The Black Middle: Africans, Mayas, and Spaniards in Colonial Yucatan
Winner of the Conference on Latin American History's 2010 Mexican History Book Prize.
The Black Middle is the first full-length study of black African slaves and other people of African descent in the Spanish colonial province of Yucatan. Matthew Restall makes expert use of Spanish and Maya language documents from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, found in a dozen different archives. His goal is to discover what life was like for a people hitherto ignored by historians. He explores such topics as slavery and freedom, militia service and family life, bigamy and witchcraft, and the ways in which Afro-Yucatecans (as he dubs them) interacted with Mayas and Spaniards. Restall concludes that, in numerous ways, Afro-Yucatecans lived and worked in a middle space between but closely connected to Mayas and Spaniards. The book's "black middle" thesis has profound implications for the study of Africans throughout the Americas.
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adults African descent African slaves Afro Afro-Maya Afro-Yucatecans AGAY-Jesús AGI-Contratación AGI-México AGN-Inquisición ANEY Antonio archival Bacalar Bautismos Vol Belize bishop black slaves British Campeche’s casta census Chapter colonial period colonial Yucatan colony’s coloreds corn farmer decades deﬁned Diego doña eighteenth century elite encomenderos encomienda enslaved esclavo estancia example ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁrst ﬁve Francisco Francisco de Aguilar free-colored governor Havana identiﬁed Inquisition Isabel Izamal Jesús José Joseph Juana labor late colonial Libros de Bautismos lived love–magic Manuel manumission Marcín María marriage married Maya villages Maya women Merida Merida and Campeche mestizos Mexico City militiamen miscegenation Montejo moreno mulatto Nahua named native negra negro ofﬁce ofﬁcers ofﬁcials parda pardo militia parish patterns Pedro pesos population priest reﬂected Restall servants seventeenth century signiﬁcant slave owners slave society slavery Spain Spaniards Spanish America speciﬁc Table Toquero Toral town trade UTA roll Valladolid Veracruz women Yucatec Yucatecans Zavala