Data on the history of the colonial haciendas and ranchos of Spanish America are gradually becoming available to students. The present work, which offers a series of well transcribed documents on the landed properties of Tlaxcala in the early 18th century, permits a reconstruction of the size and quality of lands in the area, their values, the names of the properties and their owners, the numbers of cattle and other animals, and the condition of their mortgages. The documents owe their existence to the property tax, or donativo gracioso, decreed by the government of Philip V to pay expenses during the War of the Spanish Succession. Liability to the tax depended on property status, and this had to be systematically determined in each case before payment could be exacted, at 100 pesos per hacienda and 50 pesos per rancho. The tax order applied to the whole of New Spain, and the Tlaxcalan documents could doubtless be matched by similar documents elsewhere. The materials are valuable for comparative tabulations of acreages and other data, and the editor, Isabel González Sánchez, provides such tabulations as well as maps, indexes, and photographs of surviving hacienda buildings. The total is still far from a full record of Tlaxacalan land-holding. Smaller properties and properties held by ecclesiastics and Indians were exempted from the tax and are not included in the documentation. Little or nothing is provided—because little or nothing was relevant to the tax—on conflicts between haciendas and towns, the labor force, peonage, wages, profit and loss, and numerous other aspects of hacienda operation. And of course the record is for only a moment in time, without attention to changes (including changes in ownership) over the years. The editor’s Introduction, which only hints at these further issues, is succinct and clear with reference to selected haciendas and the distribution of particular data in 1712. Although she does not deal with the period after 1712, she does express a strong interest in the present condition of the once-opulent Tlaxcalan haciendas, and here it is worth noting that the few survivors tend to be producers either of bulls or of pulque.
Book Review| February 01 1971
Haciendas y ranchos de Tlaxcala en 1712
Haciendas y ranchos de Tlaxcala en 1712. Edited by Sánchez, Isabel González.
Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.
Illustrations. Maps. Tables. Bibliography. Indices. Pp.
224. Paper. $60.00 (Mex.).
Hispanic American Historical Review (1971) 51 (1): 138.
Charles Gibson; Haciendas y ranchos de Tlaxcala en 1712. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 February 1971; 51 (1): 138. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-51.1.138
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