e-book A Casta (Spanish Edition)

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To ask other readers questions about Imagining Identity in New Spain , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Imagining Identity in New Spain. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 21, Daniel Morgan rated it it was amazing Shelves: latin-americato-present , race. This was a fascinating look at how race and identity were constructed in New Spain and how they evolved over time. Joanna rated it liked it Feb 26, Nev Dzamonja rated it really liked it Feb 01, Jean-Claire rated it really liked it Mar 25, Kimberly rated it really liked it Apr 17, Janine rated it liked it Mar 18, Elena rated it did not like it Dec 25, Paul McNeil rated it liked it Oct 08, Danielle Pierce rated it liked it Jul 22, Thornee rated it really liked it Jan 02, Cyrus Cousins rated it liked it Jul 26, Matt Hammes rated it really liked it Feb 17, Sylvia rated it liked it Mar 03, Tamara rated it really liked it May 07, Sarah rated it it was amazing Dec 04, Scarr rated it really liked it Jan 09, Taylor rated it really liked it Dec 02, Roland Clark rated it really liked it Mar 31, Jenean Finley rated it it was amazing Feb 04, Jamie rated it really liked it Aug 08, Larry Gonzalez added it Feb 29, Brent added it Apr 04, Brandi marked it as to-read Jun 28, University of Texas Press added it Aug 11, Julie Knutson marked it as to-read Sep 15, Rosa marked it as to-read Apr 25, M added it Aug 14, Gloria Arjona marked it as to-read Sep 06, Yasmin marked it as to-read Oct 19, Camille Hall marked it as to-read Jan 05, Da marked it as to-read Apr 29, Luke marked it as to-read Jul 23, Mark Healey added it Nov 17, Eva marked it as to-read Nov 28, Brendan marked it as to-read Jan 13, The system of casta was more than socio-racial classification.

It had an effect on every aspect of life, including economics and taxation. Both the Spanish colonial state and the Church required more tax and tribute payments from those of lower socio-racial categories. The "whiter" the heritage a person could claim, the higher in status they could climb; conversely, darker features meant less opportunity. Casta paintings were a new, secular art form primarily produced in eighteenth-century Mexico.

A notable exception to the secular nature of the genre is Luis de Mena 's painting of Virgin of Guadalupe with castas. Casta is an Iberian word existing in Spanish , Portuguese and other Iberian languages since the Middle Ages , meaning " lineage ", " breed " or " race ". It is derived from the older Latin word castus , "chaste", implying that the lineage has been kept pure. Casta gave rise to the English word caste during the Early Modern Period. It was directly linked to religion and notions of legitimacy, lineage and honor following Spain's reconquest of Moorish territory.

It was institutionalized during the Inquisition. Both in Spain and in the New World crypto-Jews converts who continued to secretly practice Judaism were aggressively prosecuted. Some emigrated as Portuguese merchants to Mexico City and Lima, following the successful revolt of Portugal in against the Castillian Crown. Several spectacular autos de fe in New Spain in the mid-seventeenth century featured the public punishment of those convicted of being "Judaizers" judaizantes.


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Spaniards had become obsessed with lineage, following the expulsion of Moors and Jews, and forced conversion of those who chose to remain. Evidence of lack of purity of blood had consequences for marriage, eligibility for office, entrance into the priesthood, and emigration to Spain's overseas territories. Having to produce genealogical records to prove one's pure ancestry gave rise to a trade in the creation of false genealogies. When the concept of purity of blood was transferred overseas, it retained the concerns about tainted ancestry of Jews or Muslims in a family line.

During the early colonial decades, the Spanish in the New World had unions and marriages with indigenous women, resulting in generations of mixed-race children. In the late sixteenth century, some investigations of ancestry classified as "stains" any connection with Black Africans "negros", which resulted in "mulatos" and sometimes mixtures with indigenous that produced Mestizos. It was illustrated in eighteenth-century paintings of racial hierarchy, known as casta paintings.

The idea in New Spain that native or "Indian" indio blood in a lineage was an impurity may well have come about as the optimism of the early Franciscans faded about creating Indian priests trained at the Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco , which ceased that function in the mid-sixteenth century. In addition, the Indian nobility, which was recognized by the Spanish colonists, had declined in importance, and there were fewer formal marriages between Spaniards and indigenous women than during the early decades of the colonial era.

Indians in Central Mexico were affected by ideas of purity of blood from the other side. In indigenous communities "local caciques [rulers] and principales were granted a set of privileges and rights on the basis of their pre-Hispanic noble bloodlines and acceptance of the Catholic faith.

In the mid to late eighteenth century, the pace of race mixture mestizaje increased in New Spain, political changes of the Bourbon Reforms privileged peninsular Spaniards over American-born Spaniards, and casta paintings began to be produced in great numbers in Mexico. It was also the period when the power of the sistema de castas declined significantly.


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  6. In Spanish America and many other places , racial categories were formal legal classifications. Initially in Spanish America there were three racial categories. They generally referred to the multiplicity of indigenous American peoples as "Indians" indios , a Spanish term applied to, but seldom used by Amerinds themselves.

    casta sacerdotal

    The third group were black Africans, called negros "Blacks" , brought as slaves from the earliest days of Spanish empire in the Caribbean. There were fewer Spanish women than men who immigrated to the New World and fewer black women than men, so that mixed-race offspring of Spaniards and of Blacks were often the product of liaisons with indigenous women. The process of race mixture was termed mestizaje. In the sixteenth century, the term casta , a collective category for mixed-race individuals, came into existence as the numbers grew, particularly in urban areas.

    The crown had divided the population of its overseas empire into two categories, separating Indians from non-Indians. Official censuses and ecclesiastical records noted an individual's racial category, so that these sources can be used to chart socio-economic standard, residence patterns, and other important data.

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    General racial groupings had their own set of privileges and restrictions, both legal and customary. So, for example, only Spaniards and indigenous, who were deemed to be the original societies of the Spanish dominions, had recognized aristocracies. Access to these privileges and even a person's perceived and accepted racial classification, however, were also determined by that person's socioeconomic standing in society.

    Long lists of different terms found in casta paintings do not appear in official documentation; only counts of Spaniards, mestizos, Blacks and mulattoes, and indigenous indios were found in censuses. By the end of the colonial period in , over one hundred categories of possible variations of mixture existed. In addition, there were higher rates of persons of mixed race, or mestizaje, than in the surrounding countryside, which was dominated by indios. He compared the population of the capital of New Spain with the census of the Intendancy of Mexico in In both the capital and the intendancy, the European population was the smallest percentage, with 2, in the capital 2.

    For mestizos in which he has merged the castizos , in the capital there were 19, For the mulatto category, the capital listed 7, 6. There is apparently no separate category for blacks Negros. The category Indian showed 25, The capital had the largest concentration of Spaniards and castas, and the countryside was overwhelmingly Indian. But non-Spaniards also lived there. Indians were found in higher concentrations in the sectors on the fringes of the capital.

    Castas appear as residents in all sectors of the capital. The terms for the more complex racial mixtures tended to vary in meaning and use and from region to region for example, different sets of casta paintings will give a different set of terms and interpretations of their meaning. For the most part, only the first few terms in the lists were used in documents and everyday life, the general descending order of precedence being:.

    These were people of Spanish descent. Spaniards were therefore divided into:. Persons of Spanish descent born in Spain i. Generally, there were two groups of Peninsulares. The first group includes those who were appointed to important jobs in the government, the army, and the Catholic Church by the Crown. This system was intended to perpetuate the ties of the governing elite to the Spanish crown. The theory was that an outsider should be appointed to rule over a certain society, therefore a New Spaniard would not be appointed Viceroy of New Spain.

    These officials usually had a long history of service to the Crown and were moved around the Empire frequently, as in career civil service positions. They usually did not live permanently in any one place in Latin America. The second group of Peninsulares did settle permanently in a specific region and came to be associated with it. The first wave were the original settlers, the Conquistadors , who became lords of an area through their act of conquest.

    In the centuries after the Conquest, more Peninsulares continued to immigrate to New Spain under different circumstances, usually for commercial reasons. Some came as indentured servants to established Criollo families in order to gain passage. Peninsulares were of all socioeconomic classes in America. Once they settled, they tended to form families, so Peninsulares and Criollos were united and divided by family ties and tensions.

    A Spanish term meaning "native born and raised", criollo historically was applied to both white and black non-indigenous persons born in America, in addition to animals and products.


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    6. In today's historiography, the term "criollo" means only the white people Born in America, who had unmixed Spanish or European ancestry both matrilineal and patrilineal. In the reality of the period, as noted, many criollos ended up interbreeding with the financially successful mestizos and castizos , who physically appeared white, but had some native ancestry. The knowledge of mixed ancestry was usually disregarded for families that had maintained a certain status and they were accepted as criollos.

      Many of the second- or third-generation criollos became wealthy from the mines, ranches, or haciendas they owned. Criollo families who became extremely wealthy joined the ranks of the high nobility of the Spanish Empire. Still, most were part of what could be termed the petite bourgeoisie and some were poor. Criollos tended to be appointed to the lower-level government jobs [25] —they had sizable representation in the municipal councils. But, with the sale of offices that began in the late 16th century, they gained access to high-level posts, such as judges on the regional audiencias.

      The 19th-century wars of independence have often been characterized as a struggle between Peninsulares and Criollos, but both groups can be found on both sides of the wars. The original inhabitants of the Americas were considered to be one of the three "pure races" in Spanish America ; under Spanish colonial law, they were classified and regulated as minors , and as such were to be protected by royal officials.

      In practice, they often suffered repression and abuse by the local elites. After the initial conquest, the elites of the Inca , Aztec and other Amerindian states were assimilated into the Spanish nobility through intermarriage. The regional Native nobility, where it existed, was recognized and redefined along European standards by the Spanish. It had to deal with the difficulty of existing in a colonial society, but it remained in place until independence in Amerindians could belong to any economic class depending on their personal wealth, [26] [27] but most were peasants and poor.

      Persons with one Spanish parent and one Amerindian parent.

      Spanish Voters Weary of Scandal-Ridden Political Class Known as ‘La Casta’

      The term was originally associated with illegitimacy because in the generations after the Conquest, mixed-race children born in wedlock were assigned either a simple Amerindian or Spanish identity, depending with which culture they were raised. See Hyperdescent and Hypodescent. The number of official Mestizos rises in censuses only after the second half of the 17th century, when a sizable and stable community of mixed-race people with no claims on being either Amerindian or Spanish appeared.

      One of the many terms, like the ones below, used to describe people with varying degrees of racial mixture. In this case Castizos were people with one Mestizo parent and one Spanish parent. The children of a Castizo with a Spaniard or another Castizo , were often classified and accepted as a Criollo Spaniard. People who are the product of the mixing over the generations of the European, Black African, and Amerindians. This mix may come about from a white Spaniard having a child with a Zambo, an Amerindian having a child with a Mulatto, or a Black African having a child with a Mestizo.

      The term is in current use in Brazil , where they form slightly less than one-half the population although pardo in Portuguese merely means brown and is used for any sort of mixed-race ancestry other than the mix of white and Asian.

      Spanish Voters Weary of Scandal-Ridden Political Class Known as ‘La Casta’ - WSJ

      If they were born into slavery that is their mother was a slave , they would be slaves, unless freed by their master or manumitted. In popular parlance, mulato could also denote an individual of mixed African and Native American ancestry. Further terms to describe other degrees of mixture included, among many others, Morisco , not to be confused with the peninsular Morisco , from which the term was borrowed a person of Mulatto and Spanish parents, i. Persons who were of mixed Amerindian and Black ancestry. As with Mulattoes, many other terms existed to describe the degree of mixture.

      These included Chino and Lobo.

      Translations of “caste”

      Chino usually described someone as having Mulatto and Amerindian parents. The word chino derives from the Spanish word cochino , meaning "pig", [30] and the phrase pelo chino , meaning "curly hair", is a reference to the casta known as chino that possessed kinky or curly hair. Since there was some immigration from the Spanish East Indies during the colonial period, chino is often confused, even by contemporary historians, as a word for Asian peoples, which is the primary meaning of the word, but not usually in the context of the castas. With Spaniards and Amerindians, this was the third original race in this paradigm, but low on the social scale because of their association with slavery.

      These were people of full Sub-Saharan African descent. Many, especially among the first generation, were slaves, but there were sizable free-Black communities. Distinction was made between Blacks born in Africa negros bozales and therefore possibly less acculturated, Blacks born in the Iberian Peninsula Black Ladinos , and Blacks born in the Indies, these sometimes referred to as negros criollos.

      Their low social status was enforced legally. They were prohibited by law from many positions, such as entering the priesthood, and their testimony in court was valued less than others. But they could join militias created especially for them.