By Jay Kinsbruner
Winner, a decision journal striking educational e-book, 2007
The colonial Spanish-American urban, like its counterpart around the Atlantic, used to be an outgrowth of industrial firm. a middle of entrepreneurial task and wealth, it drew humans looking a greater existence, with extra academic, occupational, advertisement, bureaucratic, and marital chances than have been to be had within the rural areas of the Spanish colonies. certainly, the Spanish-American urban represented wish and chance, even if now not for everyone.
In this authoritative paintings, Jay Kinsbruner attracts on many assets to provide the 1st historical past and interpretation in English of the colonial Spanish-American urban. After an summary of pre-Columbian towns, he devotes chapters to many vital features of the colonial urban, together with its governance and administrative constitution, actual shape, financial system, and social and kinfolk lifestyles. Kinsbruner's overarching thesis is that the Spanish-American urban advanced as a situation of trans-Atlantic capitalism. Underpinning this thesis is his view that there have been no plebeians within the colonial urban. He demands a category interpretation, with an emphasis at the lower-middle classification. His learn additionally explores the energetic roles of ladies, lots of them heads of families, within the colonial Spanish-American city.
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Additional info for The Colonial Spanish-American City: Urban Life in the Age of Atlantic Capitalism
This would end abruptly at the hands of the Spaniards. We can only guess how many houses, including palaces, Tenochtitlán held when the Spaniards arrived in 1519. Later chroniclers sometimes had it at 60,000 houses for a population of some 300,000. Both of these ﬁgures are exaggerated by about half. Conservatively, it is probable that the city held somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 houses. Virtually all of those in the central zones of the city would be destroyed by Cortés and his soldiers. Cortés’ assault on Tenochtitlán in 1521 met with ﬁerce resistance.
Population growth of several colonial cities Now that we have the general urban morphology laid out, we can proﬁtably add population growth to the picture. There are population data (which are not as reliable during the early colonial period as they would be during the later eighteenth century) for 191 urban centers in Spanish America for 1580 and 165 urban centers for 1630. 37. Although the secular population trend was generally upward, many habitats witnessed population losses, perhaps most egregiously the great Andean mining city of Cerro de Potosí, which by mid-sixteenth century enjoyed commanding aﬄuence and a population of about 140,000 people.
Lesser cities were entitled to two alcaldes and eight regidores as well as the standard array of lesser oﬃcials. Towns and villages were permitted only one alcalde and up to four regidores. Following are the main urban oﬃcials that formed the town councils: Alcalde ordinario (magistrate with executive/administrative responsibilities) Regidor (alderman) Alférez real (royal standard bearer) Alguacil mayor (chief constable) Fiel ejecutor (inspector of weights and measures) Procurador general or síndico (procurator or syndic—the council’s chief legal counsel) In addition, there were lesser oﬃcials, such as the escribano mayor (the council’s chief notary), depositario general (keeper of accounts), alcalde provincial (alcalde of the provincial region), escribano (notary/scribe), portero (courier), and, in the larger cities, alcaldes de barrios.
The Colonial Spanish-American City: Urban Life in the Age of Atlantic Capitalism by Jay Kinsbruner