When historian James Lockhart published his renown article “Encomienda and Hacienda” in 1969, the modern historiography on haciendas was already more than forty-years-old. Yet even after decades, historians were only beginning to understand these New World estates in terms of their origins and functions as colonial institutions. Early twentieth century scholars debated the extent of legal and cultural connections between early encomienda grants and later commercial haciendas. By the late 1970s and 1980s, historians were asking more structural questions about the material conditions of hacienda life and the stratification of social groups who lived there. How was power built and projected? More recently, historians of the colonial Andes have transitioned from top-down histories of hacienda life to bottom-up frameworks that analyze the active role of indigenous individuals and communities on haciendas and colonial society as a whole. This historiographical essay maps these debates through six scholarly works on Andean haciendas, published between 1969 and 1993, to gain a better appreciation for the range of questions, arguments, and sources scholars have used to analyze what Lockhart referred to as a “master institution” of Spanish colonization.
One of Lockhart’s central goals in “Encomienda and Hacienda” is to show how haciendas were integral to the growth of Spanish colonial society. At the time he was writing, historians had focused on these sites as isolated, rural subjects, outside of their political, economic, and social connections to the wider colonial world. Challenging this disconnect, Lockhart argued that haciendas were actually key mediators in a larger system that included what he called the Spanish city and Indian Village. In this system, haciendas represented a “vital center” whose function “was to mediate between city and country, to carry back and forth supplies, people, and ideas that were vital to the growth of Spanish American civilization.”
For Lockhart, earlier historians’ inability to see these larger connections stemmed from confusion about the shared origins of haciendas and encomiendas in the great estates of Iberian Spanish culture. In the early twentieth century, historians had assumed encomiendas gradually gave rise to haciendas as labor grants became confused with land rights. Then in the post-War period, historians using legislative and political sources demonstrated that encomiendas were legally separate entities that did not confer property rights on encomenderos. This shifted the debate and the separation between the two institutions was the accepted explanation until scholars like Lockhart began to expand their sources to include notarial records and new types of documents from local archives. In this respect, Lockhart was a pioneer. Citing key figures in this movement, including Silvio Zavala’s work on Guatemala, Jean Borde and Mario Góngora’s work on Chile, and his work on Spanish Peru, he claims encomenderos often requested and received land grants [mercedes] in areas near their tributary communities. While Lockhart notes that more evidence is needed before drawing further conclusions, he argues that these two institutions served the same social and economic roles, that of mediators between Spanish and Indian societies. They also functioned as commercial units operated by elites for personal profit and prestige. In that respect, both institutions shared the same labor systems and power distributions in their operations.
Interestingly, Lockhart says that by viewing these two institutions together, new explanations for the decline of the encomienda can also be seen. Instead of focusing on the Crown or Church as the prime movers in the collapse of the encomiendas, Lockhart argues that the rapid decline of indigenous populations and the greater market needs of the growing Spanish populace doomed a system that was based on extracting tribute from dying indigenous communities. In its wake, the hacienda system, geared toward the production of soft commodities for local and regional markets, gradually replaced the encomienda as the great mediator between Spanish and indigenous societies in the colonial world.
Lockhart’s article remains important in Andean historiography because of its synthesis of early scholarly work, including his own 1968 book, Spanish Peru, which marked a historiographical turn from legal and diplomatic histories to social and economic ones. As mentioned, Lockhart’s use of notarial archives and different socioeconomic sources represented a major shift in the types of sources that historians of the region were using and demonstrated their value for compiling a detailed picture of everyday life in the colonies. Yet while Lockhart would later become famous for his participation in the development of the field of ethnohistory, one of the major critiques of this early work is the absence of a detailed study of indigenous populations and a top-down perspective of colonial history. While his emphasis on local sources challenged Eurocentric legal histories, the turn toward ethnohistory would happen later.
Writing shortly after Lockhart, historian Robert Keith explored some of the issues Lockhart raised. His work, Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast, published in 1976 and based on his dissertation research, looks at the emergence of the hacienda system in seven valleys along Peru’s southern coast during the second half of the sixteenth century. His central focus is on the role of haciendas as “local social systems” in Andean colonial society, and how and why they came about when they did.
While Keith builds on Lockhart’s work, he also deviates in significant ways. For example, he continues the trend into social and economic history, using notarial records to shed light on the transition from encomienda to hacienda. However, where Lockhart highlighted the influence of the Spanish culture of Iberian great estates, Keith emphasized the legacy of pre-Colombian societies. While accepting Lockhart’s larger point that the encomienda and hacienda shared similar roots and were fundamentally connected, he argued that European colonists also borrowed from Andean traditions to give the encomienda and hacienda their ideological and physical shape. In this respect, his book is more concerned with the distinctions between the two institutions, above all the changing social and economic conditions that brought about the decline of the encomiendas and the rise of haciendas.
According to Keith, Spanish settlers made use of pre-Incan and Incan technology and labor organization. Borrowing historian Karl Wittfogel’s term “hydraulic civilizations,” he highlights the importance of water and centralized power along Peru’s arid coast. After conquest, Keith argued that indigenous societies contributed much of the irrigation infrastructure and technology needed to produce crops in the valleys microclimates, such as using sunken gardens to tap groundwater or using the complex systems of canals that brought water down from the mountains. They also contributed the figure of the curaca, who managed indigenous workers, a role that was incorporated into both the encomienda and hacienda systems.
Keith and Lockhart’s positions overlap in terms of signaling local socioeconomic factors and demographic collapse as the primary causes for the decline of encomiendas, but they disagree on how that affected the rise of haciendas. Pointing to the Spanish legal precedents of encomiendas as political-military instruments of the Reconquista, Keith argues that it was a useful tool of conquest, but that it only made sense in the early years when the Crown sought to exert control over the newly conquered territories and create incentives for loyal soldiers to settle. After several decades of state bureaucratization and Spanish population growth, the rationale for maintaining a class of New World lords, whose power challenged the Crown’s, no longer made sense. Instead, what colonial society needed were commercial agricultural producers to feed and supply growing populations. In other words, where Lockhart saw connections and evolution between encomiendas and haciendas, Keith saw different tools for different times. When it no longer made sense to allow encomenderos direct access to tribute and labor drafts, those roles were given to corregidores de Indios more closely aligned with the Crown and the market-oriented functions were pursued by encomenderos and their families as commercial enterprises.
What is most interesting about Keith’s work is his chapter on Spanish “gentlemen-farmers” during the period between the end of encomiendas in the coastal region in the 1550s and the consolidation of hacienda society at the turn of the century. He explains how after stripping encomenderos of their control, the Crown issued a series of smaller land grants, which came to be known as chacras, to groups of former soldiers in the hopes that they would found new towns and settle territory. While he shows how many of these small-producers eventually failed for lack of capital and market demand, he is also able to show areas where they succeeded, providing an interesting comparison of the types of environmental, geographic, and market factors that influenced the success of different colonial enterprises. His iconic example is the wine vineyards of southern Peru. Not only is the area’s coastal environment ideal for grape production, but in the colonial period it could be done profitably on smaller landholdings like the chacras. The reduced costs of shipping wine, as opposed to larger bulk goods like wheat, also extended the range of markets that these gentlemen-farmers could reach, permitting the development of a series of smaller commercial enterprises in coastal areas, such as Ica. Where this worked, landholdings tended to remain limited. Where the chacras failed, they were often bought up and consolidated into larger haciendas. In this respect, by looking at encomiendas as separate institutions from haciendas, Keith was able to shed light on a separate system of land tenancy in the areas he studied.
Taken together, Keith’s book and Lockhart’s article straddle a major turn in Latin American historiography in the sense that they explore newer methods of social and economic history to answer older questions raised by legal and political historians before them. In the 1980s, Andean historians like Nicholas Cushner and Susan Ramírez built off this early work by asking new questions about the actual working conditions of estates, the use of slavery, as well as the market, social, and religious networks that grew around them.
Looking first at Cushner’s 1980 Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600-1767, this monograph explores the rise of Jesuit sugar estates and vineyards in coastal Peru, including some of the same areas studied by Keith. Beginning in the sixteenth-century period of hacienda consolidation, Cushner used ecclesiastical records from Peru, Spain, and Rome to shed light on how haciendas financed the religious work of the Society of Jesus in Peru. He argues that their haciendas were not symbols of power, but were instead managed rigorously by priests to sustain their religious work and educational institutions. In terms of hacienda studies, his work represents a shift in the historiography to a new level of detail in what was known about these estates and their operations, including the use of forced labor and slavery. It also broadened what was known as Jesuits in South America and how they financed their far-flung operations. In terms of haciendas, by exploring these early years, Cushner says his work helps explain the complicated history of contemporary land reforms and the rise of land concentration and the historical social conflicts surrounding it.
After a brief discussion of the environment of coastal Peru, Cushner sketches the historiography of encomiendas, in which he acknowledges the work of Lockhart and Keith and argues that the decline of indigenous populations undermined the foundations of encomiendas at a time when the growth of Spanish cities increased demand for agricultural products. Seemingly in response to Lockhart’s call for more in-depth study of land grants and the composition of colonial haciendas, Cushner then provides a detailed description of the process of land acquisition, hacienda operations, labor systems, and the financing of Jesuit sugar estates and vineyards. While dry, this archival detail was significant for its time and broadened what was known about Jesuit haciendas.
The most interesting sections of Cushner’s book are his chapter on salaried and slave labor and another chapter on hacienda production and profit. Although both read like an inventory list, Cushner explores the significance of events such as the 1601 royal decree banning indigenous laborers from being used to work on sugar estates unless they were paid a wage, which precipitated the rise of slavery on the Peruvian coast. While some haciendas made use of mitayo and yanacona labor, enslaved people of African descent represented the majority of laborers. Not only does the author trace the growth of slave populations over time, he identifies the major sources and geographic networks and ports for acquiring them. Cushner also looks at the cost breakdown of feeding and clothing enslaved workers and how satellite haciendas were developed to supply food for the sugar estates and vineyards. One fascinating section discusses healthcare and common ailments, as well as nutrition and slave cuisine on these plantations.
The next chapter on the finances of Jesuit colleges and haciendas is one of his most sweeping, drawing broad connections between Jesuit hacienda operations along the Peruvian coast with other areas of the colony and Spanish empire. The reader learns about debt operations, bequests, and the vicissitudes of colonial business cycles as Cushner quietly challenges Lockhart’s claims that haciendas grew so large in part because of the owners’ pursuit of status that came with being a large property owner. Instead, Cushner shows Jesuit haciendas operated on a logic of profit, even if they were not always successful. In terms of the historiography, this challenged interpretations of haciendas as primarily status symbols and only secondarily as for-profit enterprises.
What is missing from Cushner’s work are people. In his quest for a “solid statistical base,” he impersonalizes his data to such an extent that the reader struggles see what the “human side of cultivation” on Jesuit sugar plantations in the seventeenth century was like. However, his methods provided a level of aggregate detail on Church haciendas and their financial role in colonial society that is impressive. Still, in comparison with other Andean historians writing in the early 1980s, Cushner’s book lacked a central theoretical framework that would have allowed it to transcend its particular context and engage with a wider body of literature on the colonial Andes. In comparison with later authors, Cushner’s work may stand as a cautionary tale of the perils of going too deep into details while missing opportunities to make larger historiographical connections. In that sense, there is a clear difference between Cushner’s work and that of historian Susan Ramírez, whose 1986 book, Provincial Patriarchs: Land Tenure and the Economics of Power in Colonial Peru, highlights the possibilities of using both economic data alongside thoughtful analysis of larger structures of land tenancy, wealth, and power.
Like Keith and Cushner, Ramírez’s monograph studies haciendas on the Peruvian coast, but in addition to a detailed study of early landholdings, Ramírez focuses on networks of power among the elite and their sugar haciendas near the city of Trujillo in northern Peru. Of the four works reviewed so far, her work engages the most with the so-called cultural turn of the late 1970s and 1980s by considering the social lives of hacendados as well as a more-than-cursory analysis of how haciendas affected indigenous communities. However, she also returns to the question of the origin of the hacienda within the encomienda that had perplexed historians since at least the 1930s. Aside from its scope and thoroughness, what makes Ramírez’s work valuable is her detailed exploration of the process by which small farms developed into large estates and how those families used their wealth and power to protect their interests throughout the colonial period.
The author organizes her work into three parts: encomenderos and early ranch and hacienda operations from roughly Conquest to 1594; the rise of the great estates and formation of the landholding elite in the sixteenth century through the early period of Bourbon reforms; and finally colonial stagnation and decline until independence. In the first part, her conclusions about the early period of encomienda match those put forth by Keith a decade earlier, but in Ramirez’s work, the history comes alive. She also engages in detailed analysis of the economic values of encomiendas over time as well as family genealogies to back up her assertions. An example of this approach can be seen in her use of the marriage of Don Francisco Pérez de Lezcano and Doña Luisa de Mendoza in the late 1550s. Pérez de Lezcano, a Spanish peninsular who settled in Trujillo in 1551, is meant to be representative of the archetypal patriarch of local elite families. He began his career in the military and then used his connections to the Spanish Crown to gain political rank and economic success in Trujillo. Once there, he increased his social rank by marrying the daughter of local creole elites and gained powerful patrons for his future political and commercial career. Ramírez uses the family to show how the Trujillo elite leveraged their position in government to promote allies and social peers to protect their class interests. Still, while more detailed and extensive than Keith’s work, this section stays within the general outline he established.
It is not until her second section, on the high period of the landed elite, that her major contributions to Andean historiography can be seen. In that section, she tries to answer the question of whether land bought political power or if political power brought the opportunity to buy land. Covering two chapters, Ramírez describes the period of “benign neglect” and local elite rule that developed in the region over the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Here, the author goes beyond economic analysis and focuses on kinship networks and the systems of hegemony they used to retain political and economic control. In the absence of much interest from Spain, what Steve Stern calls local power groups gradually took control of much of the economic and political spheres in cooperation with regional administrators until the around 1719. Interestingly, she charts the known occupations of landowners between 1595-1649 to help her understand the relationship between land and power. She concludes that during this period, two-thirds of land transactions went to outsiders who, like Pérez de Lezcano, had begun their careers in politics or commerce. While commercial activities gave them capital and some prestige, the possession of a hacienda was a coveted mark of distinction. This contrasts with Cushner’s description of Jesuit estates where corporate landholdings did not confer additional prestige on priests. Instead, he said, they pursued a profit-motive on their haciendas.
Amid the decline of older families and the rise of the nouveau riche, changes in land tenancy and labor organization also affected indigenous communities who lived on and around these estates. Most interestingly, Ramírez analyzed the relationships between corregidores and curacas that facilitated the rise of a temporary labor force of indigenous workers who could supplement slave labor on sugar plantations in harvest periods when there was more work to be done. She also traces tense relationships between hacendados and indigenous communities over land encroachment and water rights. Yet Ramírez is careful not to paint haciendas as a monolith, noting the wide a variety of types of haciendas and production strategies developed in this period. She seems to support Lockhart’s earlier conclusions about the connection between the Conquest-era encomiendas and colonial haciendas, at least in terms of the “original” families in the area. She also shows how over time they represented an ever-smaller share of the market. Ironically, the older estates often ended up the most mired in debt from censos and hereditary encumberments, which in moments of economic downturn could prove a recipe for disaster.
In a testament to the foresight of James Lockhart, most authors writing over the subsequent decades continued to engage with the topics that he identified as needing more study. Jorge Armando Guevara Gil’s 1993 monograph, Propiedad agraria y derecho colonial: los documentos de la Hacienda Santotis, Cuzco (1543-1822), is an example of this. Through a painstakingly detailed research of land titles in a restricted area, his work is an example of how more modern scholars continue to flesh out the frameworks that Lockhart identified in the 1960s. Guevara Gil’s focus on elite landholdings and changes in land laws is similar to Ramirez’s work, but his monograph is more a judicial history than a social one. In this respect, he takes a much closer look at the changing legal framework that underpinned the rise of the hacienda system around Cuzco. He gives relatively less attention to the people who lived, worked, and profited from the estates, outside of the core landowners.
Guevara Gil’s analysis also expands the range of hacienda studies in Peru beyond the coastal regions. At the time of its publication, the highlands had been a relatively more dangerous area because of the Shining Path guerrilla insurgency that spread during the 1980s and 1990s. This makes Guevara Gil’s careful study of the records of the Hacienda Santotis such a timely contribution to the historiography of the region. His work is especially helpful concerning long-standing questions about the relationship/separation between encomiendas and haciendas, how Spanish landowners acquired property from the Crown, as well as insight into the region’s agrarian market cycles over almost three hundred years.
The early part of Guevara Gil’s work is told through the biographies of the Carrasco family, whose ur-patriarch, Pedro Alonso, immigrated from Extremadura to the Americas in 1509 seeking a brighter future than his hidalgo status would win him back home. As a loyal and fortunate soldier of Francisco Pizarro, he participated in the initial battles of the Peruvian conquest and the sacking of Cuzco in 1533. As a reward for his contributions, Carrasco was one of the earliest recipients of encomiendas, receiving as many as nineteen grants in the immediate aftermath of the seizure of Cuzco. He went on to participate successfully in most of the major military engagements in the central Andean highlands through the Pizarro rebellions, after which he received a series of encomiendas – as well as land grants in the area around his tributary communities – to reward him for his service to the Crown. In terms of the historiography, this narrative is useful because it bolsters Lockhart and others’ argument that encomenderos often received land in the same areas as the people they controlled, territory that eventually became the basis of later haciendas. Through a detailed study of early lawsuits against Carrasco, Guevara Gil shows that encomenderos often used all the tools at their disposal, including occupation, encroachment, and aggressive lawsuits to expand their holdings. In his description of land consolidation, Guevara Gil describes a similar phenomenon of intermediate land tenancy as that identified by Keith in the chacras on the coast.
Guevara Gil also provides a description and analysis of colonial land policies and legal instruments that is similar to Ramirez’s chapter on the formation of the latifundia. While both studies would be of more interest to specialists, they touch on these issues differently. Where Ramirez looked at how changing land laws affected local elite networks, Guevara Gil is more interested in a structural analysis of the law as a tool of conquest. In this respect, his work is also a thoughtful reflection on the role of “hombres de derecho” as part of a “mental invasion” of the Americas, just as important as soldiers and priests. As he notes, colonial lawsuits are such a major source of our knowledge about this period that it is necessary to examine the logic of colonial legal doctrine and its ability to shape discourse in order to understand the history of this period.
An interesting part of this book is his exploration of the legal status of curacas through an analysis of indigenous land sales to the Carrasco family. He uses this section to challenge ethnohistorian Karen Spalding’s theory that ethnic lords had different legal rights as leaders of their communities. In 1973, Spalding had argued that curacas had the same nominal rights as Spanish hidalgos and as such could engage in land transactions to dispose of indigenous common property. Guevara Gil traces the legal codes she cites and says none specifically supports the claims she makes. Instead, he uses bills of sale from the hacienda between local curacas and the Carrasco family to argue that curacas gained legal status through Christian baptism as opposed to their status as ethnic lords. While that theory also presents problems, including how to deal with the fact that non-elite indigenous people were also baptized, the author raises an interesting question meriting further study.
Another valuable section of the book is his chapter on property finance and forms of rent and usufruct that provided concrete data on how haciendas used a variety of financial instruments to remain solvent over three centuries. While he does not connect the similar role that financial instruments played in the development of encomiendas and haciendas, as Lockhart does with labor and elite rule, or Ramírez does with kinship networks, he does use an analysis of the hacienda’s debt load to show the long-term credit strategies that tied generations of owners together through their loans portfolios.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that even though the author highlights in the beginning of the book the benefits of legal history to shed light on Andean ethnohistory, he actually spends little time engaging with indigenous individuals or communities in this study. Instead, his book is at its strongest when he deploys his primary sources to answer directed questions related to the rise of haciendas in Cuzco and colonial Peru.
To understand how indigenous people were affected by haciendas, as well as the role of colonial markets in the development of the hacienda, is the goal of Herbert Klein’s book, Haciendas and Ayllus: Rural Society in the Bolivian Andes in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. In terms of its focus on indigenous groups, it is the only work reviewed that provides a sustained engagement with these communities. Klein’s monograph, published in 1993, the same year as Guevara Gil’s, more clearly reflects the historiographic influence of the U.S. academe and the cultural and ethnographic turn in Latin American historiography. It also was published during a period of renewed indigenous social movements in places like Bolivia, the area his study focuses on. In his book, the author takes a different approach to exploring haciendas than earlier works reviewed here by focusing on merchant landowners, indigenous labor, as well as women, in the region around the city of La Paz in the late colonial period and early national period.
One of his main goals is to challenge portrayals made by earlier agrarian historians, such as François Chevalier’s work on Mexico, of haciendas as economically unproductive feudal estates. Instead, Klein argues that highland indigenous communities in what is today Bolivia were both responsive to market incentives and able to “dominate rural society into the late nineteenth century.” By focusing on the tensions between free indigenous communities, or ayllus, and the landowning elite, he inserts Andeans into the historiography in a way no other author reviewed in this essay did.
Klein’s major contribution is his analysis of market data and hacienda production to show the responsiveness of both owners and workers to changing economic conditions. This is partly in-line with Cushner’s work on Jesuit haciendas on the coast insofar as he posits a clear profit-motive. It is at odds with Susan Ramírez’s portrayals of the nouveau riche as more concerned about social prestige than economic profit, although Ramírez is clear that she is not making broad claims about haciendas in general. Klein is also reacting against Peruvian historians who were writing in the 1970s, such as Pablo Macera and Witold Kula, who used a Marxist historical framework to argue that the landed elite had a “precapitalist” or “feudal mentality.” For Klein, instead of static, feudal relations between lord and serf, he posits a freer and more dynamic economy where producers made operating decisions based on market cycles, and indigenous workers migrated to areas with better-paying work.
For example, his chapter on the life of a hacendado named Don Tadeo Diez de Medina shows how these producers were attuned to the regional economy and ramped up production during the second silver boom of the late eighteenth century. Like the nouveau riche that Ramírez studied, Diez de Medina used political office, merchant activities, and agriculture production to become one of the wealthiest people, either lay or ecclesiastical, in Upper Peru in the late eighteenth century. He married into a wealthy family and was even able to found an entailment to benefit his sons, although they were less successful than he was. By examining notarial records, lawsuits, and inventory statements, Klein is able to portray Diez de Medina as an open-minded, mobile, and market-oriented actor, the opposite of what he calls the “traditional view of the hacendado class.”
Undermining this argument though, Diez de Medina’s vast wealth makes claims of representativeness problematic. He also claims that the hacendado illustrates the wealthiest landowning class’s relationships to different social groups, to commercial capital, and their general economic orientations. Yet here again, Diez de Medina did not actually represent this class. He did not come from a landholding family, but was actually from a landless merchant family with little wealth. As such, Diez de Medina’s drive for profit could easily have originated because of class tensions from his childhood outside the world of the wealthy elite. For example, Klein notes Diez de Medina’s uncommon personal frugality at home and willingness to do without personal servants, as well as the fact that he married three of his four daughters to merchants as opposed to members of the landed elite. In these respects, Klein’s key case study seems to represent an outlier that, while interesting, does not support his core argument. However, if we ignore his claims of sociological representativeness, his larger point that hacendados were market-savvy operators is well taken and seems supported by his sources.
His work is also valuable for its discussion of the structure of Indian communities in the late eighteenth century. In this section, he argues that indigenous workers were much more mobile and attuned to market incentives than historians had previously given them credit for. In this respect, Klein’s work reflects the broadening of the field of Andean studies after the cultural turn of the 1970s and 1980s. Although novel in the set of readings reviewed in this essay, by 1993, this perspective was perhaps the dominant trend in Andean history. What is innovative about this section though is his analysis of the age and sex distributions of workers, their migration patterns, and their preference for different ecological zones in the vertical Andean landscape. Klein argues that tribute records of free indigenous workers, known as forasteros, demonstrates market initiative on the part of these workers who followed jobs to areas where work was more profitable. His contrast of these indigenous workers with earlier hacienda workers helps support his argument that highland societies transitioned away from feudal relationships towards more independent associations between landowners and their workers by the end of the colonial period.
Still, this section seems problematic because it is based on tributary census records from 1786 for the region between La Paz and Oruro, less than five years after the Tupac Amarú rebellions in which an estimated 100,000 people were killed. While he says that “all contemporary commentators agreed that the social order had finally returned to normal” by that time, because colonial authorities were still in the middle of a major series of political and economic reforms, including the banning of corregidores, curacas, and other elements of indigenous life, it seems difficult to imagine that highland life had so quickly shaken off the war. For example, with no mention of the violence, he notes that the valley populations of the Chulumani coca regions had a higher ratio of working-aged male workers than the altiplano region at this time. He argues that this results from “voluntary” migration for better paying jobs, demonstrating indigenous market agency. However, one can easily imagine an alternative narrative that factors in issues like war casualties among highland working-aged men, refugee migration, and economic and political crisis in the years directly following one of the bloodiest revolts in Spanish colonial history. As such, his decision to ignore the war as a factor of analysis, especially the region between La Paz and Oruro, seems to undermine his conclusions significantly. Still, his work clearly challenges the claims of historians who write about indigenous populations as if they died out in the early colonial period. Instead he shows their continued importance well into the nineteenth century.
In conclusion, the last fifty years of historical scholarship on haciendas in the colonial Andes has shown that they were a fundamental element of colonial life with the power to shape political, economic, and cultural relations and project Spanish hegemony into the New World. It is also clear that the hacienda took a variety of shapes and sizes in different areas of the hemisphere, but that most involved some mix of profit and prestige in their basic raison d’être. Thanks to the work of earlier scholars, the basic legal and economic structures are understood in better detail, but historians are still grappling with the institutions’ larger web of social significance. Surprisingly, given the level of detail known about Andean rural life in the modern period, much remains to be written about haciendas in Spain’s colonial empire. If these estates operated as the “vital center” of New World life, joining the Spanish city with the Indian village, as Lockhart said, then the hacienda can also provide an optimal setting to study the formation of caste relations, imperial market networks, or environmental change, among others. Also, while fairly common in contemporary scholarship, this review highlights the absence of a sustained bottom-up history of hacienda life in the colonial Andes. While sources may be difficult to find, this is an historiographical hole waiting to be filled.
As I pursue my own research into an Andean hacienda, which began as an early encomienda grant, the works reviewed in this essay will provide a solid framework for understanding how earlier historians have written about the role of haciendas in the colonial period. My goal is to build on these and other studies and ask what role the environment had in the major transitions outlined by these scholars. Thanks to the work of many of the historians reviewed in this essay, we now know the importance of indigenous population collapse to the decline of the encomienda in the late sixteenth century. But little is known about the specific role of environmental change in this demographic implosion. The works reviewed here also highlight the complex development of property titles and landholdings in the early period of colonization. My work will provide an additional example of the evolution of one estate and to what extent decisions to expand landholdings in the early seventeenth century were due to the exhaustion of arable land, the introduction of new plants and species. In this respect, much remains to be learned about Andean haciendas and their role in colonial life.
Cushner, Nicholas P. Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600-1767. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980.
Guevara Gil, Jorge Armando. Propiedad agraria y derecho colonial: los documentos de la Hacienda Santotis, Cuzco (1543-1822). 1a. ed. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1993.
Keith, Robert G. Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast. Harvard Historical Studies 93. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1976.
Klein, Herbert S. Haciendas and Ayllus: Rural Society in the Bolivian Andes in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1993.
Lockhart, James. “Encomienda and Hacienda: The Evolution of the Great Estate in the Spanish Indies.” The Hispanic American Historical Review 49, no. 3 (1969): 411–29.
———. Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: A Colonial Society. Madison, Wis: Univ. of Wisconsin Pr, 1974.
Ramírez, Susan E. Provincial Patriarchs: Land Tenure and the Economics of Power in Colonial Peru. 1st ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986.
Sigal, Pete, Matthew Restall, Stephanie Wood, and Caterina Pizzigoni. “James Lockhart (1933–2014).” Hispanic American Historical Review 95, no. 2 (May 1, 2015): 335–39.
Stern, Steve J. Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982.
 James Lockhart, “Encomienda and Hacienda: The Evolution of the Great Estate in the Spanish Indies,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 49, no. 3 (1969): 411–29.  Ibid., 425.  Ibid., 429.  Ibid., 411, 424.  Ibid., 411.  Ibid., 413–14.  Ibid., 428.  James Lockhart, Spanish Peru, 1532-1560: A Colonial Society (Madison, Wis: Univ. of Wisconsin Pr, 1974).  Pete Sigal et al., “James Lockhart (1933–2014),” Hispanic American Historical Review 95, no. 2 (May 1, 2015): 335–39.  Robert G. Keith, Conquest and Agrarian Change: The Emergence of the Hacienda System on the Peruvian Coast, Harvard Historical Studies 93 (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1976).  Ibid., 2.  Ibid., 3.  Ibid., 11–12.  Ibid., 87–88.  Ibid., 76–79.  Ibid., 48, 79.  Ibid., 88–90.  Ibid., 101.  Ibid., 101–2.  Nicholas P. Cushner, Lords of the Land: Sugar, Wine, and Jesuit Estates of Coastal Peru, 1600-1767 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980).  Ibid., 181.  Ibid., 3.  Ibid., 15.  Ibid., 81.  Ibid., 94, 108.  Ibid., 136.  Ibid., 154–55.  Ibid., 1.  Susan E. Ramírez, Provincial Patriarchs: Land Tenure and the Economics of Power in Colonial Peru, 1st ed (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1986).  Ibid., 97.  Ibid., 36.  Ibid., 53.  Ibid., 97.  Steve J. Stern, Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640 (Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982), 93.  Ramírez, Provincial Patriarchs, 138.  Ibid., 196.  Ibid., 196–98.  Ibid., 259.  Ibid., 262.  Lockhart, “Encomienda and Hacienda,” 413.  Jorge Armando Guevara Gil, Propiedad agraria y derecho colonial: los documentos de la Hacienda Santotis, Cuzco (1543-1822), 1a. ed. (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Fondo Editorial, 1993).  Ibid., xxv.  Ibid., see especially chapter one.  Guevara Gil, Propiedad agraria y derecho colonial, 20–23.  Ibid., 85.  Ibid., xxiv.  Guevara Gil, Propiedad agraria y derecho colonial, 85–86.  Ibid., 104–6.  Ibid., 293.  Herbert S. Klein, Haciendas and Ayllus: Rural Society in the Bolivian Andes in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1993).  Ibid., 1.  Ibid., 2.  See especially chapter two as well as the three appendices.  Klein, Haciendas and Ayllus, 2.  Ibid., 36.  Ibid., 55.  Ibid., 35.  Ibid., 49, 53.  Ibid., 81–83.  Ibid., 112–13.  Ibid., 63.  Ibid., 67.
By N. H. Gill
Chapel Hill, 2018