Hundreds of Castilian free black men and women obtained royal travel licenses to cross the Atlantic in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries as black Old Christians. They settled across the Spanish Indies and developed trades as artisans, traders, sailors, healers, and small business owners, often becoming prominent and wealthy vecinos (residents). Exploring these often obscure and long-invisible biographies of individuals, the article revisits key historiographical debates about race, purity of blood, and vassalage in the early Spanish empire.

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