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For instance, if an assistant manager were to date another assistant manager? The mestizos did not want to be confused with mulattos and sought to integrate into the Spanish group. The mestizo rejection of their maternal indigenous ethnicity was largely to avoid the levies imposed on the native populations. Mestizo men hastened to break any kinship tie to the indigenous world, trying to prove that they were mestizo or mulatto to escape these burdens.
This social evolution led the mestizos to become more Hispanic and negate their indigenous origins and maternal culture. Given the two moral traditions—the Hispanic one based on honor and the Indian one based on the sacrosanct nature of the family—the mestizo was the living image of dishonor. The indigenous woman who was raped, kidnapped or forced into concubinage with a colonizer had two options: Imposing Christian marriage During the early colonial period, certain filtered elements of Spanish culture, especially from southern and western Spain, became set into the mix of colonial and indigenous society that developed in the New World.
The tripartite division within colonial society—Spaniard, Native American and African—echoed the division of status in Spain between nobles, commoners and slaves. Only in the New World, however, did all Spaniards consider themselves nobles and see all native peoples as commoners and all people of African descent as slaves.
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Thus, without significant revision, the Spanish categories of status came to represent racial differences. What finally disrupted this system over time was the growth of intermediate racial groups: During the first two centuries of the Spanish colonial regime, these intermediate groups remained relatively stable and small, due mainly to the pattern of interracial sexual contact.
Although sexual contacts were frequent, they far more often took place outside of marriage than within it for reasons of prejudice more than of laws prohibiting mixed marriages. The available studies on sexuality and marriage in colonial Latin America concur that the main concern of lawyers and theologians of the age was to make indigenous society accept Christian marriage.
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Polygamy was hard to uproot among many groups, and great efforts were made to convince the various indigenous communities of the importance of marriage. Since it was a ceremony intimately linked to Catholic doctrine and Spanish culture, those who aspired to an ecclesiastical marriage represented the more deeply Hispanified and catechized groups.
In colonial society, the very poor seldom went through a marriage ceremony.
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The common practice was to live together. If the parents opposed the union, the couple left the village and lived elsewhere without getting married. During virtually the entire colonial period, the Catholic Church was the institution that ensured the various Old World Spanish traditions, both ecclesiastical and practical, related to marriage. The Church determined the minimum age, studied the level of kinship ties between partners and registered and legitimated marriages.
It also altered marital regulations to a certain extent to respond to the specific needs of the recently converted indigenous population. Free will and love in colonial times The Catholic Church had virtual sovereignty over the Spanish Crown on questions of doctrine and beliefs, such as those related to marriage and conflicts around marital choice.
The Catholic Church teachings on marriage turned on two key points: This doctrine of individual consent for marriage was of utmost importance, leading to the establishment of normative support for it that allowed the son or daughter, not the parents, to decide the issue. Will was the word that denoted individual intentions.
The understanding that love was the expression of will and will was a manifestation of divine intention gave substantial normative support to young people in conflict with their parents. The term woman in love referred to a woman who openly engaged in repeated sexual activity. Desire was disapproved of as a motive for marriage, as was any form of impulsive action.
Couples who expressed their feelings had to deliberately avoid any association with the concept of love as lust. But they could freely declare a love based on affiliation and will, since it was culturally appropriate to affirm a licit emotional union. The same Spanish cultural values that supported marriage for love condemned marriage for economic, political or social interests. Social norms that condemned avarice played a prominent role in the widespread disdain towards marrying for money.
The code of honor: Morality, virtue and appearances Honor is perhaps the most distinctive of all Spanish cultural characteristics. From the medieval laws known as Las Partidas through the literature of the Siglo de Oro , the repeated appearance of the topic of honor suggests that it was the supreme social virtue.
Two aspects of it were critical in the colonial period: The concept of honor, which referred to both self-esteem and social esteem, was set in a complex social code that established the criteria for respect in Spanish society.
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These two meanings can be summed up in the dual concepts of honor as precedence status, rank, high birth and as virtue moral integrity. For men, maintaining their honor implied a willingness to fight, to use force to defend their reputation against any who impugned it. Cowardice led to a precipitous loss of honor. The concept of honor consequently had important implications for masculine behavior on the battlefield, in commerce and in other areas of life. For women, the defense of honor as virtue was linked to sexual conduct.
Before marriage, honorable conduct meant chastity. Afterward, it meant fidelity. In this Spanish code, the lack of public revelation was more important than private morality. This meant that maintaining honor meant, more than anything else, maintaining appearances once virtue was lost. This explains one of the great ironies of the age: Iberian Spanish society, with its strict prohibitions against premarital sexual activity, had the highest levels of pregnancy outside of marriage in western Europe, from two to four times higher than in other European countries of the same period.
Spanish women in the New World continued the pattern of their cousins in the Old World, with extraordinarily high numbers of births outside of marriage, significantly higher than their European counterparts. A man could be dishonored by public revelation of the sexual activities of his wife or sister, and it was imperative for both men and women that these indiscretions not become public. Spanish society refused to subject the person who had lost honor to public shame and humiliation, since that was worse than death.
Consequently, the family, royal officials and the Church worked together to prevent the dishonor of Spanish women. This sense of honor facilitated the marriage of Spanish or Creoles that is, those of pure Spanish descent born in the New World with individuals from intermediate racial groups, which contributed to intermixing across status and wealth barriers.
10 things to know about marrying a Nica – Living In León, Nicaragua
At that level, honor was available to all, regardless of income or status, and was the characteristic that distinguished them from the racially mixed population. Thus, having honor was the ideological key that separated the Spanish from the indigenous and the slaves in the New World. The special protection granted Spanish women and their families preserved the borders between them and non-Spanish.
A royal decree reduces Church influence Since the time of the Conquest, Spanish men were allowed to have sexual relations with non-white women outside of marriage. Women of mixed, intermediate groups felt the disgrace of public illegitimacy more commonly than did Spanish women.