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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In the wake of the silver discoveries that fueled New Spain’s early growth, Spain deployed diverse strategies to incorporate the northern borderlands of Nueva Vizcaya. This article elaborates how natives responded to these efforts from the late sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, and how a multiracial society evolved in the process. Decentering the mission as the primary agent of change, the article examines a larger dynamic of cultural and biological mixing across missions, haciendas, presidios and towns in which ethnic identities, subsistence patterns, cultural beliefs, and gender relations changed over time in conditions of violence and migration. Social and spatial mingling across ethnic groups was rife with possibilities for the subversion of the social separation and compliance that rulers tried to impose. In labyrinths of mestizaje, women and men—Indians, Europeans, Africans, and their progeny—quarreled, battled, procreated, and interacted in work, trade, leisure, sickness, witchcraft and spiritual activity.

Keywords: ethnicity, identity, gender, mestizaje, mission, resistance, migration, violence, labor, witchcraft

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