Between 1765 and 1811, Mexico City sent to Manila, Philippines, about 4,000 Mexicans, including recruits and vagrants who had been sentenced to military service or public works. At this time, the Spanish empire was undertaking a military overhaul in the Pacific. However, viceregal authorities used Manila's need for military replacements to exile individuals who embodied despised moral attributes. The office of the viceroy was apparently unaware of or unconcerned by the problems faced by Manila's authorities as they tried to employ these difficult men in defense of the archipelago. By showing that New Spain played a central role in sculpting Spain's relationship with her most remote possession, this article contributes to the scholarship that challenges the interpretation of the absolutist state as absolute. This transportation process also illuminates that the history of the Spanish Philippines is better apprehended by including the history of colonial Mexico, and vice versa.

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