Jean-Pierre Tardieu builds on several generations of Panamanian scholarship, such as that of Armando Fortune, María del Carmen Borrego Plá, and Luis Diez Castillo, to offer readers the most thorough study to date of sixteenth-century maroon community formation anywhere in the Americas. He begins with the standard narrative of Spaniards caught between their desire for African laborers and the territory’s ability to conceal runaways. The Castilla de Oro’s unique economic geography, with the key ports of Nombre de Dios and Panamá situated on opposite sides of the isthmus’s unsettled and difficult-to-traverse interior, facilitated cimarrón disruption of valuable convoys of Peruvian silver, regional gold, and metropolitan goods. The fact that slaves were the majority population only exacerbated the situation. The novelty of Tardieu’s study is in analyzing the reality of negotiation in tandem with the common discussion of maroon resistance. He details the conditions...

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