Adelantado Commander of a
conquering expedition with governing powers in a frontier or newly conquered
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
Sharecroppers who typically worked the fields of plantation owners in
exchange for the right to cultivate a small parcel of hacienda land to produce
Compadrazgo Spanish cultural
institution of godparents, which expanded aristocrats’ patriarchal power by
establishing dependent kinship relationships with lower-class families.
Compadrio Portuguese version
Composición A settlement
legalizing title to usurped land through payment of a fee to the king.
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
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
Conversos Converted Spanish
Jews or their descendants.
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.
state-centered political economic system in which representation is allocated
to groups that are officially licensed by the state. See Social corporatism and State
Corregidor A royal governor of a district. A corregidor de
indios administered indigenous pueblos.
jurisdiction governed by a corregidor.
Cortes The Spanish parliament.
Côrtes The Portuguese
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.
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
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.
“shirtless,” this refers to the impoverished but politically active Argentine
workers who adored Evita Perón and provided her husband Juan with his political
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.
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.
“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
“estates,” this refers to the large cattle ranches that monopolized land,
transformed the Argentine pampas, and
rendered Argentina dependent on beef
Argentine oligarchy that owned large cattle ranches and dominated political,
economic, and cultural life in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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.
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.
“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.
“strawberries,” the derisive slang name commonly used by Mexican working-class
youth to describe wealthy, fresh-faced, light-skinned kids who were born to
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
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
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
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.
“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
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.
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
Indígenas Individuals whose
customs, traditions, dress, or physical features identified them as descendants
of peoples indigenous to the Americas before the arrival of Europeans.
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
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.
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
Latifundio The system of large
landholdings, feudal in its origins, that has dominated Latin America
since the colonial period.
“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.
“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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Mozárabe A term that
described Christians who lived in lands on the Iberian peninsula controlled by
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
Ñañiguismo The practice,
common among Afro-Cubans, of organizing religious brotherhoods, under church
protection, to resist racism and preserve African cultural traditions.
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
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
Obraje A primitive factory or
workshop, especially for textile manufacture, often employing convict or debt
Oidor A judge of an audiencia.
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.
“browns,” the designation of mixed-race peoples both in Spanish and Portuguese
Patria The fatherland.
Patriarchy A system of
social authority that privileges masculinity and empowers men to exercise
dominion over women.
“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.
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.
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
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.
Depending on the context, this can mean (1) a
small village, (2) the common people, or (3) the people of an entire community.
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.
“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.
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
“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.
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.
rubber tappers whose survival depends on the preservation of Brazilian rain
forests threatened by commercial ranchers and mining companies.
of the sierra or remote mountainous
regions in Spanish America.
of the sertão.
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
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
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.
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.
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.