Blacks, Indians, and Spaniards in the Eastern Andes: Reclaiming the Forgotten in Colonial Mizque, 1550-1782

Blacks, Indians, and Spaniards in the Eastern Andes: Reclaiming the Forgotten in Colonial Mizque, 1550-1782

Blacks, Indians, and Spaniards in the Eastern Andes: Reclaiming the Forgotten in Colonial Mizque, 1550-1782

Blacks, Indians, and Spaniards in the Eastern Andes: Reclaiming the Forgotten in Colonial Mizque, 1550-1782

Excerpt

Spain's conquest of Peru brought together three peoples—Indian, African, and European—and propelled reconfigurations of land and labor systems to combine Old World arrangements with those of the New World. Imperial economic policy was based on a mercantilism that would intensify with the explosion of mining activity after the resounding 1545 silver strike in Potosí. Suffice it here to note that historians and economists continue to examine and debate this nearly legendary metallurgie production, which recent scholarship indicates a probability of even greater output than was previously held. The force of this silver flow would manifest itself far and wide, in Europe and in the viceroyalties and audiencias (regional courts and jurisdictions) of South America. Like the conquest itself, directly and indirectly, silver's impact would bear upon indigenous, African, and European social, political, and economic structures and institutions. Depending on the circumstances of time, place, and market (both internal and external), it would reshape old and create new networks of trade and transport just as it would reshape traditional systems and create new ones of labor and production. Furthermore, neither conquest nor mining was a simplistic, one-dimensional cause-and-effect phenomenon vis-à-vis the victors and the vanquished, the masters and the slaves, the bosses and the exploited. New World peoples, those carriers of European imperial policy, would in turn respond to ongoing change, often reshaping their own social, economic, and political institutions to form their own part of what has been described as a new, hybrid, post-conquest world.

This work is part homage and part thank-you to the late Thierry Saignes, whose poignantly titled Los Andes orientales: Historia de un olvido inspired the direction the book would take in its long journey into “the forgotten,” those vast valleys, piedmonts, and lowlands of the . . .

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