Like most historical debates, feudalism versus capitalism in Latin America began in the 1960s as a political issue. Tactical decisions of the left depended upon whether Latin America was ready for socialism or had yet to move from a feudal to a capitalist stage. Ruggiero Romano, in one of his essays in Cuestiones de historia económica latino-americana (1966), argued that the colonial economy of the eighteenth century was a “natural economy” traditionally associated with feudalism. In América Latina: ¿Feudalismo o capitalismo? (1973), André Gunder Frank and Rodolfo Puiggrós presented diametrically opposed views, the latter insisting on the feudal nature of the colonial centuries, the former on their predominantly capitalist features. In the same publication, Ernest Laclau tried to clarify the issues. This debate has, if anything, been revived by the recent work of the Polish medievalist Witold Kula.

Since Romano was one of the earlier proponents of one view of the issue, the editor invited him to offer his current views. They are presented in a translation from the French.

Stanley J. Stein

Before going to the heart of the subject, I would like to examine certain general aspects of feudalism. To this end, I will refer to some personal experiences. I began as a European historian. Only later in my career did I become aware of the problems of Ibero-American history. For a long time, I was a “weekend Americanist”; and it was fifteen years before I completely dropped European history.

My first historical work treated an “extremist” (I am unable to be more precise), named Vincenzo Russo, from the Neapolitan Republic of 1799.1 My work on Russo forced me into the study of feudalism. Russo had said that while it may have been all very well to have eliminated juridical feudalism, that did not resolve the problem of economic feudalism, which still survived. The Neapolitan Republic of 1799—in spite of the presence of French armed forces—was extremely short-lived, being destroyed by Bourbon armies. The Bourbon armies, however, were nothing more than masses of peasants, infuriated with the good bourgeois republicans who had pretended to offer them liberty, equality, and fraternity. Polemics (or discussions) about the fundamental reasons for the collapse of the republic were prolonged and resulted in the appearance of some of the most extraordinary books I have ever read. One, Saggio storico sulla rivoluzione napolentana del 1799,2 by Vincenzo Cuoco, contains an analysis of the collapse—based on a distinction that certain of today’s would-be revolutionaries would do well to consider. Cuoco maintained that the Neapolitan revolution was “passive" rather than "active." The passivity of the revolution hinged not only on the fact that republicanism had been forced on the people by a foreign army, but also on the fact that the republican revolutionary program did not take into consideration the necessities of the conquered. This lack of adaptation to local circumstances brought the problem of feudalism to light again.

All that is by way of pointing out that by the time I was twenty years old, I found myself face-to-face with the problem of feudalism—even though I was studying late eighteenth-century Europe.

Subsequently I switched to Venetian history—concentrating on the problem of naval construction. Was Venice a feudal city in the sixteenth century? Of course not. But if we go from the lagoon to terra firma (not to speak of Candía or Cyprus), can we really be expected to believe that Venice’s victory over the Cambrian League was due solely to its extraordinary military (and financial) efforts? No. It was something more. The nobles of terra firma—feudal lords—allied themselves with imperial forces and the French. The peasants, on the other hand, fought to the cries of “Marco! Marco!”—in the hope, which was not to be realized, of achieving freedom. Once again, we find a series of contradictions in which feudalism still appears.

Next, I studied eighteenth-century Marseilles. Certainly there was no feudalism there. But while treating commerce and the price of wheat, I was obliged to go into the countryside. Again I discovered feudalism. Next I worked on Livorno, in collaboration with F. Braudel. To be sure, there was no trace of feudalism in Livorno. There was an abundance of it in Tuscany.

But I gained my true and direct knowledge of feudalism when I became interested in the long-term crises of the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries throughout Europe. Here, of course, the problem became more complicated since the transition from feudalism to capitalism was appearing, at least in certain regions.

Thus, when I had to write a comprehensive essay on the Italian economy from the fifth century to the present, I did not hesitate to speak of a “blocco feodale” lasting fifteen centuries. The expression was perhaps exaggerated, but even today I defend and use it. Why? To answer this question is tantamount to defining what I mean by feudalism.

I confess that its constitutional and institutional aspects are of little interest to me (even if, in the Italian, German, French, and Polish context, I find feudal institutions at least—I say again, at least—until the end of the eighteenth century).

What interests me most is the economic. What is feudalism, then, in this sense? I do not believe it is possible to give a direct and affirmative definition. This is to say that it seems to me impossible (except for the period of the High Middle Ages) to say: “feudalism is this, that, and the other.” I believe, on the contrary, that a feudal economy can much better be defined by what it is not. And it is not: (a) a purely (or essentially) monetary economy; (b) an economy with an internal market of any great size; (c) an economy with freedom of entrance to and exit from the labor market; (d) an economy with liberty of access to and withdrawal from the goods market.

If I were to sum up these four limitations, I would say—this time affirmatively—that a feudal economy is essentially a natural economy. By essentially, I mean that, for the most part, it exists in a system of natural exchange, both in the goods market and in the labor market. And this is not contradicted by the fact that international trade takes place. It is enough to have a minimal knowledge of the economic history of the High Middle Ages to know that feudalism is not incompatible with long-range trade relations.3 And it is hardly necessary to mention that long-distance commerce dates from the age of copper.4

These considerations permit a much broader judgment to be made. For a long time, experts—from Sombart to Pirenne to Sapori (to name only three amongst the hundreds)—had too exclusive an interest in international commerce and in its basic instrument, money. If merchandise and money circulate, all is well. If they do not, then we are in feudal darkness. But it was forgotten (and, especially in the American context, it is still forgotten today) that a city like Venice or a trade center like Novgorod does not have the strength to give a capitalistic character to an entire economic region—and, in any case, it would be a matter of a mercantile or usurious capitalism.

In short, the basic problem remains one of production and means of production, whereas the problem of distribution is certainly a secondary phenomenon, or perhaps even an epiphenomenon.

I do not want to dismiss lightly the very important research of Huguette and Pierre Chaunu,5 or the equally important research of Antonio García-Baquero González,6 but I insist on the fact that the value of the pulque consumed by the Mexican populace clearly exceeded the value of this so closely studied commerce. In like fashion, the value of wheat consumed in Florence during the prosperous year of 1300 was greater than that of the 100,000 pieces of cloth produced that year (an absolute record, as Villani tells us).7 In fact, Mexican pulque and Florentine wheat were, to a great extent, objects of barter or of home consumption and not exchanged for money in a free market.

After these general considerations, let us examine the problem at hand in more detail. In what sense is it possible to speak about feudalism in the American context? And, especially, where and how can it be found? I believe that a useful point of departure would be the characteristics of land ownership.

Initially we think above all of the mercedes de tierra in the Hispano-American world and sesmarias in the Luso-American world.8 What is meant by these terms? Concessions of more or less large areas of land to persons who have particularly distinguished themselves in the conquest of America. But the conquista never ends: it continues even today.9 This land was without value, however, as long as labor was not available. So there appeared on the scene encomiendas de indios10 and slavery. Slavery was a clear concept. Encomiendas were a matter of grants of workers entrusted (encomendados) to a conquistador, who had the obligation to civilize them (i.e., to take care of their evangelization). The encomendados, in turn, had to provide obligatory labor.11

Mercedes and encomiendas already seem to have sufficiently “feudal” traits to characterize the sixteenth-century economy. I know quite well that it will be pointed out (as it already has been) that the classical feudal grant of land and men was always accompanied by the obligation on the part of the feudatory to offer a whole range of services (especially in times of war). In the American world, however, these obligations did not appear. But one fact is forgotten: the American world was free of conflict. In fact, where a chronic state of war existed (as in southern Chile, for example)12 the grants of encomienda took into consideration military services.

To be sure, the mercedes de tierra, without totally disappearing,13 were to lose their importance in the course of the sixteenth century. The encomiendas de indios, also, would see their economic importance diminish. It is necessary, then, to attempt to understand the means of acquiring land and securing manpower. As for land: illicit occupation, in most diverse and most subtle forms, was the rule. The numerous attempts on the part of the Spanish state to instill order into this process, or to restore it, always failed. We know quite well that the composiciones de tierras never came to an end.14 And the occupation of land—even if disguised in a thousand ways, would continue to our time.15

As far as labor went, the situation did not change much. I repeat: the encomiendas would certainly lose their strength (in differing ways, according to the region), but other institutions would persist: the mita, for example.

And brand new forms would also appear: peonaje, yanaconazgo, inquilinaje. But what were these “new” forms of “free” labor (as they have been too facilely defined)?

The inquilino and the yanacona are people who, in return for the use of a piece of land, gave three, four, or five days of work per week to the lord.

Peones: these, of course, were nominally free workers paid in cash. But to stop at the name is the last thing a historian can or should do. In fact peones were not free: once having entered into the work cycle under a lord, they seldom escaped. The system that created their dependence was simple: indebtedness. The lord (who might be an encomendero, the owner of a mine, a monastery, a priest, a member of the military) paid wages in advance: the peón was obliged to buy (or more accurately, to acquire) cloth, foodstuffs, and alcohol from the lord. Indebtedness was chronic and was transferred from father to son.16

Allow me a small digression. Medievalists are well acquainted with the polemic between W. Sombart and A. Sapori on the subject of double-entry bookkeeping. Without this technique, said Sombart, there is no capitalism. And Sapori—great archival researcher—found this type of accounting existed in the thirteenth century: so, capitalism already existed in the thirteenth century. With all due respect to these two great historians (although I always preferred Werner Sombart), double-entry bookkeeping in itself does not mean a great deal. What matters is what it records.

Coming back to the American problem, it is easy to observe that there existed in Brazil in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries double-entry bookkeeping, which recorded nothing more than slaves.17

Likewise, there was double-entry bookkeeping in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries in which sums the peones owed were entered on the credit side!18 And this was perfectly normal (in the American context): in the thinking of a Perúvian hacendado, for example, the sum of the peons’ debts was capital: the capital consisting of a workforce tied to the land. A ridiculous and even paradoxical example is available. When the Jesuits had to leave Peru, a Jesuit father played a dirty trick: he destroyed the obraje that he administered. There was no need of fires or explosions. He had only to excuse the workers their debts. Once clear of debt, the workers departed, and the obraje became valueless.19

There was an enormous capacity for inventing new systems of tying the work force to the land in America, in compulsivas [forced] conditions: dobla y redobla in the mines,20 forced labor in transportation or public works (roads in particular),21pongueaje.22 Disregarding the large cities and ports, let us turn toward the countryside and the mines, where we shall see that the reality of the work world was indeed as I have tried to depict here: in the America of yesterday and—in certain regions—of today.23 Enormous masses of men had no access to or exit from the labor or goods market.

Another point arises. I have said that the American economy was not a monetary economy. Is this a paradox? Much less than one might think at first sight. Thousands of documents, chronicles, histories, and reports bear witness to this phenomenon.

There was a lack of currency; but that was not the most serious problem. This lack was asymmetrical, that is, there was not a homogeneous lack of currency. There were gold coins; rather fewer silver coins of large unit value; still fewer silver coins of small value. There was absolutely no silver coinage of small value (the cuartillos) or copper coinage.

Now, in the pre-nineteenth-century world, there was no single monetary circulating system, but rather several of them: at least as many as there were strata of coinage (large gold coins, large silver coins, small silver coins, small copper coins). This is the principal lesson to be drawn from an extraordinary article by the late Jean Meuvret.24 There are, therefore, at least three types of monetary circulation: (a) circulation of gold currency and large silver currency (limited to capital accumulation and large economic enterprises); (b) circulation of silver currency of medium value (for the everyday transactions of the “bourgeoisie”); (c) circulation of silver and copper currency of smaller denomination (for daily use and “popular” needs).

In fact, however, it was precisely the latter that is absolutely nonexistent in Spanish and Portuguese America: the mass of the American population was excluded from the money economy.25 What was the solution to this problem? With “currencies” of wood, leather, copper, lead, and soap, “issued” by private individuals.26 For example: if I had gone to buy a loaf of bread worth one cuartillo in eighteenth-century Santiago de Chile, I would have had to pay with a half-real coin, because the cuartillo was not struck until 1792—and then in absolutely insufficient quantities. The baker would then have given me a cuartillo’s worth of bread and a token that he had issued himself. This token, however, had no exchange value outside the bakery. I would therefore have to use it to buy bread at that bakery.27

That was the least problem, however. The most important thing derives from the fact that barter was the essential means of economic life in the countryside. And let us not forget that the countryside was the essence of economic life, and not only in America, at least until the nineteenth century.28

All this seems to me clearly confirmed for the entire colonial period: let us say between the early sixteenth century and 1830.

What of the period after 1830? The problem becomes more interesting at this point, because it offers the possibility of studying a concept that—although it has often been touched on by historians and economists—has never been the object of precise analysis: I refer to the problem of transition.29 Of course, I am acquainted with the innumerable studies that have told us, with erudition and intelligence, about the birth of capitalism. I refer to works from Pirenne to Braudel; from Sapori to Luzzatto; from Tawney to Dobb; from Sombart to Strieder—not to mention the new and innovative work of Wallerstein. I must confess that, with the partial exception of Dobb, I am not overly convinced. And I am not convinced for a very simple reason: all these authors, while writing about capitalism, speak of a birth, but never indicate the parents of the child. Let us leave aside the fact that the proposed chronologies (thirteenth, sixteenth, and eighteenth centuries) are not convincing. It could be said that the medievalists are for the thirteenth century, specialists of the sixteenth century are for the sixteenth century, and modernists for the eighteenth century. How long will it be before specialists of prehistory will speak to us about the birth of capitalism in Neolithic times? For it must be recognized that this capitalism that is constantly being born is not very convincing. What I find absolutely unconvincing, however, is the following fact: the capitalism that these authors and all the others tell us about is born as if by magic and we never find out to what degree the preceding feudalism contributed—by some dialectic process—to this “birth.” In brief, we do not observe the transition from one to the other. Of course, we have recourse to something that might be understood as an indication of the transition process: “precapitalism.” I said: “something.” In fact, I cannot find a closer definition for this famous “precapitalism,” because it is neither a concept nor a category. It is only a word, “something” that does not have great explanatory value. I think it would be amusing to call this capitalism, whose birth everyone is so eager to locate, “postfeudalism.” This would be entertaining, but would not have any great meaning either. With “words,” a problem may be dodged, but not resolved. And there is something more: in the same way that specialists of European economic history have concentrated their attention essentially on knowledge of cities, on the activities of the great ports, and on international trade, the Americanists have overconcentrated their attention on urban history, the history of mines, ports, and currencies (all of these seen in an extrinsic fashion). And it is obvious that these types of studies automatically lead to the identification of riches and capital. But does capital imply capitalism? The transition seems too abrupt. The feudal lords of the High Middle Ages also had capital; the hacendados as well. The problem is that of the nature of the capital: trade, banking, usurious, landed, or industrial. It is only through exact definition of this renowned capital that capitalism itself can be detected, in the sense we give the word today.

Furthermore, I am firmly convinced that it is impossible to speak— for any particular economic space—of “capitalism” (or even “feudalism”), without being precise as to what part of the economic space in question is invested with this capitalism and/or feudalism. In other words, if in a given economic space, (international) commercial life is designated as mercantile capitalism and productive life is accounted feudal, why should we define this space as a whole as “capitalist”? To proceed in this way is to forget that the urban centers represent—in demographic terms—one- or two-tenths of the whole population and that their activity represents only a minimal part of all the transactions (of every type, from monetary exchange to barter pure and simple) that take place at the production level. And even more, this means forgetting that the value of great mining and/or merchant transactions represent only a very small part of the value of all the goods produced—under feudal conditions—in an economic space.

Of course, the problem has been resolved by saying that these urban centers constitute “poles of development.” But this pernicious category— pernicious on account of the ravages that it has wreaked (nearly everywhere in the world: how numerous are cathedrals in the desert that have been created by these poles of development!)—has never explained anything. I remember I was told for years that I was wrong to speak of feudalism in the Italy of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, because there were cities like Venice, Genoa, Florence, Lucca, Livorno, and Ancona that constituted “poles of development.” If this theory had the least basis, there ought to be some coincidence between an economic atlas of medieval Europe and one of Europe today: Venice, Genoa, Bruges, Florence, Seville, and Provins should be dominant centers of the productive and commercial life of the old continent. These are, however, dead cities.

Several times I have alluded to problems of European history. If I have proceeded in this way, I had no intent of creating a comparative history (in which I do not believe), nor to present a sort of general theory of feudalism that would embrace both European and American situations. Quite the contrary: if I have often spoken of Europe, I have done so in order to reach what seems to me to be the central problem of this article. In Hispano-Portuguese America, we find “feudalism,” but it is not the same “feudalism” as in Europe. The measures with which one must judge these two phenomena (similar, but not identical) must be different. What had to be achieved in the American context is what already had been partially achieved in the European context: a differential geography in space and in time.

Certain differences between the two feudalisms are obvious: a) First of all, the Spanish lord who settled in America and who became a feudatario there inherited—at least in the countries having a strong state-controlled structure (Aztec and Inca)—a part of the preexisting institutions: the mita, for example. But it is clear that he distorted them in comparison to what they had been in their earlier context. A similar problem existed in Europe during the High Middle Ages with the relation between the ancient Roman institutions and the young barbarian “laws.”

b) Next, European feudalism passed through at least two phases. The first—that of classic feudalism—is characterized by the fact that in Europe there was, at that time, an unlimited supply of land. Later, this same feudalism had to face up to a limited supply of land. On that point, I believe that England’s being the first to eliminate (or at least limit) feudalism can be explained precisely by the fact that England was the first country in Europe that had to come to terms with the problem of a lack of land, which led to radical changes in its social and economic structures.

American “feudalism,” however, never experienced an unlimited supply of land.30 Its great problem was that of resolving the dilemma of there being men without land and land without men, which was exactly the problem posed by the end of the Roman Empire and the origins of feudalism.31

c) This late American feudalism also had to contend with the external “imposition” of capitalism. In other words, the development (or transition) of European feudalism was not influenced by external phenomena. There was an endogenous development; only in the nineteenth century was English capitalism able to influence developments in Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe.

In brief, the two feudalisms (European and American) existed, but differed. Should this be surprising? Personally, I do not find it any more surprising than the fact that a price, a salary, or a pension in London, Paris, or Florence in the thirteenth century were not the same as a price, a salary, or a pension in these same cities in the eighteenth century or today. One would have to be totally devoid of sociological, economic, and historical knowledge to be “surprised” by these differences. The price of wheat in an economic space in which only 10 percent of the grains consumed pass through the market is one thing, but the price in the same space, if 60 percent of the wheat consumed passes through the market, is another.

The same is true of wages. It is not the wage of a laborer or a mason that matters, but rather the total wages paid in a given economic space. It is obvious that if this total is less than the sum of the value obtained through the agency of different types of forced (compulsivo) labor, the significance of this wage is quite different from that of the wage that we may find in an economy in which the total value of labor receives an equivalent in cash.

To turn to another sector—consider the price of land. In the American context, we find land that has no price because it has no value. What has “value” is not the land, but the building, the plants, the irrigation works, the tools, and—especially—the mass of workers who are tied to it.32

If we do not keep these realities and differences constantly before us, there is no point in speaking—in the American context—of either capitalism or feudalism in the sense that we give these words in the European context. And on this subject I would like to point out as clearly as possible, that to use feudalism and capitalism in the American context in the Marxian sense of the word is a waste of time. I hope my Marxist friends will not take offense. I would only like to say to them that I do not understand why they so fervently wish to extrapolate the Marxian lesson to continents—such as Africa, Asia, and America—about which Marx knew nothing or very little (and the little he did know derived from colonial experiences of the nineteenth century). I firmly believe that Karl Marx was one of the most extraordinary thinkers in the history of mankind and I find his explanatory schema a prodigious aid in understanding thirty centuries of the history of the Mediterranean basin and much of Europe. But why transform the Capital of Karl Marx into a sort of City of God of Saint Augustine; why, in short, make it “Catholic and universal?

Let us speak, then, of feudalism in America. And if we absolutely must look for authorities, let us address ourselves rather to the great European thinkers of the eighteenth century.33 My proposition is less paradoxical than it seems.

I know quite well that I will be criticized for reducing American feudalism to four elements: (a) an economy without (or with an insufficient) monetary base; (b) an economy without (or with insufficient) freedom of access to or withdrawal from the [labor] market; (c) the same in the case of the commodity market; (d) an economy not supported by a large and dependable interior market.

It may be noted that even from an orthodox Marxist point of view (leaving aside the aberrations of certain alleged Marxists) characteristics of this sort lead to the definition of a feudal economy. But this—as I have already said—is hardly of any interest to me. What is more important in my view—in examining the economy and society of America—is to measure to what degree a colonial economy existed.

It may well be objected34 that the natural economy does not constitute a “theoretical explanation.” I do not doubt it. Since I have no ambition to be a “theorist” or a “methodologist,” I find no problem in that. It is my belief, although it is a commonplace one, that the degree of intensity of a natural economy in a given economic space constitutes an excellent ther mometer for measuring the degree of the existence of feudalism. The thermometer is certainly not an instrument of great theoretical precision, but it is certainly useful (at any rate, more useful than wild, so-called “theoretical” imaginings). More important are the objections that might come from a Marc Bloch35 or a Fernand Braudel.36

As for Marc Bloch, I must say that I have always been on the side of A. Dopsch,37 for the following reasons.

First, Marc Bloch has always concentrated his attention and his examples on the cities, the great abbeys, the great feudal areas. He never tells us, however, what is happening in the economic space as a whole.

He never poses the question of different social levels in the circulation of different denominations of coin. A sequin or a denier—for him—are “currency.” But in fact, we now know that it was not so.

Finally, he in no way takes into account the fact that in the medieval monetary system (and this is true until the French Revolution) there existed a currency of account and a system of internal exchange. And the definitions38 and conclusions39 of F. Braudel do not seem any more convincing to me. For I have the feeling that several problems are purely and simply being evaded. Why are these worlds “apparently” distant? What is drawing them together? And why “economic symbiosis”? Can we indeed speak of symbiosis? For my part, I would speak rather of extremely violent collisions. Is there truly symbiosis between Florence and the Florentine contado? Or between Spain and America? Between these two worlds there existed enormous differences of voltage. To seek to find some possibility of symbiosis would be rather as if a houseowner were to try to steal current for his house (at 220 volts) from a high tension cable.

Of course, contacts between the two worlds (monetary and natural) exist. The result of these contacts is the crushing victory of the first over the second.

After posing these problems of natural economy, one can once again try to reach a conclusion. It seems to me, therefore, that the problem is not whether the equation: natural economy = feudalism, is legitimate. Rather, as it is noted in the American context, we witness the fact that natural economy—at the level of production—constitutes the terrain upon which flourish forms of social and economic organization that can be defined as feudal (with the reservations and limitations that I have brought out above).40

Translation of this article was made possible by a grant from the Conference on Latin American History of the American Historical Association.


See Ruggiero Romano, “Vincenzo Russo e gli estremisti della república napoletana del 1799,” in Atti dell’Academia de Scienze Morali e Politiche della società Nazionale de Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in Napoli (Naples), 64 (1952), 3-4; also republished in Romano, Napoli: Dal viceregno al regno (Turin, 1976), pp. 265-317.


Vincenzo Cuoco, Saggio storico sulla rivoluzione napolentana del 1799 (Milan, 1801; German ed., 1805; French ed., 1807).


André Gunder Frank completely lacks this “minimal knowledge.” I would refer the reader to my essay, “Sous-développement culturel: À propos d’André Gunder Frank,” Cahiers Vilfredo Pareto (Geneva), 24 (1971), 271-279.


Stuart Piggott, Ancient Europe from the Beginnings of Agriculture to Classical Antiquity (London, 1965).


Huguette and Pierre Chaunu, Séville et l’Atlantique. 1504-1650, 8 vols. (Paris, 1955-57), Partie statistique.


A. García-Baquero González, Cádiz y el Atlántico (1717-1778), 2 vols. (Seville. 1976).


Giovanni Villani, Cronica, 2 vols. (Trieste, 1857-58), I: 420.


Of the extensive bibliography, see A. Tanodi, M. Fajardo, and M. Dávila. Libro de mercedes de tierras de Córdoba de 1573 a 1600 (Córdoba, Arg., 1958); C. Frene A. Fonseca, “Sesmarias no Brasil," in Dieionário de História de Portugal (n.p., n.d.). See also the impressive work by C. Freire A. Fonseca. “Economia natural e colonização do Brasil: Estudios das doações de sesmarias de Pernambuco, 1534-1843 (M.A. thesis, Univ. of Río de Janeiro, 1974).


See, for example, Alfred Métraux, L’île de Pâques (Paris, 1965), pp. 65-68.


A classic work is Silvio Zavala, La encomienda indiana (Mexico City, 1973), 2d ed.


Another classic work is José Antonio Saco, Historia de la esclavitud de la raza africana en el nuevo mundo y en especial en los países hispano americanos (vols. 4 and 5 of his Historia de la esclavitud desde los tiempos más remotos) (Havana, 1938).


In Julián Gutiérrez Altamirano’s encomienda decree dated June 3, 1566, the obligation “tener armas y caballo y servir a Su Majestad en la guerra” is clearly stated; found in José Toribio Medina, Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de Chile, 2d ser., 6 vols. (Santiago, Chile, 1956-63), I: 64.


See n. 9 supra.


Germán Colmenares, Cali: Terratenientes, mineros y comerciantes (Cali, 1975), pp. 43-49.


Ricardo Donoso and Fanor Velasco, La propiedad austral (Santiago, Chile, 1970).


Ruggiero Romano, “Sens et limites de l’ ‘industrie’ minière en Amérique espagnole du xvie au xviiie siècle, Journal de la Société des Américanistes (Paris), 59 (1970), 132.


E.g., that of Engenho Sergipe do Conde, which can be seen in the beautiful edition published by the Instituto do Açúcar e de Alcool, Documentos para a historia de açúcar. Vol. II. Engenho Sergipe do Conde, Livre de Contas (1622-1653) (Río de Janeiro, 1956). See also my preface to the Italian edition of Celso Furtado, La formazione economica del Brasile (Turin, 1970).


Pablo Macera, Mapas coloniales de haciendas cuzqueñas (Lima, 1968), p. ex.


Ibid., p. cxi.


See Benjamín Vicuña MacKenna, El libro de la piata (Santiago, Chile, 1882), pp. 118-119.


Charles Gibson, The Aztecs under Spanish Rule: A History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico, 1519-1810 (Stanford, 1964), pp. 231, 354, 384.


See José María Arguedas, El sueño del pongo—Cuenta quechua (Lima, 1965). There is another edition of this work, published in Santiago, Chile, in 1970, with a record. The reading is done by José María Arguedas, who had an unforgettable voice.


See the very important (and little known) anonymously written, Bureau International du Travail, Les populations aborigènes: Conditions de vie et de travail des populations autochtones des pays indépendants (Geneva, 1953), esp. pp. 221-296, 329-444. There is also a Spanish-language edition.


Jean Meuvret, “Circulation monétaire et utilisation économique de la monnaie dans la France du xvie et du xviie siècle,” Etudes d’histoire moderne et contemporaine (Paris), 1 (1947), 15-28; also republished in Jean Meuvret, Etudes d’histoire économique: Recueil d’articles (Paris, 1971).


There has been little work on this topic and there is no comprehensive book about the problem. Still, I would like to mention the important works of Antonio García, “El salariado natural y el salariado capitalista en la historia de América,” América Indígena (Mexico City) 8:4 (1948), 249-287; C. Garzón-Maceda, Economía del Tucumán: Economía natural y economía monetaria. Rentas eclesiásticas (Córdoba, 1965); C. Castro, "Economie monétaire et économie naturelle au Mexique dans la deuxième moitié du xviiie siècle” (Paper. L’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, VIe Section); E. Tandeter, “El papel de la moneda macuquina en la circulación monetaria rioplatense,” Cuadernos de Numismática (Buenos Aires) 4:14 (1975). 1-11.


See Ruggiero Romano, Una economía colonial: Chile en el siglo xviii (Buenos Aires, 1965), p. 36 and bibliography.


On social and economic problems posed by the tokens, see M. Segall, Biografía social de la ficha salario,” Mapocho (Santiago), 2:2 (1964), 97-131.


See, for example, R. E. Burchard, “Coca y trueque de alimentos” in G. Alberti and E. Mayer, eds., Reciprocidad e intercambio en los Andes peruanos (Lima, 1974), pp. 209-251.


See M. Godelier, “Trasizione," Enciclopedia Einaudi (Turin, 1981), forthcoming.


See my “Acerca de la ‘oferta ilimitada’ de tierras: A propósito de América central y meridional” in Alberto Flores Galindo and O. Plaza, eds., Haciendas y plantaciones en el Perú (Lima, 1975), pp. 1-7.


See L. Cracco Raggini, “Uomini senza terra e terra senza uomini nell Italia antica, Quaderni di Sociologia Rurale (Rome), 3 (1963), 279-291; and P. Jones, Economia e società nell’Italia medievale (Turin, 1980), esp. pp. 249-273.


See a splendid manuscript in the Biblioteca Nacional (Lima), no. C3782, that treats the region of Paucartambo (undated, but probably 1711). In it a hacendado complains about finding himself once again “sin jente y aperos, pues son los que dan balor a las posesiones."


See F. Venturi, “Tra Scozia e Russia," Poccия/Russia, 1 (1981). n.p.


As has done Ciro F. S. Cardoso.


Marc Bloch, Economie-nature ou économie-argent: Un Pseudo-dilemme, 2 vols. (Paris, 1973), II, 868-877.


A. Dopsch, Naturalwirtschaft und Geldwirtschaft in der Veltgeschichte (Vienna, 1930).


F. Braudel, Capitalismo e civiltà materiale (Turin, 1977).


Ibid., p. 339.


Ibid., p. 377-378.


The books and articles cited in the preceding notes do not constitute, and cannot constitute, a complete bibliography. An entire group of names is missing (from F. Chevalier to A. Jara, from Herbert Klein to D. A. Brading, from H, Bonilla to M. Burga, and so many others). I would not want the reader to be left with the idea that there is nothing more to read on this subject.