During the sixteenth century the journey from Seville to Lima took five months under the best of circumstances. Yet, as Jane Mangan so vividly demonstrates, blood was thicker than water, and the bonds of family that were fundamental to survival in early modern society transcended the obstacles of travel and distance.

Transatlantic Obligations makes an important contribution to the current scholarship that emphasizes the connections between Spain and its American colonies. Focusing on the first decades immediately after the Spanish conquest, Mangan analyzes how the subjects of Spain’s new, racially complex empire in Peru negotiated the obligations that defined one’s place in colonial society—husbands to wives, parents to children, sibling to sibling. As much or more than before the conquest, these relationships articulated status and lineage, provided economic security, and demonstrated affection. In the immediate postconquest period, Spaniards and Indigenous people quickly came to understand that both Andean traditions and...

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