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General Resources

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Glossary


Adelantado Commander of a conquering expedition with governing powers in a frontier or newly conquered province.

Alcabala Spanish sales tax imposed by the crown.

Alcalde Member of a cabildo who in addition to administrative duties served as a judge of first instance.

Alcalde mayor Royal governor of a district. See Corregidor.

Aldeia An indigenous community in colonial Brazil, governed and controlled by the Catholic Church until the Bourbon crown reasserted its authority in the mid-eighteenth century.

Anarchism Literally “without rulers,” this refers to a political philosophy that calls for the abolition of the State and all forms of organized coercion, usually including private property.

Anarcho-syndicalism A political philosophy that rejects the State, the wage system, private property, and conventional electoral participation, but calls for working class solidarity, direct action (including strikes and factory occupations), and workers’ democratic self-management.

Anticlericalism A political philosophy that rejected the right of Catholic clerics to exercise secular power in political, social, or economic affairs and restricts their influence to private religious matters.

Arpilleras A folk art tradition that engaged mostly women in communal activities to produce embroidered quilts that communicated the everyday, lived experiences of ordinary people and, especially in Chile, their resistance against social injustice and the brutal repression of a military dictatorship.

Asiento Spanish royal monopoly conceded to foreigners to supply enslaved Africans to Spanish American colonial markets

Audiencia A colonial high court and council of state under a viceroy or captain general, or the area of its jurisdiction.

Auto-da-fé or auto-de-fé The church’s public ceremony of pronouncing judgment during the Inquisition, followed by execution of the sentence by secular authorities.

Ayllu A kinship and territorial unit of social organization, originally Inca, in the Andean region.

Ayuntamiento Spanish colonial town council, to which the Spanish Crown initially appointed councilmen (regidores) and mayors (alcaldes), but later became a source of independent creole power

Bandeirante Brazilian frontiersmen, usually of mixed racial background, who scoured the interior in search of gold, indigenous slaves, and runaway black slaves.

Barbudos Literally the “bearded ones,” this was the name given to revolutionary guerrilla soldiers who fought in the Sierra Maestra with Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution.

Barriadas or barrios Slum neighborhoods.

Bazuco Known as “crack,” this is an unprocessed form of cocaine crystals, packaged in small quantities and costing only a fraction of cocaine powder.

Bohíos The traditional thatched-roof shacks in which the vast majority of impoverished Cuban rural workers lived before the 1959 Revolution.

Bourgeoisie A class of people who, in classical European medieval feudal society, constituted the middle sector between a landed aristocracy of birth and peasant serfs bound to labor on manorial estates. Traditionally, these “middling sorts” were merchants, artisans, and shopkeepers who used their property to maximize private profits. Later, it described wealthy businesspeople more broadly, merchants, financiers, and industrialists who dominated capitalist societies.

Brujería Witchcraft, especially as practiced by women of African and indigenous American descent, whose knowledge of native cultural traditions offered a refuge from, and served as a source of resistance to, Spanish cultural domination.

Buenas costumbres Literally “good manners,” this term describes racist and patriarchal traditions that valued whiteness, obedience, and respect for family, church, and country.

Bureaucratic authoritarianism A superficially representative system of government that institutionalized an enduring, extremely brutal and repressive, military dictatorship and effectively excluded popular classes—that is, the poor, peasants, workers, and their political representatives—from citizenship participation, thereby facilitating restoration of a free market economy that benefited what Guillermo O’Donnell calls a highly oligopolized and transnationalized bourgeoisie.”

Caballero A cavalry soldier or, more generally, a “gentleman” of high social rank in Spanish colonial America.

Cabildo A municipal council in the Spanish colonies.

Caboclo A term used in Brazil to describe poor, usually landless, people of mixed indigenous and European descent.

Cacique (1) An indigenous chief or local ruler. (2) A tyrannical local boss.

Caciques apoderados Literally “empowered chiefs,” this term describes indigenous rebellions that swept across the Andean highlands of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia during the early twentieth century.

Caesarist Drawing upon the historical model of Julius Caesar, this term refers to a military dictatorship characterized by charismatic personalist rule.

Café cantante Coffeehouses that featured Mexican countercultural rock music and provided a meeting place for rebellious youth culture in the late 1960s and the 1970s.

Café con leche Literally “coffee with cream,” this designation describes the mixed-race nature of many Latin American societies composed primarily of descendants of Africans and Europeans.

Calpulli A kinship and territorial unit of social organization in ancient and colonial Mexico.

Campesinos Usually poor, politically powerless rural residents, including farm workers, peasants, sharecroppers, and small farmers.

Candomblé Popular among Afro-Brazilians, a religious sect that worships Ogun, the African god of birth and death, and preserves the cultural traditions of Africa’s western Yorubaland, home of many Africans enslaved by the Portuguese and sold to Brazilian fazendeiros.

Cangaceiros Landless, rootless bandits in Brazil’s frontier regions, who defended their independence from rural coroneis either by participating in peasant rebellions or by selling their military services to rival political bosses.

Capitalism A social system characterized by private ownership of productive resources, investment, economic competition, and private profit produced by the employment of wage labor.

Capitão mor, pl. capitães môres The commander in chief of the military forces of a province in colonial Brazil.

Capitulación The contract between the Spanish monarch and the leader of an expedition of conquest or discovery.

Carnival In Latin America’s Catholic culture, this is a pre-Lenten period of wild public celebrations of worldly pleasures that will be sacrificed during solemn preparations for the holy season of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Caudillo A powerful political boss whose authority is unassailable.

Cédula A royal decree issued by the Spanish crown.

Cédula de gracias al sacar The royal decree that reflected the socially contingent nature of race in colonial Spanish America by permitting mixed-race peoples to purchase legal titles to whiteness.

Charango A traditional musical instrument similar to a guitar, combining the technologies of Spanish and indigenous peoples, who originally used the shell of an armadillo to construct it.

Charrismo The practice in Mexico of organizing official “company” unions that represented the State’s interests and employers far more effectively than rank-and-file workers.

Chicha Originally a type of beer made from corn and common among Andean indigenous communities; later became the slang name for a new musical genre pioneered by recent migrants who combined highland indigenous sounds with urban electronic instruments and rock-and-roll rhythms.

Chinampa A garden or piece of arable land reclaimed from a lake or pond by dredging up soil from the bottom and piling it on a bed of wickerwork (Mexico).

Cholo Term used to describe socially mobile people of indigenous descent who observe Spanish cultural traditions.

Científico A policymaker in the government of Mexico’s Porfirio Díaz (1876–1911) who believed in the “science” of positivism, racist doctrines of white supremacy, and national economic modernization based on private property and foreign investment.

Clientelismo A system of patronage in which powerful leaders secure popular support by distributing favors, ranging from monetary bribes to jobs.

Cofradía A religious brotherhood, originally indigenous; sodality.

Colegio A college or school.

Colonos Sharecroppers who typically worked the fields of plantation owners in exchange for the right to cultivate a small parcel of hacienda land to produce subsistence crops.

Compadrazgo Spanish cultural institution of godparents, which expanded aristocrats’ patriarchal power by establishing dependent kinship relationships with lower-class families.

Compadrio Portuguese version of compadrazgo.

Composición A settlement legalizing title to usurped land through payment of a fee to the king.

Comuneros Indigenous peasant villagers who defended (or sought to reconstitute) ancient claims to ancestral communal lands.

Comunidad de base Grassroots community organization rooted in Catholic religious traditions informed by liberation theology

Concertaje In Colombia, a mandatory apprenticeship program that placed “freed” slaves in service to their previous masters until the age of twenty-five.

Congregación Resettlement of scattered indigenous populations to facilitate Christianization and the collection of tribute.

Consulado A merchant guild and a tribunal of commerce during the colonial period.

Contras The name used to describe a diverse group of counterrevolutionary terrorist organizations financed, trained, and equipped by the Reagan administration, with the objective of forcibly overthrowing the Sandinista revolutionary regime during the 1980s.

Contribución de indígenas Head tax levied on indigenous peoples both by Spanish royal officials during the colonial period and by creole republican governments in the early nineteenth century.

Conversos Converted Spanish Jews or their descendants.

Coronéis Especially after 1870, the coroneis were political bosses, usually wealthy merchants, influential lawyers, or priests. The title coronel (Portuguese for “colonel”) was often honorary and did not necessarily indicate a military command or land ownership. Coronéis is the plural form of coronel.

Corporatism A state-centered political economic system in which representation is allocated to groups that are officially licensed by the state. See Social corporatism and State corporatism.

Corregidor A royal governor of a district. A corregidor de indios administered indigenous pueblos.

Corregimiento The jurisdiction governed by a corregidor.

Cortes The Spanish parliament.

Côrtes The Portuguese parliament.

Creole or criollo An American-born Spaniard in the Spanish colonies, a designation typically associated with whiteness and land ownership in a republican Latin America divided by race and class.

Cuenta Audit process by which Spanish imperial auditors, who distrusted local creole corregidores, independently tracked the number of indigenous people forced to pay tribute to the crown.

Cumbe In Spanish America, the name given to communities composed of African peoples who had escaped enslavement and established settlements independent of Spanish royal control.

Cumbia or cumbia andina An influential musical genre born of Colombia’s Atlantic coast, drawing upon the traditional West African cumbe dance and combining Spanish melodies with African rhythms and indigenous American harmonies.

Curaca The Hispanicized spelling of a Quechua word, kuraka, that identified a hereditary chief or ruler in ancient or colonial Peru.

Deism A political philosophy that recognizes the existence of God but subordinates public policy decision making to the rational application of natural law.

Descamisados Literally “shirtless,” this refers to the impoverished but politically active Argentine workers who adored Evita Perón and provided her husband Juan with his political base.

Development A process through which a nation maximizes the distribution of its resources to enhance the quality of life for the greatest number of its citizens. Development typically is measured against standards that include poverty reduction, literacy rates, access to health care, infant mortality rates, life expectancy, potable water, sanitation disposal, housing, and per capita income.

Ejidatarios A member of a community that owned lands in common.

Ejido Commonly owned lands, customarily farmed collectively by indigenous communities.

Encomendero The holder of an encomienda.

Encomienda An assignment of indígenas who were to serve the Spanish grantee with tribute and labor; also, the area belonging to indigenous people so granted.

Encuentro Controversial term originally designed to eliminate the ethnocentric idea of a European “discovery” of the Americas, it also effectively sanitizes the violent, brutal history of European invasion and conquest.

Enganchador Literally “one who hooks or ensnares,” referring to individuals who act as labor contractors to recruit desperate workers by coercion or deceit.

Enganche Literally “the hook,” refers to a system of labor coercion based on physical force or fraud that deprives workers of their freedom.

Estado de excepción Literally “State of Exception,” this is a legal status that preserves the rhetorical veneer of constitutional government even as it routinely violates the civil liberties of workers and other political opponents.

Estancias Literally “estates,” this refers to the large cattle ranches that monopolized land, transformed the Argentine pampas, and rendered Argentina dependent on beef exports.

Estancieros The Argentine oligarchy that owned large cattle ranches and dominated political, economic, and cultural life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Favelas Urban shantytowns in Brazil, composed of irregular, poorly constructed housing, typically located illegally on public or private lands that surround major cities.

Fazenda A large estate (Brazil).

Fazendeiro The owner of a fazenda.

Federalism The political philosophy that State power should be broadly disseminated among local and provincial rather than centralized national governments.

Feudalism A social system based on custom, religious tradition, and birthright, the principal characteristics of which were (1) production for use rather than exchange value, (2) social immobility, and (3) a three-tiered class hierarchy that included aristocratic nobility, merchants and artisans, and peasant serfs.

Fincas Literally “farms,” this refers typically to the large coffee plantations that monopolized agricultural lands in Central America and rendered the region dependent on foreign exports.

Finqueros The oligarchical owners of coffee plantations who dominated Central American societies in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Fresas Literally “strawberries,” the derisive slang name commonly used by Mexican working-class youth to describe wealthy, fresh-faced, light-skinned kids who were born to privilege.

Fueros Special privileges granted to military officers, church officials, and others that exempted them from civil legal proceedings.

Gamonal A local, rural political boss who often used physical violence, fraud, and corruption to despoil indigenous peoples of their ancestral lands in Peru; also used to describe a system of rural control exercised by large landowners, local government officials, and the clergy in Colombia.

Gross domestic product (GDP) The total annual value of domestically produced goods and services, excluding income from foreign investments and overseas remittances.

Gross national product (GNP) The total annual value of goods and services, including income from foreign investments and overseas remittances.

Growth A process through which a nation maximizes the production and utilization of its resources, usually measured against standards that include the gross national product, the gross domestic product, foreign direct investment, and balance of payments.

Guachibales Indigenous religious brotherhoods that aimed to maintain cultural identities; defend their autonomy; and preserve communal customs, ancestral languages, and religious rituals.

Guajiros The racially mixed Cuban peasants who either owned small plots that produced basic subsistence or exchanged their labor on sugar plantations for a share of the crop and access to small subsistence plots.

Guano In Peru, the accumulated deposits of bird feces rich in nitrates, which became a highly profitable raw material for natural, commercial fertilizers greatly demanded in Europe’s increasingly infertile agricultural lands.

Guerra sucia Literally “dirty war,” this refers to official acts of state terrorism conducted by the military and paramilitary forces against social movements that represented the interests of workers, peasants, students, and indigenous communities throughout Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s.

Hacendado The owner of a hacienda.

Hacienda A large landed estate.

Hegemony A system of sociopolitical power in which the dominant authority secures its command through a combination of physical coercion, threats of violence, and a coherent ideology that encourages the “spontaneous consent” of subaltern peoples who voluntarily defer to their social superiors.

Hermandad Literally “brotherhood,” this describes a military association, originally organized by autonomous towns to defend their independence against manorial lords and the crown.

Hidalgo A member of the hidalguía or lower nobility of Spain and colonial Spanish America.

Hidalguía See Hidalgo.

Hoyos fonquis Literally “funky holes,” this describes the urban “raves” or clubs where working-class youth gathered to listen to countercultural music and share their collective disdain for Mexico’s authoritarian and patriarchal government.

Huasipungo Serflike labor system in Ecuador that bound indigenous people to hacienda lands where they worked in perpetuity in exchange for access to small plots of land on which they produced subsistence crops.

Hyperurbanization The process whereby national populations become concentrated in one city, usually the capital, as a result of internal migration and limited, localized industrialization.

Import-substitution industrialization A state-centered strategy of national development that encouraged the growth of national industry by using high protective tariffs and other fiscal policies to discourage foreign manufactured imports.

Indígenas Individuals whose customs, traditions, dress, or physical features identified them as descendants of peoples indigenous to the Americas before the arrival of Europeans.

Indigenismo A counterhegemonic developmental ideology that, in contrast to the racist doctrine of white supremacy, celebrated the cultural achievements of past indigenous American civilizations and invoked their legacy of resistance to oppression as the foundation for an authentic national development.

Inquilino A Chilean tenant farmer.

Jipitecos Mexican or foreign youth who identified with “hippie” counterculture, rejected the commercialism associated with modernity, and emulated the traditional lifestyles of impoverished indigenous peoples.

Jóvenes desvinculados Literally “disconnected youth,” these are alienated young Cubans who are not employed or enrolled in school and therefore make no positive contributions to Cuban society.

Juntas de manumisión In Gran Colombia, these were committees composed of local notables—many sympathetic to slavery—who were responsible for collecting tax monies necessary to pay slave owners compensation for emancipation and for prioritizing applications for manumission.

Justicialismo The nationalist, state-centered ideology espoused by Argentina’s Juan Domingo Perón, its basic elements were Christian humanism, a balance between individual and community rights, subordination of capital to the “national economy” and “social welfare,” and “adequate distribution of Social Justice.”

Kuraka See Curaca.

Ladino Generally, any person who adopts customs and traditions alien to his own cultural birthright. Depending on the context, this may refer to (1) Hispanicized people of Jewish, indigenous American, or African descent who embraced Christianity; (2) landless free laborers, born of mixed-race parentage, who embraced the cultural traditions of creole aristocrats; or (3) especially in contemporary Central America, mixed-race peoples who identify as “white” to distinguish themselves from indigenous peoples.

Laissez-faire The liberal philosophy that individual liberty requires the absence of state regulation and celebrates free markets as the most efficient means of promoting national development.

Latifundio The system of large landholdings, feudal in its origins, that has dominated Latin America since the colonial period.

Libertos Literally “freed,” these were formerly enslaved Africans or their descendants who secured their freedom either through self-purchase or manumission but were deprived of equal citizenship rights.

Libretas Literally “little books,” these were the passbooks that peasants and indigenous peoples generally had to carry with them to document their annual labor on commercial plantations, which was required by law.

Limpieza de sangre Literally “cleanliness of blood,” this grew out of the racial hierarchy that emerged during the reconquest of Iberia and identified Spanish or Portuguese Christians, whose purity was not compromised by contact with Jews, Muslims, Africans, or indigenous peoples in colonial Latin America.

Llaneros The mixed race inhabitants of the llanos, who defended their individual liberty both against Spanish colonialism and Spanish American creole aristocracy.

Llanos The flat plains in northern South America that were the agricultural heartland of Gran Colombia.

Macehualtín In the Aztec social class hierarchy, this described commoners who performed tribute, labor, and military services for the Aztec state.

Magical realism This describes an artistic tradition in Latin America that dramatizes an often oppressive physical reality by also portraying highly subjective human perceptions of it, which include emotion, fantasy, and myth.

Mambises Nineteenth-century Cuban guerrilla soldiers who fought for political independence and racial justice in integrated battalions, often under the command of black officers.

Mandamiento A system of coerced indigenous labor.

Maquiladora Mostly foreign-owned sweatshops in Latin America, they enjoy tax and tariff advantages that allow them to hire low-wage, mostly female Latin American workers to assemble duty-free imported parts into finished products, which are then reexported to the United States, Europe, or Japan.

Maroons Africans or their descendants in the Americas, who escaped European enslavement to establish autonomous communities, usually rooted in African cultural traditions, in the remote interior.

Mayeque A tenant farmer or serf on the estate of a noble family in ancient Mexico.

Mayorazgo An entailed estate.

Mazombo A person born of Portuguese parents in the Americas, similar to the Spanish creole.

Mestizaje A counterhegemonic developmental ideology that, in contrast to doctrines of white supremacy, celebrated the mixed-race nature of Latin American civilization but simultaneously endorsed “whitening” even as it scorned autonomous indigenous and African cultures.

Mestizo A person of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent.

Millenarianism The medieval doctrine, based on a prophecy in the Book of Revelation and widely held by the reformed clergy, that Christ would return to earth to reign for a thousand years of peace and righteousness, to be followed by the Last Judgment at the end of the world.

Milpas The subsistence plots on which peasants and indigenous communities depended to produce their survival.

Minga A free indigenous miner in colonial Peru.

Minifundio A system of land tenure characterized by the division of large estates into small parcels distributed among many peasant proprietors, which typically rendered them less productive and shifted production away from commercial crops.

Mita In colonial Peru, the periodic conscription of indígenas for labor useful to the Spanish community. See Repartimiento.

Moderados Individuals comprising the moderate wing of the Liberal Party in nineteenth-century Mexico.

Monoculture An area that depends for its economic prosperity on the production and export of one or two primary products.

Mozárabe A term that described Christians who lived in lands on the Iberian peninsula controlled by Muslim governments.

Mulattos In the Spanish American colonial racial hierarchy, this refers to mixed-race people born of African and Spanish parents.

Nacos A derisive slang term used to identify working-class youth who rebelled against Mexico’s authoritarian and patriarchal culture.

Ñañiguismo The practice, common among Afro-Cubans, of organizing religious brotherhoods, under church protection, to resist racism and preserve African cultural traditions.

Narcobourgeoisie This describes wealthy and powerful sectors of society, whose status depends on the production, processing, and sale of illegal drugs.

Narcocapitalism A political economic system characterized by collaboration between the state and private drug cartels that resort to bribery, corruption, assassination, and terrorist threats to accumulate significant profits from the illicit drug trade and reinvest them in legitimate business enterprise.

Narcoterrorism This refers to the physical violence and intimidation that secures the property and power of wealthy businesspeople who control the illegal drug industry.

Negrista An intellectual who participated in the early-twentieth-century philosophical and literary movement that celebrated African cultural contributions to Latin American societies.

Nueva Canción Literally “New Song,” a cultural movement that swept across Latin America in the 1960s, rejected the marketplace values of modernity, and drew inspiration instead from communal traditions linked to folk arts, music, and crafts.

Obraje A primitive factory or workshop, especially for textile manufacture, often employing convict or debt labor.

Oidor A judge of an audiencia.

Onderos Mexican youth, usually from the urban middle class, who identified with the new wave of countercultural rebellion associated with rock-’n’-roll music, social protest poetry, and Latin American revolutionary movements in the 1960s.

Ouvidor A royal judge who usually combined judicial and administrative duties (Brazil).

Pájaros Literally “birds,” this very unflattering slang word invoked images of male genitalia to describe the thugs and assassins hired by the Colombian government and landed oligarchs who assaulted guerrilla veterans of the Violencia.

Palenques In Spanish America, the name given to communities composed of African peoples who had escaped enslavement and established settlements, rooted in African cultural traditions, independent of Spanish royal control.

Pampas Vast, flat plain in Argentina renowned for its gaucho culture, it became the agricultural heartland of southern South America.

Pardos Literally “browns,” the designation of mixed-race peoples both in Spanish and Portuguese America.

Patria The fatherland.

Patriarchy A system of social authority that privileges masculinity and empowers men to exercise dominion over women.

Patrón Master.

Patronato The “apprenticeship” period established in Cuba between 1880 and 1886 to delay the emancipation of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

Patronato real The right of the Spanish crown to dispose of all ecclesiastical offices.

Peninsular A person born of Spanish parents in Spain and temporarily residing in the Americas.

Peón An infantryman or, more generally, a person of low social rank bound by tradition or law to the service of others with higher rank.

Peso A monetary unit of eight reales.

Pinochetazo Originally used to describe the brutal Pinochet dictatorship that overthrew a democratically elected socialist government in Chile, it also refers to any similarly bloody and violent military coup d’état.

Piqueteros Unemployed workers in Argentina who joined together to protest against neoliberal policies that produced poverty and social injustice.

Pitucos The derisive and derogatory term used by ordinary folk to describe wealthy people who were accustomed to privilege and power.

Pobladores Urban slum dwellers who increasingly became organized and active in populist political coalitions that ironically aimed to restrain their independence.

Populism The political philosophy that rhetorically celebrated the power of common people even as it subordinated their independent political action to the needs of a centralized state apparatus altogether too often controlled by elites. Populism typically called for nationalistic policies like State ownership of mineral wealth, land redistribution, labor reform, regulation of foreign investment and trade, anticlericalism, tariff protectionism, import-substitution industrialization, and social legislation that included retirement pensions, health insurance, compulsory secular public education, and women’s suffrage.

Porteño In Argentina, an inhabitant of Buenos Aires.

Principales The name that Spanish colonial officials (and their creole heirs after independence) usually gave to the indigenous nobility that frequently governed indigenous communities after the Spanish conquest.

Proletarianization The frequently violent social process that expelled peasants from the land, rendering them unable to secure their survival except by selling their labor to private-property owners, which often required migration in search of employment opportunities.

Proletariat The class of propertyless people forced by what Max Weber called the “whip of hunger” to sell their labor to secure the wages necessary to purchase their survival.

Provincianos In Peru, the first generation of indigenous highland migrants who found themselves in urban areas surrounded by a hostile creole culture that ridiculed their rural lifestyles, scorned their racial origins, and limited their social and economic opportunities.

Pueblo Depending on the context, this can mean (1) a small village, (2) the common people, or (3) the people of an entire community.

Pueblos jovenes Poor “squatter” communities (literally “young towns”) constructed on vacant lands by homeless men and women who lacked proprietary rights but who insisted that their right to survive superseded all other legal claims.

Puros Literally “pure people,” this term describes radical liberals who were so committed to the ideas of equality and personal liberty rooted in property ownership that they advocated State intervention to redistribute property to secure the material basis for freedom.

Queremistas Literally “those who want,” this describes the populist movement that sought to “draft” Getulio Vargas, who had ruled Brazil with dictatorial powers since 1935, to serve as a candidate in the 1945 presidential elections.

Quilombo In Brazil, the name given to communities composed of African peoples who had escaped enslavement and established settlements independent of Portuguese royal control.

Quinto One-fifth; the royal share or tax on all mine production or spoils of a conquest.

Race A socially constructed idea that skin color and other physical features determined intellectual capacity and social status, which aimed to legitimize the European conquest and enslavement of indigenous Americans and Africans, thereby enforcing the rule of wealthy, well-connected property owners of European ancestry.

Rancheros People, usually of mixed race, who owned and operated small farms interspersed among indigenous villages and large commercial estates.

Real A monetary unit; one-eighth of a peso.

Rectificación The process of searching self-criticism and economic reform designed to make socialism more efficient in Cuba.

Regidor A councilman in a cabildo.

Reino Kingdom. Usually used in the medieval period to describe each of the various Christian kingdoms on the Iberian peninsula, it later applied to any jurisdiction over which a claim of sovereignty was asserted.

Reinóis Literally “of royalty,” this term identified elites born in Portugal and appointed by the Portuguese crown to serve loyally the colonial administration in its effort to preserve Portuguese dominion over Brazil.

Relacão, pl. relaçoes A high court in colonial Brazil that combined judicial and administrative functions.

Repartimiento (1) An assignment of indígenas or land to a Spanish settler during the first years of the Conquest. (2) The periodic conscription of indígenas for labor useful to the Spanish community. (3) The mandatory purchase of merchandise by indígenas from royal officials; also repartimiento de mercancías.

Repartimiento de mercancías See Repartimiento (sense 3).

República de españoles The form of colonial governance created by Spanish imperial authority, which excluded Muslims, Jews, Protestants, and all foreign nationals and empowered Spanish nobility to regulate colonial affairs on behalf of the king.

República de indios Sixteenth-century administrative reforms introduced into the Spanish American colonies that recognized the natural authority of traditional indigenous leaders to govern their communities, subject to Spanish royal control.

Requerimiento Literally “the Requirement,” this describes the mandatory reading of a document that outlined the legal and moral rationale for the Spanish conquest and enslavement of indigenous American peoples, citing Spain’s sovereign authority under God, the Catholic pope, and God’s divinely ordained monarch.

Resguardos Native communal lands in nineteenth-century Gran Colombia.

Residencia A judicial review of a colonial official’s conduct at the end of his term of office.

Saladeros Salt plants in Argentina that processed dried beef for overseas export.

Samba A song and dance that originated in Afro-Brazilian favelas, drew heavily on Angolan and Congolese cultural traditions, and gave voice to subaltern social-class discontent.

Santería A religion, popular in Cuba and the Caribbean more generally, that combines Spanish Catholic and African traditions and ritual celebrations.

Senado de câmara A municipal council in colonial Brazil.

Seringueiros Independent rubber tappers whose survival depends on the preservation of Brazilian rain forests threatened by commercial ranchers and mining companies.

Serranos Inhabitants of the sierra or remote mountainous regions in Spanish America.

Sertanejos Inhabitants of the sertão.

Sertão Underdeveloped backlands of Brazil, especially in the impoverished northeastern region.

Sierra The remote mountainous regions of Spanish-speaking Latin America more generally but also used to describe the guerrilla insurgency in the Cuban Revolution.

Social corporatism A political economic system that relies on diverse, relatively autonomous private organizations with State-licensed representational monopolies to regulate social, political, and economic participation and secure cooperation with State policies.

Solares Substandard tenement houses in urban Cuba

Soldaderas Women who often fought, gathered military intelligence, fed insurgent troops, and provided medical care to those wounded in the Mexican Revolution.

Son First developed among rural Afro-Cuban workers, a musical genre that combined Spanish melodies and the syncopated rhythms of West Africa and that, by the middle of the twentieth century, became the dominant musical form identified with Cuban popular culture.

Soviets Derived from the Russian word for “councils,” this refers to locally elected governing bodies typically composed of workers and peasants who collectively manage and operate the agricultural and industrial enterprises that employ them.

State corporatism A political economic system in which theoretically autonomous private organizations with State-licensed representational monopolies actually seize control of the State to use its resources and coercive power to build patron-client relationships with rank-and-file members.

Syndicalism The political philosophy that eschews electoral politics in favor of working-class solidarity, direct action, and trade union organization as the foundation both for popular resistance to an unjust capitalist wage system and for the postcapitalist management of a democratic socialist alternative.

Tenente A Brazilian army lieutenant, usually associated with junior army officers who sought political, economic, and social reforms in the 1920s.

Tezontli From the Nahuatl language, this word describes a reddish volcanic rock often used in the construction of Aztec houses.

Tienda de raya A hacienda’s company store, which typically exploited its commercial monopoly to coerce a stable labor supply through debt peonage.

Tierras baldías Literally “idle lands,” refers to untitled lands that legally belonged to the state for disposition as “public lands,” even though peasant families may have resided upon them and cultivated them to basic subsistence crops for generations.

Tierras comunes Literally “common lands,” this refers alternately to collectively owned indigenous lands or to publicly owned lands whose use was traditionally shared.

Tomas de tierra Literally “land seizures,” this is a strategy of “direct action” organized by landless peasant movements to combat perceived social injustice by invading and occupying privately owned lands.

Valorization The system devised by Brazilian coffee oligarchs to use the nation-state’s resources to purchase, warehouse, and market surplus coffee production in order to stabilize international coffee prices at levels sufficiently high to guarantee profits for the coffee plantations.

Vaqueros Cowboys.

Villa de señorío Towns that traditionally functioned independently of the crown and fell under the authority of either the Catholic Church or the nobility.

Visita A judicial investigation of indigenous villages to ascertain their capacity to pay royal tribute or to examine a colonial official’s conduct in tribute collection; a tour of inspection or other official visit, usually made unannounced.

Visitador An official entrusted by the crown or the viceroy with the conduct of a visita.

Yanacona (1) A servant or retainer of the Inca in ancient Peru. (2) An indigenous laborer or tenant farmer of semiservile status attached to a Spanish master or estate in colonial Peru.

Zambos The offspring of sexual liaisons between Africans and indigenous Americans.



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