Social Classes of New Spain
(Mexico after the fall of Montezuma and the Aztec’s)
Conquers Aztec’s and surrounding “Indian” people for
the expansion of Spain
Sets-up a social class situation that is primarily based
on Blood and place of birth – Allegiance to Spain is
Spain – wants to keep its colonial expansion without
having to commit troops and money to defend against
“how do we keep the new territory loyal to Spain”
Top social class – Peninsulares granted large estates where
they could grow crops, raise cattle and other farm animals
for sale of products/trade. -Hacienda’s
Farms had labor provided by Spain via the conquered
Peninsulares were identified as Spanish Born, from Spanish
Parents (pure bloods from the home country)
Best chance to keep the peace by their allegiance to the
crown of Spain.
Were only ones who could hold high public office (mayor,
System called Encomienda System
Second class below the Peninsulares were the
Criollos (Creoles) They were of pure Spanish Blood but
were born in New Spain (Mexico) rather than in Spain.
Could not hold the same level of public office, were
not granted the Hacienda’s from the king, but could
inherit the land from their Parents if they were
The Peninsulares and Criollos were considered upper
class, and supported the king based on their love for
the “homeland” ……but as time went by the Criollos
were less connected…… the 1st generation Criollos had
parents born in Spain, but 2nd and 3rd generations
were born in New Spain (Mexico) and their affection
for Spain diminished every generation.
Mestizos - Mixed ancestry blood, could be the child of
a Peninsulares and a Native Indian (forbidden love)
Because they had some “pure blood” they were
considered above any “non-pure-blood” person.
These were the working class people of the society,
mainly in small towns and communities.
Mulattos – Mixed blood of African Slaves and Mestizos
rarely ever mixed with Creoles or Peninsulares. Took a
slightly higher place in society because they were not
Captured Aztec , Native Indian Tribes, and Slaves from
Used for labor with essentially no rights.
Under Encomienda System, “labor” was to be treated
fairly, with shelter, food, and living supplies.
Spain wanted to reduce any chance of over-throw by
Based on Blood and birth location
Granted land, political office and voting rts
Inherit land, still considered upper class
No inheritance Lowest of the middleclass
No rights whatsoever
No rights whatsoever
Native Indians Black Slaves