Taxing Difference in Peru and New Spain (16th–19th Century)

Negotiating Social Differences and Belonging


This book addresses the negotiation of categorizations in colonial societies in Spanish America from a new vantage point: fiscality. In early modern empires (poll) taxes were a significant factor to organize and perpetuate social inequalities. By this, fiscal categorizations had very concrete effects on the daily life of the categorized, on their assets and on their labor force. They intersected with social categorizations such as gender, profession, age and what many authors have termed race or ethnicity, but which is denominated here, more accurately with a term from the sources, calidad. They were imposed by legislation from above and contested via petitions from below, the latter being a type of source scarcely analyzed until now.

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Sarah Albiez-Wieck, Ph.D. (2011), University of Bonn, habilitation (2021) is Interim Professor in Iberian and Latin American History at the University of Cologne. Her research interests include (post)colonialism, social differences, racism, migration, bonded labor and belonging with a geographical focus on Spanish America and the Philippines in a global context.
George Bryan Souza, University of Texas, San Antonio

Editorial Board
Cátia Antunes, Leiden University
João Paulo Oliveira e Costa, CHAM, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Frank Dutra, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kris Lane, Tulane University
Ghulam A. Nadri, Georgia State University
Malyn Newitt, King's College, London
Michael Pearson, University of New South Wales
Ryuto Shimada, The University of Tokyo
General Series Editor’s Preface
Figures and Tables


1 Comparing Cajamarca and Michoacán
 1.1 Tribute, Labor and Social Units from Prehispanic to Spanish Rule
 1.2 Cajamarca: between “pueblo de indios” and “villa de españoles”
 1.3 Changing Capitals and Political Units in Michoacán
 1.4 Demography in the Regions of Study

2 Spanish Colonial Tribute Legislation from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century
 2.1 Tributary Legislation: Transcending Previous Studies
 2.2 Colonial Obligations besides Tribute: Indirect Taxes and Labor Service
 2.3 Tribute and Tributaries: A Perspective from above
 2.4 Tribute Categorizations from the Conquest to the Bourbon Reforms
 2.5 The Bourbon Reforms in the Eighteenth Century
 2.6 The Long Journey toward Abolition in the Nineteenth Century

3 Negotiating Belonging and “Calidad” in Petitions
 3.1 The Petitions
 3.2 Comparing General Patterns and Chronology
 3.3 Ancestry and (il)Legitimacy as Central Elements in the Petitions

4 Petitions by People Categorized as “Migrants”
 4.1 “Migrant” Petitions from Cajamarca, Peru
 4.2 “Migrant” Petitions from Michoacán, New Spain

5 Petitions Negotiating “Mixed” Ancestry
 5.1 Mestizos
 5.2 Mulattos
 5.3 Ambiguous Categorizations in Cajamarca: (mixtos) quinteros
 5.4 The Relationship between laboríos and mulattos in New Spain
 5.5 Petitions by Women
 5.6 Unknown Ancestry: The Case of the Foundlings

6 Fiscal Categorizations after Independence
 6.1 Cajamarcan Categorizations and Petitions in the Nineteenth Century
 6.2 Fiscal Categorizations in Michoacán in the Nineteenth Century

7 Conclusion

The book is destined primarily to historians working either on colonial Spanish America or on social difference and fiscal systems in early modern empires worldwide.
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