This article explores the life of an elite Afro-indigenous couple in the city of Puebla de los Ángeles during the seventeenth century. Through the study of a freedman, Felipe Monsón y Mojica, and his indigenous wife, Juana María de la Cruz, I propose a new approach to the study of the African diaspora in the urban centers of New Spain (colonial Mexico). By combining an extensive corpus of notarial, judicial, and parochial records with isolated references to Puebla's Nahuatl-language annals, this article also sheds light on city-dwelling native women who married enslaved men. I argue that formal unions of this type held enormous social, political, and commercial potential for Afro-indigenous couples to emerge as new political actors and urban patrons. In particular, the Monsón de la Cruz household rose to a position of preeminence in pardo religious and military corporations through commerce in indigenous agricultural products.
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Research Article| April 01 2015
Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva; From Chains to Chiles: An Elite Afro-Indigenous Couple in Colonial Mexico, 1641–1688. Ethnohistory 1 April 2015; 62 (2): 361–384. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00141801-2854356
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