Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: James Lockhart

James Lockhart’s Spanish Peru (1968) looks at the first three decades of Spanish conquest in the colonial Andes. One of the first Latin American historians to mine notarial records as a window into social life in the sixteenth century, Lockhart provides a survey of Peru’s major socioeconomic and demographic categories via a series of life histories and case studies of real people.

Lockhart highlights differences and changing fortunes of the early conquistadores of the lower Spanish aristocracy and the upper middle class ranks of professionals and bureaucrats who followed them. He also looks at the merchants and artisans who migrated to the Andean colonies, focusing particularly on social mobility and changing social class between generations. While Lockhart’s work places too much emphasis on the endurance of Spanish social customs in colonial Peru, his early forays into social history and new notarial sources have made this a classic in the field of Andean and Latin American history.

Lockhart, James. Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: A Colonial Society. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1968.

By N. H. Gill
Quito, 2020

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