Transatlantic Obligations: Legal and Cultural Constructions of Family in the Conquest-Era Iberian World


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowships




This is a history of families, as well as ideas about families, in the first century of the Spanish American empire. The particulars of conquest, including travel, disease, and separation, disrupted traditional family structure for Spaniards and indigenous peoples. The specific area of inquiry is family ties between Peru and southern Spain from the 1530s through 1600. Herein consideration of race, gender, and religious identity figures heavily in the analysis of legal codes, cases of inheritance and dowry, and Crown regulations. Bridging three topics (law, family, and race mixture), this is the first systematic study to address how the legal and cultural constructions of family changed as a result of conquest. The conclusion reveals the unique obligations of spouses and children in a transatlantic world.