is also an interesting account of the major visita of the Audiencia undertaken in the twilight of the colonial period (item bi 89008628). Surprisingly enough, the history of the Audiencia of Caracas remains to be written, although Guillermo Morón examines the role of the Audiencia in the formation of modern Venezuela (item bi 92015474).

The Caracas Company also continues to attract attention, but scholars of Venezuela have expanded the discussion of commerce to include other nations. Morón's revisionist study of the impact of the Compañía Guipuzcoana on the political as well as economic life of the colony is well worth reading (item bi 89017047). Ramón Aizpurua Aguirre argues that illicit trade via Curaçao and the French Caribbean continued to link Venezuela to Europe despite crown and Company efforts to halt contraband (items bi 90001320 and bi 90008485), an interpretation shared by Marielena Capriles who examines trade with the Danes via San Tomás (item bi 89001385).

Three other studies are especially noteworthy: Kathy Waldron treats us to a stunning piece on sexuality and society in the late colonial period (item bi 90004041) and Aizpurua Aguirre's "La insurrección de los negros..." (item bi 89017056) reexamines the Coro slave revolt of 1795 in light of social and economic variables, which serves as a lead-in to Izard's historiographic essay on historians of independence movements of Venezuela and Nueva Granada (item bi 92015497).


The amount of work produced during the 1980s oscillated too greatly to determine whether or not there has been a real increase in productivity. At least one Christopher Columbus piece appeared, a reexamination of Amerigo Vespucci's claim to have discovered Tierra Firme first (item bi 89008610).

Two major trends may be said to characterize recent scholarship on colonial Colombia. The first is an increasingly prevalent interpretation of scientific experimentation as an emulation of the Enlightenment in the Old World and as a cornerstone for the intellectual origins of the independence movement. Thomas Gomez expands upon the achievements of José Celestino Mutis (see HLAS 50:1909, HLAS 50:1910, HLAS 50:1912, HLAS 50:1916, and HLAS 50:1918) by relating them to those of the fiscal Francisco Antonio Moreno y Escandón and the Archbishop Viceroy Antonio Caballero y Góngora (item bi 89004134). Mario Acevedo Díaz reviews the life of Juan Eloy Valenzuela in the new edition of the latter's diary of the Royal Botanical Expedition (item bi 89008593), Jeanne Chenu examines the work of the much studied Francisco José de Caldas (item bi 89004135), and Tulio Ospina studies the career of Juan Antonio Mon y Velarde, the far-from-overlooked Governor of Antioquía and later President of Quito (item bi 90004894). These essays place the Age of Reason and its New World advocates within a Colombian context of scientific achievement, intellectual flourishing, and educational reform. The facsimile edition of the Flora de la Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reino de Granada (Madrid: Ediciones Cultura Hispánica, 1953- ) is still in progress; 16 volumes have appeared as of 1989.

The second trend involves the redefinition of regionally oriented historiography into more wide ranging thematic studies, building on the pioneering work of Jaime Jaramillo Uribe, Germán Colmenares, Ann Twinam and other socioeconomic historians. No one better represents this trend than the prolific Hermes Tovar Pinzón, herein represented by three articles (items bi 90000607, bi 89014929, and bi 89009497) and a revised and augmented edition of his Hacienda colonial y formación social (item bi 89008618). Breaking with the tradition of narrowly focused regional studies, Tovar Pinzón focuses on the colony at large and long term economic trends.

Other significant economic studies are those of Thomas Gomez, Angela Inés Guzmán, Gilma Mora de Tovar, and Arlene Urdanet Q. and Luz Maracaibo. Gomez delineates the emergence of the Río Magdalena transportation network and analyzes its impact on the native population in the 1500s (item bi 92015494); Guzmán links early encomiendas to the formation of towns, especially in Santander (item bi 89008616). Turning to the late colonial period, Mora de Tovar details the social as well as economic consequences of the establishment of the royal aguardiente monopoly (items bi 92015571 and bi 90008590). Urdanet and Maracaibo examine the supplanting of the Magdalena route by the Cúcuta alternative (item bi 90008592).

Not surprisingly, local histories continue to loom large as exemplified by Eduardo Lemaitre's able one-volume summary of his four-volume history of Cartagena (item bi 89008615). Other towns such as Honda are beginning to receive attention too (item bi 90013400).

There are no new demographic studies to report and very little in the way of social history per se. Finally, historians of colonial Colombia mourn the deaths of Germán Colmenares, Juan Friede, and Guillermo Hernández de Alba. Colmenares gave us many major monographs in the Annales tradition. Working almost to his death, he also produced a new, more reliable edition of the viceregal relaciones (item bi 90013408). Friede enriched the ethnohistory of his native country more than any other scholar, while Hernández de Alba published prolifically on Antonio Nariño and on Mutis, especially source materials.


There has been a significant increase in the quality and an unprecedented increase in the quantity of work being done on the former Presidency of Quito. There are nearly four times as many publications on colonial Ecuador in this Handbook as in volumes 46 and 50, and about twice as many as in volumes 44 and 48. Other indicators of the robustness of current Ecuadorian historiography are the spawning of two new historical journals, Miscelánea Histórica Ecuatoriana (Quito: Museos del Banco Central del Ecuador, 1988- ) and Revista Ecuatoriana de Historia Económica (Quito: Banco Central del Ecuador, 1987- ; see HLAS 51:2207), and the appearance of two major guides to Church archives in Cuenca (items bi 91004691 and bi 89004401).

The most important publication of the last few years is the multi-authored, multi-volume, truly new Nueva historia del Ecuador (item bi 90009891). Almost all of the recent studies, including the essays in the Nueva historia del Ecuador, are highly specialized. With few exceptions, the most notable being María Luisa Laviana Cuetos' "Un Proceso por Brujería en la Costa..." (item bi 92002635) and María Elena Porras' Gobernación y Obispado de Mainas (item bi 89004409), the majority of the specialized studies focus on either northern or southern highlands. Especially interesting are Chantel Caillavet's examination of the domestic manufacture of textiles in the northern corregimiento of Otavalo in the 1500s and 1600s (item bi 89013225), and Iveline Lebret's book on daily life in the same corregimiento in the 1700s (item bi 92002636). Equally important are Christiana Borchart de Moreno's essay on one of the most important and powerful merchants and landowners of the capital (item bi 92002322), and Luis J. Ramos Gómez's resurrection of the 1737 imbroglio between the President and the Cabildo of Quito (item bi 89010086). A welcome development is the critical reexamination of early and late colonial riots and rebellions in the capital in light of new evidence and concerns: e.g., see Bernard Lavalle on the tax riots of 1592/1593 (item bi 90009259); Kenneth K. Andrien and Anthony McFarlane on the tax riots of 1765 (items bi 91004108, bi 92002639, and bi 89013967); and Scarlett O'Phelan on the rebellion of 1809 (item bi 89008551).

There are eight works on the southern highlands. Insofar as Cuenca and its district are concerned, Claudio Cordero Espinosa, Lucas Achig Subía, and Adrián Carrasco Vintimilla's "La Región Centro-Sur" is exceptionally well informed and highly informative (item bi 92002328). The most interesting studies on Loja and its province are Susana Aldana Rivera's article on trade between southern Ecuador and northern Peru in the late 1700s (item bi 92002263) and María Concepción Bravo Guerreira's essays on prehispanic and colonial Loja (item bi 89013901). The size and movement of the population of the Presidency of Quito at large is becoming better known as exemplified by the able summaries of Francisco Javier Ortiz de la Tabla Ducasse (item bi 89013220) and Martin Minchom (item bi 89013221).


There was an appreciable increase in historical output on colonial Peru. Specialization has become the hallmark of Peruvian historiography. The only popular accounts are biographies of Pizarro (item bi 90009888), Almagro (item bi 89004392), and Túpac Amaru (item bi 90009887); the only work that embraces the whole of the colonial period is Serena Fernández Alonso's review of Spanish scholarship (item bi 92014359). The overwhelming majority of the new and recent studies treat a particular place as well as period.

Interest in the conquest years appears to have diminished. More importantly, the work being done on the early colonial period is much more interesting than it used to be. The most exciting of the new studies are Sabine G. MacCormack's thoughtful and thought provoking "Atahualpa y el Libro" (item bi 90003884), Antonio San Cristóbal and Edmundo Guillén Guillén's debunking of Pizarro's skeleton (item bi 89004370), and Paul Stewart's well wrought article on the Battle of Salinas (item bi 90007807). The middle colonial period is no longer ignored. Approximately one fifth of the articles and books on colonial Peru annotated in this Handbook study in whole or in large part one or more aspects of the 17th century. The only study per se of the "forgotten century," however, is Luis Miguel Glave's reexamination of the "general crisis" of the 1600s (item bi 89004368).

Nonetheless, far more work continues to be done on the late colonial period. Nearly one third of the annotations treat the 1700s and/or the early 1800s. Among the most interesting are Kendall W. Brown's article on mercury mining at Huancavélica (item bi 89013914), David P. Cahill's study of the illegal continuation of the forced sale of goods to Indians after the abolition of the reparto (item bi 89013919), Luis Durand Flórez's major monograph on Cusco after Túpac Amaru (item bi 89004390), and John T.S. Melzer's study of bread prices in Lima in the early 1800s (item bi 92016293). The best of the new studies on the Indian uprisings of the 1780s are Scarlett O'Phelan Godoy's case study of the impact of the Túpac Amaru rebellion on the merchant elite of Cusco (item bi 89001376) and Ward Stavig's methodologically sophisticated study of socioeconomic conditions in rural Cusco on the eve of the rebellion (item bi 89004166).

Only a few demographic studies appeared. The most important are Carlos Sempat Assadourian's comparative analysis of the post-conquest decline of the Indian populations of Mexico and Peru (item bi 90000943) and Ann M. Wightman's major monograph on Indian migrants in and around Cusco (item bi 92016295). Social history was somewhat more abundant. The most interesting items are David P. Cahill's revisionist study of the Arequipa tax riots of 1780 (item bi 92006130), Lyn Lowry's preliminary findings on the use of religion as a means to control urban Indians (item bi 89013877), Juan Marchena Fernández's report on "The Social World of the Military in Peru and New Granada" (item bi92-6131), and Nancy Van Deusen's working paper on institutions for the care of women (item bi 90009875). There were many contributions to the economic history of the colonial period, all of them of value. The most novel and, coincidentally, important contributions to the ecclesiastical history of Lower Peru are Manuel Burga's essay on the economic as well as religious significance of chaplaincies (item bi 90003979) and Donald L. Gibbs's pioneering study of the economic activities of nuns and friars in Cusco (item bi 89000709). Another unusual as well as significant piece on Church history is Fernando Iwasaki Cauti's comparative study of early Christian evangelization in Peru and Japan (item bi 89013905). Historians of ideas will find much of interest this time around, especially in the contributions of Pedro Guibovich Pérez (item bi 89000948) and Teodoro Hampe Martínez (items bi 90003105, bi 90008728, bi 89012307, and bi 89001155).

Peru also lost one of its better historians, Alberto Flores Galindo. Two of his most important books deal substantially with the colonial period: Aristocracia y plebe (San Isidro, Peru: Mosca Azul Editores, 1984), an examination of the effects of colonialism and ethnic domination on the society and political culture of colonial Lima; and Buscando un inca (see HLAS 50:2212), a far ranging work that spans the history of Peru from the Spanish conquest through the turbulent 1980s.


At first glance the quincentennial does not appear to have resulted in a noticeable increase in output on colonial Bolivia. However, of the 14 works annotated, eight are books, and all eight make a major contribution to the historiography of Upper Peru. Not surprisingly, three have to with Potosí: Peter Bakewell's biography of the silver baron Antonio López de Quiroga (item bi 92005769); Josep María Barnadas' biography of the quicksilver wizard Alvaro Alonso Barba (item bi 91004688); and Rose Marie Buechler's study of Bourbon efforts to bolster the flagging industry and therefore the flow of silver from the red mountain (item bi 90009892). The pasts of other towns and regions are also being delineated and illuminated: e.g., see José María García Recto's prize winning dissertation on Santa Cruz de la Sierra (item bi 91004687); Brooke Larson's solid monograph on Cochabamba (item bi 92016303); and Roberto Querejazu Calvo's chatty account of his native Chuquisaca/La Plata/Charcas/Sucre (item bi 89004388).

As for the six articles, all are based on original research; all are well written; all have something new to say; and all reflect the diversity and sophistication increasingly characteristic of the historiography of Upper Peru. At the risk of being invidious, especially interesting are Luis Miguel Glave's "Mujer Indígena, Trabajo Doméstico y Cambio Social..." (see HLAS 50:639) and Ann Zulawski's "Social Differentiation, Gender, and Ethnicity" (item bi 91000137). Unfortunately, laying hands on all of the work that is being done in and on Bolivia continues to be a problem. Fortunately, however, Herbert S. Klein admirably synthesizes almost all of the old and new studies in the second edition of his Bolivia: the evolution of a multi-ethnic society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992; see HLAS 44:183 for first edition).


Chile has long been known for the maturity and sophistication of its historiography, but for some time its output has been modest at the best, at least on the colonial period. It is gratifying therefore to note that work on colonial Chile has increased dramatically. This Handbook features 29 items of significance, a number more than twice as large as usual; only four of these are reprints of older works. Although welcoming this revitalization of Chilean historiography, at the same time we lament the loss of Gonzalo Izquierdo Fernández, Eugene H. Korth, and Rolando Mellafe. Primarily a student of the national period, Izquierdo produced a new general history of Chile shortly before his death (item bi 90009858). Korth will be remembered for his Spanish policy in colonial Chile (HLAS 32:2290) and, together with Della M. Flusche, for Forgotten females (HLAS 48:1624). Mellafe advanced the study of population and social history of Latin America at large, in many ways and in many works, not the least of which are his last two books, Historia social de Chile y América (HLAS 50:844) and with René Salinas Meza, Sociedad y población rural en la formación de Chile actual: La Ligua, 1700-1850 (item bi 90009860).

The other important historical demographic works are the well edited Visita general de la Concepción y su Obispado from the 1760s (item bi 89004406) and Gabriel Guarda's publication and study of the 1749 Visita of Valdivia and its district (item bi 89001124). The most interesting economic studies are Guillermo Bravo Acevedo's microanalysis of the obraje of Melipilla (item bi 89004282) and Marcello Carmagnani's quantitative analysis of the origins of Spanish estates in and around Santiago, available in Spanish as well as in Italian (item bi 89008522). Turning to social history, Isabel Cruz de Amenábar's piece on "Trajes y Moda..." is fascinating (item bi 89001120); Adela Dubinovsky's revisionist study of the slave trade demonstrates that there is far more to be learned about this already well worked topic (item bi 89004489); and Della Flusche ably exemplifies how much can be reconstructed of family histories in her latest book (item bi 89015782).

Three more examples of how variegated as well as vigorous the historian's craft has become in and on Chile will have to suffice. Guarda has given us another one of his monumental guides, a vademecum of nearly every parish church, chapel, and oratory built through 1826 (item bi 89004373). Ramón Soriano treats us to a fresh reading of El cautiverio feliz (item bi 92013569). And Gustavo Valdés Bunster revives the trial and tribulations of a 17th-century notary who lost everything, including the clothes on his back, for having poked fun publicly at the governor (item bi 89004384).


Output on colonial Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay has also increased, albeit not as dramatically as that on colonial Ecuador or Chile. The history of trade continues to elicit serious study. The port city receives the most attention, but there are also several works which provide a much needed examination of trade and transport in the interior. Among the more interesting of the recent works on Buenos Aires are: Zacarías Moutoukias' article on commerce and society in the 1600s (item bi 89004167) and his book on Contrabando y control colonial en el siglo XVII (item bi 92005686); José María Mariluz Urquijo's article on trading companies in the mid-1700s (item bi 92016664); and Jerry W. Cooney's article on the emergence of porteño merchants as equal partners with their European counterparts in the Atlantic trading community (item bi 89002724). As for the inland provinces, see especially: Klaus Muller's quantitative study of the economic history of Tucumán (item bi 89009100); Miguel A. Rosal's article on overland traders with the interior (item bi 92015842); and Claudia Wentzel's piece on river trade between the interior and the port city (item bi 92015844).

Perhaps the hottest topic in recent Río de la Plata historiography is the nature of the economy and society of the pampas, the debate having been renewed in the Anglo-American world by Ricardo Salvatore and Jonathan C. Brown in "Trade and Proletarianization in Late Colonial Banda Oriental: Evidence from the Estancia de Las Vacas, 1791-1805" (item bi 92015202) and Samuel Amaral in "Rural Production and Labour in Late Colonial Buenos Aires" (item bi 92015274), and in the Iberian world by Carlos A. Mayo, Samuel Amaral, Juan Carlos Garavaglia, and Jorge Gelman in Anuario del IEHS (item bi 92016665). Gelman critiques Salvatore and Brown in the Nov. 1989 HAHR (item bi 89014770) to which they respond in the same issue (item bi 89014771). And Garavaglia and Gelman renew the fray in El mundo rural rioplatense a fines de la época colonial (item bi 92006241).

Lyman L. Johnson raises important issues regarding the economy and society of Buenos Aires and, by implication, of other Spanish American cities and towns in his path-breaking essays on apprenticeship (item bi 89000994), on military expenditures (item bi 89000826), and on working class property (item bi 90003171). Susan Socolow also breaks new ground on urban society in her fascinating "Acceptable Partners: Marriage Choice in Colonial Argentina, 1778-1810" (item bi 90004043). José Carlos Chiaramonte and Mariluz Urquijo make important contributions to the intellectual background of the 18th century and the extent to which the Enlightenment affected Río de la Plata (items bi 90002216 and bi 90002208).

There are several significant new studies on colonial Paraguay. Especially noteworthy are Cooney's ongoing contribution to the study of Paraguayan trade during the late colonial period (item bi 90002753) and James S. Saeger's discussion of Jesuit missions among the Guaycuruans (item bi 89006885). Regional scholars who have made stimulating contributions to the history of the Jesuit missions throughout the Platine include Mariluz Urquijo on Father José Cardiel (item bi 90002224) and Rafael Carbonell de Masy on the black robes as rural developers (item bi 88002883). Gastón Gabriel Doucet's meticulous study of encomiendas in Tucumán during the early colonial period is also important (item bi 92016510).

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