Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Key to abbreviations
 Cordoba: discovery to independ...
 Patterns of social and racial stratification...
 Demographic trends: cordoba's population,...
 Buenos aires, cordoba, and the...
 Cordoba's slave institution
 Slave freedom in cordoba 1800-...
 Conscription of the castas
 Pueblos de indios: decline and...
 The free pardo
 Biographical sketch

Title: Race relations in the province of Córdoba, Argentina, 1800-1853
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090216/00001
 Material Information
Title: Race relations in the province of Córdoba, Argentina, 1800-1853
Series Title: Race relations in the province of Córdoba, Argentina, 1800-1853
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Turkovic, Robert J.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090216
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000297200
oclc - 08340864

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Key to abbreviations
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Cordoba: discovery to independence
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
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    Patterns of social and racial stratification in cordoba
        Page 47
        Page 48
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    Demographic trends: cordoba's population, 1750-1840
        Page 67
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    Buenos aires, cordoba, and the platine slave trade
        Page 89
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    Cordoba's slave institution
        Page 117
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    Slave freedom in cordoba 1800-1853
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    Conscription of the castas
        Page 214
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    Pueblos de indios: decline and extinction
        Page 274
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    The free pardo
        Page 326
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 391
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Full Text

ARGENTINA, 1800-1853






Copyright 1981


Robert J. Turkovic

Dedicated to Mom, Dad, and Carol.


I would like to express my thanks to my Argentine

family and friends without whose constant affection and

zeal this undertaking would not have been realized. To

my cousins Raquel and Lidia and their families I am indebted

for their hospitality and caring words. To the staff of

the Archivo General de la Naci6n I give my thanks for their

help in securing documents. But the dissertation would

not have been accomplished without the cordobeses whose

hospitality and love will always be cherished. I wish to

thank my adopted family the Maretichs, in particular Isabel,

dofa Lucia, and Jos6, who made a total stranger feel not only

welcomed but forever grateful; there are no words which can

express my feelings. Additionally, the staffs of the Archivo

Hist6rico de la Provincia de C6rdoba, the Instituto de

Estudios Americanistas, and the Archivo de la Universidad

Nacional de C6rdoba provided unending help and guidance. I

will always remember Bertha and Eduardo, two extremely

knowledgeable archivists and kind individuals, for their devo-

tion, advice, and expertise. Lic. Alejandro Moyano Aliaga,

Ernestina, Nen6, Raquel, Chuli, Paca, Susana, Elsa, Hugo,

Matis, Heredia, and Miriam Ferreyra and Dora Celton (IEA),

and Hilda Garcia (AUNC), and Emiliano Endrek also made me

feel comfortable and gave me support. (My thoughts are to

see you all again soon.)

I wish to thank Professors Hunt Davis, Neill Macaulay,

Elois Scott, Katherine Steele, and Andres Sudrez for their

guidance through the doctoral program and for their suggestions

for the improvement of the manuscript. I wish to remember

Professors Graciela Coulson and Norman Wilensky for their

kindness and concern. I thank Professor David Bushnell,

chairman of the doctoral committee, for his unflinching

support and words of encouragement over the years.

Finally, I am eternally grateful to Mom, Dad, and

Carol without whose love, moral support, and patience I would

not have had the will to persevere.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS................................... iv

KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS............................. ix

ABSTRACT ............................................ xii

i/I INTRODUCTION ............................... 1


The Process of Discovery and
Settlement............................ 4
The Social Composition of the Early
Colony............................... 11
C6rdoba's Commercial Importance......... 16
The Intendancy of C6rdoba............... 21
The Revolution.......................... 34
Notes to Chapter II...................... 42

TION IN CORDOBA......................... 47

vThe Beginnings of Miscegenation and
the Early Social Structure............ 47
The Bases of Legal Inequality............ 54
-Racial and Social Prejudice in the
Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth
Century.............. ................. 58
Notes to Chapter III.................... 65

1750-1840............................... 67

Notes to Chapter IV...................... 87

SLAVE TRADE............................. 89

Cordobeses and the Early Trade.......... 89
The Asiento System and the Contraband
Trade to the Rio de la Plata......... 95
The Slave Trade in C6rdoba in the
Eighteenth Century................... 102
The English Asiento...................... 105
The Open Trade Polidy................... 108
Notes to Chapter V...................... 113

V/VI C6RDOBA'S SLAVE INSTITUTION................ 117

'The Slave Population.................... 117
"Slave Sales............................. 118
LValue of Slaves......................... 123
Donations, Transfers, and Exchanges
of Slaves............... ............. 132
Reasons for Selling Slaves.............. 134
Buyers, Sellers, and Owners............. 140
SSlave Life.............................. 143
Notes to Chapter VI..................... 160

L/VII SLAVE FREEDOM IN CORDOBA 1800-1853......... 164

,Manumissions............................ 164
VSelf-Purchased Manumissions............. 168
'Relative-Purchased Manumissions......... 175
Manumissions at Behest of Outsiders..... 179
Manumission After An Owner's Demise.... 183
Gratis Manumissions in Owner's
Lifetime............................. 186
Disputed Manumissions................... 188
The Process of Free Birth............... 190
Ceremonial Manumissions ................. 202
Abolition of Slavery................... 206
Notes to Chapter VII................... 210


vPre-Revolutionary Role of the Castas.... 214
,/The Pardo Component of C6rdoba's
Militias............................. 219
Conscription of Slaves for the War
Effort--Measures..................... 223
Conscription of Slaves for the War
Effort--Results...................... 232
Conscription of Slaves for the War
Effort--Administrative Problems....... 237
i/Later Recruitment of Provincial
Militia............................... 247
Compensation for Slaves Conscripted..... 259
The Military Pay Scale................. 260
vThe Problems of Desertion................ 263
"'The Soldier Freedman.................... 265
Notes to Chapter VIII................... 268


EXTINCTION.............................. 274

Origins and Numbers..................... 274
Late Colonial Status: Pueblos in
Decline ............................ 281
Tributary Status........................ 289
Pueblos on the Eve of Extinction........ 301
The Process of Extinction............... 312
Notes to Chapter IX...................... 320

X THE FREE PARDO............................. 326

Vagrancy and Related Problems at the
End of the Colonial Era............... 328
The Structure of Discrimination......... 336
Racial Separation in the Sphere of
the Church........................... 346
The Trade Guilds......................... 351
iNineteenth Century Status: The More
Things Change. . .................. 353
Political Participation................ 363
Primary Education....................... 365
University Education.................... 368
Notes to Chapter X...................... 376

VXI CONCLUSION................................. 381

BIBLIOGRAPHY.... ................... ............. 384

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH............................... 391



Andrews, diss.



Andrews, George R. "Forgotten But
Not Gone: The Afro-Argentines of
Buenos Aires, 1800-1900."
Ph.D. dissertation. University of
Wisconsin-Madison, 1978.

Archivo General de la Naci6n, Buenos

Archivo Hist6rico de la Provincia de
C6rdoba. Documentary Collections:

Reg. Prot.
Reg. Ofic.

Registro Protocolos
Registro Oficial

Archivo Municipal de C6rdoba. Actas
Capitulares, Libros 43-49 (1805-1820).
C6rdoba, 1960-1969.

Archivo de la Universidad Nacional de
C6rdoba. Documentary Collections:

Libro Actas de Sesiones
Libro Documentos



Comadran Ruiz


Beltramini, Alicia Estela. Un studio
sobre la poblaci6n indlgena cordobesa
en el siglo XVIII. C6rdoba, 1978.

Bischoff, Efrain U. Historia de
C6rdoba. Buenos Aires, 1977.

Comadran Ruiz, Jorge. Evoluci6n
demografica argentina durante el
perlodo hispano (1535-1810). Buenos
Aires, 1969.

Compilaci6n de Leyes, Decretos, Acuerdos
de la Excma. Cdmara de Justicia y demds
disposiciones de cardcter pGblico
dictadas en la provincia de C6rdoba
desde 1810 a 1870. Vol. I. C6rdoba,







Ferrari Rueda


Carrio de la Vandera, Alonso (Concolor-
corvo). El lazarillo de cieqos
caminantes. Barcelona, 1973.

Biblioteca de Derecho Ptblico
Provincial Argentino. Constituciones
de la Provincia de C6rdoba. Vol. III.
C6rdoba, 1950.

Endrek, Emiliano. El mestizaje en
C6rdoba siglo XVIII y principios del
XIX. C6rdoba, 1966.

Ferrari Rueda, Rodolfo de. Historia
de C6rdoba. 2 vols. C6rdoba, 1964,

Institute de Estudios Americanistas.


Junta Provincial

L6pez, "Algunos

L6pez, "La




Junta Provincial de Historia de
C6rdoba. C6rdoba ciudad y provincia
(siglos XVI-XX) segdn relatos de
viajeros y otros testimonios. C6rdoba,

L6pez, Nelly Beatriz. "Algunos
elements para el studio del esclavo
y del liberty en C6rdoba en el lapso
1810-1853." Academia Nacional de la
Historia. Primer Congreso de Historia
Argentina y Regional. Buenos Aires,
1973, pp. 553-564.

L6pez, Nelly Beatriz. "La esclavitud
en C6rdoba, 1770-1853." Unpublished
ms., Universidad Nacional de C6rdoba,

Lynch, John. Spanish Colonial Adminis-
tration, 1782-1810: The Intendant
System in the Viceroyalty of Rio de
la Plata. New York, 1969.

Molinari, Diego Luis. La trata de
negros. Datos para su studio en el
Rio de la Plata. Buenos Aires, 1944.

Real Ordenanza


Scheuss de Studer

Sempat Assadourian,

Sempat Assadourian,

Sempat Assadourian
et al.



Zorraquin BecG

"Real Ordenanza para el establecimiento
e instrucci6n de intendentes de ejercito
y provincia en el virreynato de Buenos
Aires. Aio 1782," in Revista de la
Universidad Nacional de C6rdoba, Nos.
3-10, 1935; 1-10, 1936; 1-4, 1937.

Rosenblat, Angel. La poblaci6n
indigena y el mestizaje en America.
2 vols. Buenos Aires, 1954.

Scheuss de Studer, Elena F. La
trata de negros en el Rio de la
Plata durante el siglo XVIII. Buenos
Aires, 1958.

Sempat Assadourian, Carlos. El
trafico de esclavos en C6rdoba
1588-1610. C6rdoba, 1965.

Sempat Assadourian, Carlos. El
trafico de esclavos en C6rdoba de
Angola a Potosi siglos XVI-XVII.
C6rdoba, 1966.

Sempat Assadourian, Carlos, G. Beato,
and J.C. Chiaramonte. De la conquista
a la independencia. Vol. 2 of 7
Historia de Argentina. Edited by
Tulio Halperin-Donghi, Buenos Aires,

Terzaga, Alfredo. Geograffa de
C6rdoba. C6rdoba, 1963.

Torres, Felix A. "El comercio de
esclavos en C6rdoba, 1700-1731."
Unpublished ms. Universidad Nacional
de C6rdoba, 1972.

Zorraquin BecG, Ricardo. Historia
del derecho argentino. Vol. I.
Buenos Aires, 1966.

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

ARGENTINA, 1800-1853



December 1981

Chairman: Professor David Bushnell
Major Department: History

Cordobeses of African descent played a significant,

yet oftentimes forgotten role in the history of Argentina's

most populous and traditional interior province. They

/'' comprised a majority of the population well into the nineteenth

century, but their strength in numbers did not alter their

status as marginal citizens who suffered both racial and

social discrimination.

Founded in 1573, C6rdoba was settled by Spaniards amid

a relatively small and dispersed indigenous population.

Declining Indian labor was replaced shortly thereafter by

imported black slaves, and increasing race mixture over two

centuries resulted in pardos becoming the predominant ethnic

group. The stigma of illegitimacy and desigualdad soon


served to strengthen the intransigence of the social hierarchy

toward nonwhites.

C6rdoba's slaves, mostly domestic servants and skilled

artisans, were treated in a benign and flexible manner.

Relegated to perform subservient tasks and depreciated because

of skin color, they were placed on the lowest stratum of

society. Yet C6rdoba's slave institution was tempered by

/ traditional forms of manumission and government sponsored

freedom acts. Although manumissions were rampant with abuse,

owner noncompliance, and manipulation of the legal process,

they reflected a benevolent and responsive slave institution.

The settler Indian, though legally free, was treated

as an outcast and was relegated to live in impoverished pueblos.

Already in decline in the 1700's, these pueblos were not

abolished until the 1830's. Disparaged by his tributary

status, usurped of his land, and corrupted by authorities,

the settler Indian was placed on the fringes of society.

Permitted only to associate with whites in a subser-

vient role, nonwhites were prohibited from assuming customs

and practices unbecoming their inferior status. Similarly,

Indians and castas were often accused by civil authorities of

perpetrating livestock robberies and other crimes, and when

convicted they suffered harsher penalties than their white

counterparts. Legally sanctioned forms of discrimination

explicitly based on color distinction point to the existence

of racial prejudice. Following independence, property


qualifications restricted the suffrage to "good citizens,"

but anyone of African descent faced additional restrictions.

And in the realm of educational opportunity people of

African descent were expressly denied equal access to lower

and higher education.



The study of race relations in C6rdoba, Argentina,

is a subject heretofore neglected in the scope of Argentine

history. Until fairly recently, in fact, the historiography

of C6rdoba had focused primarily on genealogy and political

happenings, thereby relegating social history to near non-

existent status. Cordob6s historians tended to reserve the

right to interpret' and write history on the basis of docu-

ments which extolled the virtues of the founders of the

city and the accomplishments of later descendants. The

failure to mention nonwhites or people of mixed ancestry

seemed to fit in nicely with the notion that these people

did not play a role in C6rdoba's history. By ignoring the

role of nonwhites, the social hierarchy sought to down play

the existence of prejudice and the heterogeneous nature of

C6rdoba's ethnic makup in the eighteenth and nineteenth


C6rdoba's people of mixed descent merit a place in

the history of the city and province not only because their

place had been denied, but because they had indeed proved

to be a crucial factor in C6rdoba's history for the period

1800 to 1853. Always comprising a majority of the population

Indians, blacks, pardos, and all people of mixed descent,

both free and slave, were often subjected to ridicule

and were confined to a marginal position within society.

Yet at the same time they formed the basis of labor services

for those in power throughout the province, who depended

upon them to perform menial and subservient tasks. While

their political influence was virtually nil, the people of

mixed ancestry necessarily affected the development of the

economy and traditional society in C6rdoba.

The choice of race relations in C6rdoba as a topic

deserving investigation first came to mind in a graduate

course in Latin American history. I became interested

in the role of slavery in Argentina and the treatment of

people of mixed descent, and C6rdoba was a natural region

on which to focus since the interior of the region had

been generally neglected in historiography in favor of an

emphasis on Buenos Aires./And while the cordobes historian

Emiliano Endrek had traced the topic for the eighteenth

century, several omissions and deficiencies had to be

addressed. For example, the role of the settler indigenous

(non-frontier) population merited investigation since the

/ Indian pueblos, which were already in decline in the

late eighteenth century, were not abolished until the

first third of the nineteenth century. Neither had C6rdoba's

slave institution along with slave life and the process of


manumission been examined thoroughly or systematically.

The conscription of castas in the revolutionary struggle

and later civil wars warranted scrutiny as did the status

and treatment of the free pardo in cordob6s society./

Finally, the notion that Argentines practiced only social

prejudice rather than a combined form of racial-social

prejudice also had to be examined.


Vendria a ser una de las mejores ciudades
de Indias . .

--Junta Provincial de Historia de C6rdoba,
C6rdoba ciudad y provincia (siglos XVI-XX)
segdn relatos de viajeros y otros testimonios
(C6rdoba, 1973), p. 21.

The Process of Discovery and Settlement

The lure of wealth and the desire to discover new

lands in the Plata region were the motivating force that

prompted the conquistadores of Peru to come upon C6rdoba.

After hearing Indian legends of a fascinating Ciudad de los

Cesares, the conquistadores were incited to move southward.1

In later centuries, C6rdoba became known as one of the most

radiant and coveted jewels in the Spanish Empire.

Despite the interest to move south from Peru, the

initial endeavor to penetrate the area was undertaken from

the Atlantic. Sebastian Cabot reached the Parand in 1527,

and at the crossing of the CarcaraMi he set up the first

fort, Sancti Spiritus. Commissioned by Cabot to explore

the nearby region, Francisco Cesar became the first known

Spaniard to reach the site of C6rdoba. His 1528 vanguard

expedition symbolized the mystical hope that the interior


of the Plata region would somehow yield a resplendent city

of gold. He did not find one, but he did reach the sierras

grandes of C6rdoba.2

It was not until nearly a decade and a half later

that Diego de Rojas and his followers, coming from Peru,

arrived in northern present-day Argentina. According to

Lic. Crist6bal Vaca de Castro, Governor of Peru, the purpose

of the Rojas expedition was "descubrir nuevos territories

entire Chile y el nascimiento del rio grande que llaman la

Plata." Rojas was accompanied by Felipe Gutierrez, Nicolds

Heredia, and 200 soldiers. Leaving Cuzco in June 1543, the

expedition traveled southward and came upon Salta in October

of that year. After engaging the Diaguita Indians, the

expeditionaries next battled the Juries, at whose hands

Rojas received a fatal wound.3

The successor to command the enterprise, Francisco de

Mendoza, in August 1545 established the real or fuerte named

Malaventura near the present-day location of Rio Tercero in

Calamuchita. Having crossed the sierras of Guasapampa,

Pocho, and Achala, and having entered the valley of

Calamuchita, Mendoza had reached C6rdoba. At this time the

area took the name of the Indians who inhabited it, becoming

el pals de los comechingones. While the Spaniards withstood

the cold and dampness of their mountain encampment, they

knew that these Indians lived in caves with small entrances,

thus having warm living quarters. These habitantes de las

cuevas wore beards strange to most Indians, so that the

Comechingones were also known as barbudos.5

While Mendoza and his men camped on the foothills of

the eastern slope of the Sierra de Achala, they were attacked

frequently by the Comechingones. After supervising the

establishment of the real, Mendoza left command of his forces

to NicolAs de Heredia. Mendoza pressed forward in the

direction of the Parana and even arrived at the ruins of

Cabot's fort, Sancti Spiritus. In late 1545 Mendoza

returned to Malaventura, which proved his undoing. Heredia

had hatched a conspiracy in his absence, and Mendoza was

skillfully assassinated upon his return. Having taken

command of the expedition, Heredia returned to Cuzco in


A third expedition led by Francisco de Villagra

passed through C6rdoba in 1550. Sent from Peru to aid the

beleaguered Spaniards in Chile, Villagra crossed through

Cruz del Eje, the valley of Salsacate, and finally entered

San Luis near Concaran. There he remained for two years

before succumbing to the elements and Indian attacks.7

The ill-fated 1566 expedition of Francisco de Aguirre

came closest to founding a permanent settlement in C6rdoba.

A conquistador of Peru and aide to Pedro de Valdivia in

the founding of Santiago de Chile in 1541, Aguirre had proposed

in the 1550's that a settlement be established in the

"provincia de los comechingones" as a central distribution

point for the products of Chile and Tucuman and for merchan-

dise from the regions along the Parana and Rio de la Plata.

As a link between the two oceans, such a settlement--he

believed--would also decrease use of the Portobelo-Panama

In view of growing new settlements, Felipe II created

in 1563 the "gobernaci6n del Tucuman, dependiente del

Virreinato del Peru, y en lo judicial de la Audiencia de

Charcas.9 And, in early 1564, Aguirre was informed officially

by the Conde de Nieva, Viceroy of Peru, of his appointment

as Governor of the Provinces of Tucuman, Juries and Diaguitas.

Thus placed in a position of command and commissioned to

establish pueblos between Chile and the Rio de la Plata,

Aguirre spent several months assembling his expedition in

Santiago del Estero. Setting forth on May 12, 1566, and

hoping eventually to discover a port on the North Sea (Atlantic

Ocean), Aguirre proceeded initially "en seguimiento de una

tierra que se dice Anzenuza, valle de muchos indios que

llaman Comechingones."l0

The Aguirre expedition finally encamped in the

present-day departments of Rio Seco and Sobremonte in

northern C6rdoba. Aguirre then became the object of a plot

which terminated his future ventures and hopes to found

pueblos. Arrested, bound, and placed in handcuffs, Aguirre

and his associates were escorted back to Santiago del Estero.

The charges leveled against them were largely unsubstantiated;

even so, thus ended the expedition of Aguirre, ever so near

to founding a town in the land of the Comechingones.11

The definitive move toward settlement came when

Francisco de Toledo, the new Viceroy of Peru, in September

1571 commissioned Jer6nimo Luis de Cabrera Governor and

Captain General of the Provinces of Tucumdn, Juries and

Diaguitas.12 Cabrera had exceptional credentials, having

served as alferez in the Real Armada and having founded

the town of San Jer6nimo de Valverde in the valley of Ica,

Peru. He also had served as corregidor and justicia mayor

of Charcas and the Villa de Potosi. Noting that Cabrera

possessed "habilidad, experiencia, y conciencia," the Viceroy

ordered him to found a settlement in the valley of Salta

in order to facilitate travel and commerce between Peru and

the Rio de la Plata.13 Cabrera decided, however, to found

a settlement farther south and then to continue onward until

he found an outlet to the Atlantic for the products and

commerce of Peru.

After assuming his new responsibilities in July 1572

in Santiago del Estero, Cabrera outfitted a small reconnoitering

and exploratory force under the command of Lorenzo Suarez

de Figueroa. He was to proceed with "el descubrimiento de

las provincias de los Comechingones y Sanavirones y Rio de

la Plata, con encargo especial .de cerciorarse del clima,

poblaci6n, riqueza, y topografla de estas regionss" 4 The

Suarez expedition got underway in January 1573, and observations

by its members proved helpful to Cabrera in determining the

nature of the land and the bellicosity of the Indians.

Traversing the valleys of Quilino, Punilla, and other areas,

Sudrez's expedition encountered more than 600 Indian pueblos

with approximately 30,000 Indians. It was reported that

they were labradores, who had cultivated fields and good

grazing land for cattle. The explorers crossed seven rivers,

saw signs of gold and silver deposits, and reported that they

had found a land bountiful of thick forests, crystalline

waters, mountains, valleys, mineral wealth, and a climate

which evoked memories of certain regions in Spain.15

Once Suarez returned to Santiago del Estero, traversing

parts of Ischilin and Punilla on his route, Cabrera quickly

got ready to set out with the main expeditionary force. After

a long and arduous march from the north, Cabrera reached

the River Suqula (present-day Rio Primero) on June 24,

1573.16 There he formally founded the City of C6rdoba on

July 6, 1573, in what is now the barrio of Yapeyq. The

official documents of the period refer to it as "C6rdoba de

Nueva Andalucia."18 Cabrera himself appointed its officials,

naming Blas de Rosales and Herngn Mejia Miraval the first

Alcaldes. On the same day, San Jeronimo was designated the

patron saint of the city.

In keeping with the hope to found a port on the Rio

Parana, in order to establish communication between

Tucuman and Spain by way of the Atlantic Ocean, Cabrera set

forth again in early September 1573. On the 17th he founded the

Puerto de San Luis de C6rdoba on the banks of the Parana.19

Returning to C6rdoba, Cabrera proceeded to grant both

land and encomiendas to members of the expeditionary force.

Spaniards soon settled the northern and western portions of

the present-day province. In October 1573, still hoping to

discover the elusive and mystical Ciudad de los Cesares,

Cabrera ordered Captain Herndn Mejla Miraval to

. pacificar a los aborigenes, explorer
territories, empadronar pueblos indigenas,
descubrir minas de oro y plata por los valles
de Cami Cosquin, Toco-Toco, Cruz del Eje-Soto
y Calamochita. . .

At the end of the year Cabrera sent Sugrez de Figueroa south-

ward to discover the indigenous province of Chocancharaba,

now department of Rio Cuarto.20

In less than a year from the inception of the founding

expedition, the outlines of the province of C6rdoba had been

sketched. However, a year after assuming command of the

expedition Cabrera was imprisoned and summarily executed.

Gonzalo Abreu de Figueroa had been designated Governor of

Tucuman in November 1570, a year before Cabrera was appointed

to the same position. Having tarried in Spain and Peru--

which helps explain Viceroy Toledo's 1571 appointment of

Cabrera--Abreu de Figueroa did not assume his post until

March 1574. Owing to family rivalries in Spain and mutual

dislike, he was bent upon Cabrera's destruction, and Cabrera

became the object of a carefully planned conspiratorial

intrigue. Descending upon C6rdoba from Santiago del Estero

Abreu de Figueroa surprised Cabrera, who had already been

imprisoned by traitors in the city. Cabrera was sent in

chains to Santiago del Estero. Among the charges formulated

against him was that of having abandoned Tucuman in order to

"repartirse con sus allegados, los indios y tierras de
C6rdoba."21 Without a true chance to defend himself, at the

end of 1574, he was executed as a traitor to the King.22

The Social Composition of the Early Colony

In his Relaci6n de la tierra nueva que don Jer6nimo

de Cabrera, gobernador de Tucuman descubri6 en aquella

provincia, which he remitted to Spain in 1573 and which

constitutes one of the principal documentary sources for

this period, Cabrera reaffirmed the estimates of C6rdoba's

indigenous population made earlier by the SuArez expedition--

i.e., a total of 30,000 Comechingones and Sanavirones
dispersed in more than 600 pueblos.23 The Comechingones

and Sanavirones were the most numerous groupings of Indians

in C6rdoba at the time of the discovery and founding. The

Comechingones, as already mentioned, lived in caves in the

sierras and valleys from Cruz del Eje in the north to Rio

Cuarto in the south. The Sanavirones resided to the east

of the Comechingones, approaching the City of C6rdoba. Other

Indian groupings prevalent in C6rdoba were the Malquesis,

Queloses, Pampas, Pehuenches, and Ranqueles.24

While the figure of 30,000 Indians is more readily

acceptable, other studies indicate that C6rdoba's indigenous

population could have numbered 50,000 distributed in more

than 1,000 pueblos.5 Both the Comechingones and the

Sanavirones were organized into a political system of

tribal provinces; sometimes the designation corresponded

to certain valleys. Each pueblo contained ten to forty

adobe houses which formed a village and were surrounded by

a fenced area containing cultivated fields. The ayllu,

which was for the most part a community of relatives, formed

the basis of social and economic organization, but the tribe

and family also played prominent roles. The authority of

the cacique was absolute within the pueblo, although in

other matters he usually deferred to the cacique principal

of the tribe.2

To provide for their defense these Indians used axes,

arrows, hammers, and clubs and built pucards or fortress-like

encampments which provided them with a place of refuge in

times of peril. They subsisted on the killing of wild

animals and the cultivation of corn and beans. The central

figures of their religion were the sun and the moon. Moreover,

the Indians left visible signs of their religion in cave

paintings in Inti-Huasi, in.the department of Rio Cuarto,

and in Cerro Colorado, in the north of C6rdoba.27

Rewards or compensation granted to the conquistadores

for their part in the settling of C6rdoba on the whole took

the form of encomienda. Countless Indian pueblos including

several that survived into the nineteenth century, with their

inhabitants and caciques were soon granted as encomiendas.

On the outskirts of the City of C6rdoba existed the pueblo

of Saldgn-sacate. Two grants of land in Saldan-sacate were

given to Balthazar Gallegos, one in 1577 and the other in

1585. The present-day location of Ascochinga held the

pueblo of Asconsacate, which was later received as an

encomienda by the relocated Chilean, Luis del Peso. In 1574

Cabrera granted Captain Tristan de Tejeda an encomienda

of Indians pertaining to the zones of Soto and Huluman. In

the same year as the founding of C6rdoba, Cabrera appropriated

for himself a large encomienda of 50 pueblos and 2,000

Indians in the region of Ischilln. Some of these indigenous

pueblos were located in what is known today as Cosquin,

department of Punilla. After awarding himself this lucra-

tive encomienda, Cabrera apportioned to his compatriots

Bartolom6 Jaimes, Juan de Mitre, and Tomas de Iroli, several

important encomiendas in the valley of Salsacate, department

of Pocho. Some of the aforementioned Indian encomiendas are

preserved in name in present-day cities and pueblos through-

out the province.28

Although the major purpose in granting these encomiendas

was to reward the conquistadores for their labors, the

encomenderos assumed certain obligations toward the Indians

and were required to provide for the defense of the area.

Their grants stipulated the following:

. para que os sirvais de ellos por todos
los dias de vuestra vida y de vuestro sucesor,
conforme a c6dulas y previsiones de Su Majestad,

en varias haciendas y granjerlas, no quitando
a los caciques ni principles sus mujeres
ni hijos, ni piezas de su servicio, ni
llev5ndoles mds tributes que aquellos que 29
buenamente y sin vejaci6n os pudieran dar. . .

The abuse of power and the exaction of excessive tribute

were thus prohibited. Also stated forthrightly was the

exemption from labor of the cacique and his family. Never-

theless, in later years the corruption of Spanish officials,

exaction of high tribute, and misappropriation of lands

were to prove to be the principal grievances of the Indians

of the pueblos.

Since the founding days of C6rdoba the conquistadores

and their descendants formed the nucleus for the establish-

ment of a social hierarchy within the city. Many of their

descendants prided themselves on the fact that they could

trace their lineage back to the founding of the city.

Almost all boasted of hidalgula, many times based on their

social position in C6rdoba rather than on descent from

peninsular nobility.30 In a poignant observation made

while traveling through the River Plate provinces in the late

eighteenth century, Concolorcorvo remarked of los cordobeses:

. ya no s6 c6mo aquellos colonos prueban
la antigUedad y distinguida nobleza de que se
jactan; puede ser que cada familiar tenga su
historic geneal6gica reservada. . .31

Pride in one's noble heritage, whether substantiated or not,

seemed only to reinforce age-old values and attitudes of

hidalgula, hijosdalgos. The social hierarchy was further

strengthened by claims of limpieza de sangre, which served

to link racial purity with social and economic superiority

and prosperity.

The acquisition of power by the conquistadores and

their subsequent control of the C6rdoba region paralleled

the similar process in such regions as Peru and Mexico. So

did the precipitous decline in the indigenous population.

Demographic studies have indicated that the primary causes

of this decline were the imported diseases and subsequent

epidemics. Although the Indian population of C6rdoba at

the time of the conquest cannot compare with that of Mexico,

Peru, or other principal areas of Spanish colonization, the

introduction of smallpox, measles, typhus, and influenza

proved no less fatal to its Indian inhabitants. The decline

did not occur everywhere simultaneously, but lack of natural

immunity served to depopulate areas rapidly. Brought from

Africa by slaves, malaria and yellow fever took a further

toll of the Indians.

Depopulation can also be attributed in part to social

and economic dislocations caused by European domination,

which rendered Indians more susceptible to disease, and the

cultural shock that deprived many of the will to preserve

their ethnic identity and will to live. Still other Indians

were victims of acts of violence and cruel treatment, despite

allegations by C6rdoba's chroniclers of a benevolent treat-
ment afforded the indigenous population.32 Miscegenation
ment afforded the indigenous population. Miscegenation

and later forced migrations and relocations proved to be

the final blows to C6rdoba's Indians. These will be dealt

with in a later chapter.

There still exists no thorough analysis of C6rdoba's

Indian population at the time of the conquest and its near

extinction in the period immediately following. However,

statistics compiled by colonial officials clearly point to

a rapid dimunition of Indians soon after the founding of

C6rdoba. In 1582 Pedro Sotelo Narvadz estimated the city to

have 40 encomenderos and 6,000 Indians.33 In 1606 Governor

Alfonso de Rivera attested that there were now 4,000 Indians

in the jurisdiction of the city and 60 encomenderos.3 In

the following year, 1607, newly-appointed Governor Alonso

Barrada accounted for 6,103 Indians in the province as a whole,

distributed among 60 encomenderos.35 From a high total of

30,000 at the time of the founding, in less than a third of a

century C6rdoba's indigenous population had dropped 80% to 6,000.

C6rdoba's Commercial Importance

Early efforts on the part of the conquistadores were

directed toward the raising of livestock and the cultivation

of wheat in order to produce flour. Rudimentary leather and

textile industries had their origins in the early colonial

period. C6rdoba likewise exported livestock to other

regions, and export or re-export of slaves became one of

the principal trading activities in the seventeenth century.36

Indeed C6rdoba, located in the virtual center of the River

Plate provinces and a crosspoint for important trading

routes, was at a distinct advantage in commercial relations

from the time of its founding.

C6rdoba prided itself on its cattle and mule production,

and by the eighteenth century it was the trading focus of

the livestock industry for the entire pampa region. Live-

stock production within the province went hand in hand with

the rise of a merchant class who traversed long distances

to Buenos Aires and neighboring provinces in order to
purchase mules and cattle from local breeders.37 Especially

in the latter eighteenth century livestock production

received further impetus because of the growing demand for

hides in England and Europe.3

In a report to the King in 1760, the cabildo of

C6rdoba cited the flourishing livestock industry of the

region and hailed its long-distance importance:

Las estancias . son muchas y en ellas
crian los vecinos abundamente . grueso
namero de ganado vacuno, majadas de ovejas
y cabras, crias de yeguas, caballos, y mulas,
de que hacen comercio conduci&ndolos anualmente
a la.ciudad de Salta para el trajin del
Peru. . .39

An offshoot of the livestock industry was the exchange of

leather goods within C6rdoba and to Buenos Aires. Similarly,

the Marques de Sobremonte, Governor-Intendant of C6rdoba,

reported to Viceroy Marques de Loreto in 1785 the myriad of

goods produced in his intendancy:

El comercio de esta ciudad consiste en las
mulas . lienzos de algod6n, produce
abundamente trigo, duraznos; hay buenas

maderas de algarrobo, quebracho, espinillo,
coronilla . es de buena calidad la lana
. hay muchas cabezas de vacuno, y del
ganado caballar. . 40

Not only was livestock thriving, but agricultural and forestry

products were in abundance. Cultivation of wheat, maize,

olives, grapes and all classes of vegetables complemented

cattle ranching and the manufacture of linens, woolen cloth,
and blankets.4

Until the latter part of the colonial period, a major

impediment to local industry and commerce in C6rdoba and

other regions of the Rio de la Plata was the Spanish crown's

restrictive trade policy, which was reinforced by political

subordination to the Viceroyalty of Peru. The normal legal

method whereby merchandise could enter Buenos Aires was

arduous and roundabout; goods were to be carried from Spain

to Panama, where they would go by mule train overland to

the Pacific Ocean and would be reloaded on ships bound for

the port of Callao, and then from Lima the land route would

be resumed by crossing the cordillera, descending upon the

pampas, and finally arriving in Buenos Aires. A trip of

this nature usually took many months, involved great risks,

and entailed a great increase in cost of the goods upon their

arrival in Buenos Aires. Contraband trade, therefore,

proved to be a necessary alternative for portefos who wanted

to procure the merchandise of the outside world or to
export their own goods conveniently. The unfavorable

situation of the Rio de la Plata resulted, in considerable

part, from the earlier discovery and colonization of Peru,

its wealth in gold and silver and greater number of

colonizers and Indians, the greater importance of Lima in

relation to Buenos Aires, and the entrenched position of

its merchants who controlled the commerce of the Pacific

Rivalry between Lima and Buenos Aires centered not

only on the question of opening the Rio de la Plata to

overseas navigation, but on control of the lucrative trade

of the interior regions, Salta, C6rdoba, Tucuman, Paraguay,

and above all Alto Peru or Charcas. By luring these markets

to the Atlantic, Buenos Aires thought it would become the

natural beneficiary of a thriving export-import trade. By

the same token, the early growth of Buenos Aires and the

expansion of its commerce into the interior provoked reaction

in Lima. Authorities in Peru attempted to obstruct

commercial transactions, insisting before the Casa de

Contrataci6n in Seville that Lima retain its predominant

position. At the insistence of Peru, the port of Buenos

Aires was closed in 1594, and a separate interior custom-

house was established in C6rdoba in 1623 to halt Buenos

Aires' trade with Potosi and Alto Peru. But despite Lima's

efforts, the isolation of Buenos Aires was never complete.

By 1602 a royal c6dula authorized ships from Buenos Aires

and Paraguay to carry supplies to Brazil (which at that time

was united to the Spanish Empire) and to Guinea in order to

deal in slaves. In 1618 Buenos Aires received authorization

to send two ships annually, loaded with agricultural products,

to Seville, where the goods could be sold.44

The subjection to Lima withered because of several

factors. The Rio de la Plata began to be populated by a

growing number of Europeans and creoles. Cattle brought

from Spain reproduced at an astounding rate and provided

impetus to the cattle industry. Additionally, cities sprang

up, including not just Buenos Aires and C6rdoba but Santa

F6, Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, Tucuman, Salta, Jujuy,

Catamarca, La Rioja, San Luis, Mendoza, and San Juan.

Although Lima waged a protracted struggle in favor of her

own port of Callao, she could not stop the flow of foreign

merchandise and merchants from entering Buenos Aires. While

the crown stifled incentive and initiative, contraband

trade flourished, mostly with English and Portuguese

The Spanish crown's determination to create a

viceroyalty in the Rio de la Plata did not arise from a

desire to revamp an archaic system of economic injustices.

Rather it acknowledged Buenos Aires' de facto ascendancy

and, even more, its increasing strategic importance. The

Portuguese advance southward served to heighten the crown's

preoccupation. In the future scheme of things Buenos Aires

and the littoral would serve as a buffer to Portuguese
incursions in what Spain believed to be her natural domain.46
incursions in what Spain believed to be her natural domain.

The actual creation of the viceroyalty was preceded

by the designation in July 1776 of Pedro de Cevallos as

Virrey Gobernador, CapitAn General y Superior Presidente de

la Real Audiencia de la Plata. Accompanied by a flotilla

of 160 ships and 10,000 soldiers, Cevallos, by his very

presence as Viceroy, demonstrated to the Portuguese Spain's

resolve to defend her southern colonies. The limits of the

new viceroyalty encompassed the provinces of Buenos Aires,

Paraguay, TucumAn, Potosi, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and

Charcas, and the territories of Mendoza and San Juan (formerly

under the Captaincy General of Chile).47

On October 26, 1777, King Carlos III formally created

the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata and appointed Juan Jos6

de Vertiz y Salcedo Viceroy. The following year, 1778, a

Reglamento para el comercio libre acknowledged the littoral's

predominant position. Although there were still certain

limitations, commerce could be carried on directly with the

metropolis by Buenos Aires, which was henceforth liberated

from the economic as well as political domination of Lima.4

Mercantile activity sharply increased with the export of

goods from Alto Peru. Both the interior provinces and Buenos

Aires could now exploit the advantages of the Atlantic trade.

The Intendancy of C6rdoba

Issued by the King on January 28, 1782, La Real

Ordenanza para el establecimiento e instrucci6n de los

Intendentes de Ejercito y Provincia en el Virreinato de

Buenos Aires divided the viceroyalty into eight political

intendancies: Buenos Aires, Paraguay, La Plata, Cochabamba,

La Paz, Potosi, Salta, and C6rdoba, the latter two being

created out of the former province of Tucuman.49 Up until

1782 C6rdoba formed part of the province of C6rdoba del

Tucuman and had had a lieutenant-governor with limited

powers. In 1778 a royal order pointed to the necessity of

dividing the province on account of large distances, the

difficulty in administering the area, and the dispersal of

its tribunals. In 1783 C6rdoba del Tucuman ceased to exist,

and the two intendancies were created. The Intendancy of

C6rdoba now included La Rioja, Mendoza, San Juan, and San

Luis, while the Intendancy of Salta included Jujuy, San

Miguel de Tucuman, Santiago del Estero, and Catamarca.50

In 1783 the secretary of the viceroyalty, Marques

Rafael de Sobremonte, was appointed Governor-Intendant of

C6rdoba. His tenure of office proved progressive, supplying

both creativity and common sense to the governorship and

contrasting sharply with the usual performance of routine

Spanish bureaucracy. His foresight and initiative contributed

to elevating C6rdoba to an unprecedented period of progress

and prosperity.51

A year after assuming the governorship, Sobremonte

implemented a series of measures to improve the general well-

being of the populace. The city was divided into six barrios

or cuarteles, and the first commissaries were appointed.

He enlarged membership in the cabildo from eight to twelve

and initiated a subscription among members to pay for

repairs in the town hall. The new governor worked well with

the municipality, which gave him cooperation and support.52

Sobremonte's Reglamento de Policia banned night-time

disturbances, public blasphemy, and the carrying of prohibited
weapons.5 Other provisions regulated business hours, street

cleanliness, disposal of wastes, and wagon and carriage

traffic. He made the commissaries responsible for monitoring

citizens' movements--arrival or departure of residents,

visitors, foreigners--as well as for the control of delin-
quents, vagrants, beggars, prostitutes, and minors. One

important by-law provided for the care of abandoned and

orphaned children. They would be assigned to a maestro,

preferably in the same barrio, and given the opportunity to

learn a trade. Finally, the commissaries were given

authority to intervene in minor domestic cases involving

employers and servants.5

In an effort to make his provincial capital a model

of Spanish cities, in 1785 Sobremonte undertook an enlarge-

ment of the city's water supply by ordering construction of

an aqueduct and two public fountains. At the same time he

initiated a project to enlarge the local prison in the

interest of improved sanitation for the inmates. Other

civic improvements included reinforcement of the river bank

on the Rio Primero, improved street safety, and construction

of a public paseo. On January 1, 1778, Sobremonte

inaugurated the first street lighting system in the city,

to be used when the moon was insufficient to provide

illumination. The 113 lantern system was cared for by
mulattoes and free blacks.

A further accomplishment of the new governor was his

adept management of the royal revenue, which increased

dramatically. From 1784 to 1785 C6rdoba's net annual

revenue doubled from 9,984 pesos to 19,362 pesos. He also

established a more efficient collection of municipal property

and business taxes (propios), which enabled him to triple

the propios of C6rdoba in his first five years in office.

One visible reflection of this achievement consisted of

additions to public buildings. Owing to his innovations and

his conscientious application of the rules of the Ordinance,

Sobremonte earned the esteem of authorities in Buenos Aires

and Madrid.57

With his characteristic meticulousness and diligence,

soon after taking office in 1785 Sobremonte undertook the

first of three provincial inspections which would result in

a vigorous defensive-colonizing strategy for the intendancy.

After returning from his first visit of inspection to Cuyo,

Sobremonte saw the need for urbanization and for the

introduction of the amenities of civilized life:

The general defect of the whole province is
the lack of organized towns, for the people

are accustomed to live in isolation, with
no inclination to assemble themselves in
communities. Seeking reasons for this defect,
I find that it usually derives from a passion
for liberty: such dispersion keeps these
settlers from the eyes of the magistrates
and of the priests who would otherwise pursue
them for their cattle robberies and other
crimes to which they are so given . .

The existing circumstances, he felt, inhibited education and

caused great difficulty in the collection of taxes and tithes.

His ambitious plan called for urbanizing the people by

founding one town every year. Although he was unable to

fulfill this plan entirely, he achieved modest results.58

In 1786 and 1787 he re-inspected Cuyo in connection

with proposals to refurbish the gold mines of La Carolina,

situated in San Luis.59 The towns of La Carolina, San

Carlos de Mendoza, La Carlota, Corocorto, and Fortin de

San Carlos were founded.60 In 1794 Sobremonte toured the

southern frontier in the region of Rios Tercero and Cuarto

which were devastated by Indian attacks. Although forts

had been established in the area by mid-century, these did

not curtail the fierce Indian raids. New forts were there-

fore established between existing ones, and several were

converted into population centers where settlers scattered

throughout the countryside were regrouped and provided

with security. The culmination of this enterprise was the

founding of Rio Cuarto in 1794 and Villa del Rosario in

1795.61 In Rio Cuarto a democratic precedent was set when

Sobremonte, instead of founding the cabildo by direct

appointment, authorized the citizens themselves to make the

first elections and instructed his commissioners only to

In 1789 the governor issued regulations to control

the gremios (artisan guilds), in which the distinct rights

and obligations of chief craftsman, skilled workman, and

apprentices were set down. Provision was made to restructure

the silversmith, tailor, blacksmith, carpenter, painter,

mason, shoemaker, and barber guilds. Plateros-artlfices

pardos were awarded respectability and prestige which they

were said to have enjoyed formerly only in Peru.63

Sobremonte also improved educational facilities and

social services in C6rdoba. He founded the chair of Instituta

in the law faculty of the university and entrusted it to Dr.

Victorino Rodrlguez. He established a new Escuela Gratuita

y de Gobierno, directed by Franciscan lay brothers. In

rural districts which had heretofore lacked educational

facilities, Sobremonte founded the first rural primary

schools, and he can be credited with opening and maintaining

20 schools throughout the intendancy. The situation was

complicated, however, because parents opposed sending their

sons to be educated when there was always work in the fields.

Finally, in 1795, the governor solicited the King for the
authority to establish a hospital for women.6

In a 1785 report to Viceroy Loreto the governor

declared that his jurisdiction housed "aborigenes paclficos"

in the Indian towns of Nono, Cosquin, La Toma, San Jacinto,

Pichanas, Quilino, Soto and San Antonio de Nonsacate, which

he viewed as "infelices ranchos" that did not merit the

formal name of pueblo. Some, in fact, could not count a

single tributary.65 Nevertheless, in keeping with his

concern to protect the frontier, Sobremonte was instrumental

in forming reducciones of Indians near Santa F6. And in

1797, the year in which he relinquished office, Sobremonte

reported that he intended to form Indian pueblos in the

parroquias of Calamuchita, Ischilin, Punilla, and Rio

Tercero Arriba. The major obstacle to this plan was the

lack of arable land.6

Sobremonte was still governor when the general

upheaval in Europe resulting from the French Revolution

affected even distant C6rdoba. In 1793 he expressed his

gratitude to the cabildo for having offered "sus vidas y

haciendas para lo que estime Gtil al Real Servicio y

mantener y costear hasta Buenos Aires 500 hombres." Sobremonte

and other officials were preparing for an eventual war
between Spain and France and possible invasion.67 In the

same year Sobremonte received notice that a certain Jos6

Maria Caballero, a mining engineer employed at La Carolina,

was disseminating ideas of the French Revolution and

comparing the Spanish government unfavorably with that of

the French. Following a secret inquiry ordered by

Sobremonte, Caballero was arrested and brought to C6rdoba.

Although he denied the charges, the case was remitted to

Buenos Aires, where it eventually lapsed.68

In November 1797 Sobremonte was appointed sub-inspector-

general of regular troops and militia of the viceroyalty;

in 1804 he became Viceroy. While in Buenos Aires, he issued

optimistic reports concerning the preparedness of the

militia, whose inaccuracy became all too evident when the

British invaded in 1806. Sobremonte responded by collecting

the royal treasury and fleeing to C6rdoba; there he hoped

to raise troops for the resistance. Instead, the following

year he was arrested and deposed by order of the Buenos

Aires cabildo. He remained in Buenos Aires until 1807,

when he returned to Spain to face charges of neglect of

duty. A council of war acquitted him, and he continued

his political and military career in the peninsula. In

1814 he was promoted to field marshal and appointed Minister

of the Council of the Indies. After retiring in 1815, he

resided in Cadiz where he died at age 81 in 1827.69

The Marques de Sobremonte is remembered for his

illustrious and progressive government of C6rdoba and

especially for the improvement in general well-being of

the populace. Success in social and financial aspects was

the more impressive because of the lack of such progress

earlier.70 As Governor-Intendant Sobremonte proved a

resounding success, served as model for others, and won the

approval of his superiors. His record as Viceroy, however,

proved a dismal failure, because he was incapable of

constructive action in time of crisis. Administrator par

excellence, Sobremonte showed a lack of political initiative

as Viceroy.7

During his tenure of office at C6rdoba Sobremonte

was eulogized by admirers and drew praise on occasion even

from detractors. The cabildo of Mendoza in 1788, writing

to the crown, praised his services and requested his reten-

tion in office:

. because his extraordinary activity
and tireless zeal combined with his integrity
and enlightened political ideas have contri-
buted advantageously to the general prosperity,
progress, and administration of these remote
and loyal dominions. . .

When he was first appointed temporary Viceroy the cabildos

of C6rdoba, San Juan, Mendoza, and San Luis petitioned the

crown to confirm him permanently in office. Even his

flight from Buenos Aires was defended by the cabildo of

C6rdoba in 1806.72 Gregorio Funes, dean of the cathedral

of C6rdoba and a steadfast personal enemy of Sobremonte,

relaxed his opposition on that occasion, even admitting

that Sobremonte had brought unprecedented prosperity and

progress to C6rdoba.73

In 1797 Asesor Nicolas P6rez del Viso was appointed

Interim Governor of C6rdoba. Meanwhile, the King appointed

Colonel Jose Gonzalez de Rivera Governor, but he did not

arrive in C6rdoba until 1803. The tranquil years of

Sobremonte's accommodationist and harmonious relationship

with the cabildo soon disappeared. Despite ongoing contro-

versies, however, Perez del Viso can be credited with

several minor accomplishments. He was responsible for the

construction of the chapel of Nuestra Seiora de Nieva in

the cathedral, and in 1799 he authorized the establishment

of a women's infirmary in Hospital San Roque. Concern with

trivialities such as his 1797 authorization for a bull ring

and his poor relations with Bishop Angel Mariano Moscoso over

questions of protocol prevented him from matching the

progressive record of Sobremonte. Rural education likewise

declined after the impetus it received from the Marqu6s.74

Stagnation and administrative confrontation characterized

Perez del Viso's governorship.

This lackluster governor was succeeded by one more

domineering, ineffective, and uncompromising. In late 1803

Jos6 Gonzalez de Rivera assumed the governorship, and shortly

afterwards he became embroiled in controversy with the

cabildo. Gonzalez demanded that the cabildo present proof

of its authority, and the latter responded by demanding

that the intendant pay the 10,000 pesos security to which he

was bound to title of his appointment. Protestations by the

cabildo were given to the Viceroy, who by 1804 was none other

than Sobremonte. From Gonzalez's ill-advised destruction

of the obelisk in Paseo Sobremonte to the cabildo's

intransigence in not helping contract a public cemetery

(supposedly for lack of funds), Gonzalez stumbled from one

setback to another.7

In December 1805 Dr. Victorino Rodriguez became

governor upon Gonzalez's death. He was faced almost

immediately with the endemic political dispute between the

funistas, partisans of the Funes brothers, Gregorio and

Ambrosio, and the sobremontistas, partisans of the former

governor who attempted to maintain their traditional positions

of influence and power. Amid an atmosphere of distrust and

political jockeying Rodriguez attempted to reinvigorate the

governorship. His modest accomplishments included the

installation of Dr. Ger6nimo Ametller as representative of

the Buenos Aires Protomedicato, planning a direct route to

Catamarca lined with post stations, and expanding public

street lighting in the city.76

Rumors of a British invasion of the Rio de la Plata

prompted Rodriguez in 1805 to order the enlistment of a

force of 300 volunteers. The anticipated invasion took

place in 1806, and Buenos Aires was briefly occupied by

General Beresford. As mentioned earlier, Viceroy Sobremonte

fled to the interior, declaring his intention to establish

the temporary viceregal capital in C6rdoba. Upon orders

from Sobremonte, Colonel Santiago Alejo de Allende was

commissioned to organize an army of 2,000 soldiers in order

to undertake the reconquest of Buenos Aries. While

Sobremonte was in C6rdoba, he enjoyed a period of amicable

relations with Rodriguez and the cabildo reminiscent of

past days.77

News stirred throughout C6rdoba in late 1806 that a

second British invasion would take place. At the same time

300 British prisoners were sent from Buenos Aires to C6rdoba

and dispersed in Calamuchita, Alta Gracia, La Carlota,

San Ignacio, and Candelaria. The populace became alarmed

when rumors spread that the prisoners were planning an

insurrection. Governor Rodriguez convened a group of citizens

and ordered them to defend the city, after news was received

that the prisoners rebelled in Alta Gracia. But by July 1807

the British were defeated a second time in Buenos Aires,

and calm was restored to C6rdoba. Most of the British

prisoners were returned to Buenos Aires, although a few who

married remained in C6rdoba.78

Don Juan Gutierrez de la Concha, designated Governor-

Intendant of C6rdoba, in September 1806, finally assumed

office in December 1807. Knowledgeable of the factious

nature of cordob6s politics, he attempted to reconcile the

differences between the funistas and sobremontistas. However,

a cabildo dominated by Ambrosio Funes and his political

colleagues ensured controversy throughout 1808. Excessive

legal formalism and petty disputes over public ceremonial

and precedence marked their political feud with the governor.

To make matters worse, the governor refused to confirm two

cabildo nominees for senior Alcalde and procurator. Mariano

Moreno, relator of the Audiencia in Buenos Aires, defended

the cabildo's case pointing out that "the most precious

prerogative of the cabildos is the private right of elevating

councillors who are to compose it." He stated, furthermore,

that the privilege of electing officials was "too important

to remain exposed to capricious usurpation or to a stroke

of despotism." His remarks were an outright slap in the

face to Gutierrez de la Concha. Tensions were exacerbated

between Buenos Aires and C6rdoba when Viceroy Sobremonte's

flight to C6rdoba was defended by the governor, who opposed

the Buenos Aires' cabildo's suspension of the Viceroy.79

Despite these political altercations, Gutierrez de la

Concha achieved some minor advances during his administra-

tion. He undertook stronger defensive measures to alleviate

the distressed families facing hostile Indians on the

southern frontier. Many streets in the city were repaired,

and in the university a chair of mathematics was created.80

During his last year in office the governor opened a new

road to La Rioja, and post stations were established in the

valleys of Punilla, Soto, and Serezuela. The cabildo even

tried to establish a primary school for pardos, but the

attempt proved futile since the university refused to grant

the proposed site.81

The years 1808-1810 proved unstable for C6rdoba as for

Buenos Aires. Carlos IV abdicated, and his son Fernando VII

became King of Spain in March 1808. Following their removal

by the French and the installation of Joseph Bonaparte as

King, Viceroy Santiago Liniers, hero of the reconquest,

wrote all intendants informing them of events in Spain and

warning them to be prepared to defend legitimate authority

and to preserve the possessions of the Spanish monarchy,

political solidarity, and adherence to the leadership of

Buenos Aires. Guti6rrez de la Concha proclaimed Fernando

VII legitimate King with all possible solemnity and saw to

it that the cabildo recognized the same allegiance. Mean-

while, Brigadier Jos6 Manuel Goyeneche (later commissioned

to suppress rebel factions in Alto Peru) arrived in C6rdoba

on behalf of the Junta in Seville to solicit cooperation to

combat the French. The cabildo and the governor contributed

generously to the cause. In response to the call for man-

power, Colonel Jose Javier Diaz created the batallion Fiel

Tercero de Fernando VII.8

The Revolution

Following the success of the revolutionary cabildo

abierto on May 25, 1810, in Buenos Aires, former Viceroy

Liniers, now in C6rdoba, found Governor Guti6rrez de la

Concha a willing ally in opposition to the Junta established

in Buenos Aires. During the early months of the May Revolu-

tion C6rdoba thus became the center of counter-revolutionary

activity. The cabildo of C6rdoba on its part officially

recognized the Council of Regency in Cadiz. However, a

patriot expedition under the command of Francisco Ortiz de

Ocampo left Buenos Aires with 1,000 soldiers headed for

C6rdoba in search of Liniers and other royalists, who by

then were fleeing northward. After their capture in August

1810 Gutierrez de la Concha, Santiago de Liniers, Victorino

Rodrlguez, Colonel Santiago Alejo de Allende, and accountant

Joaquin Moreno were executed near Cruz Alta, on the border

with Santa F6.8

In mid-August 1810 Colonel Juan Martin de Pueyrred6n

became the first patriot governor of C6rdoba, but his tenure

of office was short-lived as by the end of the year he was

appointed Governor of Charcas. His brother, Colonel Diego

Jos6 de Pueyrred6n, assumed the governorship of C6rdoba in

February 1811. Once C6rdoba was clearly aligned with the

revolution, Dean Gregorio Funes represented C6rdoba in the

capital. A renowned cleric and powerful figure in cordobes

society, Funes was an eloquent orator before the Junta.

His principal responsibility was to represent C6rdoba's

interests, as in his ambitious proposals to make navigable

the Rio Tercero and to establish a gunpowder factory in

C6rdoba, but he also became the spokesman of delegates from

other interior provinces.84

In keeping with a directive of the Buenos Aires

Junta early in 1811 to create juntas provinciales for the

"felicidad de los Pueblos y . la armonia y el 6rden

entire los individuos que constituyen la sociedad," C6rdoba

elected Colonel Jose Javier Diaz, Lic. Jose Antonio Cabrera,

Dr. Jose Norberto de Allende, Andr6s Avelino Aramburu, and

Narciso Moyano to form a junta provincial. No sooner had

these members assumed their collective responsibility than

a confrontation took place with Governor Diego J. Pueyrred6n,

centering around the fact that the governor was not a native

cordob6s. Whereas Spanish policy had been to prevent anyone

from serving as governor of his native province, it was now

proposed that outsiders should be disqualified in a manner

that clearly foreshadowed the development of strong federalist

sentiment in C6rdoba and other Argentine provinces. Embittered

at having been rejected by regionalist agitators whom he

regarded as a group of ambitious opportunists, Pueyrred6n

quietly left the city and never returned.85

In October 1811 the Junta of Buenos Aires was dissolved

by a coup and replaced with the first Triunvirato, which at

the same time designated cordobes Lieutenant Colonel Santiago

Carrera Governor of C6rdoba. With unrelenting vigor Carrera

pressed forward the revolutionary fervor through 1812. Parish

priests were exhorted to instruct the populace on "los

derechos del Hombre y de la Patria." A junta de vigilancia

was established and uncovered a group of priests suspected

of plotting against the revolution. The padres betlemitas,

caretakers of Hospital San Roque, were accused countless

times of intrigue and attempts at insurrectional activity.

In August Theodoro Moreno, brother of Mariano, inaugurated

the Sociedad Patri6tica Literaria in the university, and

even many revolutionary followers were accused of counter-

revolutionary activities. The governor meanwhile obtained

much-needed war supplies from the people of the city and

the countryside. Numerous shipments of gunpowder, cartridges

and belts, jackets, and soldiers' kits were sent to help

Manuel Belgrano's Army of the North.86 Loyal patriot that

he was, Carrera was called in 1813 to head a contingent of

troops bound for Chile.87

By late 1812 C6rdoba was preparing to send delegates

to the Constituent Assembly in Buenos Aires. Juan Larrea

and Gervasio Antonio de Posadas--who paradoxically were a

peninsular and a porteio respectively and were staunch

centralists to boot--were elected C6rdoba's representatives

and were instructed to safeguard three sacred objects:

Religi6n, Patria, y Sistema.8 This Assembly, which proved

controversial yet progressive, will be the subject of

discussion in a later chapter.

By 1813 the revolution was well entrenched in political-

military control of the Rio de la Plata, despite C6rdoba's

factional disputes with Buenos Aires. However, a multitude

of opinions raged throughout the province with regard to the

course of the revolution. Certainly the general feeling in

C6rdoba was by no means one of unanimous support for either

the Spaniards or the patriots. One observer caught the mood

of the populace:

. la masa de los habitantes, muy
principalmente de las gentes de la
campafa, si no era hostile . era
indiferente al triunfo de los realistas
o patriots. . 89

Since cordobeses had not yet felt the full thrust of the

revolution, their life went undisturbed, and a large amount

of apathy prevailed.

In mid-July 1813 the second Triunvirato in Buenos

Aires appointed Colonel Francisco Javier de Viana Governor

of C6rdoba. No sooner had he been installed as governor

than ill health and factionalism began to undermine his

administration. He was ordered by Buenos Aires to replace

C6rdoba's coat of arms with that of Argentina, publicize

the newly adopted national anthem, and assist San Martin

and his granaderos on their march through C6rdoba. The

naming of two new deputies to represent C6rdoba in the

national assembly served to demonstrate the rivalry between

the governor and the cabildo. Buenos Aires having rejected

the selection of Dr. Miguel Calixto de Corro as deputy,

Governor Viana took it upon himself to name Dr. Agustin Plo

de Ella and Dr. Jose Gregorio Baigorri C6rdoba's representa-

tives. The cabildo viewed these appointments as a usurpation

of power by a strong-willed centralist governor. Viana's

short-lived administration was also highlighted by the

beginning of slave recruitment for the independence effort

and by the Triunvirato's mandate to divide the intendancy of

C6rdoba into two parts, one comprised of C6rdoba and La

Rioja and the other composed of Mendoza, San Juan, and San

Luis. C6rdoba thus lost jurisdictional control over the

entire Cuyo region.9

Called by Supreme Director Posadas to become minister

of war, Viana relinquished the governorship in February 1814

and was quickly replaced by the 1810 patriot leader, Colonel

Francisco Ortiz de Ocampo. The new governor established a

weapons factory in Caroya, opened a school in the city and

several in the countryside, and undertook measures to safe-

guard the highways from deserters and bandits. During

Ortiz's administration General Carlos de Alvear was welcomed

to C6rdoba after his victory over the royalists in Montevideo,

and San Martin was a guest on the outskirts of the capital

in Saldan. Local factionalism and sentiment for provincial

autonomy, however, had by this time brought many cordobeses

to support the cause of Jos6 Gervasio Artigas as Protector

de Los Pueblos Libres. Faced with a strong federalist

tide within the province and Artigas' threat from Santa F6,

Ortiz renounced the governorship in March 1815.91

C6rdoba's autonomist sentiment was demonstrated

forcefully in March 1815 when the cabildo elected Colonel

Jos6 Javier Diaz Governor. He quickly outlined C6rdoba's

new direction in a proclamation which declared C6rdoba

separated from Buenos Aires and loyal to Artigas. A strong-

willed governor, Diaz faced repeated challenges from both

disaffected cordobeses and portefos. In early 1816 the

governor revoked Bishop Orellana's citizenship and exiled

him from the province. Procrastinating in assigning deputies

to attend the Congress of Tucuman, Diaz reiterated his

position to seek alliance with Artigas:

S. hasta que un Congreso General, reunido
en plena libertad y en el lugar que esos
ejercitos combinados tuvieran a bien designer,
sancione y establezca la forma de gobierno
que debe regir la America.

Upon Juan Martin de Pueyrred6n's election as Supreme Director

of the United Provinces, Diaz acted coolly and for some time

withheld recognition. Yet not willing either to submit to

Buenos Aires or to foment a civil war, Diaz finally agreed

to send C6rdoba's deputies to the Congress. Jos6 Antonio

Cabrera, Eduardo Perez de Bulnes, and Jer6nimo Salguero de

Cabrera y Cabrera represented C6rdoba at the Congress and

on July 9, 1816, signed Argentina's declaration of indepen-

dence.92 Accused of abandoning his commitment to Artigas,

Diaz was then confronted in August 1816 with a rebellion

led by the artiguista garrison commander Juan Pablo Bulnes.

Defeated by Bulnes in the countryside and ordered by Pueyrred6n

to relinquish the governorship, Diaz took refuge in his Santa
Catalina estancia.9

The Tucuman Congress appointed as C6rdoba's Governor

Ambrosio Funes, brother of Dean Gregorio Funes and father-

in-law of Bulnes. Refusing to recognize and to surrender

to Funes, Bulnes was apprehended and imprisoned. Shortly

thereafter, in early 1817, Bulnes escaped, captured Funes,

and declared himself commander, only to be rearrested and

once again imprisoned. The task of restoring political

stability and realigning C6rdoba firmly with Buenos Aires

was next entrusted to the cordobes Dr. Manuel Antonio de

Castro, who became governor in March 1817. Castro's governor-

ship is remembered both for the suppression of individual

liberties and for the opening of a library in the university.

In the end, however, his efforts at stabilization came to

nothing amid the virulent federalist tide that broke out in

reaction to the centralist Constitution of 1819.

Writing to Supreme Director Jose Rondeau in November

1819, Castro remarked that anarchists had taken advantage of

"todas las circunstancias que le son favorables para mostrar

su insolencia." Faced with certain defeat at the hands of

federalist Colonel Juan Bautista Bustos, in January 1820

Castro resigned the governorship.94 The provincial assembly

appointed the cordob6s Bustos Governor, and in response to

the rejected 1819 Constitution it proclaimed:

. que la soberania de esta Provincia
reside en ella misma y por su representaci6n
en esta Asamblea, entire tanto se arregla su
constituci6n que como tal Provincia libre
y soberana no reconoce dependencia, ni debe
subordinaci6n a otra. . .95

Calling for a new general congress to convene, C6rdoba clearly

repudiated the centralism of Buenos Aires in favor of a

federation of provinces. Despite one more abortive attempt

to create a central administration for all Argentina in the

mid-1820's, C6rdoba would remain a legally autonomous entity

until the final adoption of a definitive national constitu-

tion in 1853. The province would, of course, come under

the de facto control of the dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas;

but it never occurred to the latter to interfere with the

handling by other provinces of those questions of social

policy that will be considered in the following chapters.

A key to the major notes appears in the preliminary pages.

Notes to Chapter II

Bischoff, p. 19.

Ibid., and Sempat Assadourian et al., p. 32.

3Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 3-5.
4bid., p. 6.

Ibid., p. 7.

6Bischoff, p. 24.

7Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 11.

Ibid., p. 13.

Bischoff, p. 25.

1Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 14.

11Bischoff, pp. 25-26, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp.

12Bischoff, p. 27, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 19.

1Bischoff, pp. 28-29.

1Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 19-20.

5Ibid., pp. 20-21.

16Bischoff, p. 34, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 26.

7Bischoff, p. 34.

8Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 28.
Ibid., p. 32.
2Ibid., p. 46.

21Bischoff, p. 43, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 35-37.
22Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 37.

23Ibid., I, p. 13, and Junta Provincial, p. 13.

2Ferrari Rueda, I, pp. 9-12.

2Ibid., I, p. 15.

26Bischoff, p. 30, and Ferrari Rueda, I, pp. 19-20.
For more information on C6rdoba's indigenous population at
the time of the conquest see Antonio Serrano, Los
comechingones (C6rdoba, 1945).
Bischoff, p. 30.

2Ferrari Rueda, I, pp. 137, 139, 145, 154.
2Bischoff, p. 43.

3Ibid., pp. 65-68.

3Concolorcorvo, p. 167.

32Comadran Ruiz, p. 22; Magnus M6rner, Race Mixture
in the History of Latin America (Boston, 1967); and Nicolas
Sdnchez-Albornoz, The Population of Latin America: A
History (Berkeley, 1974), pp. 51-66.

3Bischoff, p. 43.

34Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 59, and Terzaga, p. 93.

3Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 60.

3Bischoff, pp. 72-73.
37Jonathan C. Brown, A Socioeconomic History of
Argentina, 1776-1860 (Cambridge, 1979), p. 14.


38Emilio Rojas de Villafafe, La economic de C6rdoba
en el siglo XIX (C6rdoba, 1976), p. 35.

39Junta Provincial, p. 158.

4Ibid., pp. 183-184.

41Lynch, pp. 28-29.

42Ambrosio Romero Carranza, Alberto Rodriguez Varela,
and Eduardo Ventura, Manual de historic polltica y constitu-
cional argentina 1776-1976 (Buenos Aires, 1977), pp. 29-30.

43Ibid., p. 29; and Sergio Villalobos R., Comercio y
contrabando en el Rio de la Plata y Chile 1700-1811 (Buenos
Aires, 1965), p. 15.
44Bischoff, p. 73, and Villalobos R., op. cit., pp.

45Romero Carranza, et al., op. cit., p. 29.

4Ibid., pp. 30-31.

47Bischoff, p. 135; Romero Carranza, et al., op. cit.,
p. 31; and Sempat Assadourian et al., pp. 290-91.

48Bischoff, p. 74, and Villalobos R., op. cit., pp.

4Lynch, pp. 62-66.


51Sempat Assadourian et al., p. 299.

52Bischoff, p. 138, and Lynch, p. 244.

5Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 88.

54Victor Retamoza, "Contribuci6n al studio de la
historic de la policia de C6rdoba desde el ano 1810 hasta
1852 con una parte especial de los process instruldos en
C6rdoba entire los anos 1750 a 1900." Unpublished ms.
(C6rdoba, 1970), pp. 11-12.

5Ibid., pp. 12-13.

56Bischoff, p. 137; Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 88-89; and
Lynch, p. 159.

5Lynch, pp. 132-133, 218.
58 p. 156, 157.
Ibid., pp. 156, 157.

5Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 89.

6Lynch, p. 157.

61Bischoff, p. 138; Lynch, p. 157; and Sempat Assadourian
et al., pp. 301-302.

6Lynch, p. 214.

63Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 90.

64Bischoff, p. 138; Junta Provincial, pp. 204-205;
and Lynch, pp. 161-62.
65Bischoff, p. 139, and Junta Provincial, pp. 185-186.

66Junta Provincial, pp. 207-208.
Ibid., p. 92.

Lynch, pp. 264-265.

6Ibid., pp. 235, 299-300.

7Ibid., pp. 284-285.

71Ibid., pp. 73, 299.

7Ibid., p. 228.

73Ibid., p. 300.

74Bischoff, pp. 139-140.

75Ibid., pp. 140-141, and Lynch, pp. 232-233.

76Bischoff, p. 141, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 95.

77Bischoff, pp. 141-142, and Ferrari Rueda, II,
pp. 95-96.

78Bischoff, p. 142, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 96-97.

7Bischoff, p. 144, and Lynch, pp. 233-234.

8Bischoff, p. 145.

8Ibid., p. 147.

82Ibid., pp. 144-145; Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 98; and
Lynch, p. 266.

83Bischoff, pp. 146-149, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp.
84Bischoff, pp. 151153, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 100.

85Bischoff, pp. 154-155, and Ferrari Rueda, II, 101.
8Bischoff, pp. 154-155, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 101.
Bischoff, pp. 156-158, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp.
87Bischoff, p. 158.
8Ibid., p. 159, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 103.
8Bischoff, p. 153.
9Ibid., p. 159, and Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 104-105.
Bischoff, pp. 160-161, and Enrique Martinez Paz,
"Historia de C6rdoba," in Historia de la Naci6n Argentina
(desde los origenes hasta la organizaci6n definitive en
1862), directed by Ricardo Levene, vol. IX (Buenos Aires,
1941), pp. 493-94.
Bischoff, pp. 161-164; Ferrari Rueda, II, pp. 108-110;
and Martinez Paz, op. cit., pp. 494-496.
9Bischoff, p. 165, and Ferrari Rueda, II, p. 110.
9Bischoff, pp. 165-170, and Martinez Paz, op. cit.,
pp. 496-498.
95ited by Bischoff, p. 171.
Cited by Bischoff, p. 171.


Todos los que habitamos esta parte del globo
sabemos que se juzgan y tienen por viles e
infames, ya sea por derecho, ya por costumbre
o por abuso, tales son: negros, zambos,
mulatos, mestizos, Quarterones, Puchuelos . .

--Telegrafo Mercantil, 27 June 1801, Buenos

The Beginnings of Miscegenation and
the Early Social Structure

From the time of its discovery, the Rio de la Plata

came to include an ever larger proportion of people of mixed

descent. Although the crown initially prohibited Spanish

women from traveling with the expeditionaries, this policy

was soon reversed, and by the 1540's a small but significant

number of women had already accompanied the conquistadores

to the colonies. The dearth of Spanish women, however,

gave impetus to intermarriage between Spaniards and Indian

women. The resultant mestizo offspring founded the City

of Corrientes, and Juan de Garay and his mestizo followers

founded Buenos Aires and Santa F6.

/Mestizos became a socially integrated and, for the

most part, accepted people within Spain's colonies. As

Bartolom6 Mitre noted:

A los treinta y ocho anos de ocupado el
Rio de la Plata, los hijos de los espafoles
y de las mujeres indigenas eran considerados
como espafoles de raza pura y constitulan
el nervio de la colonia . .

Mestizos performed vital services and replaced aging Spanish

explorers as leaders of expeditions. Their vigor and

adaptability enabled them in later years to assume still

other responsibilities and roles.1/

/ Early explorers and settlers accepted and practiced

mestizaje in order to demonstrate their superiority through

physical domination and because of a desire to procreate.

But the official attitude toward the growing number of

/ mestizos was one of caution and fear. The Conde de Nieva,

Viceroy of Peru in 1562, petitioned the King to prohibit the

sanctioning of marriages between Spaniards and Indian or

slave women because "los que de tal ayuntamiento nacen son

de mala inclinaci6n.'y Five years later, in a letter to the

King, Lic. Castro wrote of the "motin de mestizos" and


. hay tantos mestizos en estos reinos, y
nacen cada hora, que es menester que Vuestra
Majestad made imbiar cedula ningun mestizo
ni mulato pueda traer arma alguna ni tener
arcabuz en su poder, so pena de muerte, porque
esta es una gente que andando el tiempo ha de
ser muy peligrosa y muy perniciosa en esta
tierra. . .2

Although there was fear of the mestizos in their own right,

a greater preoccupation was that of the union of mestizos

with Indians in trying to restore the Inca dynasty in Peru.

/ Despite such expressions of alarm, mestizos grew in

strength and numbers and were soon found throughout the

Platine region., Francisco de Aguirre, husband and father,

founder of Santiago del Estero and explorer of the present-

day departments of Rio Seco and Sobremonte, boasted of

having populated the area with "hijos suyos mestizos." One

of his fellow explorers, Andr6s Martinez de Zavala, believed

Aguirre to have fathered more than 50 children in Chile and

Tucuman. In fact, in 1567 the Inquisition in Lima accused

Aguirre of believing "que se hacia mis servicio a Dios en

hacer mestizos que el pecado que en ello se cometia."3

The ease with which Spaniards accepted and cared for

illegitimate children can be seen in the testament of Captain

Juan de Espinosa, encomendero of Tucuman. Married but without

children, in 1612 he willed two separate dowries of 50 cattle

each so that Juana, "que parece mestiza," and who had been

abandoned at his doorstep, and Barbola, another mestiza,

could someday find suitable husbands. In fact, people of

mixed descent not only increased in numbers but created new

lifestyles, which did at times bear the brunt of harsh

comments. In 1608 Alonso de Rivera, Governor of Tucuman,

wrote of the offspring of mixed unions:

. los hijos de los espaioles no s6lo son
grandes holgazanes y vagamundos, sino que
andan en los pueblos indigenas hechos a sus
costumbres y modos de vivir. . .4

/In the specific case of C6rdoba, social and racial

structure followed a pattern widely seen in Spain's other

colonies. Since the founding days whites enjoyed a privileged

position that set them apart from Indians, blacks, slaves,

and all ethnic mixtures. In the sixteenth century Spanish

Kings had ensured this favored status to Spaniards through

grants of land and Indians in reward for service. The

conquistadores of C6rdoba and their descendants were even

granted by Felipe II the title of "Hijosdalgo y personas

nobles de linaje, y solar conocido," with all honors and

rights pertaining to such status.5/ A special form of aristo-

cracy was created that was based primarily, but not exclusively,

on services rendered the crown, rather than on ancestry.

Efrain Bischoff says of this aristocracy

Los conquistadores de la hora inicial formaron
nucleos familiares, que se prolongaron en el
tiempo. Sus descendientes se abroquelaron en
el orgullo de pertenecer al linaje de quienes
pusieron la semilla de la ciudad. . .6

Virtually all Spaniards flaunted their hidalgula, and even

today, four centuries after the founding of the city, many

cordobeses emphasize the noble descent of their families.

/By the eighteenth century cordob6s society was thus charac-

terized by

. una aristocracia libremente acatada,
prevalida de su evidence superioridad cuanto
era celosa de sus prerrogativas; aparatosa
sin riqueza, ceremoniosa y formalista, austera
por dignidad, culta y devota, preocupada hasta
el escrCpulo de la pureza de la sangre y
solemnemente aislada de todo contact extrano,
con un inflexible rigorismo que llegaba hasta
prescribir la tela del traje y la precedencia
del asiento en toda exhibici6n pGblica. . .7/

Respect for tradition and attitudes of racial superiority

became more pronounced as the mixed population increased and

ultimately appeared to threaten the very fabric of social


During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there

were few, if any, indications of overt racial tension in

C6rdoba. Although caution and fear were often expressed,

Spaniards generally accepted people of mixed descent, while

colonial legislation protected them. Even so, the decline

of the Indian population and the introduction of slaves (still

in its early stages) gradually altered the ethnic composition

of the city and province, as did the increasing number of

mestizos. Moreover, as time passed, the irregular origin of

many nonwhites combined with the increasing admixture of

blacks altered the pattern of racial attitudes and race


It is noteworthy that in the sixteenth century mestizo

and illegitimate were often used as synonymous terms. /Inter-

marriage between Spaniards and Indians was less frequent

than illegitimate unions, which flourished even though

v always frowned upon to at least some extent. Thus race

mixture became an integral part of a society which at the

same time valued highly a person's limpieza de sangre,

purity of blood.8/ In speaking about mestizos Clarence Haring

cited their irregular origin, which condemned them to

inferior status. He continued:

The mestizos were often disparaged by whites
as unstable and licentious, inheriting the
bad qualities of both races . In colonial
times much depended on color of skin, features,
and economic status. If an individual was
poor, uneducated, or a "bad actor" he was a
mestizo. If rich, educated, and a good citizen,
he might easily be counted among the whites. .

/Mestizos eventually came to constitute "a separate race

although always added to by recent crossings; pretty thoroughly

amalgamated, marrying within its own class, perpetuating and
stabilizing itself as a new and different race. . ."/

Irregular unions of whites not just with Indians but

with the mestizos themselves constantly made new additions

to the mestizo class, whose growing size as well as dubious

origin caused the leaders of cordobes society to view the

practice of race mixture with increasing distaste and alarm.

/But introduction of the mala raza (black race) and the

steady increase in number of individuals of part-African

descent did probably even more to produce a hardening of

Attitudes, of the offspring. Of a black slave and Spaniard

it was said:

. por tenerse esta mezcla por mas fea y
extraordinaria, y dar a entender con tal
nombre, que le comparan la naturaleza del
mulo. . .

The term mulato was thus derived from mulo. A mulatto became

ostracized socially with little possibility of upward

mobility.10 Race mixture between blacks and Indians or

blacks and mestizos created an even lower special ethnic

type, and their mixed origin, combined with their upbringing

in ignorance and neglect, often made them conspicuous members

of the criminal and vagabond class. By the end of the

colonial period, those of mixed origin with at least some

presumed trace of African ancestry were often lumped together

under the catch-all designation of pardos or "browns."/

/ The person of mixed ancestry was without recourse in

C6rdoba's colonial social structure. He did not belong to

the white society, nor did he qualify to be associated with

that of the Indians or blacks. The person of mixed descent

had two alternatives: he could, if trained, make a living

v in one of the artes y oficios mecanicos, or he could react in

defiance, dedicating himself to the carefree life of wandering

and licentiousness of the "declassed," thus further

contributing to the whites' preoccupation.1 In effect,

many of those who resided in rural areas wandered from one

job to another, often succumbing to illicit activities.12/

Social and legal inequality became more accentuated

as the population became more diversified, something that was

evidenced more in the cities than in the countryside. If,

as mentioned earlier, the century of discovery and settle-

ment can be described as one of relatively equal treatment

of the races, the later increase in heterogeneity and

especially the appearance of black slaves and resultant

mixtures gave rise to the development of more intense social

and racial consciousness among the groups at the top of the

social ladder. There was an intransigence not only to protect,

but to maintain and solidify vital interests for whites in

government, commerce, and land ownership. But it was in the

eighteenth century that this phenomenon became most evident.13

The Bases of Legal Inequality

During the colonial era the term casta was usually

applied to any mixture of races, and at times blacks were

also included in this general classification. However,

mestizos with a high percentage of European blood were

generally considered white, while mulattoes and all those

of mixed descent who in appearance or behavior showed closer

association with their non-European origins were placed on

the margin of society and were condemned to inferiority in

legal status as well. Indians and mestizos were treated as

inferior to whites, even though they were considered superior

to blacks and mulattoes. Most Indians lived either in

aboriginal settlements or in reductions made by Spaniards,

and they governed themselves for the most part through

municipalities in which they preserved their language, dress,

and social customs. Legally held to be minors in a perpetual

state of tutelage, and theoretically protected by colonial

legislation against exploitation by Spaniards, the Indians

were in fact placed in a condition of semi-slavery, subject

to unlimited exactions in labor and produce by Spaniards.

Christian indoctrination of the Indians had been a

primary responsibility of the early conquistadores and

clergy. Laws also prohibited Indians from buying weapons

and liquor, from riding a horse, or from partaking in

festivals without the prior consent of qualified officials.

Indians were restricted in their movements: they had full

freedom of movement only to work. They could not indis-

criminately sell goods, and their legal disputes often

required the intervention of a Protector de Naturales.

Indians were eventually permitted to enter the clergy, but

in general they served only in parishes consisting chiefly

of people of mixed descent. All things considered, colonial

legislation perpetuated the subordinate status of Indians.14

In legal terms mestizos were technically equal--for

most purposes--to creoles and European Spaniards, although

they were socially inferior. They were allowed to dress

as whites and were recognized as gente de raz6n, whereas

Indians, blacks, and mulattoes were not. Mestizos also

gained admittance to minor offices in church and state.

Yet they were still denied admission to major government

positions, and to certain white brotherhoods and guilds, and

they were technically prohibited from entering the legal

profession and from utilizing Indian services. The fact that

mestizos were frequently of illegitimate birth aggravated

their situation for under Spanish law illegitimacy as such

(even if both parents were white) was a blemish which excluded

those who suffered from it, from becoming attorneys, judges,

and notaries.

Discrimination against those holding servile jobs was

also common in colonial society. For example, people employed

in oficios bajos y viles (mostly castas) could not hold

cabildo positions. Reacting against the stereotypes that

ascribed automatic inferiority to anyone who practiced a form

of manual labor, Carlos III declared in the latter half of

the eighteenth century that trades such as tanner, blacksmith,

tailor, and carpenter were honest and honorable positions.

The King said:

. que su ejercicio no envilecia las
families ni impedian obtener empleos municipales
o alcanzar la hidalgula; y que la ilegitimidad
tampoco era obstaculo para profesarlos. . .15

If mestizos fared poorly, blacks, mulattoes, and zambos

languished at the bottom of the scale, whether they were

slaves or free. If the latter, they paid tribute exactly

like the Indians, and they could not legally appear on the

streets after dark, carry arms, or have Indian servants.

They were excluded from public office, although they were

accepted in the militia. They were not usually admitted to

white craft guilds, although they were able to organize their

own trade guilds and religious or quasi-religious brother-

hoods. Their women were forbidden to possess or wear

luxurious clothes, silk, gold, and pearls. Although not

held as slaves, subjects with taint of African descent were

nevertheless victims of deep-seated prejudice based on the

stigma of skin color.16

These marginal groups likewise suffered from injus-

tices in the penal code. Castas were condemned more severely

than whites. For example, in a 1770 decree of Buenos Aires

Governor Juan Jose Vertiz y Salcedo, differing sentences

were accorded depending upon race. If they were Spaniards,

"o personas que gocen de privilegio de tal," they were

treated more leniently and usually received fines, but blacks,

mulattoes, and Indians were generally punished with


Slaves occupied the lowest position of all, although

Spanish law with regard to slavery was comparatively humane.

Legally, slaves were subject to be sold or willed as property,

but they were not totally devoid of rights, nor were their

masters freed of obligations. Most blacks continued in

their servile status, following the condition of their

mother. Yet some were manumitted by the good will of their

master, and slaves were able to purchase their own freedom.

A slave could buy his freedom at the lowest market rate, as

well as that of his wife and children. Through both self-

purchased freedom and grants of manumission the number of

freedmen in C6rdoba steadily increased, and at the close of

the eighteenth century it tended to equal or surpass that

of the slaves in some areas.

There were many scattered protective regulations and

laws regarding food, shelter, clothing, labor, and punish-

ments. A slave could marry the wife of his choice, but this

did not liberate a slave even if his partner was free. If

ill-treated, he could theoretically choose a new master,

provided he could induce one to purchase him, or he could

appeal to the courts and under special circumstances even

be declared free. The owners who reaped the benefits of

slave labor had the right to punish their slaves "moderately."

Legislation prohibited masters from killing or starving

slaves, and provision was made that slaves could complain

and denounce their masters before judges, when they believed

they had been punished unjustly. In practice, to be sure,

abuses were often committed by an owner with impunity, and

the general condition of slaves depended less on the letter of

the law than on the occupation and economic system in which

they were employed. In C6rdoba, however, as we shall see,

the role of slaves in the economy was one that afforded

them relatively benign treatment.8 In the city most slaves

were domestic servants who lived in close association with

whites. Others, such as slave artisans, practiced their

trade with little interference from whites. And slaves who

lived in the countryside enjoyed a condition analogous to

that of the other castas, with the exception of freedom.

Racial and Social Prejudice in the
Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century

In his study El mestizaje en C6rdoba siglo XVIII y

principios del XIX, Emiliano Endrek sees in the early

eighteenth century the appearance of the first real symptoms

of "racial prejudice." This he claims is directly related

to the increase in people of mixed ancestry as demonstrated

in census reports. However, his and other studies tend to

see social, rather than strictly racial attitudes as more

important. The sharp increase in the mixed population, along

with--he believes--a parallel increase in illegitimacy,

vagrancy, and proneness to vice, was perceived as a threat

to the position of the privileged classes and led them to
attempt to isolate these marginal peoples.9

Un ndcleo social mediterr6neo como el de
C6rdoba, fuertemente homog6neo en sus
estratos superiores, segreg6 sistematicamente
al mestizo, y, en general, a todas las
castas. . .20

Associating all manner of corruption, crime, and illicit

behavior with those beneath them on the social ladder, whites

readily applied the stigma formerly attached to blacks and

Indians to others of mixed descent.

Even though Endrek still sees discrimination as based

more on social than on racial differences, the factor of

racial prejudice must still be taken into account. The

distinctively darker skin color of the castas and the

practice of racial mixture per se were viewed by white

cordobeses with disdain, and only legal proof of limpieza

de sangre--as required, e.g., for admittance to the univer-

sity--served to dispel the notion of one's uncertain ancestry.

Even today in C6rdoba, reference to pe6n, gaucho, and negro

elicits a connotation of darker skin color and mixed des-

cent, and the person in question is naturally assumed to be


It was not only people of mixed descent, however,

who increased in numbers in eighteenth-century C6rdoba:

there were also more whites. Favorable economic conditions

attracted an increase in immigration particularly from

Spain, which added to the number of color-conscious peninsu-

lares in the dominant white upper class. Moreover, the

creole population expanded as a result of natural growth,

and among these native-born whites there was now more emphasis

on limpieza de sangre. By this time, merit and service had

ceased to play as important a role as during the period of the

conquest in assuring acceptance in the social hierarchy

which was now based on wealth and on lineage. Thus, in the

eighteenth century proof of limpieza became practically a

prerequisite for admission to the social hierarchy of the


The existence of racial and social prejudice in the

eighteenth century is amply demonstrated in the accounts

left both by Spanish dignitaries and by travelers. A 1729

report by the Bishop of Tucuman, Juan de Sarricolea, to the

King aptly portrays C6rdoba's class structure:

. la gente espaiola y blanca, aunque
por la mayor parte pobre, es trabajadora y
de buena indole, especialmente la noble, que
se seiala much en su modo de proceder
honrado, cortesano, y honest. . .22

The absence of reference to blacks, Indians, or castas

merely reinforces the conclusion that cordob6s society was

hierarchical in structure, with whites predominating in a

deeply-rooted tradition of privilege and favor. Espajol

and noble were synonymous with racial purity and good

citizenry; the other racial elements were apparently unworthy

of notice. Although the population of castas was on the

increase, in the late eighteenth century black slaves still

were much in evidence and were the object of scrutiny and

ridicule. Concolorcorvo in 1773 filed the following


. .en las casas principles es crecidisimo
el nGmero de esclavos . se mantienen
facilmente y alivian a sus amos con otras
granjerlas y con esta sugesti6n no piensan en
la libertad. . .23

Continuing with his account Concolorcorvo stated:

A mi trdnsito se estaban vendiendo en
C6rdoba dos mil negros. He visto las
listas, porque cada uno tiene la suya
aparte, y se procede por families, que
las hay desde dos hasta once, todos negros
puros, y criollos hasta la cuarta generaci6n
porque los regulars vendian todas aquellas
criaturas que salian con mezcla de espafol,
mulato o indio. Entre esta multitud de
negros hubo muchos musicos y de todas
oficios, y se procedi6 a la venta por
families. . .24

As noted, the sale of slave families was not unusual.

The pueblos de indios were also a source of comment

by government officials and travelers. In 1785 the

Governor-Intendant of C6rdoba, Marques Rafael de Sobremonte,

lamented that the Indians'

. poca aplicaci6n al trabajo los hace
inutiles y dificulta la cobranza de tributes,
y ha sido causa de la decadencia en que
estnn. . .25

Particularly because the number of tributaries had been

reduced so considerably over the years, the decline and

dismal state of the pueblos were already evident in the

late eighteenth century.

Racial and social prejudice persisted into the nine-

teenth century, when it was readily picked up and reflected

in the views of visiting foreigners. The lower classes of

cordob6s society were described in uncomplimentary terms in

1806 by Alexander Gillespie during his travels through the


The class of which I speak named peons is a
heterogeneous brood composed of creoles and
Indians, contaminated by the slothfulness of
the former and the savage inclination of the
latter. . .26

This description clearly fitted the castas as seen by their

social superiors. Idleness, vagrancy, and barbarism were

terms which were applied freely and without condition. Peons,

naturally regarded as inferior, were hired as contract

laborers (conchabados): this type of employment, it was

hoped, would relieve them from their penchant toward the

described vices.

Similarly, in 1816 the Swedish traveler Jean Adam

Graaner emphasized the extent of racial mixture:

En C6rdoba, donde ha habido siempre un
gran numero de gallegos y de negros, la
pronunciaci6n es arrastrada y lnguida . .
En C6rdoba, el color de los habitantes
comienza a oscurecerse visiblemente y el
numero de mulatos y mestizos aumenta a 27
media que se penetra en el interior . .

And in 1826, after his arrival in C6rdoba from Buenos Aires,

Edmond Temple, a British mining entrepreneur, gave the

following view concerning the procurement of slaves and their


During my stay at Cordova I made every
exertion to provide myself with a servant,
and had two, or three slaves upon trial;
but I found it hopeless to induce them
to relinquish their lazy and uncleanly
habits, while it was impossible on my
part to submit to them. . .

Uncivilized customs and a lazy disposition characterized

slaves as seen by Temple. Observing several servants, half-

naked, Temple remarked about one, "yonder another nigger,

with eyes and mouth extended, in dire amazement at us white-

faced foreigners." Believing the slaves to be objects of

fun and scorn, Temple closed his account by stating, "but

the pencil of a caricaturist could alone do justice to the


At the end of the colonial period and beginning of

independence, C6rdoba's social structure could be divided

into three classes. At the top of the social scale creoles

(and the smaller number of peninsular Spaniards) formed the

social aristocracy of the colony. They represented its

commercial nerve center and the authority of the King and of

the Church. In this predominant position they were the

major proprietors of land, business, livestock, and slaves.

As heirs of the first conquistadores, they prided them-

selves on possessing a university which could graciously

award their sons doctorates.29

Second in importance and less homogeneous was a

middle stratum composed of whites of meager means and free

pardos. Both groups were active in manual or mechanical

trades: construction, blacksmithing, silversmithing, and

the like. In some instances they became small-time landowners

who even enjoyed some consideration accorded them by the

aristocracy; nevertheless, the university and the cabildo

remained off limits to them.30

Lastly, the bottom rung of the scale was occupied by

a heterogeneous and fluid grouping of unskilled workers and

drifters, people of the lowliest class, where Indians, blacks,

mulattoes, zambos, and others of mixed descent, both free

and slave, were joined in common misery and depravation.

Rogues, beggars, and thieves mingled freely with laundresses

and day-laborers who lived on the outskirts of town or in

huts along the banks of Rio Primero. They enjoyed no

rights, and theirs was a life of duties and submission. Prone

to crime and corruption, they lived a bare existence in

extreme poverty.31

However, there were regional differences within the

province. A stratified society was prevalent more in the

cities than in the countryside. On farms and ranches whites

and castas blended to form the nucleus of the labor force.

A distinctive, rudimentary lifestyle developed which con-

trasted with the predominantly European urban culture.

Isolated from the rigors of societal control which reigned

in the cities, the countryside developed its own form and
spirit of equalitarianism.3


Notes to Chapter III

iBartolom6 Mitre, Historia de Belgrano y de la
independencia Argentina, vol. III (Buenos Aires, 1945), p.
49, and Rosenblat, II, pp. 127-128.

Rosenblat, II, pp. 89-90.

3Ibid., p. 129.

Ibid., p. 130.

5Zorraquin BecG, pp. 176-177.

Bischoff, p. 65.

Cited by Endrek, pp. 4-5.

Rosenblat, II, p. 131.

Clarence H. Haring, The Spanish Empire in America
(New York, 1963), p. 217, and Zorraquin Becl, pp. 173-174.

1Cited by Endrek, pp. 5-6.

1Endrek, pp. 22-23.

12Ibid., p. 7, and Zorraquin Becu, p. 225.

3Zorraquin BecG, p. 179.

14Haring, The Spanish Empire, pp. 201-202, 215-217.
Cited by Zorraquin Bect, pp. 179-181.

H16aring, The Spanish Empire, pp. 215-217, and Zorraquin
BecG, pp. 182-184.

1Zorraquin BecG, pp. 179-181.
Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Documentos para la
historic argentina, vol. VI (Buenos Aires, 1915), pp. 495-503.
9Endrek, pp. 6-7.
Ibid., pp. 7-8.
2Zorraquin BecG, pp. 176-178.
22Junta Provincial, p. 114.
Ibid., p. 170.

2Ibid., pp. 170-171.
Ibid., p. 186.

26Junta Provincial, p. 223.

2Ibid., p. 248.
2Edmond Temple,'Travels in Various Parts of Peru,
Including a Year's Residence in Potosi (1833; rpt. New
York, 1971), pp. 75-76.
2Endrek, p. 27.

3Ibid., pp. 27-28.


32Zorraquin Becu, p. 181.

POPULATION, 1750-1840

Raz6n que el cura del Rio IV (Valentin
Tissera) pasa al Ministerio General de
la Provincia de todos los individuos
nacidos y fallecidos desde enero 1838
hasta el mes de diciembre de 1838, en el
curato de Rio IV . Nacidos--pardos 42,
pardas 54, espafoles 17, espafolas 11 . .
Fallecidos--pardos 8, pardas 11, espafoles 11,
espafolas 15.

--AHPC. Gob. 1839, Tomo 163, f. 424-431.

Before examining the racial composition of C6rdoba's

population it is necessary to place in perspective C6rdoba's

demographic position within the Plata region. Therefore

an examination of the population of the larger region

precedes the discussion, with emphasis on totals for periods

when data is available. Next, C6rdoba's population is

viewed comparatively in relation to that of the Plata region,

as of the dates for which figures are available. Finally,

C6rdoba's population is analyzed on the basis of five

census records, one for the late eighteenth century and the

remaining four from the first half of the nineteenth century.

/It is generally accepted that of Spain's colonial

possessions present-day Argentina was one of the least

populated areas at the time of the conquest. Figures are

sparse for this period, and those given in the table that

follows are at best estimates. The pioneer demographer

Angel Rosenblat maintained that the Plata area (present-day

Argentina) housed 300,000 Indians in 1492. Nearly three-

quarters of a century later, at the time of C6rdoba's

settlement in 1570, he cited a similar number of Indians

v and concluded that there were approximately 4,000 blacks,

mulattoes, and others of mixed descent, and 2,000 whites.

By 1650 in his estimation the Indian population had been

reduced to 250,000; whites totaled 50,000, mestizos had

risen to 20,000, and blacks and mulattoes increased to

10,000 each, all totaling a population of 340,000./

Table 1. Argentina's Population.

Year Classification Total

Blancos Negros Mestizos Mulatos Indios
1500 -- -- 300,000 300,000

1570 2,000 4,000a -- 300,000 306,000

1650 50,000 10,000 20,000 10,000 250,000 340,000

1778 70,000 69,000 6,000 -- 42,000 187,000

1797 -- -- -- 311,000

1809 -- -- -- 406,000

1825 -- -- 200,000 630,000

aIncludes mestizos and mulatos.

Source: This table is compiled on the basis of data taken from
Comadrin Ruiz, Evoluci6n demografica argentina, pp. 80,
115, and Rosenblat, La poblaci6n indlgena y el mestizaje,
I, pp. 36, 59, 88, 102, 205.

Wide discrepancies in estimates for Argentina's

population in the late colonial period and early national

period are common and in fact inevitable, because census

were undertaken sporadically and were generally incomplete.

Present-day demographers can therefore offer only estimates

based on partial and inaccurate data. /Renowned Argentine

demographer Jorge Comadran Ruiz notes that according to

census figures at the start of the viceregal period the

total population of the area dropped to 187,000, mostly he

v/ concludes as a result of the precipitous decline in the

number of Indians. For 1778 there were only 42,000 Indians,

a six-fold decrease; there were 6,000 mestizos, 69,000

blacks (many of whom most certainly were mulattoes or people

of mixed ancestry), and 70,000 whites, for a total decrease

of 45%. But for roughly the same time period James Scobie

cites in the neighborhood of 200,000 Indians and 400,000

mestizos and creoles.l/

Figures based on racial compositions are lacking for

subsequent periods, but Rosenblat estimates 311,000 as the

total population in 1797. Prior to the war of independence

in 1809 the Platine population had increased to 406,000

according to Comadran Ruiz, about 24% over Rosenblat's

estimate for 1797. In 1825 Rosenblat estimates 630,000

as the total figure, a 36% increase, with nearly one-third

classified as Indians.

If the above totals can be trusted, which is not

necessarily the case, it would seem that the Plata region

population remained relatively stable from the early

sixteenth century to the mid-seventeenth century. /The

most notable occurrence during this period was the signifi-

Scant decline in the indigenous population concurrent with

a substantial increase in whites and the gradual appearance

of blacks and people of mixed descent./ Over a century and

a quarter later, at the time of the creation of the

viceroyalty, the population had dropped to nearly one-half

its high-point figure of 1650, primarily because of the

indigenous demographic disaster. Whites increased by nearly

one-third while Indians decreased six-fold. The figures for

1797, 1809, and 1825 depict considerable gains in total

population, but unfortunately racial breakdowns are unavailable.

/The earliest recorded estimate of C6rdoba's population

took place in 1573, when founder Jer6nimo de Cabrera recounted

to the King that there were 600 Indian pueblos with approxi-

mately 30,000 Indians.2 In relation to the Plata region

figure of 306,000 for the same period, C6rdoba thus

Contained 10% of the total indigenous population. Two

centuries later, in 1778, C6rdoba's population totaled

44,000, within a Plata region population that totaled

187,000. C6rdoba at that time could boast nearly 25% of

the entire population of present-day Argentina. Thirty

years later in 1809, on the eve of the May Revolution,

C6rdoba's population is estimated to have reached 60,000 or

15% of the Plata region total of 406,000, reflecting a

growth rate that lagged behind that of the littoral.4/

/The population statistics for C6rdoba for the period

prior to the census taking of 1813 (with the exception of

1778-1779) are based on accounts from ecclesiastics,

travelers, and the cabildo. In general, they represent

estimates whose credibility is at times questionable, and

they must be accepted with caution./ The first mention of

C6rdoba's mid-eighteenth century population is that by

Bishop Pedro Miguel de Argandofa, who in 1750 estimated the

City of C6rdoba's population at 2,000 vecinos, which would

normally have meant Spanish heads of families but appears

suspiciously high. Ten years later, in 1760, the cabildo

of C6rdoba reported to the King that there were 14,000 people

in the "ciudad y anexos de curatos rectorales" composed of

1,000 whites and 13,000 castas or nonwhites (Indians,

blacks, mulattoes, etc.). The outlying countryside numbered

22,000; there were 7,500 whites and 14,500 nonwhites, and

the province as a whole contained 36,000. Based on these

figures, approximately 77% of the population was comprised

of castas and 23% of whites. The cabildo also reported

2,150 tributary Indians distributed in the remaining four


On his travels through the Plata region in 1773

Concolorcorvo gave his impressions on the population and

referred to the mesticization of the city:

En mi concept, habla en el casco de la
Ciudad y estrecho ejido de quinientos a
seiscientos vecinos, pero, en las casas
principles es crecidlsimo el numero de
esclavos, la mayor parte criollos, de
cuantas castas se pueden discurrir, porque
en esta ciudad y en todo el Tucuman no
hay fragilidad de dar libertad a ninguno . .

Although he did not give figures for the numbers of the

castas, he estimated there were between 500 and 600 Spanish

families in the city proper; considering the coefficient of

five members per family unit (in accordance with accustomed

Spanish practice of the period and agreed to by Rosenblat)

there were thus between 2,500 and 3,000 Spaniards in the

City of C6rdoba in 1773.6

/Spanish authorities ordered a census to be undertaken

in 1776, and it was eventually carried out in C6rdoba in

1778 and 1779. At best, the figures represent only estimates,

but they reveal that at the time of the creation of the

Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata nonwhites comprised 60% of

V C6rdoba's population. These figures corroborate the

cabildo's estimates of 1760 which recorded a high percentage

of castas and thus in Endrek's view would explain an inten-

sification of racial prejudice toward the end of the eighteenth

century. Of particular interest is the relatively small

number of Indians found within the confines of the city

compared with the countryside, which housed the numerous

pueblos de indios. Slaves were more plentiful in the city,

/Table 2. C6rdoba Census 1778-1779.

Class and Provincial
Condition City Countryside Total

----------------------Absolute Values---------------------

criollos) 2,697 14,643 17,340

Indios 121 5,361 5,482

Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:
libres 2,335 12,557 14,892

Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:
esclavos 2,117 4,221 6,338

TOTAL 7,270 36,782 44,052




Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:

Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:

















VSource: Endrek, pp. 12-13. The racial terminology is that
used in the source. Totals include men and women.

comprising nearly one-third of the population and thus

bearing out Concolorcorvo's evaluation of 1773. The city

contained only one-fifth the population of the countryside.

In the city Spaniards outnumbered all other classes, though

not constituting a majority, and castas both free and slave

outnumbered Spaniards by three to two. In the countryside

Spaniards accounted for nearly 40% of the population and

Indians (more numerous here than in the city) and castas

again accounted for 60% of the population. When the

indigenous population is taken into account with that of the

castas both free and slave, nonwhites comprised slightly

more than three-fifths of the people of the entire province.

Subsequent census data would demonstrate a strong, continued

mesticization of the city while the countryside experienced

an apparent whitening process./

The Marques de Sobremonte, Governor-Intendant of

C6rdoba in the late eighteenth century and known for his

progressive administration, in 1785 reported to Viceroy

Loreto that C6rdoba had a population of nearly 39,000; he

estimated there to be 8,000 inhabitants of the city, of whom

2,500 were Spaniards and the remaining 5,500 were Indians,

blacks, mulattoes, or people of other mixed ancestry. The

countryside accounted for 31,110 inhabitants. Sobremonte

limited his calculations to "almas de comuni6n," thus leaving

the impression that he did not include children under six

years of age. If they're taken into account Sobremonte's

statistics come close to the census of 1778.7

At the turn of the century in 1801, Bishop Angel

Mariano Moscoso reported to the King that the City of

C6rdoba had 11,500 inhabitants while the countryside contained

40,300, for a provincial total of 51,800. His appraisal

was confirmed by Dean Gregorio Funes who wrote:

Por los registros pdblicos tiene en el
dia [C6rdoba] 12.000 [habitantes] . .
Por los mismos registros consta, que su
jurisdicci6n o partido tiene mas de
40.000 almas . .

The population of C6rdoba had thus increased by almost one-

third as compared to the cabildo's estimate of 36,000.8

/The first official census after the start of the 1810

May Revolution took place in 1813. The tables that follow

represent a summary of its detailed survey of the populace,

indicating that the population increased by 40% since the

1778 census and that there were six times more inhabitants

in the countryside than in the city. Over the same time

period the indigenous population remained relatively

constant, and the castas continued to claim 60% of the

city's population. Thus the racial structure of the city

did not vary considerably from the previous census, and

25% of the city's population remained in a servile condition./

/Statistics for the countryside, however, depict at

first glance a slight decrease in mesticization. In 1778

Indians and castas comprised 60% of this population, but by

1813 this group had dropped by one-third to constitute

40% of the non-city population. Comprising 45% of the rural

population in 1778, castas in 1813 comprised 30% of the

same population. The white population in this part of

the province had apparently increased by more than two and

one-half times in real numbers and now claimed 60% of the

countryside population. The total provincial population

was now made up of 57% whites despite the slight increase

in real numbers of castas from 1778. Yet there is no basis

/ for believing that the countryside had received a substantial

recent influx of whites. Instead, as noted before, in the

absence of strict governmental authority or social controls

the countryside had developed its own unique social setting.

Here the populace was free to intermingle more easily, and

prejudice was perhaps not as deeply rooted as in the city.

The result would be a tendency toward the ready acceptance

of many pardos and mestizos as whites, which in turn would

swell the espafol classification. Even so, the census of

1813 when compared to that of 1778 demonstrates that those

perceived as belonging to the castas continued to account

for a sizable proportion of the population./

/Toward the close of the war of independence in 1822

a provincial census was undertaken in C6rdoba. The census

v differs from previous ones in that castas are designated

pardos--a catch-all term used in this case to include

mestizos, mulatos, chinos, and no especificados--and their

'Table 3. C6rdoba Census 1813.

Class and Provincial
Condition City Countryside Total

-----------------------Absolute Values---------------------


150 europ.)


43 europ.)


Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:
libres 3,691 14,252 17,943

Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:
esclavos 2,605 4,455 7,060

TOTAL 10,587 61,456 72,043




Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:

Negros, mulatos,
mestizos, etc.:



















VSource: Endrek, pp. 16-19, and IEA Censo de poblaci6n de
la ciudad de C6rdoba y su campaha; Ano 1813
(C6rdoba, 1963).

condition is expressed as either free or slave. Thus,

mestizos were lumped with pardos in the general classifi-

cation. Negros and morenos are grouped together and their

condition is also described as free or slave. Whites,

significantly, are indiscriminately classified as nobles./

/The figures indicate that the population increased

at a very modest pace from 1813--less than 1% per year--due

in part undoubtedly to the effects of the ongoing war of

independence. The countryside still maintained a lopsided

preponderance of more than five to one over the city. For

the first time since the 1778 census the number of Indians

recorded for the province as a whole declined, by almost

one-half. Castas and blacks, both free and slave, declined

also but still accounted for about 52% of the city's

population. The city's social structure witnessed a

profound change in that slaves, virtually all pardos, dropped

to account for only 10% of the population, whereas in 1813

they comprised 25% of the city's population./

/In the countryside the Indian population--as counted

in census--declined by three-fifths since 1813, but if

Indians are considered along with the remaining castas, the

total decline is a negligible 1%. Again the dramatic shift

Y/ took place in the number of slaves; they diminished to less

than 4% as compared to 1813 when they accounted for over 7%

of the population. The category of whites (nobles) increased

in real numbers by 12% over 1813, and by 288% over the 1778

Table 4. C6rdoba Census 1822.

Class and Provincial
Condition City Countryside Total
---------------------Absolute Values---------------------
Nobles (blancos) 5,713 42,157 47,870
(incluye (incluye
174 europ.) 135 europ.)
Indios 586 2,345 2,931
Pardos (incluye
mestizos, mulatos,
chinos, y no especi-
ficados) libres 5,187 19,189 24,376
Pardos (incluye
mestizos, mulatos,
chinos, y no especi-
ficados) esclavos 1,225 2,464 3,689
Negros (o morenos):
-TiEres 78 150 228
Negros (o morenos):
es-clavos 111 152 263
TOTAL 12,900 66,457 79,357

Nobles (blancos) 44.29 63.43 60.32
Indios 4.54 3.53 3.69
Pardos (incluye
mestizos, mulatos,
chinos, y no especi-
ficados) libres 40.21 28.87 30.72
Pardos includee
mestizos, mulatos,
chinos, y no especi-
ficados) esclavos 9.50 3.71 4.65
Negros (o morenos):
libres 0. 60 0.23 0.29
Negros. (o morenos):
esclavos 0.86 0.23 0.33
TOTAL 100.00 100.00 100.00

v'Source: IEA, "Censo de 1822." Unpublished ms.,


figure. Thus while both the city and the countryside saw

an increase in the population classified as white at the

expense of the castas, Indians and people of mixed descent

still claimed 40% of the total population, slightly less

than figures for 1813, but one-third less than the 1778

provincial census./

/At a time of civil strife in the early 1830's

Governor-Delegate Benito de Otero ordered a census of the

city to be undertaken "para disponer lo convenient a su

mejor arreglo y prosperidad. . ." A countryside census

was not undertaken for the period, leaving the 1832 census

limited to the City of C6rdoba./

Table 5. City of C6rdoba Census 1832.

Class and Absolute
Condition Values Percentage

Blancos 5,017 42.63

Indios 497 4.22

Pardos: libres 5,495 46.68

Pardos: esclavos 626 5.32

Negros: libres 73 0.62

Negros: esclavos 62 0.53

TOTAL 11,770 100.00

VSource: Azucena Perla M. Della Casa de Tauro, "Censo de la
ciudad de C6rdoba del aio 1832. Estudio demografico."
Unpublished ms., IEA, C6rdoba, 1972, pp. 5, 55-56.

/According to the above figures the city's population

declined by approximately 9% from the 1822 census. One

credible explanation for this decline is that C6rdoba

experienced its worst smallpox epidemic in 1823.10 A second

possible explanation attributes this decrease in part to the

intermittent civil wars, among them C6rdoba's war with the

Liga del Litoral (1829-1831) and the general upheaval follow-

ing the close of the war of independence. Adult males were

especially hard hit since as a group they were susceptible

to diminution resulting from conscription: there were

7,294 females as compared to 4,476 males./ The racial break-

down cites 2,061 blancos; 2,956 blancas; 177 indios; 320

indias; 2,027 pardos libres; 3,468 pardas libres; 141 pardos

esclavos; 485 pardas esclavas; 44 negros libres; 29 negras

libres; and 26 negros esclavos; 36 negras esclavas.1

/On the whole, however, the city's population structure

remained relatively constant. The city's inhabitants were

94% free; the majority of slaves were pardos, and the Indian

population remained stable as did whites and pardos. While

whites accounted for 43% of the population, they were

i outnumbered here by free pardos--a reversal from the 1822

census but reflecting only slight change in actual numbers.

Ten years earlier blacks accounted for less than 1.5% of the

population, and by 1832 they dropped to a meager 1% of

the population, which could reflect reclassification to

pardo. In a larger perspective, the city's racial composition

had changed little since 1778, when whites accounted for

37% of the population and castas and Indians 63%. Over

the fifty-year period the most significant change occurred

in the slave population, which by 1832 had declined to a

small representation within the city./

Before presenting the 1840 province-wide census it

is important to note changes in classification of groupings.

Whites labeled nobles continued to occupy the highest

stratum of cordob6s society. However, the term is now

limited to those who were designated with the title of don

or dofa. This class exercised the social, economic, and

political power of the province through positions attained

either by merit or by hereditary status. The class no

especificados, compilers explain, was comprised principally

of whites of moderate or meager means and poor social

conditions. The classification libres implies pardos

libres (free pardos), those born of Spanish and Indian or

black mixture. The class libertos (free slaves) refers to

the children of slaves born after the 1813 free-birth law

or slaves freed by other means, and their scarce number

(not to mention the curious fact that there appear to be

none in the city) suggests that many may have been counted

as libres. The designation esclavos covers a small percentage

of the population. They were generally employed in the

mines in the western part of the province, as domestic

Table 6. C6rdoba Census_l840.

Class and Provincial
Condition City Countryside Total

---------------------Absolute Values---------------------


(incluye 104 europ.)


No especificados

Pardos: libres




(incluye 6 europ.)

includee 3 nacidos
en Europa y 14
nacidos en Africa)






(incluye 1 nacido en
Europa y 11 nacidos en














No especificados

Pardos: libres




'Source: Dora Estela Celton, "Censo de la ciudad de C6rdoba
de afo 1840." Unpublished tesis de licenciatura,
C6rdoba, 1971, and Dora Estela Celton, "Estudio
demogrdfico, social y econ6mico de la provincia de
C6rdoba en base al censo de 1840--mapa de la 6poca."
Unpublished ms., IEA, C6rdoba, 1978.




















servants or artisans in the central zone, or in agricultural

tasks in the eastern and southern areas of the province.

/Upon first glance the growing disparity between the

number of city dwellers and those in the countryside is

obvious. The countryside was six times more populous than

the city. Furthermore, whereas the total population of the

province increased by 22% over the 1822 census, the city

population increased only 6% in the same period (or by

14% over the 1832 census). The castas comprised 62% of

the city's population, the predominant class being free

pardos. Whites decreased in percentage if only nobles are

considered, but when no especificados (a category separately

V employed for the first time in 1840) are taken into

account, then the white population accounts for 38% of

the city's total. Although there were fewer slaves in 1840

than in 1832, declining by 40% in real numbers, they still

claimed 3% of the city's population. A questionable feature

of the statistics is that no Indians or freed slaves are

cited for this period in the city. Despite the fact that

the pueblos de indios were extinguished in the mid-1830's,

it is hard to believe Indian remnants were totally absent

from the city in 1840, since there had been a pueblo within

the city limits. It is more incomprehensible to envision

no freed slaves. /

/The countryside enjoyed a growth rate of nearly 25%

from the 1822 census. The census results here seem more

plausible, since Indians and freed slaves are represented.

The most startling statistic of this period is the vast

number of no especificados, clearly indicative of the

increasing numbers of unemployed wanderers and vagrants, a

malady prevalent in the countryside from the previous

century. When nobles and no especificados are combined,

they account for more than one-half the rural population,

down 10% from the nobles category of the 1822 census.

Another noteworthy change is that free pardos claimed 43% of

the population in the countryside, an increase of one-third

1 from the census of 1822. Thus a trend here had seemingly
been reversed, because from 1813 to 1822 census figures,

the countryside experienced an apparent whitening. In

1840 it is likely that many of those classed as "Indians"

before are now included with pardos libres, which in

ethnic terms is probably on the whole a better description

for them. Probably, too, the no especificados were less

"white" in the countryside than in the city. Neither is

there reason to doubt that, regardless of census classifi-

cations, the countryside was becoming mesticized slowly,

thus complementing an already mesticized city population

and leading to the development of a more homogeneous society.

By 1840 nearly one-half the province could be said to belong

to the castas./

/Some general observations can be drawn from the

preceding census data. From 1778 to 1840 the slave population

decreased significantly and for obvious reasons. Manu-

mission, self-purchase, natural attrition, and the free-

birth law all contributed to a declining slave class.

But while slaves diminished in number, the free casta

population grew thanks to both the decline of slavery and

the progress of miscegenation. The greatest shift came

/ between the 1813 and 1822 census records when slaves

dropped from 10% to 5% of the population. The 1813 free-

birth law, which meant that by 1822 there were no slaves

under nine years of age, assuredly was the most important

single reason for this change./ Indians, meanwhile,

diminished initially at a slow pace, then more sharply,

reaching an all-time low of 1.5% in 1840.

/Even if one were to take at face value the tendency

toward whitening recorded between 1813 and 1822 for the

v countryside, at no time did the casta population drop below

37% of the total./ It was greatest in the city, which

maintained a more rigid social hierarchy but where oppor-

tunities for employment (other than agricultural) were far

superior. Domestic service (in private homes, schools or

the Church) and artisan trades provided impetus for castas

to reside in the city and hence maintain a majority of the

population. /While it is true that ethnic blacks and Indians

were becoming extinct over the period 1778 to 1840, their

eventual assimilation and mixture contributed to the creation

of a more homogeneous cordob6s society. Pardos, loosely

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