Organizers: Leticia Arroyo Abad (CUNY), José-Antonio Espín-Sánchez (Yale) and Emily Sellars (Yale)
Sponsored by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund at the MacMillan Center at Yale University and the Economic History program at the Economic Growth Center at Yale University
Papers are password-protected - please contact Noel Sardalla for access.
The literature on the consequences of Spanish colonial rule in the Americas takes a general approach to assessing whether colonial institutions were “good” or “bad” for long-term development. Colonial institutions, however, were not a monolith. A wide variety of institutions regulated labor, land, taxation, and the political rights of different segments of the population and were very different across time and space. Moreover, applied differently to Europeans, indigenous, and Afro-descendant people. While colonial institutions were usually designed to benefit the Crown and the local elites at the expense of commoners, these commoners—workers, servants, peasants, artisans, and enslaved people—were often able to subvert, resist, negotiate, or co-opt the institutions for their own purposes, sometimes in unexpected ways.