By examining official and extra-official ways that news and pro-Bourbon propaganda circulated within the viceroyalty, this paper explores how bureaucrats, priests, soldiers, and merchants imagined themselves as part of an empire. The historiography of the early modern Spanish World stresses the importance of the patria chica, or “little homeland,” arguing that people did not identify primarily as “Spaniards” or as part of an empire, but as members of a local community. Analyzing a large body of extant documentation, it is clear that people shared “relaciones de sucesos,” and that priests cited the same accounts in their sermons in cities, towns, and villages throughout the viceroyalty, creating a shared narrative of belonging to an empire and instilling an investment in the outcome of the war. Furthermore, news arrived constantly through mail ships, but it also arrived through French sailors who were allowed to trade as military allies of the Crown. Unofficial satires and couplets also circulated in New Spain, and while these were generally pro-Bourbon, numerous Inquisitorial edicts warning against expressing loyalty to the Archduke Charles suggest that pro-Austrian materials may have circulated as well.
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