The Institutions of Empire 25

Document Sample
The Institutions of Empire 25 Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                                  The Institutions of Empire 25

                                                                                                  minimal trade and little readily visible wealth available, the disappointed Spaniards could
                                                                                                  only hope either to extract what tribute they could from the bewildered Indians-golden
                                                                                                  trinkets, tobacco, corn, and so on-or to use the Indians to create some form of wealth.
                                                                                                        With less than vigorous trade in sight, the Iberians focused attention on the search for a
                                                                                                  very desirable item: gold. It offered three immediate and highly attractive advantages: easy
                                                                                                  shipment, imperishability, and extreme value. The Portuguese encountered very little of it
                                                                                                  among the Brazilian Indians and had to content them- selves with beguiling rumors of gold
                                                                                                  hidden somewhere in the vague hinterlands. The first Spaniards, however, came into limited
                                                                                                  but tantalizing contact with the prized metal almost at once. The Indians displayed some
                                                                                                  golden ornaments to the delight of their visitors. Further, the Indians spoke of the existence
                                                                                                  of gold on various Caribbean islands, causing the Spaniards to initiate a search for deposits
                                                                                                  at once. In 1494, they discovered gold on the south side of Espanola (an area that later
                                                                                                  became the Dominican Republic). Other discoveries followed. Between 1501 and 1519 the
                                                                                                  Caribbean produced approximately 8 million pesos of gold.
      The American domains of the Iberian crowns (Spain and Portugal) furnished                         After the conquest of Mexico and Peru, gold production shifted to the mainland where
increasingly greater amounts of wealth. The rapid discovery of fabulous deposits of gold and      silver also was discovered and mined. The Spaniards discovered in 1545 one of the richest
silver in Spanish America was the exact reward the Spanish crown coveted. For its part,           silver mines the world was ever to see at Potosi, a remote area in mountainous Upper Peru
Portuguese Brazil proved by midsixteenth century that a plantation economy distant from           (later Bolivia). They quickly made other rich silver strikes in the Viceroyalty of Peru that
Europe could still be lucrative. Sugar profits more than made up for high transportation          exported precious metals valued at about 85 million pesos to Spain between 1533 and 1560.
costs.                                                                                            During the era of greatest production ( 1579-1635), annual shipments sometimes surpassed 7
      The potential and then realization of wealth conferred a new importance on the New          million pesos. Mexico, too, witnessed rich silver strikes: Taxco (1534), Zacatecas (1546),
world for the Iberians. To administer the lands and to promote their wealth, the crowns           Guanajuato (1550), and San Luis Potosi (1592). In the sixteenth century, Mexico shipped
extended their governments across the Atlantic. The cross as well as the scepter swayed over      more than 35 million pesos worth of precious metals to Spain. It became Spanish America's
western continents. The Church busied itself converting the heathen and in the process helped     leading producer toward the end of the seventeenth century , and, in fact, over the course of
to implant Iberian civilization. From the imperial point of view, the Iberians succeeded          the entire colonial period, the Viceroyalty of New Spain produced half of the New World's
brilliantly. They converted millions of Indians to Christianity and incorporated most of them     mineral wealth.
within the two empires; they explored, conquered, and settled millions of square miles; they             The principal source of gold in Spanish America was New Granada (Colombia), which,
produced an incalculable wealth; they constructed architectural gems and founded flourishing      by 1600, had exported more than 4 million ounces of gold. Most of that gold came from
cities; and what was truly impressive, they ruled an area many times the size of the              placer deposits worked by slave labor. Production of gold in New Granada grew each century
motherlands for over three centuries. Of course they did so within a political and economic       , eighteenth-century production nearly tripling that of the sixteenth. In total, it supplied the
                                                                                                  motherland with something like 30 million ounces of gold.
framework which subordinated the well-being of the distant colonies to the demands of the

                                                                                                        Gold discoveries in Brazil came late in the colonial period. The hardy bandeirantes
The Iberians had not set off on voyages of conquest and settlement. They had sought a much        (explorers ) found gold for the first time in 1695 in the interior of Minas Gerais; other rich
                                                                                                  strikes occurred in 1721 in Mato Grosso and in 1726 in Goiis. Such discoveries were
more modest goal: trade. Their encountering the New World rather than China or India
                                                                                                  powerful incentives to open the vast southern interior of Brazil to settlement. Each discovery
forced a drastic change of plans.
                                                                                                  precipitated a wild rush of humanity to find fortune. The boom characteristic of all gold
     The Americas, at first anyway, frustrated the Iberians. The Indians of the Caribbean and
the Brazilian coast, the first known to the Europeans, showed no inclination for or interest in   rushes was reenacted many times. Each ship arriving at Brazil's shores brought Portuguese
transoceanic trade. The Portuguese contented themselves for three decades with exporting          and other foreigners destined for the mines. From every city and hamlet, from the coast as
the brazilwood found growing close to the coast. The Spaniards lacked even that product to        well as the interior, whites, blacks, Indians, mulattoes, and mestizos descended on the gold
stimulate commerce in the Caribbean. With                                                         region. Rich and poor, young
26    The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                         The Institutions of Empire 27

and old, men and women, none of whom had the slightest knowledge of prospecting                        Gold and silver were dramatic sources of wealth that easily captivated the imagination.
techniques, scurried to find fortune. The boom not only caused a notable population growth        They certainly provided compelling motives for exploration, conquest, and settlement. Yet
in eighteenth-century Brazil but also caused an impressive population shift from the older        mining produced less wealth than agriculture, which, in the final analysis, contributed more
sugar-producing region of the Northeast to the newly opened regions of the Southeast. Gold        to the welfare of the American populace than did precious metals. A comparison of incomes
production mounted there until 1760, when a decline set in. During the eighteenth century         from gold and sugar in eighteenth-century Brazil illustrates this point, even though gold was
Brazil produced 32 million ounces of gold, a majority of the world's gold supply.                 in ascendency and sugar in decline during that period: the average per-capita income from
       The Iberian crowns maintained a lively interest in all mining operations and carefully     the sugar industry was considerably higher than that from mining at a corresponding stage.
collected their quinto, or one-fifth, of the precious metals mined. They employed impressive      Because agriculture and livestock raising produced more wealth more constantly, one can
bureaucracies to oversee the minting of the metals and the collection of the quinto. The          readily understand that the land and labor systems as they evolved were of greater
Spanish monarchs were particularly effective in encouraging the use of the latest mining          importance to both the Iberian crowns and the American populations. Rightly those systems
techniques in their colonies. They employed European mining engineers when necessary .In          deserve more of our attention.
the midsixteenth century, the Spaniards adopted the patio process of separating silver from
ore by means of quicksilver (mercury), a far more efficient process than smelting. The crown
established a mining school in Mexico that enjoyed an international reputation for excellence.
For their part, the Portuguese lagged far behind the Spaniards in mining techniques. The          Land and Labor
prospectors sought out the alluvial gold in riverbeds or secondarily worked the riverbanks
and shallow deposits in the neighboring hillsides. Subterranean mining was rare. With the         Seeing their conquest of the New World as a kind of continuation of their reconquest of the
price of slaves rising, the miners had few excess funds to spend on the needed equipment,         Iberian Peninsula, the Spaniards transferred intact many institutions which they had used
which they would not have known how to use even if they had the funds. The government in          during the peninsular crusade. One such institution was the encomienda, literally "the
Lisbon enacted a mining code but failed to recruit any mining experts to bring order and          entrustment," which made its appearance in the Caribbean soon after discovery .Once used
efficiency to the careless miners of Brazil 's interior .                                         for the control and exploitation of the Moors, the adelantados and their lieutenants employed
       Mining brought a certain "prosperity.” It momentarily filled the royal treasures. Cities   it in the Americas as a means to both Christianize and exploit the Indians. The institution
grew up wherever precious metals appeared, and some of them became major urban centers.           required the Spanish encomendero to instruct the Indians entrusted to him in the Christian
Potosi, with 160,000 inhabitants in 1670, was the largest city in the New World. Ouro preto,      religion and the elements of European civilization and to defend and protect them. In return
Brazil, boasted a population of lOO,000 by 1750. Farming and livestock raising followed           he could demand tribute and labor from the Indians.
the miners to supply food demands. The search for precious metals encouraged exploration                The crown hesitated to approve the transfer of the encomienda to the Caribbean. After
and conquest, so mining became a major means of opening the interior of Latin America to          all, the monarchs had just unified Spain and were in the process of strengthening their
European settlement and influence. However, it is easy to exaggerate the importance of gold       powers in the peninsula. They were reluctant therefore to nourish in the New World a class
and silver .                                                                                      of encomenderos who could impose their will between the monarchs and their new Indian
       Many emphasize the negative aspects of mining. For one thing, the search for and flow      subjects. It smacked too much of feudalism for royal tastes. In accordance with her desires to
of gold and silver sparked a serious inflation both in Europe and in the Americas. For            centralize authority in the crown, Isabel ordered in 150 I that the governor of the Indies free
another, besides the legacy of some glorious architecture, it would be difficult to enumerate     the Indians from the encomiendas .When that experiment resulted in the flight of all Indians
the benefits the New World enjoyed from its rich mines. Only a residue of the wealth              from the plantations and their refusal to work for the Spaniards, the queen changed her mind.
produced remained in the New World. One Bolivian lamented that all Bolivia got from               By royal cedula, or edict, in 1503 she in effect legalized and institutionalized the encomienda
centuries of silver mining at Potosi was a hole in the ground. The wealth slipped not only        in the New World:
through local fingers but eventually through those of the Iberians as well. The gold and silver
only paused in the motherlands before falling into the hands of the northern Europeans,
particularly the English, who sold manufactured goods to Portugal and Spain. There is some
                                                                                                     As we are informed that because of the excessive liberty enjoyed by the Indians they avoid contact
truth to the Brazilian observation that Brazilian gold mined by African slaves financed the
                                                                                                     and community with the Spaniards to such an extent that they will not even work for wages, but
English industrial revolution. Certainly mining contributed to the well-established pattern of       wander about idle, and cannot be had by the Christians to convert to the Holy Catholic faith. ..I
wealth flowing from the Americas to the Iberian peninsula and then on to Northern Europe.            order you, our Governor. that beginning from the day you receive my letter you will compel and
                                                                                                     force the Indians to associate with the Christians of the island and to work on their buildings, and
                                                                                                     to gather and mine the gold and other metals, and to till the fields and produce food for the
                                                                                                     Christian inhabitants and dwellers of the island.
     28 The Institutions of Empire
                                                                                                                                                             The Institutions of Empire 29

      This 1503 cedula, like those that preceded and followed it, expressed sincere concern
over the welfare of the Indian subjects and admonished the Spaniards to treat them well, but       institution. By then, however, it was too finely entrenched in the New World to be so
it also sanctioned a labor system that would permit many abuses. The colonists also widely         summarily eradicated. The encomenderos refused to acknowledge the abolition, and the
misapplied royal authorization to enslave Indians who made "unjust" wars on the Europeans.         royal officials did not enforce the law. As is evident, the crown in Spain and the royal
They so frequently claimed to royal officials that their enslaved Indians were captives in         officials in the New World did not always act in harmony.
"just" war that the crown eventually had to forbid enslavement for any cause.                            The encomenderos actively pressed their case before the monarch. They dispatched
      The encomienda system spread rapidly across the West Indies and contributed                  their own representatives to Madrid who emphasized the barbarian nature of the Indians,
                                                                                                   their indolence and ignorance. Without force, they emphasized, the Indians simply would
significantly to the mounting death rate of the natives. Not so much by its overwork and
                                                                                                   not work. Their labors here on earth, the argument ran, were but small compensation for the
mistreatment as by concentrating the Indians, it facilitated the spread of European diseases,
                                                                                                   eternal salvation offered by the Roman Catholic faith to which the Europeans introduced
smallpox, typhus, measles, and influenza, which proved lethal to the indigenous populations
                                                                                                   them. Further, they pointed out, the civilizing hand of Europe taught the natives how to
who had built up no immunity to them. It is estimated that between 1519 and 1650 about six-
                                                                                                   better care for and feed themselves. In the final analysis, the encomenderos regarded their
sevenths of the Indian population of Middle America were wiped out. Other areas of the
                                                                                                   charges as a just reward for their participation in conquest or for some service rendered the
Americas suffered proportional de- creases. The accelerating deaths, the abuses, and the
                                                                                                   crown. They adamantly refused to do the menial labor themselves; the encomienda provided
enslavement enraged the churchmen, particularly the Dominicans, who forcefully reminded
                                                                                                   the means to get work done. Their powerful lobby at court persuaded Charles to modify his
the king of his obligations.
       The papal approval of Iberian territorial claims made it clear that the monarchs must
                                                                                                         Still the king's mind would not rest; he realized that in the encomenderos he had a strong
Christianize, civilize, and protect the Indians, a responsibility the kings took very seriously.
                                                                                                   rival for power in the New World. The conquest of highly disciplined, sedentary Indian
At great expense, the monarchs dispatched missionaries to preach to the heathens and to
                                                                                                   empires in the highlands of Middle and South America increased the strength of the
convert them. The lot of the early missionaries was extremely difficult. Not only did they
                                                                                                   encomenderos who controlled those Indians. The growing potential of a challenge from the
have to master the Indian languages, win the Indians' confidence, and persuade them to
                                                                                                   encomendero class determined the monarch to take action. As in the past, the king's jealousy
embrace Catholicism, but they had to fight against the planters and miners who feared
                                                                                                   over his power in the New World coincided with religious concern over the welfare of the
religious interference with their labor system. They had every cause for that fear .Alarmed
by the declining numbers of their charges, the churchmen raised their voices in defense of
                                                                                                          Religious pressures had been mounting again. The strongest voice raised in defense of
their neophytes to protest the practices of the colonists and to prod the royal conscience. In
                                                                                                   the Indians was that of Bartolome de las Casas, a Dominican missionary and later bishop.
their anger and concern, they took the Indians' case directly to the monarchs to whom they
                                                                                                   Indignant, he returned to Spain from the Caribbean in 1515 to plead before Ferdinand the
vividly reported the mistreatment and enslavement of their American subjects.
                                                                                                   cause of the Indians. For the next half-century he pressed their case. Las Casas sternly
       These prods to King Ferdinand's conscience coupled with his own political misgivings
                                                                                                   reminded the monarch that the Pope had granted him territory in the New World solely for
about the increasing power of the encomendero class prompted him to take action to control
                                                                                                   the purpose of converting the heathen. Thus, he argued, Spain had no right to use the natives
the encomiendas. In 1512, he promulgated the Laws of Burgos, the first general code for the
                                                                                                   for secular goals. He requested that all Spaniards except the missionaries be recalled.
government and instruction of the Indians. Its purpose was to regulate Spanish-Indian
                                                                                                   Foremost among those who opposed Las Casas was Juan Gines de Sepulveda, who relied
relations and insure the fair humane treatment of the Indians. By so doing, the crown would
                                                                                                   heavily on Aristotelian theory for his arguments. Because of the intellectual superiority of the
limit and supervise the power of the encomenderos over the Indians. The theory as
                                                                                                   Europeans, Sepulveda reasoned, the Indians should be subjected to them in a kind of natural
pronounced in Madrid sounded fine-it amply demonstrated the noble intention of the king to
                                                                                                   servitude, which would pennit the Indians to improve themselves by observing a better
protect his Indian subjects-but the royal officers in the Indies found it difficult if not
                                                                                                   example of virtue, devotion, and industry .Las Casas won the debates. Pope Paul III indicated
impossible to translate theory into practice. They faced the protests, threats, and power of the
                                                                                                   his support of the cause of Las Casas by a bull in 1537 declaring that the Indians were fully
angry encomenderos.
                                                                                                   capable of receiving the faith of Christ, that is, that they possessed souls and should not be
       cortes immediately and successfully transplanted the institution to Mexico where he
                                                                                                   deprived of their liberty and property.
 liberally divided up the Indians among his followers. For himself, he allotted an encomienda
                                                                                                          In response to both his fear and conscience, Charles promulgated the New Laws in
 of 100,000 Indians. The others were considerably smaller. Although royal officials in Santo
                                                                                                   1542. They forbade the enslavement of the Indians, their compulsory personal service, the
 Domingo approved his action, the crown by 1519 was reluctant to see the encomienda
                                                                                                   granting of new encomiendas, and the inheritance of encomiendas. More positively they
 spread. In fact, in 1520, Charles V abolished the                                                 declared the Indians to be free persons, vassals of the crown, and possessed of their own free
                                                                                                   will. The colonists protested vehemently. Rebellion threatened in Mexico, but in Peru
                                                                                                   encomenderos rose up to defy the law. Once again
                                                                                                                                                                          The Institutions of Empire 31
30 The Institutions of Empire

under extreme pressure, the monarch modified some of the laws and revoked others. Still,
although the encomienda would continue for some time in parts of the sprawling American               hunted to enslave, always explaining to questioning churchmen or crown officials that they
empire, the king had checked it. After the midsixteenth century the institution waned. The            had captured their Indian slaves in a. .just ' , war .
state exerted even greater control over the declining Indian population.                                   After their arrival in 1549, the Jesuits spoke out to protect the Indians. In the sixteenth
      Replacing the encomienda as the major labor institution in Spanish America was the              and seventeenth centuries, three notable Jesuits, Manuel da N6b~ga, Jose de Anchieta, and
repartimiento, the temporary allotment of Indian workers for a given task. Significantly,             Antonio Vieira, who had influence both in Brazil and at court, vigorously defended the
under this institution royal authorities controlled and parceled out the Indians. The Spanish         Indians. They reminded the Portuguese monarch of his obligations. On the other hand, the
colonist in need of laborers applied to a royal official explaining both the work to be done          planters sent their own representatives to court to present their point of view. Domingos
and the time it would take and requesting a specific number of Indians to do it. In theory, the       Jorge Velho tersely summarized the planters' point of view to the crown in 1694:
crown officials looked after the welfare of the Indians to insure that the payment was fair and
the working conditions satisfactory; in practice, abuses of the repartimiento system
                                                                                                         And if we subsequently use them [ the Indians 1 for our tillage and husbandry , we do them no
abounded. The planters and miners constantly badgered the royal officials to bend the system             injustice; for this is done as much to support them and their children as to support us and ours;
to better fit local needs. The institution flourished in the last half of the sixteenth century and      This is so different from enslaving them that it is rather doing them a priceless service, since we
in the first half of the seventeenth, and in fact some vestige of the institution probably has           teach them to till, to sow, to reap, and to work for their keep- something which they did not know
never died out in those areas where the Indian populations are still heaviest. A traveler to             how to do before the whites taught them.
Guatemala in the midnineteenth century described the operation of the repartimiento in the
northern province of Verapaz in words that could have been written three centuries earlier. In        The debate over the role and place of the Indian within the empire, much like the one already
the twentieth century, the government of Jorge Ubico ( 1931-44) imposed a work law on the             under way in Spain, raged for several centuries.
Guatemalan Indians all too reminiscent of the aims of the repartimiento.                                    The monarchs sympathized with the Jesuits' case. As early as 1511, King Manuel I had
       In addition to furnishing an agricultural labor force, the repartimiento system also           ruled that no one was to harm his Indian subjects upon pain of the same punishment as if he
provided the major share of the workers for the mines in Spanish America. The state paid              had injured a European. In his instructions to the first governor- general of Brazil, John III
close attention to the labor situation in the mines, which furnished the single most important        called for tolerance, understanding, and forgiveness toward the Indians. Relations with them
source of its income. In the Viceroyalty of Peru, the Spaniards devised the burdensome mita           were to be above all else peaceful so they might more easily be Christianized. Finally, in
of Potosi, a special type of repartimiento, to work that rich lode. All adult male Indians of the     1605 and again in 1609, King Philip III declared that all Indians, whether Christian or
Peruvian Andes were subject to serve in the mita for one year out of every seven. Far from his        heathen, were by nature free, could not be forced to work, and must be paid for their work
home, the Indian miner worked under the most dangerous conditions and earned a wage                   when they volunteered it. Strong pressure from the planters, including riots in Brazil,
which did not suffice for half of his own and his family's expenses. Members of the family            induced him to modify his position in 1611 in order to permit once again the enslavement of
had to work in order to make up the difference.                                                       Indians taken in , , just' , warfare, a concession much abused. Repeated attempts were made
       As in Spanish America, the landowners in Brazil relied in part, at least in the sixteenth      to regulate the relations between Europeans and the Indians. The conflicts between the
century along the coast and for several more centuries in the interior and in the north, on the       Jesuits and planters over such regulations on occasion became violent. The high death rate
Indians as a source of labor. Some employed Indian labor from the aldeias, the villages. The          among the Indians exposed to European demands and diseases, their retreat into the interior,
crown and the religious orders working together did their best to concentrate the nomadic             their amalgamation into the new Brazilian society through miscegenation, and the increasing
Indians into villages, first organized and administered by the religious orders but after 1757        importation of Africans to supply the growing labor needs of the colony did more to solve
administered by the crown. Protected within the village, the Indians were introduced to               the complex question of Indian-European relations than did all the altruistic but impractical
Christianity and European civilization. In return, they gave a portion of their labor to the          or ignored legislation of the Portuguese kings.
Church and state. This part of the aldeia system resembled the encomienda. In addition,                      Already by the midsixteenth century there were virtually no Indians left in the West
planters could apply to the aldeia administrators for paid Indian workers to perform a specific       Indies, with the result that the importation of African slaves rose markedly, and the work
task for a specified period of time. In this respect, the aldeia system approximated the              force in the Caribbean became almost totally black. In Brazil, too, the diminishing number of
repartimiento. The aldeia system included only a small percentage of the Brazilian Indians.           Indians caused the planters to seek even larger numbers of African slaves, who by the end of
The rest the planters                                                                                 the sixteenth century furnished the most productive labor in Brazil. In the highland areas of
                                                                                                      Spanish America, the blacks never replaced the Indians.
                                                                                                             The continued decline of the Indian population in the seventeenth century
32 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                      The Institutions of Empire 33

intensified the competition among the landowners for the diminishing supply and prompted           land, which the Iberians rapidly grabbed up as their awareness of its value increased. A
them to devise a new method to ensure a more dependable labor system: they contracted the          series of legal devices confused the Indian and favored the Spaniard in acquiring land: the
Indians as wage laborers. The crown approved the development as a progressive step, the            congregacion, denuncia, and composicion. The congregacion concentrated the Indians in
creation of a large wage-earning class. To the monarch it seemed to verify that the Indians        villages and thereby opened land for seizure; the denuncia required the Indians to show legal
had been assimilated at last into the empire, that they had effect Europeanized.           claim and title to their property-a legality for which their ancient laws had not prepared
However, the system proved to be one more device of the landowners to exploit the labor of         them-and failure to do so meant that the land could be seized; the composicion was a means
the Indians. Contract wage labor became debt peonage. It tied the Indians and their                of claiming land through legal surveys, a concept once again for which the Indians had little
descendants, the rural working class in the agricultural society of the New World, to the          preparation. By these, as well as other means, the Spanish landowners steadily pushed the
landowner by debt. The hacendados made deceptively friendly loans to the Indians, loans            remaining Indians, whom they had not incorporated into their estates as peons, up the
which were to be repaid with labor. However, the wages paid for such labor never sufficed to       mountainsides and onto arid soils, in short, into the marginal lands. Coupled with the many
liquidate the debt. Fathers passed the debts on to sons and through this system, which lasts in    ways the Spaniards had of acquiring land were the entailment and primogeniture laws that
parts of Latin America today, the landowners assured themselves of a ready labor supply.           protected the land and prohibited its division. The Spanish crown tolerated, if it did not
     It is obvious that the search for a viable labor system in Latin America was long and         encourage, the large landholdings in its American possessions.
convoluted. In the Caribbean and in Brazil the Indians were enslaved or held in encomiendas               For their part, the Portuguese monarchs, critical of the inefficiency of the large
and aldeias. Their numbers declined rapidly. The Brazilian and Carib- bean planters                fazendas, most of whose land lay fallow and hence unproductive, belatedly tried to reverse
eventually solved their labor shortages by importing African slaves. In the highland regions       the course that was already well underway in Brazil. Repeatedly, promulgated decrees
of Spanish America, the effort to solve the labor problem evolved through three stages:            sought vainly to limit the size of the estates: in 1695, single sesmarias were limited to four-
encomienda, repartimiento, and debt peonage. The three systems often overlapped. In parts          by-one leagues in size; in 1697, they were reduced to three by one; and in 1699, all land not
of the vast Spanish American empire they existed simultaneously. Although presented above          under cultivation was to be expropriated, and so on throughout the eighteenth century .One
in an overly schematized version, there was, nonetheless, a discernible, general trend which       of the viceroys late in the eighteenth century , the Marquis of Lavradio, complained bitterly
reflected a gradual progression through the three labor systems.                                   that the huge estates, poorly managed and often only partially cultivated, retarded the
     After an initial adjustment to the New World, the Iberians coveted the land as much as        development of Brazil. He pointed to the unused fields held by their owners as symbols of
they did the Indians. Ownership of land became a basis for wealth and prestige. From the           prestige, while at the same time he noted that farmers petitioned him for land to till. Some of
beginning the adelantados had distributed land among their followers as a reward for services      the regions had to import food that they were perfectly capable of producing themselves.
rendered. The officers separately received large shares of land as well as grants of Indians.      Nonetheless, the latifundia which originated at the birth of the colony remained as a
The common soldiers received appropriate quantities of land but usually were not granted           dominant characteristic of Brazil as it did of Spanish America.
any Indians. It will be recalled that on his second voyage Columbus parceled out both the                 Some of the haciendas and fazendas achieved immense proportions. There were
land and Indians among the colonists he left behind.                                               instances of haciendas in Mexico exceeding I million acres. In Brazil the unmeasurable ranch
     In 1532, Martim Afonso, when he founded the first permanent settlement in Brazil at           of Diaz d' Avila by all accounts surpassed most European states in size. Begun in the late
S3.o Vicente, near the present-day Santos, distributed the land with a lavish hand to his          sixteenth century in northern Bahia, it centered on the sao Francisco River and extended
followers. In his generosity he established a pattern of land distribution quite contrary to the   almost endlessly into the interior. The huge estates were worlds in themselves.
prevailing custom in Portugal. Since 1375, the Portuguese kings had sparingly parceled out                The Luso-Brazilians quickly developed the prototype of the plantation economy, thanks
the sesmarias, the traditional land grants, so that no one person received more than he could       to the ready and profitable market they found in Europe for sugar , a crop which grew
effectively cultivate. Martim Afonso ignored such a precaution. As a consequence, the good          exceedingly well along the coast from Maranhao to sao Vicente. By 1550, Pernambuco, the
coastal land was quickly divided into immense sugar plantations, and not many more decades          richest and most important of the sixteenth-century captaincies, produced enough sugar in its
elapsed before the huge sesmarias in the interior for cattle ranches put much of the backlands      fifty mills to load annually forty or fifty ships for Europe .The Brazilian sugar plantations
under claims as well.                                                                               flourished during the last half of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries, as
                                                                                                    the mills busily ground the cane into sugar for the international market. The economic
     Over the generations many of the original grants of land grew to gigantic proportions.         pattern of a single crop for international trade was early fastened onto Brazil. In Spanish
The more astute landowners bought out their neighbors or simply encroached upon other               America, for a long time the haciendas produced for local markets. One of their chief
lands. The declining Indian population freed more and more                                          responsibilities was
34 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                     The Institutions of Empire 35

to feed the mining towns. Only as the eighteenth century neared did the haciendas enter into       geographic position closer to the European markets than Brazil and many of the Spanish-
international trade on a scale comparable to that of the Brazilian plantations.                    American producers. The result was that the sugar economies of the three European rivals of
       The type of life exemplified by the hacienda or fazenda often has been termed               Portugal prospered, while the economies of the traditional producer languished. In mining,
"feudal," a term which carries a strong emotional overtone connoting exploitation; Certainly       the Spaniards made an effort to introduce new methods and to establish schools of mining,
the classical feudalism of medieval society did not appear in the New World. Weak though           but often even in that vital economic activity they were slower to modernize than they might
his power might have been in some of the remoter areas, the king never relinquished the            have been. With quick and large profits as its goal, the economy of Latin America was
prerogatives of sovereignty to the landlords. Royal law prevailed. Nor does the self-sufficient    largely speculative and hence subject to wide variations. The patrimonial system of land and
manorial system properly describe the large estates, because for all their self-sufficiency they   labor contributed to the fluctuations and the inefficiency. In sum, the economy of Latin
were closely tied by their one major cash crop to the capitalistic economy. Perhaps the            America was not geared to its own best interests but to the making of immediate profits for
patrimonialism defined by Max Weber comes closest to describing the system. Under                  the Iberian metropolises.
patrimonialism, the landowner exerts authority over his followers as one aspect of his                  The momentary success of the economic dilettantism lulled the Iberians into a false
property ownership. Those who live on his land fall under his control. He could use armed          sense of prosperity and satisfaction. Content with the patterns of the past, more given to the
force arbitrarily to enforce his authority within the bounds of his estate. With such authority,   medieval than the modern, they evinced little inclination for change. On the other hand, in
he administers his estate in a highly personal manner according to his own whims and               the seventeenth century , England began to industrialize, to experiment with commercial
without any set table of organization. Finally he controls all trade between his estate and the    innovations, and to expand its trade. The English were pioneering a new path to economic
outside world. Patrimonialism seems to describe best the hacienda and fazenda systems as           prosperity that the Iberians showed slight interest in following.
they developed in colonial Latin America.                                                               With varying degrees of success, Spain and Portugal implemented mercantilist policies.
      The plantations, ranches, and mines provided a rich and varied source of income for the      They hoped to use their overseas domains to supply themselves with a variety of products
Iberian monarchs, capitalists, and merchants. Sugar , tobacco, cacao, indigo, woods, cotton,       that could not be produced at home and to sell the surpluses to other European nations. The
gold, silver, diamonds, and hides were some of the natural products the American colonies          object, of course, was to maintain exports in excess of imports, the desired "commercial
offered to the Old World. Both Lisbon and Madrid relied heavily on the raw products of their       balance. " The possession of bullion supposedly marked a successful mercantilist program,
American colonies for their foreign trade. For example, for many years the products of Brazil      but the discovery of great quantities of silver in Mexico and Peru and gold in Colombia and
constituted approximately two-thirds of Portugal's export trade. Indeed, in the seventeenth        Brazil in reality disguised the weaknesses in Iberian mercantilist policies. The precious
century , the Iberian Peninsula depended on the New World for its prosperity. Curiously,           metals enriched Iberian coffers only momentarily. Not exclusively as a supplier of bullion
Latin America enriched Europe while impoverishing itself.                                          but in all ways, the Americas were expected to be a source of wealth to the motherlands.
      An abundance of economic possibilities may well have been more a curse than a                Royal officials tended to look upon them as a great' 'milk cow, ' , which could be exploited
blessing since it permitted, indeed, encouraged, an economic dilettantism that handicapped         for the benefit of the crown, the metropolis, and-not least of all-the bureaucrats sent to the
orderly development. Despite a dazzling potential, the regional economies of colonial Latin        New World. The brilliant Brazilian satirical poet of the seventeenth century, Gregorio de
America never diversified. They relied for their well-being on a single natural product whose      Matos, noted:
sale abroad dictated the course of colonial prosperity. If a particular product sold well, an
entire region prospered; if not, stagnation and misery engulfed that region. External demand
dictated the colonial well-being, a dependence exaggerated by stubborn reliance on one
export. The colonies had no control over their own economic destiny. Nor did the Iberians               The Brazilians are beasts, Hard at
ever achieve much notable efficiency in the exploitation of those natural products with which           work their lives long In order to
                                                                                                        support Portuguese knaves
a generous nature endowed them. More often than not, haphazard, old-fashioned, and
inefficient methods characterized their exploitation. The case of sugar is an excellent
example. The Portuguese held almost a monopoly on the production of that lucrative export               Spain went farther than Portugal in controlling the trade of the New World. Only
for well over a century. Between 1650 and 1715, the Dutch, English, and French increased           Spaniards were to traffic with the overseas domains. All commerce between the New World
production of sugar in the Caribbean, employing efficient organization, new equipment, and         and Spain fell under the direction of the Casa de Contratacion, aided by the consulados,
their extensive financial resources and enjoying a favorable                                       trade associations of merchants, at home and overseas. The Casa authorized only Cadiz and
                                                                                                   Seville as the ports to trade with Spanish America and Vera Cruz and Portobelo were
                                                                                                   designated their counterparts in the Americas. Under the protective guns of the royal navy,
                                                                                                   two fleets sailed each year , one to Vera Cruz, the other to Portobelo. These two fleets
                                                                                                   returned bearing the products of Spanish Middle
     36 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                             The Institutions of Empire 37

and South America. Carefully as the restrictions on trade were enforced, contraband still         1785 prohibiting all manufacturing in Portuguese America. Spain was less inclined to
flourished-to which the slow but constant growth of Buenos Aires, after it was reestablished      enforce its restrictions. A healthy textile industry developed that provided cotton and woolen
in 1580, testified. The English, French, and Dutch were only too eager to enter the markets       cloth for the lower classes. Flourishing artisans produced furniture, glass- ware, shoes, tiles,
of the New World, and from time to time European wars and diplomacy forced the                    and tools.
Spaniards to legalize one or another aspect of that contraband trade. A later device to                Not all the mercantilist policy was negative. Within the confines of the policy, the two
eliminate contraband trade as well as to encourage the development of neglected regions           crowns tried to encourage the production of new crops that would find a ready market in the
was the formation in Spain of monopolistic companies with exclusive rights in the New             metropolises or in Europe. Though meeting with frequent frustrations, the Marquis of
World. The most important of the monopolistic companies were the Honduras Company,                Lavradio diversified the Brazilian economy by promoting the production of indigo, rice, and
founded in 1714; the Caracas or Guipuzcoa Company, 1728; the Havana Company, 1740;                wheat. Captain General Matias de Gillvez with the full encouragement of the Bourbon
and the Santo Domingo Company, 1757. All of these companies, with the exception of the            monarchy did all he could to increase Central America's indigo exports. Lack of imagination
Guipuzcoa, failed to turn a profit. The crown itself exercised many monopolies including          on the part of the two governments , the merchants-both in the Americas and in Europe-and
salt, pepper , quicksilver, gunpowder, and stamped paper.                                         the local fanners probably did as much to hinder economic diversification and growth as did
      Portuguese mercantilism was never as effective as that of its neighbor, particularly        stern mercantile decrees.
before 1750. Attempts were made sporadically to organize annual fleets to and from Brazil
protected by men-of-war, but the highly decentralized Portuguese trade patterns and a
shortage of the merchant and war ships caused innumerable difficulties . Between the
                                                                                                  The State
midseventeenth and mideighteenth centuries the crown partially succeeded in instituting a
fleet system for the protection of Brazilian shipping. Still it never functioned as well as the
Spanish convoys. Economic companies fared little better. The crown licensed four: the             Spain and Portugal ruled their American empires for more than three centuries, a remarkable
Brazil Company, 1649; the Maranhao Company, 1678; the General Para and Maranhao                   longevity that places them among the great imperial powers of all time. Both can rightly
Company, 1755; and the Pemambuco and Paraiba Company, 1759. In general the companies              claim considerable political success for maintaining such vast empires for such a long period
were unpopular with the residents of Brazil and the merchants, both in Portugal and Brazil.       of time. They owed that success to quite different concepts of imperial organization. The
The Brazilians criticized them for abusing their monopolies and raising prices with               Spanish colonial administration was relatively well organized, the hierarchical ranks were
impunity. The merchants disapproved of the monopolies, which eliminated them from much            rather well defined, and the chain of command was reasonably easy to recognize. Not so in
trade, and accused the companies of charging outlandish freight rates. All sides bombarded        the Portuguese empire. It was loosely organized, the institutions less well defined and more
the companies with charges of inefficiency. The only one that seemed to have achieved             transitory .Although the overlapping of duties on the one hand and the failure to assign
some degree of success was the General Para and Maranhao Company, which brought both              responsibility on the other characterized some of the Spanish imperial administration, it was
capital and labor to a region chronically short of both and significantly increased both rice     a much more pronounced characteristic of the Portuguese government. In the eighteenth
and cotton production there. Monopolies flourished. Brazilwood, salt, tobacco, slaves, and        century , the Portuguese began to regularize and better define their imperial administration.
diamonds, to mention a few, felt at one time or another the lethargic hand of monopolistic             The concept of government markedly differed from concepts discussed in contemporary
bureaucracy.                                                                                      courses on political theory .Few of the political subtleties we must reckon with today had yet
       Fearful that the colonies might relax their efforts to produce the raw products most in    developed. There was neither division of power, nor any distinction between branches of
demand in Europe, royal officials kept a sharp eye peeled for unnecessary diversification of      government. Church and state were practically one, and although secular and ecclesiastical
the economy. They forbad Brazil or Spanish America to produce anything that the Iberian           officials bickered and squabbled among themselves, the two institutions buttressed each
nations already produced or could furnish. For example, in 1590, the crown prohibited grape       other, together preserving order and stability in the empires for centuries. All power rested in
cultivation in Brazil because Portugual already produced a surplus of wines. With few             the hands of the monarch who was the state. He made, executed, and judged the laws. On the
exceptions the colonies were not encouraged to manufacture. The motherlands wanted to             one hand, he formulated the general concepts that governed the empires, and, on the other, he
supply all the needed manufactured goods and earn for themselves the profits for doing so.        decreed a staggering array of minutely detailed laws such as the setting of prices in the
Fear that an incipient industry might develop to the detriment of its mercantilist goals          marketplaces or ordering the type of clothing the Indians would wear. He protected and
prompted the Portuguese monarch to promulgate a long series of decrees, from that of 1578         governed the Church within his vast domains. Indeed, he ruled by divine right. The king was
forbidding the blacksmith Bartolomeu Fernandes of Sao Vicente to teach his profession to          the unquestioned authority in whom all power was vested and from whom all power
that of                                                                                           emanated. That power was great, and yet tradition as well as natural
38 The Institutions of Empire
                                                                                                                                                                   The Institutions of Empire 39

and divine law imposed some limitations on its exercise. Still, the mystique and tradition of
the monarchy gave the institution such force that no one questioned the king's right to rule or    link between the local and Iberian elite. Since so many of the officials had direct access to
refused his loyalty to the crown. In all matters the king spoke the final word.                    royal ears, there was considerable reporting and ..tattling," which made all overseas
       The monarchs proved to be very jealous of their powers. Both the Portuguese and             personnel cautious. The kings encouraged it. Furthermore, officials might receive at any
Spanish rulers made the initial error of delegating too much authority to subordinates in the      time a visita, an on-the-spot investigation to which all subordinates could be subjected. At
New World. We have already seen that the Spanish monarchs, regretting the grant of so              the end of all terms of office, each administrator could expect a residencia, a judicial inquiry
much power to the adelantados and encomenderos, reversed them- selves, and tried to restore        into his public behavior. All these checks required an immense amount of paperwork, a
that authority to the crown. The Portuguese monarch had made an identical error. In 1532-          characteristic abundantly evident in all Iberian bureaucracy. A multitude of lawyers, scribes,
34, in order to colonize Brazil without reaching into the royal coffers, he had distributed        and notaries in all the major cities testified to the fascination with and importance of legal
Brazil in the form of large captaincies to 12 donataries who were to enjoy broad powers in         and bureaucratic matters. Thanks to that legal obsession elaborate law codes were drawn up
return for colonizing the American domains. By 1548, John III reversed his early decision          in the Old World to govern the New. A monument to Spanish legalism was the famed
and began to reassert his authority over the captaincies so recently bestowed with a lavish        Recopilaci6n de Leyes de las Indias, which in 1681 brought together many scattered laws,
hand on court favorites. Once they had decided to assert absolute control over the American        enactments, and decrees governing the New World. It served as a supplementary code for
colonies, the monarchs never ceased their efforts to centralize power in their hands.              Spanish law. Portugal too had its monumental law codes: the Ordena~Oes Afonsinas, 1486-
       The great distances between the Iberian Peninsula and the New World and the                 1514; the Ordena~Oes Manuelinas, 1514-1603; and the C6digo Filipino, promulgated in
slowness of communication and travel worked to confer considerable local autonomy on               1603 and in full use in Brazil unti11823, although parts of it remained in use until 1916
officials in the New World and to permit some irregularities. What it meant in practice was        when the Brazilian Civil Code was enacted. Frequently amended and supplemented, they
that the kings could only hope to dictate the broad outlines of policy, leaving much of the        uniformly governed the entire Portuguese empire regardless of their applicability or lack of
interpretation and implementation up to colonial and local officials. Obedezco pero no             it. The concern with law and legalities among the Iberians helped to make the monarchs'
cumplo ("I obey but I do not fulfill") became the accepted way for New World officials to          task of ruling far-flung empires easier.
manifest their loyalty to the Spanish crown while bending the laws to suit local situations.              Considering the size of the American colonies, the scant number of small and scattered
The philosophy of acknowledging the king's authority without enforcing his will-as common          garrisons, the few soldiers, and the handful of royal officials, almost all of whom resided in
in Brazil as in Spanish America-accounts, at least in part, for the longevity of the empires. It   the most populous cities, the extent of metropolitan control over the American colonies was
permitted a certain flexibility in the laws that could accommodate many interests, the             nothing short of remarkable. It must be concluded then that the crowns maintained their
monarch's as well as the colonist's. The many laws and edicts emanating from Iberia                authority and control principally through the power of legitimacy. The Americans accepted
represented the wishes of the crowns, but complex and powerful pressures in the New World          the system, rarely questioned it, and seldom challenged it. When they did question or
influenced the colonial administrators to consider the diverse local desires and needs. The        challenge the system prior to the end of the eighteenth century , they quickly and easily
results were legal and governmental systems that probably pleased neither the crowns nor           acceded to the forceful imposition of the royal will. I popular uprisings, mostly motivated by
their representatives in the Americas, but the system which resulted from the compromises          economic discontent, did break out periodically. The populace reacted to specific grievances
did work surprisingly well.                                                                        rather than adhered to any philosophical current advocating change. For their part, the
      To keep their royal officials and their subjects in check, the Iberian monarchs had at       American elites, feeling they had more to gain through cooperation with the metropolises,
their disposal many useful instruments. They sent out to the New World only officials of           lent their considerable authority to the maintenance of the imperial system. They eyed change
unquestioned loyalty. At best they suspected that the colonies increased in everyone' 'the         with caution if not outright suspicion.
spirit of ambition and the relaxation of virtues. ' , For that reason they hesitated to appoint           Although the power rested in the hands of the kings, no one person, regardless of how
many Americans to the highest colonial posts. They frankly suspected their loyalty. The            gifted he might have been, could have ruled the immense empires to which the Iberian
Portuguese monarchs were more prone to appoint Brazilians to high office than were the             monarchs held claim. They required administrative assistance, and in seeking it they
Spanish monarchs willing to name Americans to elevated offices in the New World.                   developed the administrative machinery for their empires.
Americans, however, occupied many of the minor posts, and as the empires matured they                     Brazil constituted only one portion, albeit an immense one, of the global Portuguese
increasingly held influential ecclesiastical, military , and political positions. Despite royal    empire. Because of the profits first from sugar and later from gold, it emerged as Portugal's
frowns, the Iberian officials at times married into distinguished American families, and           most valuable overseas possession. Still, until the royal house of Braganza moved its court
marriage thereby provided a                                                                        from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro in 1807, Brazil was governed by no special laws or institutions
                                                                                                   that would have distinguished it as a separate, distinct, or privileged entity within the larger
                                                                                                   empire. Reviewing colonial
40 The Institutions of Empire
                                                                                                                                                                     The Institutions of Empire 41

Brazil's political evolution-its continuous advance from a simple to a complex state-over the        direct access to the king's ear and were, of course, responsible to him. Together these
course of three centuries, two general characteristics stand out. First, governmental control        secretaries, ministers, and organs formed the principal bureaucratic apparatus in Lisbon that
over Brazil grew stronger, even though that process might have been erratic at times. By             enabled the monarch to rule his scattered overseas domains. Their experience and expertise
1807, the king, his viceroy, and his governors exercised more power more effectively than at         made that rule more effective-at least in theory .
any time previously. Second, the political status of Brazil slowly improved throughout the                 In Brazil, representatives of the royal government administered that colony. At the apex
course of three centuries. A central government under a governor-general began to exercise           stood the governor-general, after 1720 called the viceroy. His effectiveness depended largely
authority in 1549 to bring some order and justice to the unhappy and generally ineffective           on his own strengths and weaknesses. Those viceroys who were vigorous exerted
rule of the donataries in their captaincies. In 1646, the king elevated Brazil to the status of a    considerable influence over the colony. Those who were weak found themselves almost
principality, and thereafter the heir to the throne was known as the Prince of Brazil. After         unable to control the capital city and their powers eroded by ambitious bishops and
1720, all the chiefs of government of Brazil bore the title of viceroy. Although no document         subordinate bureaucrats. The viceroys of the eighteenth century tended to be stronger and
exists to show the exact date of its elevation, Brazil was in effect a viceroyalty thereafter.       more effective administrators than their predecessors, with, of course, many exceptions
Finally, Prince-Regent John raised Brazil to a kingdom in 1815, thus, at least in theory ,           taken into account. Outstanding were the Conde de Sabugosa (1720-35), the Marquis de
putting it on an equal footing with Portugal.                                                        Lavradio (1769-79), and Luis de Vasconcelos e Sousa ( 1779-90) .The king' s chief
       Portugal was well into the sixteenth century before the rulers made any distinction           representatives in Brazil served for an average term of 6-1/2 years in the sixteenth century ,
between home and overseas affairs. Never did the crown authorize a special body to handle            3-1/2 years in the seventeenth century , and slightly less than 6 years in the eighteenth
exclusively Brazilian matters. Local administrators did become adept, however, in adapting           century .Most of them were professional soldiers and members of the nobility.
the general imperial codes and fiats to suit the local scene. They had to. The third governor-              Salvador da Bahia served as the first seat of the central government of Brazil. A
general of Brazil, Mem de sa, confided to the king, , 'This land ought not and cannot be ruled       splendid port, in the early nineteenth century it boasted a population of approximately
by the laws and customs of Portugal; if Your Highness was not quick to pardon, it would be           lOO,000, making it, after Lisbon, the second city of the empire. In 1763, the seat of the
difficult to colonize Brazil."                                                                       viceroyalty moved southward to Rio de Janeiro. A foreign challenge to the southern extreme
       The king could not rule his vast domains unaided. A variety of administrative organs          of the colony prompted the transfer. Foreign threats to the north- eastern sugar coast ended
that, in the practice of the times, exercised a combination of consultative, executive, judicial,    after the defeat and expulsion of the Dutch in 1654. The West Indies thereafter attracted most
and fiscal functions assisted him. One of the most important of those bodies was the Overseas        of the attention of the European maritime powers .However, by the end of the seventeenth
Council {Conselho Ultramarino) created by John IV in 1642. It was the evolutionary result of         century , Portuguese America faced a growing, threat from the Spanish in the Platine region.
considerable experience, numbering among its distinguished predecessors the Indian Board             In 1680, the Portuguese had founded the settlement of Colonia do Sacramento on the left
{Casa da India) and the Council for India and Overseas Conquests {Conselho da India e                bank of the Rio de la Plata, across from Buenos Aires. The Spanish challenge to Portuguese
Conquistas Ultramarinas). The presi- dent, secretary , and three councilors of the Overseas          claims to the region caused a century and a half of intense rivalry and frequent warfare along
Council usually had served in the colonies, and during its history the council included many         the Plata. The Portuguese crown felt it necessary to have the viceroy nearer the scene of
who had resided in Brazil. The council divided itself into standing committees to treat the          military operations and so moved the capital 800 miles southward. Also, economic crises in
various military , administrative, judicial, and ecclesiastical matters. Its primary duty was to     the mining regions of the southeast suggested that it might be wise to have the viceroy closer
advise the king. Increasingly it showed greater concern for commercial matters.                      to those vitally important economic centers. Furthermore, the shift of the capital reflected a
      Other governmental organs continued to have dual metropolitan and colonial                     broader population shift during the eighteenth century from the northeast to the southeast.
responsibilities. A Treasury Council {Conselho da Fazenda) created in 1591 to replace the                    The governors-general and later the viceroys depended on a growing bureaucracy to
Treasury Supervisors {Vedores da Fazenda) administered public finances and the treasury .A            carry out their primary functions of administering the colony, overseeing its military
Board of Conscience and Religious Orders {Mesa da Consciencia e Ordens) established in                preparedness, dispensing the king' s justice, and enforcing taxes. Of greatest importance was
1532 advised the Crown on Indian matters. FinallyaCasada Suplica~ao served as a supreme               the High Court (Rela~ao), the first of which was established in Bahia in 1609 under the
court for many colonial judicial disputes.                                                            presidency of the governor-general. A second was established in Rio de Janeiro in 1751.
      A royal secretary or secretary of state, who, after 1736, bore the title of Minister of Navy    These courts primarily had judicial responsibilities: they functioned as the highest law
and Overseas, also assisted the monarchs in their imperial rule. These ministers became               tribunals in Brazil from which there was limited appeal to the Casa da Suplica~ao in Lisbon.
increasingly important in the last half of the eighteenth century .The ministers, as well as          They reviewed the conduct of all officials at the end of their terms of office. Secondarily they
other close advisers to the crown, were selected because of loyal and often rigorous service          served as consultative and administra-
and enjoyed unqualified royal confidence. They had
      42 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                 The Institutions of Empire 43

tive organs. When the governor-general absented himself from the capital, the highest               cised economic power, and shaped the dominant cultural values. The American producers of
member of the court usually governed in his place. The governor-general often requested the         wealth resented the royal restrictions that limited demand and thus income and power. While
advice of the legally trained judges on a host of judicial and administrative matters. Tax          the monarchs encouraged the capitalist trends toward greater productivity, they also kept
questions and the supervision of the treasury were the responsibility of another bureau, the        their subjects from trading directly with European markets, a desire ever more strongly
Board of Revenue (Junta da Fazenda).                                                                expressed by the Americans as the eighteenth century drew to a close. The American desire
      The nation we know today as Brazil was divided during most of the colonial period into        to enter the capitalist market and the imperial (and monopolistic) policies of the crowns
two states. The state of Brazil, about which we have talked thus far, was by far the more           charted a course of conflict that prompted the exercise of greater royal control.
important of the two, but it should be noted that another, very impoverished colony existed in             The absolutist tendencies noticeable during the long reign of John V, 1706-50, found
the far north, the state of Maranh3-o. The government of Maranh3-o was similar to that of           their instrument of perfection in the person of the Marquis of Pombal, who ruled through the
Brazil, only seemingly less well defined. Nor did the northern state ever develop the vitality      weak Joseph I, 1750- 77. An ardent nationalist, Pombal hoped to strengthen his economically
of the southern one. It depended even more heavily upon Lisbon. The king appointed a                moribund country through better and fuller utilization of its colonies, the foremost of which
governor-general and a chief justice after the state was established in 1621. A slow growth         unquestionably was Brazil. To better exploit Portuguese America, he centralized and
and a scanty population negated the need for a high court and none was ever authorized. In          standardized its government. He abolished the state of Maranhao in 1772, and incorporated it
1751, the capital was transferred from S3-o Luis to Belem, a smaller although an                    into the state of Brazil, creating for the first time (at least in theory) a single, unified
increasingly more active port which for some time had been the effective center of the state.       Portuguese colony in the New World. After the unification of the two states, Pombal
In recognition of the growing importance of the Amazon, the king created in 1755 the                encouraged trade between them so that commerce would further cement political integration.
Captaincy ofS3-o Jose do Rio Negro (the present-day Amazonas), subordinate to the                   An impatient enemy of the hereditary captaincies, the prime minister dissolved the remaining
Captaincy of Paril.                                                                                 ones, with one minor exception, and brought them under direct royal control. As a further
      Captaincies were the principal territorial subdivisions of the two states. Repre-             measure to fortify royal authority, Pombal expelled the Company of Jesus from the empire in
sentatives and appointees of the king, the governors or captains-general of those captaincies       1759. He accused that powerful order of challenging the secular government and of
carried out the same responsibilities on a regional level as the governor- general or viceroy       interposing itself between the king and his Indian subjects. Pombal strengthened the
did on a broader scale. The governor-general was charged with overseeing, coordinating, and         government's hand in both the education and care of the Indians. For good or for bad, he
harmonizing their efforts. Here, as in so many in- stances, theory and practice diverged.           ended the isolation enforced upon them by the church-controlled aldeias. By requiring the
Distance, the varying effectiveness of personalities, intrigue, and vagueness of the law often      Indians to speak Portuguese, dress like Europeans, and adopt useful trades and crafts, and by
meant that the governor-general was only first among equals and sometimes unable to exert           encouraging whites to intermarry with them, he attempted to bring them within the Luso-
any authority in the captaincies. In times of crisis, particularly those brought about by fear of   Brazilian community. Finally, he tried to restrict some of the independence of the municipal
a foreign attack on a coastal city or Spanish expansion into southern Brazil, the military          governments, and although it is true that these local governments exercised less freedom than
authority of the governor-general or viceroy increased. His martial powers may well have            they had in their heyday, the seven- teenth century, they still continued to be active and
been his strongest. However, more often than not, the lines of communication ran from the           important centers for local politics.
capital of each captaincy directly to the king, seldom passing through the colonial capital. In            The municipal government was the one with which most Brazilians came into contact
truth, the governor-general and his later successor, the viceroy, never exercised the same           and the only one in which they participated to any degree. Governing much more than just
degree of control or authority as their counterparts in Spanish America.                             the town and its environs, the municipality extended out to meet equidistant the boundaries
      Royal control over Brazil tightened during the eighteenth century .In part, the drive          of the next. In sparsely settled Brazil, the municipalities contained hundreds, often thousands
toward greater imperial efficiency reflected an Iberian reaction to classical capitalism.            of square miles. European countries seemed dwarfs compared to some of these municipal
Attracted by English productivity and economic vigor, the Iberians sought to incorporate             giants.
some of that capitalist model but at the same time to isolate their American empires from the              The most important institution of local government was the sellQdo da camara, the
temptations of free trade with the aggressive merchants of northern Europe. The state                municipal council. A restricted suffrage of the homens bons, which is to say the propertied
intensified its dominant regulatory role, while the privately owned means of production              class, elected two justices of the peace, three aldermen, and a procurator to office every three
provided the strength of the New World economies. The plantations and haciendas produced             years. At first the presiding officer was selected by the other councilmen, but by the end of
their major crops for sale, demand dictated incomes, and incomes in turn regulated                   the seventeenth century , the crown was appointing a presiding officer in the most important
production. Emphasis fell on the acquisition of wealth. Those few who amassed it enjoyed             towns and cities. The duties of the council
political influence, exer-
       44 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                  The Institutions of Empire 45

varied. Meeting twice weekly; it meted out local justice, handled routine municipal business         basic family unit through their polygamous activities to include hosts of mestizo and mulatto
and local administration, and passed the necessary laws and regulations. The procurator              children. In fact, it was in and around the plantation house that European, Indian, and African
executed those laws. In cooperation with the church, the senado helped to oversee local              cultures blended together the most perfectly to create a Brazilian civilization. The traditional
charities. The municipality enjoyed its own source of income: rents from city property,              godparent relationship (compadrio) further ramified and reinforced the family structure.
license fees for tradesmen, taxes on certain foodstuffs, charges for diverse services such as        Certain ideal models were set for the behavior of the women of the patriarch's family, who
the verification of weights and measures, and fines. The senado of sao Luis during the               were destined either for matrimony or religious orders. They were to remain virgins until
seventeenth century was particularly ambitious. So often did it summon the governor to               their marriage and to live separated from all men except their fathers , husbands, and sons. A
appear before it that the king in 1677 ordered it to desist forthwith, reminding the councilors      high value was placed on their duties as wives and mothers. Although women of other
that the governor represented the crown and could not be ordered around. Sometimes the               economic strata could not follow such an elitist model, they were certainly influenced by it.
senados and governors engaged in power struggles. At times the senados dared to challenge            Profoundly Christian and emphatically patriarchal, these family units set the social tone and
the crown itself. To protect their interests, the larger cities maintained a representative at the   pattern for the entire colony. The strongest of the families formed a landed aristocracy which
court in Lisbon as a sort of lobbyist.                                                               in the colonial period dominated the senados and later, in the imperial period, the newly
      As Brazil's foremost historian of the colonial period, Joao Capistrano de Abreu, has           independent national government.
pointed out, the senado frequently served as an arena-the first one-for the struggles betweeen             Brazil by the close of the eighteenth century was widely if thinly settled. Its steady
the mazombos, the whites born in Brazil, and the reinOis, the whites born in Portugal. The           expansion from a narrow coastal band to subcontinental size represents one of the most
Portuguese officials, occupying all levels of government except the municipal, enforced the          dramatic and dynamic themes of the colonial period. As the colonists grew in number and
universal law of the empire. Their point of view was global. They saw Brazil as one part of a        strength in the sixteenth century , they gradually began to fill in the voids between sao
larger empire that existed for the grandeur of Portugal. The mazombos sitting on the                 Vicente in the south and Olinda in the north. Foreign threats from the English, French, and
municipal councils cared only for the local scene; their vision was restricted. It was, in short,    Dutch hastened Portuguese occupation of the coast in order to defend it. Slowly the
Brazilian. They wanted to enforce those aspects of the laws beneficial to them, to their             colonization moved northward from Olinda to conquer the north coast and finally the mouth
community , and, to a lesser extent, to Brazil. These different perspectives gave rise to            of the Amazon. With the coast conquered by 1616, the Luso-Brazilians, disregarding the
repeated clashes in which the mazombos did not always give ground to the reinois. In times           papal Tordesillas line, began to penetrate the interior with increasing boldness in search of
of crises, the senado da camara amplified its membership to become a conselho geral, a               slaves and gold. They carried the banner of Portugal to the Andes in the west and to the Plata
general council. On those occasions local military , judicial, and ecclesiastical authorities as     River in the south. Daring bandeirantes (explorers) claimed thousands of square miles for the
well as representatives of the people met with the senado to discuss the emergency at hand.          Portuguese crown. Too late Spain realized what had happened, and in the Treaty of Madrid
                                                                                                     (1750) the Castilian crown was forced to recognize its rival's conquest of the heartland of
                                                                                                     South America. Although the boundaries between Spanish and Portu- guese America were
                                                                                                     altered slightly thereafter-particularly in the Plata area- Portugal successfully retained its
      A second institution of local government deserves mention because of its influence on          claims to half of South America.
subsequent Brazilian events: regional militias. In them the principal figure of prestige and               Population growth did not keep up with territorial expansion. Growing at a rate
power in an area, usually the largest landowner, bore the rank of capittio-mor, equivalent to         estimated at 1.9 percent annually, the population at the end of the eighteenth century
colonel. The majority of them seem to have been born in the colony. In the absence of                 numbered about two and one-third million with Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco, Rio de
regularly constituted governmental officials in the hinterlands, the capitaes-mor performed a         Janeiro, and Sao Paulo being the most populous captaincies in that order. The majority lived
variety of administrative and even judicial tasks. Obviously it was to their own interest to          along the coast or in the rich river valleys. The trend to migrate to the interior accelerated by
enforce law and order in their region, which they did to the benefit of local tranquility. Their      the discovery of gold had been stemmed, and in many cases reversed with some return of the
power varied widely and as in so many cases depended mainly on their own abilities and                population to the coast. Obviously hollow frontiers still characterized the settlement. .
strengths, since the distant government could do little to help or hinder them. They often                 It was possible to distinguish five different regions of settlement. The far north, which
became the local strongmen or caudilhos, the precursors of the later coroneis, who control            included the vast Amazon valley, was scantily settled, a few villages dotting the river banks
rural Brazil.                                                                                         and coast. The Indian predominated. The economy depended on the extraction of forest
     Stronger in organization and authority than governmental institutions were the                   products and cattle raising in the interior and the cultivation of sugar and coffee along the
patriarchal plantation families. These large, cohesive family units appeared at the inception         coast. The cattle lands of the serttio, the arid interior,
of the sugar industry , and the two grew together. The paterfamilias dominated the household
and the plantation, ruling family, slaves, and tenants with unquestioned authority. He and
other males of the household liberally expanded the
       46 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                              The Institutions of Empire 47

stretching from Maranhao to Minas Gerais were the domain of the mestizos. The dry land and
                                                                                                    achievement was the consolidation of Spanish rule and the imposition of the king's authority.
light vegetation grudgingly supported cattle, some horses, and a few sheep and goats.
                                                                                                          Numerous accounts testify to the splendor and prestige surrounding the viceroys and
Ranches and hamlets were scattered over that vast interior with little concentration of
                                                                                                    their New World courts. They were, after all, the .'shadows of the king," and many
settlement. The lush sugar coast extending from Maranhao to sao Vicente included excellent
                                                                                                    accustomed themselves to royal treatment in their American domains. For example, in his
ports and the largest cities in Brazil; the black prevailed in that more concentrated settlement.
                                                                                                    lively history of Potosi written during the early decades of the eighteenth century , Bartolome
The mining regions of Minas Gerais, Goilis, and Mato Grosso exported their gold and
                                                                                                    Arzans de Orsua y Vela provided posterity with a vivid view of a viceregal visit to that
diamonds but retained enough of the wealth to create a few prosperous towns. Stock raising,
                                                                                                    extremely important silver-mining center in 1716. Priests, nobles, and representatives of one
sugar cane, and agriculture played a secondary economic role in the region. The far south
boasted of excellent agricultural and pastoral lands. Immigrants, white European stock from         of the labor guilds met Viceroy don Fray Diego MorcilloRubio de Aunon outside the city to
the Azores, settled the coastal region. Their small family farms grew grapes, wheat, and            escort him into Potosi, whose principal streets and plazas opulently displayed banners and
olives. In contrast, bandeirantes migrated overland from sao Paulo to colonize the interior of      bunting of silk, damask, and satin. Passing beneath silver-encrusted triumphal arches
the south. There one encountered patriarchal cattle ranches and a profitable business in mule       especially constructed for the visit, the official party approached the awaiting municipal
and horse raising.                                                                                  dignitaries who stood expectantly beneath .'a canopy of very rich pearl-colored cloth lined
                                                                                                    with silk. ' , A short musical concert began, while Urbanity and Generosity (represented by
       Unlike Portugal, Spain possessed few overseas domains outside the Americas.
                                                                                                    two children) recited elegant verses expressive of the city's gratitude for the honor of the
Consequently, the colonial system the Spanish devised was to govern principally their vast
                                                                                                    visit. The viceroy then accepted as gifts golden spurs and a richly decorated Chilean horse
territories in the New World. Two administrative bodies aided the king in his rule of Spanish
                                                                                                    with silver stirrups. On the fine steed the viceroy, accompanied by a growing crowd of
America. The first created was the Casa de Contratacion, and, as previously mentioned, it
                                                                                                    elaborately dressed worthies, marched to the principal church richly outfitted with hangings
served to regulate and develop commerce with the New World. The second, the Council of
                                                                                                    of satin, velvet, silk tapestries, and damasks and paintings of landscapes and portraits-a
the Indies (Consejo de las Indias), established in 1524, advised the king on all American
                                                                                                    magnificence, the historian assured his readers, only the local women' .all with their beauty ,
affairs. It prepared most of the laws for governing the Americas, saw that the laws were
                                                                                                    fine clothing, coiffures, jewels, and pearls" surpassed. The priests and representatives of the
executed, and then sat as a high court to judge cases involving the fracture or interpretation of
                                                                                                    city's religious com- munities awaited His Excellency on the steps to conduct him into the
the laws. Ecclesiastical matters fell within its jurisdiction as well. In the beginning, the king
                                                                                                    service. Hours later, exiting from the lavish religious pageantry , the viceroy reviewed the
favored the appointment of clergymen as councilors; later he tended to select lawyers of
                                                                                                    troops smartly drawn up in an adjacent plaza. Finally, he retired to a local aristocrat's home
noble blood for these positions. Always the council counted among its members some naval
                                                                                                    "so richly and appropriately adorned, so spacious and magnificent, that it was worthy of
and military officers. Upon their return to Spain, successful administrators in the New World
                                                                                                    lodging our king and lord Philip V himself. ' , That observation acknowledged the stature of
often sat on the council.
                                                                                                    ~he viceroy.
       The viceroy served as the king's principal representative in the New World. Columbus
                                                                                                           Mor~ than a description of a visit, the account identifies which persons- and more
bore the title of viceroy of any new lands he might discover when he left Spain in 1492. The
                                                                                                     importantly the institutions they represented-enjoyed prestige. The viceroy greeted the local
crown appointed Antonio de Mendoza, a member of one of Spain' s foremost families and a
                                                                                                     elite, the city officials, the clergy, and the military .Significantly at least some labor (guild)
trusted diplomat of Charles V, as the first Viceroy of New Spain. Amid great pomp, he
                                                                                                     representatives participated in the elaborate rituals. Thus, the arrangements surrounding the
arrived in Mexico City in 1535 and immediately set about to restrict the authority of the
adelantados and encomenderos while he strengthened and centralized the king's power in the           hospitality accorded the viceroy in Potosi detail accurately the composition of the local ruling
New World. By the time he left Mexico in 1551, he had imposed law and order, humbled the             hierarchy in colonial Spanish America and preserve a glimpse into their relations with a
landowning class, and exalted                                                                        distant monarch and his immediate representative.
                                                                                                           The audiencia was the highest royal court and consultative council in the New World.
the royal powers. In short, he consolidated the conquest of New Spain. Peru became the
                                                                                                     In some instances it also prepared legislation. The Spanish audiencias had much in common
second viceroyalty. The first viceroy arrived in 1543 to find chaos, rivalries, and civil war
                                                                                                     with the Portuguese rela~ao. The first audiencias were established in Santo Domingo in
disrupting Spanish South America. Not until the able administration of the fifth viceroy,
                                                                                                     1511; Mexico City, 1527; Panama City, 1535; Lima, 1542; and Guatemala, 1543. In the
Francisco de Toledo (1569-81), was the king's authority firmly imposed on his unruly South
                                                                                                     eighteenth century, fourteen such bodies were functioning. The number of oidores, or judges,
American subjects. During his long administration, Viceroy Toledo tried to improve the
                                                                                                     sitting on the audiencia varied according to time
relations between the Indians and Spaniards, promote mining, and organize the
administration of justice. Like Mendoza, his major
48 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                 The Institutions of Empire 49

and place. In the sixteenth century, their number fluctuated between three and four, but later    to offer their advice. That cabildo abierto became the agency of transition from colonial to
it expanded to as many as fifteen. Because the tenure of the oidores exceeded that of the         independent government in several places in the early nineteenth century .
viceroy and overlapped each other, the oidores provided a continuity to royal administration            Spanish government floundered in a morass of inefficient and corrupt bureau- cracy in
which his office did not have. Over the audiencias in the viceregal capitals, the viceroy         the seventeenth century but revived briskly in the eighteenth. The long War of the Spanish
himself presided. The chief executive of the political subdivisions served as president of the    Succession (1700-1713) brought the Bourbon Philip V to the Castilian throne and with him
audiencia located within his confines.                                                            refreshingly new ideas. The crown reasserted its authority. With French absolutism as his
       Presidencias and captaincies-general were the major subdivisions of the vice- royalties.   model, Charles III ruled ( 1759-88) as one of Spain's strongest and most effective kings. The
Theoretically the presidents and captains-general were subordinate to the viceroys, but in        Bourbons selected their administrators less because of their birth and more because of their
practice they communicated directly with Madrid and paid only the most formal homage to           demonstrated ability and efficiency. With their help the reinvigorated monarchy reformed
the viceroys. Ranking beneath the presidents and captains- general were the governors,            the colonial administration and in the process greatly centralized it.
corregidores, and alcaldes mayores who administered the municipalities and other territorial             The power of the Council of the Indies waned as the ministers of the king took over
divisions. Within their localities, these minor officials possessed executive and judicial        many of its former duties. In the eighteenth century, the chief responsibility for the
authority as well as some limited legislative powers.                                             government of Spanish America rested in the hands of the Minister of the Indies. The Casa de
       Municipal government, known as the cabildo, provided the major opportunity for the         Contratacion also felt the weight of Bourbon reforms. The king's ministers absorbed so many
creole, the American-born white, to hold office and to exercise some political power. From it     of its powers that it became useless and was abolished in 1790. As the population grew and
the creoles gained most of their political experience, however limited it might have been.        spread and as development intensified, the crown thought it wise to redivide territorially
Also, throughout the colonial period it remained the single self-perpetuating governmental        Spanish-American government so that the king's representatives could more intensely care for
institution in Spanish America. As in Brazil, the town council governed not only the town         the territories under their author- ity. Two new viceroyalties were created: New Granada in
itself but also the surrounding countryside, thus in some instances exercising power over vast    1717 (it was abolished in 1724 only to be recreated again in 1739) and La Plata in 1776.
administrative areas. Some of the cabildos far removed from immediate viceregal                   Likewise, the crown authorized new captaincies-general: Venezuela, 1731; Louisiana, 1763;
supervision, such as Buenos Aires prior to 1776 and Asuncion, exercised considerable              Cuba, 1777 ; and Chile, l778.
autonomy. Property-owning citizens at first elected the regidores, the town councilmen,                  The most radical innovation was the establishment of the intendency system, an
although later increasing numbers purchased or inherited the office or were appointed to it by     administrative unit used by the Bourbons in France and copied by their relatives on the
the king. As royal power grew stronger in the eighteenth century , the cabildo grew weaker,        Spanish throne. It was another important measure of the Bourbons to centralize authority-
and the tendency to tighten the centralization of the empire restricted the independence of the    and thereby increase their power. The intendants, royal officials of Spanish birth, with
municipal governments. The cabildo probably exercised its greatest authority in the sixteenth      extensive judicial, administrative, and financial powers, were to supplant the numerqus
century.                                                                                           governors, corregidores, and alcaldes mayores in the hope that a more efficient and uniform
      Because the local elites tended to be very conservative in their outlook- sometimes even     administration would increase the king' s revenue and bring an end to numerous bureaucratic
more so than the king-the cabildo meetings rarely raised questions of reform or change. They       abuses and corruption. In financial affairs, the intendants reported directly to the crown. In
usually concentrated on the ordinary business of daily municipal government. A somewhat            religious, judicial, and administrative matters, they were subject to the viceroy and were to
"typical" session of the cabildo of Lima on November 6, 1626, reflected that conservatism. It      respect his military prerogatives. In 1764, Cuba became the first intendancy, and by 1790 the
engaged in a land dispute, claiming encroachment on municipal lands, voted monies to repair        system extended to all the Spanish-American colonies. The new administrative system
the water system, and made three appointments. Thus, the cabildo sought to restore lands to        seemed to augur well, but no comprehensive judgment can be rendered since the outbreak of
its control, to maintain the water supply as it had been, and to appoint three officials in the    the Napoleonic wars in Europe followed by the struggles for independence in Latin America
prescribed manner. Such sessions reinforced a continuity pervading the imperial system. Yet,       allowed such a short time for it to function.
when they felt their own interests threatened, the members of the cabildo responded. Like its             As another reform measure, Charles III in the 1760s created a colonial militia with
Brazilian counterpart, the cabildo sometimes provided the arena for local elites to voice          creole officers in order to shift some of the burden of the defense of his distant domains onto
views that lacked the wider vision of empire characteristic of the senior bureaucrats sent from    the Americans themselves. The soldier always had played an important role in the history of
Spain. In certain moments of crisis, the cabildo expanded to include all the principal citizens    the Americas. He conquered, defended, and extended the empire. Great prestige accompanied
of the municipality, who were requested                                                            high rank. Many, if not most, of the viceroys
50 The Institutions of Empire                                                     The Institutions of Empire 51

                                eld exalted military rank at the time of their appointment, and their military experience
                                enhanced their authority in the New World. The granting of military commissions to the
                                creoles afforded them a new prestige. Usually the high ranks were reserved for-or bought
                                by-wealthy members of the local aristocracy, and as a consequence many desired them as a
                                means of identifying with the rich and the powerful, in short, the elite, of the colonies.
                                Hence, a close identification developed between high military rank and the upper class.
                                Further, the creole officers enjoyed a most practical advantage, the fuero militar, a special
                                military privilege, which exempted them from civil law .In effect, it established the military
                                as a special class above the law, the effects of which would be increasingly disruptive for
                                Latin American society.
                                      The Bourbon kings, in particular Charles III, infused a new and more liberal economic
                                spirit into the empire. They hoped to strengthen Spain by liberalizing trade, expanding
                                agriculture, and reviving mining in the Americas. They dispatched Euro- pean engineers
                                and mining technicians to the New World to encourage the adoption of the latest mining
                                techniques. The crown authorized the establishment of a College of Mining iri Mexico, a
                                visit to which prompted Baron von Humboldt to remark: ..No city of the new continent,
                                without excepting those of the United States, can show scientific establishments as fine or
                                as well established as the capital of Mexico. ' , Trade policies became more practical in the
                                eighteenth century .Cadiz lost its old commercial monopoly when the king permitted other
                                Spanish ports to trade with the Americas. The fleet system gradually disappeared. After
                                1740, Spanish ships commonly rounded Cape Horn to trade with Peru and slowly
                                abandoned the old isthmian trade route. In the l770s Charles lifted the restrictions on
                                intercolonial commerce. The altered trade policies helped to bring about the previously
                                mentioned demise of the Casa de Contratacion. The crown chartered trading companies to
                                encourage agriculture by expanding production of and commerce in certain crops, another
                                means of developing trade. These reforms were enacted with imperial motives in mind, for
                                the final benefit more of the metropolis than the colonies. The Americans did not favor all
                                of the reforms, while, on the other hand, they did not think that some of them went far
                                       Spain's empire in America at the end of the eighteenth century swept southward from
                                California and Florida, through the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, and down the
                                length of South America. Approximately 16 million people inhabited the Spanish-governed
                                domains. The empire had grown by steady expansion, rapid in the sixteenth century, more
                                slowly thereafter. From the original settlements in the Caribbean, the central valley of
                                Mexico, and the highlands of Peru, adelantados followed by colonists had pushed into new
                                regions. In the older colonies, agriculture continued to progress; in the newer ones it became
                                established and advanced rapidly. The real riches of the New World were its farms, ranches,
                                and plantations. The silver and gold mines poured forth their treasure, but despite their glitter
                                and attraction they remained secondary to agriculture as a source of wealth. Unfortunately
                                very few shared in the growing wealth of the Americas.
                                                                                                                                                                  The Institutions of Empire 53
52 The Institutions of Empire

      Most of America's riches flowed to Europe north of the pyrenees, pausing only briefly             tion for Mexico in 1592; the merchants of Lima received permission for one in 1613.
in Spain. The bustling ports of Veracruz, Havana, Portobelo, La Guaira, Callao, Valparaiso,             Thereafter, the consulado spread to other parts of Spain's American empire, a significant
and Buenos Aires dispatched the wealth of the New World aboard ever larger numbers of                   indicator of increasing trade with the metropolis. Together with the consulados in Seville
merchantships to the markets of Europe and welcomed the merchandise and immigrants of
                                                                                                        and Cadiz they exercised a virtual monopoly over the trade and commerce of Spanish
the Old World.
     One of the most active ports of the New World was Portobelo, the major entrepOt, or                     Probably no area better illustrates the growth and prosperity of Spanish America in the
transshipment center, for trade between South America and Spain. It teemed with                         eighteenth century than the Plata region, particularly the region around Buenos Aires. Today
commercial activity during the weeks the fleet anchored in its harbor . Two young Spanish               Argentina is the most prosperous Spanish-speaking nation in the world, but its beginnings
scientists, Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, visited that Caribbean port in the mideighteenth           were humble. In contrast to the faltering start of Buenos Aires, some of the interior towns,
century and left the following description of the movement they witnessed there:                        Tucuman, Mendoza, Cordoba, and Salta, had begun to prosper early. These towns not only
                                                                                                        were surrounded by fertile land to exploit but also had Indians near at hand who could be
                                                                                                        coerced into tilling the soil. Further, close to the silver of Peru, they found a ready market
   The ships are no sooner moored in the harbor than the first work is to erect in the square a tent    among the miners for their sugar, fruits, cattle, mules, and grain.
   made of the ship's sails for receiving its cargo at which the proprietors of the goods are present         On the other hand, Buenos Aires languished after its refounding in 1580. The Lima
   in order to find their bales by the marks which distinguish them. These bales are drawn on
   sledges to their proper places by the crew of every ship and the money given them is                 merchants persuaded the crown not to open that Atlantic port to trade. In theory , goods from
   proportionally divided.                                                                              Buenos Aires made a 3,000-mile overland trip to Lima, thence by sea to Panama to be
       While the seamen and European traders are thus employed, the shore is covered with droves        transported by mule across the isthmus, and finally by sea again on the fleets to Spain. The
   of mules from Panama, each drove consisting of more than one hundred, loaded with chests of          porteflos, as the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are called, argued for the opening of their port
   gold and silver from the merchants of Peru. Some unload them at the exchange, others in the          and the logical direct trade with Spain that would result. Only thus, without the tremendous
   middle of the square; yet, amid the hurry and confusion of such crowds, no theft, loss, or
   disturbance is ever known. He who has seen this place during the tiempo muerto, or dead time,
                                                                                                        transportation costs of the Lima route, could their products compete in European
   solitary, poor, and a perpetual silence reigning everywhere, the harbor quite empty , and every      marketplaces. Without royal sanction for the opening of the port, Buenos Aires succumbed to
   place wearing a melancholy aspect, must be filled with astonishment at the sudden change, to see     the temptation of contraband. The port thus provided a natural, albeit illegal, commercial
   the bustling multitudes, every house crowded, the square and streets encumbered with bales and       outlet for Asuncion, Cordoba, and Potosi. The silver which made its way down from Peru
   chests of gold and
                                                                                                        paid for slaves, sugar , textiles, and a thousand other manufactured goods demanded by the
   silver of all kinds, the harbor full of ships and vessels , some bringing by way of Rio de ,
   Chape [Chagres J the goods of Peru, such as cacao, quinquina or Jesuits' bark, vicuna wool, and      wealthy inhabitants of the interior who found it cheaper to buy them from the merchants of
   bezoar stones; others coming from Carthagena loaded with provisions .Thus a place at all other       Buenos Aires than from Lima.
   times detested for its deleterious qualities becomes the warehouse and market of the riches of the         Buenos Aires grew rapidly in the eighteenth century for strategic and commercial
   Old and New Worlds and scene of one of the most considerable branches of commerce in the              reasons. After the Portuguese founded Colonia do Sacramento (1680), Buenos Aires assumed
   whole world.
                                                                                                         a new strategic importance in the Spanish empire, and the crown gave it increasing attention
      After the ships have been unloaded and the merchants of Peru together with the president of
   Panama have arrived, the fair is ready to begin. Representatives of the various merchants and         so that it could counter the Luso-Brazilian threat of expansion. At the same time the pampas
   traders then go on board one of the principal galleons in the harbor and there in the presence of     were giving abundant evidence of their fecundity .Salted meat, hides, tallow, and wool
   the commodore of the galleons and the president of Panama, the former as the patron of the            became increasingly important exports and awakened the Spanish government to an
   Europeans and the latter, of the Peruvians, the prices of the various goods and merchandise are       appreciation of the natural wealth of the region. The statistics indicate the rising importance
   settled. After three or four meetings , agreements are made, signed, and made public. In
   accordance with them, each sets about to make his sales and purchases. In that way all fraud is
                                                                                                         of the port: the population quadrupled in the last half of the eighteenth century from
   avoided. The purchases and sales, as likewise the exchange of money, are transacted by brokers        approximately 12,000 to 50,000, and royal revenue derived from import and export taxes
   both from Spain and Peru. After this, everyone begins to dispose of his goods; the Spanish            jumped tenfold from lOO,000 pesos in 1774 to I million in 1780.
   brokers embarking their chests of money and those of Peru sending away the goods they have                  After the establishment of the Viceroyalty of the Plata in 1776 with its seat in
   purchased.                                                                                            Buenos Aires, the crown gave every encouragement to trade. The presence of the viceroy
                                                                                                         accompanied by an army of bureaucrats and officials prompted the construction of new
                                                                                                         governmental buildings, the paving of streets, the laying out of parks, and
To handle the lucrative trade, a small merchant class developed in Spanish America. These
merchants later united into the consulados and obtained for themselves formidable privileges
and prerogatives. The crown authorized the first such trade associa-
54 The Institutions of Empire
                                                                                                                                                                    The Institutions of Empire 55

in the early 1780s the opening of a theater for the amusement of the inhabitants. The change        defended it devotedly. The Iberians were born, reared, married, and buried Catholics. The
which had overtaken Buenos Aires mirrored similar changes which had taken place                     Church touched every aspect of their lives. The monarchs defended the faith within their
throughout Latin America by the end of the eighteenth century .                                     realms in return for which the Pope conferred royal patronage upon the crown, by bulls to the
      While Buenos Aires began to flourish, the Spanish expanded the other extreme of their         Spanish monarchs in 1501 and 1508 and to the Portuguese monarchs temporarily in 1515 and
American empire. The frontier moved northward into California by means of the mission,              permanently in 1551. That royal patronage permitted the Iberian monarchs to exercise power
presidio, pueblo, and rancho to settle one of Spain's last colonies and to thwart foreign,          over the Church in their empires in all but purely spiritual matters. They collected the tithe
particularly Russian, claims to that distant corner of the crown's realm. Captain Gaspar de         and decided how it should be spent, appointed (and at times recalled) the bishops, priests,
Portoli founded San Diego in 1769 and in the following decades Spanish settlement                   and other ecclesiastical officials, authorized the construction of new churches, determined
advanced up the coast as far as Sonoma, just north of San Francisco Bay. The wealthiest of          the boundaries of the bishoprics, and of great significance approved and transmitted papal
the twenty-one missions established by the Francis- cans in upper California was San                messages- or refused to. The royal patronage meant, in short, that the state dominated the
Gabriel, founded in l771, whose vast lands produced corn, wheat, barley, beans, and a               Church, but conversely it allowed the Church to pervade the state. If the king and his
variety of vegetables. Orchards bore fruit and the vineyards grapes. The mission Indians also       ministers had a final say in church matters , it is equally true that clerics often occupied the
raised herds of cattle.                                                                             top administrative posts in government. Churchmen often served as ministers, captains-
      Encouraged by the prosperity of San Gabriel Mission, Governor Felipe de Neve                  general, viceroys, and even regents. Cardinal Henry , after all, ruled the Portuguese empire in
founded the pueblo of Los Angeles in 1781, distributing to the first eleven or twelve families      the sixteenth century .
lots for houses as well as fields to cultivate. By 1800, four or five large ranchos existed in             To carry out its initial assignment to introduce the Indians both to Christianity and
the Los Angeles area. Cattle abounded and a limited but growing trade sprang up in hides            European culture the Church depended on the effectiveness of the missionaries, who
and tallow. After 1800, Yankee clipper ships frequently appeared off the California coast           belonged to the regular clergy, that is, the religious orders as contrasted with the secular
and trade, legal or contraband, gradually increased with them. The remote colony was                clergy who served as priests in the growing number of churches. In the sixteenth century , the
largely self-sufficient, an outpost to protect the empire. Like Buenos Aires at the other           missionaries displayed an unflagging zeal. They were as aggressive in their spiritual
geographical pole, California testified to the renewed vigor of the Spanish empire after            conquest as the soldiers had been in their physical conquest. The regular clergy, particularly
nearly three centuries of expansion.                                                                the Dominicans, Jesuits, and Franciscans, devoted their considerable energy to their
                                                                                                    neophytes. Pedro de Gante and Juan de Zumarraga in Mexico, Bartolome de las Casas in the
                                                                                                    Caribbean, and Manuel da Nobrega and Jose de Anchieta in Brazil exemplified the sincere
The Church
                                                                                                    concern of the Church for the Indians' welfare, its dedication to their cause, and its love for
                                                                                                    the native American.
The presence of the twelve friars accompanying Columbus on his second voyage to the New                    Conversion of the sedentary , concentrated Indian groups proved much easier and
World and of six Jesuits in the retinue of Brazil's first governor-general, Tome de Sousa,          quicker than conversion of the scattered, nomadic tribes. The prelates decided that the wisest
signified yet another intention of the Iberian monarchs. They resolved to Christianize the          course would be to gather the nomadic natives into villages, the aldeias in Brazil and the
heathen in the newly discovered lands, a resolution they took very seriously. The                   reducciones in Spanish America, where they could more easily be instructed, Christianized,
instructions to Columbus stated that' 'the King and Queen, having more regard for the               and protected under a watchful eye. The village system permitted the maximum use of the few
augmentation of the faith than for any other utility, desire nothing other than to augment the      regular clergy: usually one or two brothers administered each village and in that way
Christian religion and to bring divine worship to many simple nations. ' , The immense task         supervised many Indians. Each village centered on a church, built of course by the indigenous
of evangelizing the Indians confronted the Church, challenging its vitality. The task involved      converts themselves. Around it were a school, living quarters, and warehouses. The ringing of
more than simple conversion. By Christianizing the Indians, the missionaries would also be          church bells awoke the neophytes each day, summoning them to mass. Afterwards, singing
Europeanizing them: teaching the trades, manners, customs, languages, and habits of the             hymns along the way, they marched outside the village to cultivate the fields. The brothers
Spanish and Portuguese.                                                                             taught reading, writing, and the mastering of useful trades to the young and able. Indian
      Conversion was essential, according to Iberian thought, not only to give the aborigines       sculptors, painters, masons, carpenters, bakers, and locksmiths, among others, were soon
the true faith and eternal salvation but also to draw them within the pale of empire, that is, to   practicing their trades. Many of the villages achieved a high degree of self- sufficiency, and
make them loyal subjects to Their Most Catholic Majesties. To be Portuguese or Spanish              most raised some commercial crops, such as tobacco, sugar, or wheat, for sale to outside
was to be Roman Catholic. The two were intimately inter- twined, and consequently Church            markets. Also large cattle herds tended by the neophytes
and state appeared as one. The populace embraced the Catholic faith unquestioningly and
whether understanding its dogmas or not
56 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                      The Institutions of Empire 57

provided hides and meat for sale. Alexander von Humboldt, a German visitor to Latin                 guard their virginity or to prevent marriage. A marriage could mean a huge dowry of land,
America at the end of the colonial period, inspected some of the missions and noted that            property, or capital, which the father preferred to pass on intact to a son. On the other hand,
where once nomadic Indians roamed, ' 'The road leads through plantations of sugar, indigo,          widows often retired to a convent from which they administered their wealth, estates, and
cotton, and coffee. The regularity which we observed in the construction of the villages            property. A religious life by no means meant one dominated exclusively by prayer and
reminded us that they all owe their origin to monks and missions. The streets are straight and      meditation. Nor were nunneries necessarily dreary houses of silence, service, and abnegation.
parallel; they cross each other at right angles; and the church is erected in the great square      Through the religious orders, women operated schools, hospital~, and orphanages. In some
situated in the center. ' , Although the brothers administered the missions through various         convents, the nuns, attended by their servants, entertained, read secular literature, played
Indians whom they appointed to office and invested with the customary symbols of that               musical instruments, sang, prepared epicurean delights, and enjoyed a lively and comfortable
office, the churchmen in the final analysis rigidly controlled the lives of their charges. It was   life.
not a simple figure of speech when they spoke of the neophytes as '.their children," for that             One of the most remarkable intellectuals of the colonial period was a nun, Sor Juana
was exactly how they regarded them. Under their guidance, the Indians contributed to the            Ines de la Cruz ( 1651-95), whose talent earned her fame in New Spain during her lifetime
imperial economy, worshipped as Roman Catholics, dressed like Europeans, mastered                   and whose complex and brilliant poetry insures her an exalted place in literature. A woman
European trades, and paid homage to the king in Lisbon or Madrid. Thus, those touched by            of great learning, she also wrote splendid prose. Her works, expressing ideas far advanced for
the village system were brought by the determined hand of the missionaries into the empire.         her own time, reveal a complex personality .For one thing, she argued that women were as
     Within the empires, the missions served a military function. The village system                intelligent as men, a conclusion which her own life amply illustrated. She also advocated
minimized Indian revolts and warfare, thereby freeing soldiers for other duties. The missions       education for women. The Church once gently reprimanded her and suggested she apply her
also helped to hold distant frontiers against foreign claims and intrusions. In the imperial        intelligence to study of the Holy Scriptures. Yet the Church also expressed a certain pride in
schemes of defensive colonization, they played vital roles in California, Texas, the Plata, and     her brilliance, and for many years she enjoyed her status as a favorite in the viceregal court
the Amazon. Church and state expanded together.                                                     and among Mexican intellectuals (all male).
     As the missionaries enthusiastically attended to conversions, clerical organization and               The Church maintained a careful vigil over its flock. Nonetheless, some examples of
hierarchy were transferred from the Old World to the New where they followed perfectly the          moral corruption among the clergy provided bawdy gossip for colonial ears. Alleged
European model. The Spanish crown authorized the first bishoprics in 1511, two in                   backsliders-especially Jewish converts, the New Christians-could expect to account for
Hispaniola and one in Puerto Rico. By 1600, there were five archbishoprics and twenty-              themselves before the Inquisition. Philip II authorized the establishment of the Holy Office in
seven bishoprics in Spanish America, numbers which jumped to ten and thirty-eight                   Spanish America in 1569, and it began to operate in Lima in 1570; in Mexico City in 1571;
respectively before the end of the colonial period. The Portuguese crown erected the                and in Cartagena in 1610. Significantly he exempted the Indians from the jurisdiction of the
Bishopric of Brazil in 1551, and in 1676 approved the creation of the Archbishopric of Brazil       Inquisition' 'because of their ignorance and their weak minds." The Inquisition served as
with its see in Salvador. Two new bishoprics, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco, were                   much a political as a religious end in its vigilant efforts to purge and purify society in order
established at the same time. By the end of the eighteenth century there were four others. It is    to make it unified and loyal. The considerable power of the Inquisition lasted until the last
interesting to note that the African bishoprics of sao Tome and Angola also were suffragan,         half of the eighteenth century when the winds of the Enlightenment blew across the Iberian
or subordinate, to the Archbishop of Bahia. The Church in Angola in every way depended              Peninsula, causing the flames of the Holy Tribunal to flicker. As an institution it was never
heavily on Brazil. Serafim Leite, distinguished historian of the Jesuits in Brazil, has             established in Brazil, but it operated there through the bishops and three visitations from
affirmed, "The evangelization of Angola was in the hands of the Jesuits of Portuguese               Inquisitors, one between 1581 and 1595, another in 1618, and a third from 1763 to 1769. In
America."                                                                                           general, the hand of the Inquisition rested lightly on Brazil.
     Of major importance to the social and religious lives of the colonists were the lay                   While the Church censored books and kept one ear attuned for discussions which might
brotherhoods, voluntary associations of the faithful. They built handsome churches, merrily          criticize dogma or question the divine right of kings, it also educated Americans and fostered
celebrated the feast days of patron saints, and dutifully maintained charitable institutions         most of the serious scholarship in the New World. In the sixteenth century , some sensitive
such as hospitals and orphanages. Indeed, works of charity , education, and social assistance        intellectual churchmen wrote excellent studies of the very Indian cultures they were helping
composed some of the noblest chapters of the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the             to eradicate. To learn of the Indian past, scholars still consult Bemardino de Sahagun for the
New World.                                                                                           Aztecs, Diego de Landa for the Mayas, Bemabe Cobo for the Incas, and Jose de Anchieta for
     The Church offered to women one alternative to family life, a choice they did not               the Brazilian Indians. In order to facilitate the mastery of the Indian tongues, and thus to
always make voluntarily. Patriarchs sometimes placed their daughters in convents to                  speed up the process of Christianization, the friars compiled dictionaries and grammars of the
                                                                                                     many Indian
58 The Institutions of Empire
                                                                                                                                                                 The Institutions of Empire 59

languages. Their work continued and in some cases even broadened as the colonial period            elite possessed little liquid capital. When the landowners or merchants needed to borrow
lengthened, and one of their major scholarly contributions of the eighteenth century was to        money, they usually applied to the more provident monasteries which had capital to loan for
the natural sciences. Since churchmen composed a large share of the educated of the                a fee and at established interest rates.
colonies, it was from their ranks that most of the teachers came. The Church exercised a                 The Church wealth was by no means evenly distributed. In cities such as Lima,
virtual monopoly over education. Monasteries housed the first schools and taught reading,          Salvador da Bahia, Ouro Preto, Quito, Antigua, and Mexico City , ostentatiously imposing
writing, arithmetic, and Catholic doctrine. Contrary to the attitude of the Portuguese crown,      churches crowded one another, while "shocking poverty" characterized hundreds of htnnble
the Spanish monarch encouraged the founding of universities in the New World, granting the         parish churches, dotting the countryside. While some of the higher clergy lived on incomes
first charters in 1551 to the University of Mexico and the University of San Marcos in Lima.       surpassing those of many of the sovereign princes of Germany, impoverished clerics
The clergy occupied most of the chairs. Before Harvard opened its doors in 1636, a dozen           administered to the needs of the faithful in remote villages. Maldistributed the Church's
Spanish-American universities, drawing on medieval Spanish models, were offering a wide            treasure might have been, but no one seriously doubted the awesome extent of it. To its
variety of courses in law, medicine, theology, and the arts, most of them taught in Latin. The     collection, multiplication, and management, the Church eventually came to devote much of
universities made one major concession to the New World: they taught theological students          its time. Security and comfort supplanted the zeal and concern characteristic of the Church
Indian languages for their future benefit and effectiveness.                                       during the century it dedicated to the conversion of the Indians.
      Foremost among the Church's scholars were the Jesuits, and they staffed some of the                The wealth reinforced the conservative inclinations of the Iberian Church. After the
best colonial schools. Well organized and militant, they also displayed an industry and            initial phase of evangelizing, it too exploited the Indians, as well as the African slaves, to till
efficiency which made the order very powerful economically. Their success aroused the              Church lands or to erect larger and more opulent edifices. To the masses it preached
jealousy of other religious orders as well as the suspicion of the crown. Always protective of     resignation. If God had made them poor, it would be a sin to question why. Poverty was to
their powers, the Iberian kings distrusted the strong loyalty the Society of Jesus maintained      have its reward in the next life. It was not from the masses that the Church drew its
toward Rome. That the Black Robes would appeal to the pope-or God-over the head of the             leadership. Generally the sons of the wealthy and/or noble became bishops and archbishops,
king or take orders directly from Rome and bypass the channels through Madrid and Lisbon           positions in the New World dominated by the European-born. Thus, the highest ranks of the
did not harmonize with the growing absolutism of eighteenth-century Iberia. As was                 clergy, like those in the military and civil service, were associated with and filled by the
mentioned in a previous discussion, Pombal drove the Jesuits from Portuguese domains in            aristocracy. In wealth, power , prestige, and monopoly of education, the Roman Catholic
1759 as one means of fortifying royal authority. Approximately 600 were forced to leave            Church by the end of the eighteenth century ranked as an omnipotent institution in the
Brazil. In 1767 , Charles III followed suit, expelling some 2,200 Jesuits from Spanish             Western Hemisphere. Its influence weighed heavily, not only in the social and religious life
America.                                                                                           of the com- munity, but in politics and economics as well.
      Perhaps the relations between Church and state were not always perfect exam- pies of
harmony but they were sufficiently tranquil to allow the Church to grow wealthy in the New
World. Having converted (at least superficially) the Indians in the sixteenth century, the
Church turned its attention to the mundane matters of organiza- tion and amassing property
and riches. Tithes, the/sale of papal indulgences, and parochial fees provided a small share of    The Baroque City
the Ch~h's income. The legacy furnished the principal source of wealth. In their wills, the
affluent were expected to leave at least part of their wealth to the Mother Church in whose        The foundation of cities in Spanish America coincided with a period when urban planning
bosom they died. As one visitor to Caracas at the opening of the nineteenth century                was changing in Iberia, indeed in all of Europe. The medieval walled city with narrow,
observed, ..A will that did not provide some legacy for the convents was considered an             winding streets gave way to the monumental city of open space, order , and harmony. Those
irreligious act that left many doubts about the salvation of the soul that committed this error.   concepts of the city suited Spanish goals in the Americas well, not so much perhaps because
...The mania for annuities accompanied that for donations to the convents. Whoever had             they coincided with the foundation of towns and cities, though it seems logical that new
property and failed on dying to leave a part of it subject to an annuity left stain on his         urban settlement might draw on new urban-planning ideas, but more probably because they
memory .' , Over the decades the Church accumulated vast estates, much of which it                 reflected the new order of a unified Spain, the new power of a consolidated monarchy, and
administered wisely during the colonial period. It quickly became the largest landowner in         the vigor of emerging capitalism. The Spanish monarchy assigned the city a fundamental
the New World. When the Jesuits were expelled from Brazil, it was discovered that the              role. A symbol of the age of empire, it was the primary instrument of imperial control.
Company was by far the largest single property owner in the colony. Financial transactions               In the city resided the makers , executioners, enforcers , and judges of the king' s law.
further filled ecclesiastical coffers. Banks were extremely rare and the                           There the tax collector gathered monies owed the king; a treasury stored the taxes; a mint
                                                                                                   changed precious metals into negotiable specie. From the urban
60 The Institutions of Empire                                                                                                                                   The Institutions of Empire 61

cathedrals, the bishops watched over dispersed flocks of the faithful and directed affairs of
                                                                                                   extravagance of the baroque. In 1600, Mexico City boasted a population exceeding 100,000,
the parishes scattered throughout the dioceses. The merchants directed local trade and
                                                                                                   making it a major world metropolis. It was the seat of the viceroy, audiencia, and;nquisitor
participated in imperial commerce. State, church, and business blended together in the urban
                                                                                                   General as well as an episcopal seat. Its university domi- nated the educational and cultural
environment to control the vast hinterlands. The city radiated power, ultimately the king' s
                                                                                                   life of Middle America. Printing presses flour- ished. An impressive cathedral and imposing
power. The Ordinance for Town Planning promulgated in Mexico City in 1573 frankly
                                                                                                   governmental buildings surrounded the ample central plaza, the location also of an important
proclaimed the city as symbol of that power. It advised the Spanish colonists to build
                                                                                                   market. Grandeur, comfort, and elegance mixed with squalor, poverty, and disease,
imposing houses to impress the numerous indigeneous population, to the end that the Indians
                                                                                                   highlighting the contradictions and anomalies of that busy and important city.
would be "filled with admiration and will realize that the Spaniards are settling there
                                                                                                         Lima left similar impressions on its visitors .In the second half of the seventeenth
permanently and not temporarily. They will consequently fear the Spaniards so much that
                                                                                                   century, Fran~ois Correal described Lima in approving terms: "The streets are beautiful and
they will not dare to offend them and will respect them and desire their friendship. ..."
                                                                                                   perfectly straight, but the houses have only one story , seldom two, because of the
      Those new cities were eminently baroque. The concept of the baroque city embraced
                                                                                                   earthquake. Moreover, they are beautiful ( at least those which are near the Plaza), their
two seemingly contradictory elements: order and extravagance. Both characterized Latin
                                                                                                   fronts ornamented with long galleries. ...Trees have been planted round the houses to protect
American cities throughout the colonial period. The Spanish- American cities followed a
                                                                                                   them from the heat of the sun. They regain in width and depth what they have lost in height."
rigidly prescribed geometrical design. The Laws of the Indies, first written in 1523, codified
                                                                                                   He also commented at length on the '.very beautiful" Plaza Real with its impressive bronze
those standards. They dictated the size and location of the main plaza, width of the streets,
                                                                                                   fountain and well-designed public buildings. Around 1740, a later visitor, Antonio de Ulloa,
location of public buildings, subdivision of the land into lots, and so forth. The notable
                                                                                                   wrote an informative account of Lima, which described in detail the richness, beauty, and
feature of these planned cities was the grid pattern of streets and a central plaza. The great
                                                                                                   pageantry of the city. The traveler concluded, ' 'The magnificence of its inhabitants and of its
buildings, secular and religious, grouped around the central plaza, had a most serious
                                                                                                   public solemnities are proportional, and displayed with a dignity peculiar to minds inflamed
symbolic purpose. Their size, magnificence, and imposing presence bespoke the power of
                                                                                                   with a desire of honor, and who value themselves on celebrating the principal solemnities in
Church and State: they reminded one and all of the wealth and power of monarch and God.
                                                                                                   a manner which distinguishes Lima from the other cities of its kingdom."
       Baroque extravagance was clearly visible in the facades, paintings, and sculp- ture, as
                                                                                                          The Brazilian cities were baroque too, but it was expressed in quite a different way.
well as in the behavioral patterns of the people and in the intricate official rituals.
                                                                                                   The Portuguese felt the need for closed, defensive cities along the Brazilian coast. Salvador,
Ostentation, glitter, and expensive visual titillations pervaded public life. The reception gi
                                                                                                   founded in 1549 as the first capital, was a walled city atop an escarpment fronting a vast bay
ven the viceroy in Potosi, described earlier in this chapter, well illustrates the propensity to
                                                                                                   with the rear protection of a lake. Within the walled confines of the capital, narrow streets
display. But the well-choreographed reception also enacted homage to the monarch in the
                                                                                                   meandered in every direction and unexpectedly converge9 on a handsome esplanade or
person of the viceroy. Thus, baroque extravagance served an important purpose: it reinforced
                                                                                                   impressive plaza. Although the Portuguese broke with the urban medieval form much later
hierarchy. The elites, florid in speech, manners, and dress, enjoyed fancy amusements in the
                                                                                                   the baroque spirit nonetheless characterized Brazilian cities, where extravagance dominated
city. Some fiestas lasted days and even weeks, merry events of carousing and conviviality.
                                                                                                   but differed from the Spanish-American expression. Often somber exterior architecture gave
The masses enjoyed cock fights, bull fights, tourneys, and parades. One of the commonest
                                                                                                   way to wildly ornate interiors. The city certainly manifested the royal presence, serving as a
types of public spectacle was the mascarada, a parade of people wearing imaginative
                                                                                                   vital link of control and unity in Portugal's far-flung global empire.
costumes and masks and of floats of an allegorical nature. Often the mascaradas employed a
                                                                                                          The baroque city in its extravagance and order symbolized throughout the Americas the
theme. For example, in Mexico City in 1621, one such parade featured the familiar figures of
                                                                                                   ideal of empire. It gathered together Iberian and creole, African and Indian, impressing on all
the romances of chivalry still very much in vogue. On other occasions, those mascaradas
                                                                                                   the omnipotence of the monarch. For three centuries, the city served the empire well. Yet,
satirized political events or poked fun at public officials. Roman Catholicism pro- vided
                                                                                                   inevitably, the city's role altered. As the eighteenth century waned, it served increasingly as a
limitless opportunities for both solemn and joyous festivals. The churches' service.s often
                                                                                                   focal point for criticism and agitation. It gradually rejected the empire to better serve its own,
spilled out into the streets in the form of elaborate processions attracting the attention and
                                                                                                   more local needs. The city played its inevitable role as a catalyst for change.
participation of rich and poor alike. Again those extravagances served imperial purposes,
whether it was to provide relief from monotony and a valve to vent social frustration or to
emphasize the unity and grandeur of the empire.
       During the colonial period, Mexico City and Lima, viceregal capitals, ranked as the
principal cities of Spanish America and perfectly exemplified the order and

Shared By: