Colonial Latin American History


Organized chronologically by publication date.

Book Reviews

The Tupac Amaru Rebellion: Charles Walker

Charles Walker left few stones unturned in The Tupac Amaru Rebellion, an impressive analysis of Spain’s largest colonial rebellion. This essay briefly examines two original arguments and two secondary claims made by Walker that help shape our understanding of an uprising that ultimately reached levels of total violence rarely seen in human history. Walker’s “seemingly… Read More The Tupac Amaru Rebellion: Charles Walker

The Deepest Wounds: Thomas Rogers

Thomas Rogers’ The Deepest Wounds argues that Pernambuco sugar planters “saw no distinction between land and labor” (8). Enslaved and free workers on cane plantations were demoted in elites’ eyes to a level equal with the animals and the earth – merely another natural resource to be commanded by the planters (72-73). This monograph shows… Read More The Deepest Wounds: Thomas Rogers

With Broadax and Firebrand: Warren Dean

Warren Dean’s With Broadax and Firebrand is a history of the destructive impact of human activity on the Atlantic forests of Brazil. Chronicling social attitudes towards nature and the impact of those attitudes on the forests from pre-Columbian times to the present, he highlights the ultimately unproductive exploitation of Brazilian natural resources, which left the… Read More With Broadax and Firebrand: Warren Dean

A Plague of Sheep: Elinor Melville

Elinor Melville’s A Plague of Sheep (1994) examines the effects of sheep ranching on the environment in the Valle de Mezquital in colonial Mexico. Melville traces the processes that turned a wooded, well-irrigated landscape into desolate pasture lands. She weaves disease, territorial control, ungulate irruptions, and the collapse and consolidation of regional land tenancy into… Read More A Plague of Sheep: Elinor Melville

Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America: Asunción Lavrin

Asunción Lavrin’s edited volume, Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America, presents a series of perspectives on what Lavrin calls the “conquest of the mind,” the means through which the Spanish state and Catholic Church sought to maintain control over colonial society. The authors challenge received understandings of the region’s early history by showing the… Read More Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America: Asunción Lavrin

Native Society and Disease in Colonial Ecuador: Suzanne Alchon

Suzanne Alchon: Native Society and Disease in Colonial Ecuador (1991) explores the relationship between epidemic diseases and indigenous populations in the north-central highlands of Ecuador in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Alchon argues that appreciating the role of epidemics in everything from food security to politics is critical to understanding changes in regional history in… Read More Native Society and Disease in Colonial Ecuador: Suzanne Alchon

La Resistencia Andina: Galo Ramón

Citation Ramón Valarezo, Galo. La resistencia andina: Cayambe 1.500-1.800. Cuaderno de Discusión Popular. Quito: Centro Andino de Accion Popular, 1987.

The Andean Past: Magnus Mörner

Magnus Mörner’s The Andean Past: Land, Societies, and Conflicts (1985) is a wide-ranging survey of Andean history since conquest, focusing on classic political, social, and economic themes. In his discussion of Andean rural history, Mörner says historians should view the development of haciendas in terms of their wider commercial networks and argues that international export… Read More The Andean Past: Magnus Mörner

Huarochirí: Karen Spalding

Karen Spalding’s history of colonial Peru, Huarochirí, begins with the origins of Andean society, following social changes from pre-Inca days until the height of colonial rule. Written in the mid-1980s amidst a brutal economic crisis that inordinately impacted indigenous communities in areas like Huarochirí, this monograph seems an attempt to revalorize Andean society at a… Read More Huarochirí: Karen Spalding

Farm and Factory: Nicholas Cushner

Nicholas Cushner’s Farm and Factory (1982) examines Jesuit hacienda holdings in the Los Chillos valley on the southeastern slopes of Quito between 1600 and the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. Cushner uses the Black Robes to look at the rise of agrarian capitalism in colonial Quito as seen through changing systems land tenancy in… Read More Farm and Factory: Nicholas Cushner

Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Steve Stern

Stern, Steve J. Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982. Steve Stern’s Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Huamanga to 1640 centers on colonial Huamanga, a strategic military and economic region along the route between Lima and Potosí. It was… Read More Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest: Steve Stern

Slave over Master in Colonial Colombia and Ecuador: David Chandler

David Chandler’s “Slave Over Master in Colonial Colombia and Ecuador” (1982) looks at the development of the institution of slavery and the legal rights of enslaved Africans in the colonial Andes. Chandler argues that slavery as it was practiced in relatively peripheral parts of the Spanish Americas, like Colombia and Ecuador, was different than in… Read More Slave over Master in Colonial Colombia and Ecuador: David Chandler

Demografía y Asentamientos Indígenas en la Sierra Norte del Ecuador en el Siglo XVI: Horacio Larraín

Horacio Larraín Barros’ Demografía y Asentamientos Indígenas En La Sierra Norte Del Ecuador En El Siglo XVI: Estudio Etnohistórico de Las Fuentes Tempranas, 1525-1600 (1980) is an ethnohistory of the northern Andean región in the Incan and Spanish colonial periods which sheds light on the impact of Incan attempts to reorganize life in what became… Read More Demografía y Asentamientos Indígenas en la Sierra Norte del Ecuador en el Siglo XVI: Horacio Larraín

Repartos y Rebeliones: Jürgen Golte

Jürgen Golte’s Repartos y Rebeliones, published in German in 1977 and translated into Spanish by Carlos Degregori in 1980, analyzes the implementation, evolution, and resistance to the repartimiento de efectos, put in place by Spain’s Bourbon reformers in the eighteenth century.[1] Golte sought to revise earlier studies that overlooked the role of the repartos, a… Read More Repartos y Rebeliones: Jürgen Golte

Economic Organization of the Inka State: John Murra

John Murra developed his now-famous theory of the Andean “vertical archipelago” in Formaciones Económicas y Políticas del Mundo Andino (1975, trans. Economic Organization of the Inka State, 1980), which grew out of his research in the Peruvian highlands between 1958 and 1973. Murra argued that pre-Columbian societies in the Andes sought to control a range of ecological zones… Read More Economic Organization of the Inka State: John Murra

Encomienda and Hacienda: James Lockhart

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, scholars 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… Read More Encomienda and Hacienda: James Lockhart

The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century: John Phelan

John Phelan’s The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century: Bureaucratic Politics in the Spanish Empire (1967) looks at the emergence of administrative and bureaucratic institutions in the colonial Americas through the lens of early seventeenth-century Audiencia de Quito. Focusing on Antonio de Morga, the president of the audiencia between 1615 and 1636, Phelan argues… Read More The Kingdom of Quito in the Seventeenth Century: John Phelan