Children with one Spanish and one Indigenous parent (called mestizos in subsequent generations), particularly from the lower levels of society, were viewed as problematic in the first decades of Spanish rule in New Spain. By the 1550s, colegios had been established to house and educate them. This article examines official discourses surrounding early mestizos and their colegios and their place within Novohispanic society. While documents produced by royal and church officials form an important share of the primary sources used in the study, the author also examines more mundane documents related to the colegios produced by Mexico City’s notaries from the 1550s to the 1570s. The notarial documents demonstrate that these institutions were important to Mexico City residents both rich and poor, both white and non-white.

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