The prolific growth of ethnic and racial studies has been one of the more remarkable developments in Latin American historiography in recent decades. Volumes examining the numerous ethnic groups who migrated to the region from around the world during the past two centuries have joined an already sprawling literature that has considered the role of Afro-descendants and indigenous groups in the postcolonial state formation process. The narrative of the modern period has truly been remodeled from the ground up.

Yet, for all of the achievements of these pioneering works, they have often focused their lens on outlying communities. Scholars have tended to overlook certain groups who were not “other” enough to challenge long-standing preconceptions about the structure of postcolonial society. The most obvious of these lacunae has been those Iberian migrants who settled in Latin America after independence. Representing a discarded sociopolitical tradition and an identity that was no longer...

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