It is well-established that no fully articulated república de negros evolved in Spanish America to equal the formal recognition and legal protections granted to the Indigenous and Spanish repúblicas. Yet Guadalupe is a reminder that individual communities of people of African descent did exist at various times and places, often complicating the two-republic system of governance in local jurisdictions. But where many such communities were composed of former slaves, Guadalupe was a community of free pardos with a long history in the region, little different from contemporary Spanish frontier communities. In this paper I will explore the story of Guadalupe through Indigenous tribute records, arms shipments, petitions, and legal battles as its residents struggled against both Indigenous and Spanish neighbors in an effort to maintain their collective identity as pardos. I argue that the pardos of Guadalupe used their collective heritage of service in an otherwise violent frontier zone to maintain rights and privileges that would have been unavailable to them as individuals.
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