Trans-Atlantic Relocation: Moving Family and Bienes between Peru and Spain, 1540–90

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM
Superior Room A (Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers)
Jane E. Mangan, Davidson College
Beginning with the 1532 Spanish conquest of Peru, the movement of people and goods in and out of the Andes had a fundamental impact on family networks and on the creation of colonial society in Peru.  Husbands in Lima, at the prompting of a Royal Cedula, called for their wives to travel to the New World.  Parents in mining centers of Peru sent valuable bars of silver to children on the Iberian peninsula to ensure their marriages or education.  Fathers of mestizos sent their young sons and daughters on ships to Spain to be raised and/or labor in the company of their Iberian relatives.  This paper primarily draws on notarial records to analyze relatives and their ties to one another through property and legal power.  The analysis enriches our understanding of how family networks adapted from Iberian or Andean traditions as they expanded across the Atlantic in an era of dramatic change.  It also details the fundamental role of family in the earliest decades of Spanish presence in Peru.  In contrast to English schemes of “settlement” to the north where the family unit abounds, histories typically portray Spanish “conquest” in terms of male actions and ideas of family are relatively absent.  This paper reveals additional complexities in the archetype of the Spanish conquistador and shows how family actions on both sides of the Atlantic intertwined with the emergence of a colonial state.
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