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Visibilizing Indigenous Slavery in Colonial Spanish America: Naborías, Yanaconas, and Other “Piezas”

Andrés I. Prieto, Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Dr. Andrés I. Prieto is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His main area of research is Colonial Latin America. Prof. Prieto is the author of Missionary Scientists: Jesuit Science in Spanish South America, 1570-1810 (Vanderbilt, 2011) and José de Acosta, A Jesuit at the Service of Empire (1540-1600) (Forthcoming). He is also the editor of Diego de Rosales, Manifiesto apologético de los daños de la esclavitud del reino de Chile (1670) (Catalonia, 2013). He is currently working in a book-length project titled, War and Slavery in Colonial Chile. He lives in Denver with his wife Kerri, and their two kids.

The exploitation of native labor is one of the defining hallmarks of early Spanish colonialism, even more so than the occupation and control of territory. However, we seldom hear about Indian slavery. Historians now estimate that millions of individuals were taken from their communities, sold into slavery, and transported to far-away regions to begin a life of bondage and harsh labor, even though it had been repeatedly forbidden by the Spanish Crown. While for African slavery we have ship manifestos and scrupulous head counting performed by Royal tax collectors, the fact that the enslavement of American natives was illegal means that the paper trail is much sparser. The numerous semi-legal systems of forced and unpaid labor to which the native communities were forced only help muddy the waters, particularly when compared to the fate suffered by millions of Africans forcibly brought across the Atlantic, who were unambiguously subjected to chattel slavery. As a result, only recently have scholars begun to assess the magnitude of the problem. This talk will outline the contours of a practice that left profound scars that are still visible all over the Western Hemisphere.  

Monday, October 10, 2022 at 7:00pm to 8:15pm

Kent Campus Center, Hubbell Hall North


Free and open to the public

Culver Center, Faculty Development, Interdisciplinary Studies
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