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Volume 54 / Humanities


Colonial Period

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

THIS TIME AROUND we have annotated considerably more than 300 items on colonial Spanish South America. Not only has the avalanche of historical studies and published sources precipitated by the Quincentennial continued, but it is also clear that the voluminous output will be with us for some time. For that reason and because scholarly output on Latin America has also increased substantially in the other disciplines, all of the contributing editors to HLAS have had to pare their introductory remarks in order to continue to describe and evaluate as many recent and new publications as possible. Reluctantly but inevitably therefore we have had to abandon our customary practice of delineating and commenting on historiographic developments in some depth.

The only new and not quite so new general syntheses that came to our attention during the preceding biennium were Alain Gheerbrant’s eminently readable The Amazon: past, present, and future (item 2239) and the new editions of Herbert S. Klein’s Bolivia (item 2440) and Brian Loveman’s Chile (item 2474). As for the colonial period proper, the most important of the recent general works in our opinion are Sabine MacCormack’s inspired as well as insightful Religion in the Andes (item 2256), Isacio Pérez Fernández’s truly monumental Bartolomé de las Casas en el Perú (item 2259), and the outstanding volume of essays, Transatlantic encounters: European and Andeans in the sixteenth century, edited by Kenneth J. Andrien and Rolena Adorno (item 2261).

Overall, the highly specialized studies or microhistories continue to prevail. That is to say, monograph after monograph, more often than not in considerable detail, on demographic development after demographic development, economic sector after economic sector, ethnic group after ethnic group, institution after institution, personage after personage, pueblo, district or region after pueblo, district or region, social group after social group, etc. continue to be produced. For the most part the corresponding articles and books are more or less well researched and methodologically sound. Some of them are even well written. Unfortunately the tendency to sacrifice inspired interpretation and felicity of style to paradigms and social scientific verbosity also continues. It is not borrowing ideas and approaches from other disciplines that perturbs me but the obfuscation of what might otherwise be lucid scholarship with poorly applied theorems and banal jargon. [MTH]

Turning to colonial Venezuela, among the more interesting of this biennium’s bounty are Elías Pino Iturrieta’s Contra lujuria, castidad: historias de pecado en el siglo XVIII venezolano (item 2280), tantalizing tales of promiscuity, bigamy, and sodomy, and Edda O. Samudio’s able analysis of “Seventeenth-Century Indian Migration in the Venezuelan Andes” (item 2285). Insofar as neighboring Nueva Granada is concerned, it is good to see an increase in the variety and in the quality of work being done. Perhaps the most significant of the studies noticed in this Handbook are Lucena Salmoral’s major Fuentes para el estudio de la fiscalidad colonial... a la producción de oro en el Nuevo Reino de Granada a través de las cajas reales, 1651-1701 (item 2293), Rebecca Earle Mond’s meticulously researched “Indian Rebellion and Bourbon Reform in New Granada: Riots in Pasto, 1780-1800" (item 2305), and Pablo Rodríguez’s minor but stimulating Cabildo y vida urbana en el Medellín colonial, 1675-1730 (item 2312). [KW]

Continuing south, historical output on the former Presidency of Quito remained substantial. Unfortunately much of the work done of late is prosaic albeit important. Notable exceptions are Linda A. Newson’s “Old World Epidemics in Early Colonial Ecuador” (item 2339) and Karen M. Powers’ “Resilient Lords and Indian Vagabonds” (item 768), both of which read well and are well researched, although the Powers pieces (see also item 2341) are somewhat too social scientific for my taste. Fortunately the largely lackluster monographs are redeemed by: major published sources such as Pedro Fernández de Cevallos’ La ruta de la canela americana (item 2331) or the monumental Relaciones histórico-geográficas de la Audiencia de Quito (item 2345); basic sources of data such as Alvaro Jara and John Jay TePaske’s Eighteenth-century Ecuador, the fourth volume in the benchmark work The royal treasuries of the Spanish empire in America (item bi 91013610); and such invaluable research guides as Javier Ortiz de la Tabla Ducasse’s Cartas de cabildos hispano-americanos: Audiencia de Quito, siglos XVI-XIX (item 2340).

As for Peru, both upper and lower, so much work is being done that it has become difficult, if not impossible, to remain abreast of the literature. Nearly one fifth of this Handbook volume’s “Spanish South America: Colonial Period” entries correspond to Lower Peru alone. Very much at the risk of being invidious, the most significant as well as substantial contributions this time around strike me as being: the first vol. in a projected three vol. social history of La Inquisición de Lima (item 2364); José de la Puente Brunke’s prize winning Encomienda y encomenderos en el Perú (item 2403); Daniel Restrepo Manrique’s model La Iglesia de Trujillo, Perú, bajo el episcopado de Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón (item 2406); María Rostworowski de Diez Canseco’s fascinating biography of Doña Francisca Pizarro (item 2409); Carmen Ruigómez Gómez’s pioneering study of the Protector of the Indians (item 2411); and the revisionist reexamination of the Church in the early colonial period, Evangelización y teología en el Perú (item 2396). The best read, however, is Noble David Cook and Alexandra Parma Cook’s Good faith and truthful ignorance (item 2370), a book that demonstrates that the marriage between History and the Social Sciences can be fructiferous when entered into and pursued in the proper spirit. And the single most important article is probably Noble David Cook’s masterful “Migration in Colonial Peru” (item 2371).

Output on Upper Peru continues to boom. Potosí no longer looms as large on the scene although among the best of the recent studies is Enrique Tandeter’s Coacción y mercado: la minería de la plata en el Potosí colonial (item 2451). Tandeter’s book is also available in English as Coercion and market: silver mining in colonial Potosí, 1692-1826 (Albuquerque: Univ. of New Mexico Press, 1993). Brian Evans’ “Death in Aymaya of Upper Peru, 1580-1623” (item bi 93009176) and Tandeter’s article “Crisis in Upper Peru, 1800-1805" - available in Spanish too (see item 2452) - also struck me as exceptionally important. Returning to books, the other most noteworthy appear to have been: Valentín Abecia Baldivieso’s wholly new, long since indispensable Historiografía boliviana (item 2430); the well written and illustrated La ciudad de La Paz (item 2432); Alcides J. Parejas Moreno and Virgilio Suárez Salas’ exquisite Chiquitos (item 2442); and the impressive proceedings from the Simposio sobre la Importancia de las Misiones Jesuitas en Bolivia (item 2450).

Turning South again, research on colonial Chile continues in much the same vein as before. On the one hand, some new ground continues to be broken as scholars focus on estates or pueblos heretofore poorly treated, if at all. See for example, Ana María Presta’s “Mano de Obra en una Hacienda Tarijeña” in Agricultura, trabajo y sociedad en América Hispana (item 2456). On the other, new editions of old works - often luxurious in keeping with the tone of 1992, such as the opulent edition of Pedro de Valdivia’s letters (item 2486) - are still being produced. The most interesting articles were those published in the aforementioned anthology, Agricultura, trabajo y sociedad... and in Estudios sobre la época de Carlos III (item 2463). And the most significant book, certainly the most enjoyable and the most stimulating, was Giorgio Antei’s La invención del Reino de Chile (item 2457). [MTH]

Crossing the Andes, the onslaught is still with us. Nearly one third of the materials herewithin included focus on the Río de la Plata, or Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay during the colonial period. Recent work continues to be dominated by a strong group of economic historians primarily concerned with reconstructing the various sectors of the colonial period economy through a series of highly specialized and minute studies. See especially the contributions of Samuel Amaral (items 2491 and 2492), Juan Carlos Garavaglia (items 2520 and 2521), Jorge Daniel Gelman (item 2524), and Eduardo R. Saguier (items 2568, 2569, and 2570). The gaucho versus peasant debate and the role of the frontier discussion have been advanced by Carlos Mayo (items 2545 and 2547) and Leonardo León Solís (item 2531). Women have begun to attract some attention. In addition to Mallo’s work (item 2536), Raúl A. Molina’s La familia porteña (item 2548) is particularly important inasmuch as he abstracts and quotes extensively from marriage and divorce records otherwise lost forever. And there have been the usual editions of older texts and resumption of publication of critical sources, among the most important of which are the Cartas anuas de la Provincia Jesuitica del Paraguay (item 2501). [SMS]

This Handbook marks the farewell appearance of Kathy Waldron as contributing editor. Kathy has been responsible for colonial Venezuela and Nueva Granada since HLAS 46. Many thanks, Kathy, for the many hundreds of untold hours you put in over the last ten years to help make the “Spanish South America: Colonial Period” section comprehensive and perspicacious. To end on a more personal note, it is with considerable sadness that I report the loss of a close friend as well as an outstanding member of the profession, Julio Enrique Estrada Ycaza (1917-1993). Productive to the end notwithstanding the degenerative illness with which he had been afflicted for many years, Estrada Ycaza’s last book, coauthored with Clemente Yerovi Indaburu, was El siglo de los vapores fluviales, 1840-1940 (item 2673). [MTH]

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