Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

Bound Lives: Africans, Indians, and the Making of Race in Colonial Peru

by Rachel Sarah O'Toole


View All Available Formats & Editions


Bound Lives chronicles the lived experience of race relations in northern coastal Peru during the colonial era. Rachel Sarah O’Toole examines the construction of a casta (caste) system under the Spanish government, and how this system was negotiated and employed by Andeans and Africans.

Royal and viceregal authorities defined legal identities of “Indian” and “Black” to separate the two groups and commit each to specific trades and labor. Although they were legally divided, Andeans and Africans freely interacted and depended on each other in their daily lives. Thus, the caste system was defined at both the top and bottom of society. Within each caste, there were myriad subcategories that also determined one’s standing.

The imperial legal system also strictly delineated civil rights. Andeans were afforded greater protections as a “threatened” native population. Despite this, with the crown’s approval during the rise of the sugar trade, Andeans were driven from their communal property and conscripted into a forced labor program. They soon rebelled, migrating away from the plantations to the highlands. Andeans worked as artisans, muleteers, and laborers for hire, and used their legal status as Indians to gain political representation.

As slaves, Africans were subject to the judgments of local authorities, which nearly always sided with the slaveholder. Africans soon articulated a rhetoric of valuation, to protect themselves in disputes with their captors and in slave trading negotiations. To combat the ongoing diaspora from Africa, slaves developed strong kinship ties and offered communal support to the newly arrived.

Bound Lives offers an entirely new perspective on racial identities in colonial Peru. It highlights the tenuous interactions of an imperial power, indigenous group, and enslaved population, and shows how each moved to establish its own power base and modify the existing system to its advantage, while also shaping the nature of colonialism itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822961932
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 04/28/2012
Series: Pitt Latin American Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 280
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Rachel Sarah O’Toole is associate professor of history at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Constructing Casta on Peru's Northern Coast 1

Chapter 1 Between Black and Indian: Labor Demands and the Crown's Casta 17

Chapter 2 Working Slavery's Value, Making Diaspora Kinships 35

Chapter 3 Acting as a Legal Indian: Natural Vassals and Worrisome Natives 64

Chapter 4 Market Exchanges and Meeting the Indians Elsewhere 88

Chapter 5 Justice within Slavery 122

Conclusion. The Laws of Casta, the Making of Race 157

Appendix 1 Origin of Slaves Sold in Trujillo over Time by Percentage (1640-1730) 171

Appendix 2 Price Trends of Slaves Sold in Trujillo (1640-1730) 172

Explanation of Appendix Data 173

Notes 175

Glossary 223

Bibliography 227

Index 251

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews