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Colección: INTERAMER
Número: 59
Año: 1999
Autor: José Luis Romero
Título: Latin America: Its Cities and Ideas


1. Hacienda was the name used in Spain for the expanse of inherited land which constituted the foundation of high nobility. In the New World, haciendas were the usually large extensions of land granted by the Spanish crown to conquistadores and colonizers.

2. Encomienda is the colonial institution that regulated the division of Indian population among the Spanish conquerors. Indians were forced to work for their Spanish masters—the encomenderos—or pay them a tribute. In turn, the encomenderos were—according to the Laws of the Indies—under the obligation to instruct the Indians in Christian doctrine, give them some formal education and attend to their general well-being.

3. Conquistador—the Spanish word for “conqueror”—has come to name the Spaniards who not only conquered but also colonized the New World. Most were from the impoverished ranks of the lesser nobility and brought to America their ambitions of acquiring land and wealth, as well as prestige and title.

4. Encomenderos were the Spaniards legally granted the possession of an encomienda. Cf. this same chapter, note 2 above.

5. The diadochi—literally, “the successors”—are the generals who assumed formal control of Alexander’s empire after his death.

6. The old Diccionario de Autoridades—an exhaustive Thesaurus of medieval and Golden Age Spanish—defines the meaning of the term criollo as follows: “The one born in the Indies, from parents who are born in Spain, or in any other [European] nation, and who are not Indian. Is a term invented by the Spanish conquistadores of the Indies and made current by them in Spain.”

7. The Spanish term mestizo has a narrower meaning than its English equivalent: it refers only to the first generation offspring of a Spaniard and an Indian.

8. Zambo refers to the first generation offspring of Indian and black.