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Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians

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During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, countless slaves from culturally diverse communities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia journeyed to Mexico on the ships of the Manila Galleon. Upon arrival in Mexico, they were grouped together and categorized as chinos. Their experience illustrates the interconnectedness of Spain's colonies and the reach of During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, countless slaves from culturally diverse communities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia journeyed to Mexico on the ships of the Manila Galleon. Upon arrival in Mexico, they were grouped together and categorized as chinos. Their experience illustrates the interconnectedness of Spain's colonies and the reach of the crown, which brought people together from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe in a historically unprecedented way. In time, chinos in Mexico came to be treated under the law as Indians, becoming indigenous vassals of the Spanish crown after 1672. The implications of this legal change were enormous: as Indians, rather than chinos, they could no longer be held as slaves. Tatiana Seijas tracks chinos' complex journey from the slave market in Manila to the streets of Mexico City, and from bondage to liberty. In doing so, she challenges commonly held assumptions about the uniformity of the slave experience in the Americas.


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During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, countless slaves from culturally diverse communities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia journeyed to Mexico on the ships of the Manila Galleon. Upon arrival in Mexico, they were grouped together and categorized as chinos. Their experience illustrates the interconnectedness of Spain's colonies and the reach of During the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, countless slaves from culturally diverse communities in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia journeyed to Mexico on the ships of the Manila Galleon. Upon arrival in Mexico, they were grouped together and categorized as chinos. Their experience illustrates the interconnectedness of Spain's colonies and the reach of the crown, which brought people together from Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe in a historically unprecedented way. In time, chinos in Mexico came to be treated under the law as Indians, becoming indigenous vassals of the Spanish crown after 1672. The implications of this legal change were enormous: as Indians, rather than chinos, they could no longer be held as slaves. Tatiana Seijas tracks chinos' complex journey from the slave market in Manila to the streets of Mexico City, and from bondage to liberty. In doing so, she challenges commonly held assumptions about the uniformity of the slave experience in the Americas.

18 review for Asian Slaves in Colonial Mexico: From Chinos to Indians

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tara Wilson

    Tatiana Seijas reveals the countless slaves in Mexico controlled under the Spanish crown during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; these countless slaves whose lives have been perpetually oppressed because other scholars and people failed to uncover their stories. Seijas uses various documentation and evidence, including slave and marriage contracts, to narrate the lost history of chino slaves through the slave market to become liberated and classified as Indians, who were indigenous Tatiana Seijas reveals the countless slaves in Mexico controlled under the Spanish crown during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; these countless slaves whose lives have been perpetually oppressed because other scholars and people failed to uncover their stories. Seijas uses various documentation and evidence, including slave and marriage contracts, to narrate the lost history of chino slaves through the slave market to become liberated and classified as Indians, who were indigenous vassals of Spain. To understand take responsibility of our past history and grow, it is important to read Seijas to learn about the similarities and differences of the Chino slaves to enslaved Africans such as moral and legal status of acts of "temporary bondage" and various types of labor in urban settings. Ultimately, it is crucial to read scholars' research such as Seijas to learn about an entire world of history that has been neglect to be told to a majority of people through their schooling and life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    NicoleKat

    Tatiana Seijas' writing is a much-needed oasis in a desert of historical knowledge on slavery. By discussing the changing ethnicities of former "chino" slaves to free "Indians," Sijas is able to prove that places like Mexico contributed to precedences on strict, racially divided slavery for the more frequently studied colonial slavery. Writing with respect to the enslaved people she discusses, and a flair for writing a balanced history between individual stories and a general overview, Seijas fo Tatiana Seijas' writing is a much-needed oasis in a desert of historical knowledge on slavery. By discussing the changing ethnicities of former "chino" slaves to free "Indians," Sijas is able to prove that places like Mexico contributed to precedences on strict, racially divided slavery for the more frequently studied colonial slavery. Writing with respect to the enslaved people she discusses, and a flair for writing a balanced history between individual stories and a general overview, Seijas forces the reader to contemplate what ethnicity truly means in the present and past societies. I am grateful to see a historian exploring the concepts of slavery from a truly unique perspective.

  3. 5 out of 5

    daniel

  4. 4 out of 5

    Vergel

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily Humbert

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Machado

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cory Davis

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ari

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jobber

  10. 5 out of 5

    A.y.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rohan Zhou-lee

  12. 5 out of 5

    Senojecurbe

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luke Gong

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robean

  15. 4 out of 5

    Judaye

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tabitha

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katya

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