In the midst of the Spanish conquest of America, captives from various global settings were forced out of their native homelands and moved by their masters across the oceans and closer to the king's seat. From that locus, slaves later approached the podiums of the royal courts to challenge the crown by using its own legal discourse of freedom. Nancy van Deusen has written a masterpiece of early modern ethnohistory that brings to light a veritable diaspora of indigenous slaves in Spain, while expanding the meaning of indio as a global and changing identifier constructed outside the colonial confines of America.

Van Deusen argues that multiple descriptions of indio emerged in the royal courtrooms, streets, and households of Castile between 1530 and 1585. Encapsulated in 127 lawsuits, the captives' stories and constructed identities revealed a life in movement from local to global...

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