Provincial Lawyers in Northern 16th-Century Peru

Friday, January 5, 2018: 9:30 AM
Madison Room A (Marriott Wardman Park)
Renzo Honores, Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad

The history of provincial lawyers in Habsburg Peru is still a neglected topic in Andean legal historiography. Their identities, careers, patrimonies, professional services, and role in the local legal culture are unknown despite the richness of local archives. Legal historians have mainly focused on the careers of prominent lawyers in Audiencias (either Lima or La Plata). This paper explores the class of advocates (abogados) in the city of Trujillo. Trained in law and holders of academic degrees, advocates settled in the city in mid-sixteenth century. They worked as legal advisors of the parties before the cabildo and corregimiento, and also participated in the agrarian local economy. Trujillo, a coastal city founded in 1534, was an important urban setting in northern Peru, being the seat of conquistadors and encomenderos. In a couple of years, it became a multi-ethnic space with Andeans, Africans, mestizos and Peninsulars. This essay studies the social impact of lawyering and the rise of a class of facilitators in a provincial context.

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