These 15 essays were presented at a namesake symposium in Cologne in December 1998. Identidades implies the cultural, the mentalité. In a Hispanic context, as Frédérique Langue reminds us, that signifies a craving for ennoblement through martial prowess. In fact, most papers highlight an elite dynamic based on migrants, money, and matrimony. Understandably, the anthology’s four-fold division—into core areas, border areas, long-term vertical studies, and lesser centers—does not relate to the content of the several contributions.

Two studies appear misplaced: Pedro Guibovich Pérez’s on Lima chronicles, for its irrelevance; and Susan Socolow’s advice on refining research as too scant. Four are general summations. John E. Kicza sure-footedly reviews the Mexican elite through 1700: About 50–60 households of encomenderos and merchants, all rich and centrally located, and staying on top through diversification and endogamy. Barbara Potthast lucidly surveys Paraguay’s ruling mestizos whose autonomy relied...

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