Because of these intimate ties, Indian concubines probably received better treatment than did Indian men. Divorce was a two step-process with the aggrieved spouse irst bringing charges of gross mistreatment, threat of murder, wanton adultery, abandonment, 3 François Joseph de Pons, Travels in Part of South America, during the Years 1801, 1802, 1803 and 1804 Containing a Description of the Captain-Generalship of Carraccas London: Richard Phillips, 1806 , 37—38. In 1582, at least one Spanish woman was reportedly captured during an Indian attack near the newly resettled town of Buenos Aires. At the same time, religious moralists extolled female celibacy and gloriied religious women who demonstrated self-loathing of the human body by practicing sadistic forms of penitence. Jaffary and Mangan's excellent Introduction and annotations provide context and guide readers to think critically about crucial issues related to the intersections of gender with conquest, religion, work, family, and the law. Women were viewed as both weak and dangerous because of their biology.
By the end of the sixteenth century, demographic crisis and patterns of migration left many rural communities with a majority of women. Like many aspects of colonial society, convents limited women's options in some areas while expanding them in others. Similar controls extended to abortion, and, again, women could be given the death penalty for having aborted. These native sodalities also provided a ceremonial life, as well as practical help in the form of burials, inancial aid, and dowries for impoverished offspring. When they go to church or abroad, they put upon their heads a veil of linen, which hangs almost to the ground, which is the most expensive article of clothing they wore. Furthermore, a man, particularly a father, was supreme within his family.
Unlike Iberian women, most indigenous and mestiza women were forced to work in order to survive and pay their tribute tax. Although the presence of Christianity in West-Central Africa is usually associated with European conquest and colonialism, it is instructive to consider that the Kingdom of Kongo voluntarily adopted Christianity—specifically Catholicism—in the early 1500s as its official religion. In order to mold colonial society in accordance to the ideals of the family society that existed in Spain waves of female emigration laws were passed in the 1530s and 1540s. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, women relecting various stages of this process could be found in any large town. Although most women were attended at birth by midwives, the profession of midwifery was excoriated for its superstition rather than its science.
Series Title: Responsibility: Susan Migden Socolow. The result was that Indian women were allowed to own property and enjoy considerable leeway in passing it to their chosen heirs. Women outside the nobility had no greater choice of marital partner than those within the ruling elite did. As the European conquest was extended to the more remote regions of America, the same patterns continued into the seventeenth century. Socolow contends that among these additional variables, demography was the most important. Maya women could bequeath and inherit this property, but it was gender-speciic and usually of less value than male holdings. After arriving in Peru, she remarried Lorenzo Mexía, who died shortly thereafter at the hands of a Pizarro follower.
The rapidity with which a 4 Documentos históricos da Bibliotheca National do Rio de Janeiro, 97 1952 , 19, cited in Susan A. The gradual change from multigenerational family to nuclear family households also affected the role of women. Many were reported to have died in these plantations because of the exhausting labor. The inal decree could call for the separation of the couple for a limited period of time or in perpetuity. The archaeological evidence for the role of women in South American cultures is even more sketchy than that for Mesoamerica because of the lack of indigenous literary sources. In part the problem was demographic, for by the seventeenth century women were overwhelmingly concentrated in the cities, where they tended to outnumber men; in general, for every one hundred women there were anywhere from eighty-two to eighty-eight men.
Often the slaves had to have their own gardens and capture animals for food. The kidnapping of Indian women along the frontier also continued throughout the colonial period. Mexican Indian women, for example, continued to be weavers, producing cloth for their own use, the use of their family, and tribute payment. Their leshly nature meant that women tended to have uncontrollable carnal appetites and could little resist temptation. Breaking up multigenerational households also undermined cooperative labor arrangements based on the extended family. Socolow argues that these women did not always follow the social ideal of women imposed by the patriarchal society, and of course there were different ideals for each race and class of women. In general, the Aztecs expected unmarried postpubescent girls to be virgins; they were closely chaperoned to make sure that their condition did not change before marriage.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. As the balance between European women, born either on the Iberian Peninsula or in the New World, and Indian women gradually changed, the options available to the latter group continued to diminish. Hard physical labor like doing the laundry, carrying water and routine chores such as emptying chamber pots and making beds was expected day to day. According to Aztec belief, a woman became pregnant when, as a result of various sexual encounters, she had accumulated suficient sperm within her womb to form a child. The more warlike African societies usually had male initiation societies that prepared young men for warrior status and adulthood.
As early as two months into his irst voyage to America 1492 , Columbus, who had repeatedly remarked upon the beauty and ine igures of the native women, mentioned that Indian women were now being systematically hidden from the Spaniards. She showed her gratitude to her new masters by becoming their principal interpreter and go-between as they made their way to the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán. Other noblewomen were chosen to devote their lives to the religious cult as virgin wives of the sun. Beginning with the cultures that would produce the Latin American world, the book traces the effects of conquest, colonization, and settlement on colonial women. Formal church-blessed marriages were expensive and often dificult to arrange in rural areas sporadically served by the clergy. We have been rearranging blog duties amongst our staff, so apologies for the lag in posting! The loss of the upper classes contributed directly to the marginalization of native populations as a whole.
Instead of the easy divorce and remarriage of Roman law, Roman Catholic marriage allowed only for annulment or separation. Concubinage was a regular and recognized relationship, formalized by a notarized contract that laid out mutual obligations and responsibilities. She then spent the bulk of her morning preparing food for the day and bread for the dinner. Thus marriage linked subordination with love, for marriage was a contract in which women were promised material support in return for their near-total obedience. The lower classes remained largely illiterate. Medieval Spanish laws did not consider barragania to be a crime, but the Catholic Church did believe it to be a sin.