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Slave Law and Claims-Making in Cuba: The Tannenbaum Debate Revisited

  • Alejandro de la Fuente


Scholars of slavery in Latin America are giving renewed attention to the study of the law. Although this literature is not as developed and sophisticated as in the United States, where slavery has been a central concern of legal historians for quite some time, a specialized subfield seems to be in the making. This is a welcome development. After all, every important aspect of slaves' lives in the Iberian colonies, from birth and nourishment to marriage, leisure, punishment, and rest, was regulated in theory by a vast, indeed massive, array of positive laws. Some of these regulations had been part of the traditional statutes of Castile for centuries, others were passed by the Crown or by local organs of administration and power.



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1. For a few significant examples, see Ortiz, Femando, Los negros esclavos (1916; Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1975); Soler, Luis M. Díaz, Historia de la esclavitud negra en Puerto Rico (1493–1890) (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1953); Blanco, Carlos Larrazábal, Los negros y la esclavitud en Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo: J. D. Postigo, 1967); Valdés, Idelfonso Pereda, El negro en el Uruguay, pasado y presente (Montevideo, 1965); Saignes, Miguel Acosta, Vida de los esclavos negros en Venezuela (Caracas: Hespérides, 1967); Barceló, Javier Malagón, Código Negro Carolino (1784) (Santo Domingo: Editora Taller, 1974).

2. Tannenbaum, Frank, Slave and Citizen: The Negro in the Americas (1946; Boston: Beacon Press, 1992), 69.

3. Cottrol, Robert J., “The Long Lingering Shadow: Law, Liberalism, and Cultures of Racial Hierarchy and Identity in the Americas,” Tulane Law Review 76.1 (2001): 40. The continuing relevance of Tannenbaume book is confirmed by the frequency with which his work is explicitly engaged by recent scholarship. For some additional examples, see Cooper, Frederick, Holt, Thomas C., and Scott, Rebecca J., Beyond Slavery: Explorations of Race, Labor, and Citizenship in Postemancipation Societies (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 132; Landers, Jane, Black Society in Spanish Florida (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999), 12; Ingersoll, Thomas N., Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans: The First Slave Society in the Deep South, 1718–1819 (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1999), xviii–xix, 120–22; Din, Gilbert C., Spaniards, Planters, and Slaves: The Spanish Regulation of Slavery in Louisiana, 1763–1803 (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1999), xiii–xiv.

4. Cottrol, “The Long Lingering Shadow,” 41–42.

5. Mintz, Sidney, Caribbean Transformations (Chicago: Aldine Publishing, 1974), 70. Mintz had made this argument earlier, in a 1961 review of Stanley Elkins's Slavery, which was reproduced as “Slavery and Emergent Capitalisms” in Slavery in the New World: A Reader in Comparative Perspective, ed. Foner, Laura and Genovese, Eugene (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 2737. For an opposite point of view, see Watson, Alan, Slave Law in the Americas (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1989), 6366. Watson quotes a case (p. 11) in which a Virginia court stated in 1826 that villeinage could not be considered “the prototype of slavery, as it has always existed here.”

6. Sio, Arnold A., “Interpretations of Slavery: The Slave Status in the Americas,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 7.3 (April 1965): 296; Sweet, James, “The Iberian Roots of American Racist Thought,” The William and Mary Quarterly 44.1 (January 1997): 144.

7. Mintz, Caribbean Transformations, 69; Klein, Herbert, Slavery in the Americas: A Comparative Study of Virginia and Cuba (1967; Chicago: Elephant Paperbacks, 1989). The importance of institutional differences, already present in Tannenbaume work, was discussed by Elkins as well, who noted that in Latin America several competing powers—Crown, church, masters—intervened in regulating the lives of slaves. See Elkins, Stanley M., Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 5280.

8. Harris, Marvin, Patterns of Race in the Americas (New York: Walker and Co., 1964), 76. Also critical of Tannenbaum's reliance on legal precepts was Davis, David Brion, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966), 223–43; and Hall, Gwendolyn Midlo, Social Control in Slave Plantation Societies: A Comparison of St. Domingue and Cuba (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971). For a more recent example, see Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans, xviii, who asserts that “laws or religion had little or no influence on either the planter class or the condition of black slaves or free blacks.”

9. Harris, Patterns of Race, 84—92. Harris's demographic explanation was later echoed in numerous studies. For a notable example, see Degler, Carl N., Neither White Nor Black: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1971), 4147.

10. For a thoughtful critique of Harris, see Genovese, , “Materialism and Idealism in the History of Negro Slavery in the Americas,” in Slavery in the New World: A Reader in Comparative Perspective, ed. Foner, Laura and Genovese, Eugene (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969), 238–55.

11. For examples of this scholarship see Mintz, Caribbean Transformations; Fraginals, Manuel Moreno, El ingenio: complejo económico-social cubano del azúcar (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1978), first published in 1964; Hall, Social Control; Knight, Franklin, Slave Society in Cuba During the Nineteenth Century (Madison: Wisconsin University Press, 1970); Dean, Warren, Rio Claro: A Brazilian Plantation System, 1820–1920 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976). See also Eugene D. Genovese, “The Treatment of Slaves in Different Countries: Problems in the Application of the Comparative Method,” in Slavery in the New World, 202–10.

12. The best argument along these lines has been made by Degler, Neither Black Nor White, 67–75. Concerning legal definitions of slaves, see also Davis, The Problem of Slavery, 244–55.

13. Degler, Neither Black Nor White, 92; Cell, John W., The Highest Stage of White Supremacy: The Origins of Segregation in South Africa and the American South (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), xii; Costa, Emilia Viotti da, “Commentary,” Luso-Brazilian Review (Winter 1992): 147. The value of Tannenbaume model was further undermined by scholars working on the persistence of racism and racial inequality in Latin America after the 1950s. This scholarship was particularly solid and sophisticated in the case of Brazil, once hailed as the paradigm of racial democracy in the Americas. The research of these scholars seemed to suggest that modern race relations in the United States and Latin America were not that different after all. For a discussion of this literature, see Skidmore, Thomas, “Race and Class in Brazil: Historical Perspectives,” in Race, Class and Power in Brazil, ed. Fontaine, Pierre-Michel (Los Angeles: CAAS, 1985), 1124.

14. Andrews, George Reid, Blacks and Whites in Sâo Paulo, Brazil, 1888–1988 (Madison: Wisconsin University Press, 1991), 4.

15. Bowser, Frederick, “Colonial Spanish America,” in Neither Slave Nor Free: The Freedmen of African Descent in the Slave Societies of the New World, ed. Cohen, David W. and Greene, Jack P. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974), 37.

16. Degler, Neither Black Nor White, 39–47; Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans, 221–34; Eder, Donald G., “Time under the Southern Cross: The Tannenbaum Thesis Reappraised,” Agricultural History 50.4 (October 1976): 600–14; Rankin, David C., “The Tannenbaum Thesis Reconsidered: Slavery and Race Relations in Antebellum Louisiana,” Southern Studies 18.1 (Spring 1979): 531.

17. Tannenbaum, Slave and Citizen, 69; Schwartz, Stuart, Sugar Plantations in the Formation of Brazilian Society: Bahia, 1550–1835 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 253.

18. Bowser, Frederick P., “The Free Person of Color in Mexico City and Lima: Manumission and Opportunity, 1580–1650,” in Race and Slavery in the Western Hemisphere: Quantitative Studies, ed. Engerman, Stanley L. and Genovese, Eugene D. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), 331–68; Johnson, Lyman L., “Manumission in Colonial Buenos Aires, 1776–1810,” Hispanic American Historical Review 59.2 (1979): 258–79; Schwartz, , “The Manumission of Slaves in Colonial Brazil: Bahia, 1684–1745,” Hispanic American Historical Review 54.4 (1974): 603–35.

19. Schwartz, Sugar Plantations, 257.

20. Rankin, “The Tannenbaum Thesis,” 23. Other students of Louisiana acknowledge that under Spanish rule manumissions increased, but emphasize market considerations or other “material” factors in their explanation. See Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans, 211–39; Fiehrer, Thomas M., “The African Presence in Colonial Louisiana: An Essay on the Continuity of Caribbean Culture,” in Louisiana's Black Heritage, ed. Macdonald, Robert R., Kemp, John R., Haas, Edward F. (New Orleans: Louisiana State Museum, 1979), 331.

21. Rankin, “The Tannenbaum Thesis,” 6. For a similar claim, see Jordan, Winthrop D., White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550–1812 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1977), 588.

22. The most notorious case of resistance to the application of Spanish slave law in the colonies concerns the 1789 real cédula that enacted the Código Negro Carolino. See Salmoral, Manuel Lucena, Los códigos negros de la América española (Madrid: Ediciones UNESCO, 1996), 108–23.

23. Meiklejohn, Norman A., “The Implementation of Slave Legislation in Eighteenth-Century New Granada,” in Slavery and Race Relations in Latin America, ed. Toplin, Robert Brent (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1974), 176203.

24. Moret, Benjamin Nistal, Esclavos prófugos y cimarrones: Puerto Rico 1770–1870 (Río Piedras: Editorial de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, 1984); Salmoral, Manuel Lucena, Sangre sobre piel negra: la esclavitud quiteña en el contexto del reformismo borbónico (Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala, 1994); Aguirre, Carlos, Agentes de su propia libertad: los esclavos de Lima y la desintegración de la esclavitud, 1821–1854 (Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 1993); Hünefeldt, Christine, Paying the Price of Freedom: Family and Labor among Lima's Slaves, 1800–1854 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Fiehrer, Thomas, “Slaves and Freedmen in Colonial Central America: Rediscovering a Forgotten Black Past,” Journal of Negro History 64.1 (1979): 3957; Díaz, Maria E., The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre: Negotiating Freedom in Colonial Cuba, 1670–1780 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000); García, Gloria, La esclavitud desde la esclavitud: la visión de los siervos (Mexico City: Centro de Investigación ‘Ing. Jorge Tamayo,’ 1996); Castañeda, Digna, “The Female Slave in Cuba during the First Half of the Nineteenth Century,” in Engendering History: Caribbean Women in Historical Perspective, ed. Shepherd, Verene, Brereton, Bridget, and Bailey, Barbara (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), 141–54.

25. Stavig, Ward, The World of Tupac Amaru: Conflict, Community, and Identity in Colonial Peru (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999), 85. On the complex interaction between the colonial state and the indigenous communities, see also Stern, Steve J., Peru's Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982).

26. Blackburn, Robin, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492–1800 (London: Verso, 1997), 18.

27. Landers, Black Society in Spanish Florida, 2, 139.

28. Baade, Hans W., “The Law of Slavery in Spanish Louisiana, 1769–1803,” in Louisiana's Legal Heritage, ed. Haas, Edward F. (Pensacola: The Perdido Bay Press, 1983), 4386; Schäfer, Judith K., Slavery, the Civil Law, and the Supreme Court of Louisiana (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994).

29. Schäfer, Slavery, 6.

30. Mintz, “Slavery and Emergent Capitalisms,” 31. Mintz's statement has been frequently quoted. For examples, see Sio, “Interpretations of Slavery,” 307, and Eder, “Time under the Southern Cross,” 612. By far the best scholarship concerning Cuban slavery along Tannenbaume arguments is Klein's Slavery in the Americas.

31. For a discussion of this problem in Brazil, see Barickman, B. J., A Bahian Counterpoint: Sugar, Tobacco, Cassava, and Slavery in the Recôncavo, 1780–1860 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).

32. This view is not uncommon in Cuban history manuals. For examples, see Riverend, Julio Le, Selección de lecturas de historia de Cuba (Havana: Editora Política, 1984); Aguirre, Sergio, Historia de Cuba, 3 vols. (Havana: Editorial Nacional, 1966); Guanche, Jesús, Procesos etnoculturales de Cuba (Havana: Editorial Letras Cubanas, 1983); Velázquez, Calixto Masó, Historia de Cuba (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1976). Other historians speak of sugar plantations in early colonial Cuba. For examples, see Torres-Cuevas, Eduardo and Reyes, Eusebio, Esclavitud y sociedad: notas y documentos para la historia de la esclavitud negra en Cuba (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1986); Meléndez, Francisco Castillo, “Un año en la vida de un ingenio cubano (1655–1656),” Anuario de Estudios Americanos 39 (1982): 449–63.

33. Although there is not a comprehensive study of preplantation slavery in Cuba, the topic has been covered in several important works of scholarship. Particularly useful are, in addition to Klein's Slavery in the Americas, Marrero, Leví, Cuba: economía y sociedad (Madrid: Editorial Playor, 19751992), especially 2:346–70, 5:25–42; Macias, Isabelo, Cuba en la primera mitad del siglo XVII (Sevilla: Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, 1978); Castillo Meléndez, “Un año en la vida de un ingenio cubano,” 449–63. Although dated, Aimes, Hubert, A History of Slavery in Cuba, 1511 to 1868 (New York: Putman's Sons, 1907) and Ortiz, Los negros esclavos are still valuable contributions. A slave community that has received significant attention is that of El Cobre, studied by Franco, José Luciano, Las minas de Santiago del Prado y la rebelión de los cobreros, 1530–1800 (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1975); Marrero, Leví, Los esclavos y la virgen del Cobre (Miami: Ediciones Universal, 1980); and Díaz, The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre.

34. For the development of Havana's service and maritime economy, see Fuente, Alejandro de la, Pino, César García del, and Delgado, Bernardo Iglesias, “Havana and the Fleet System: Trade and Growth in the Periphery of the Spanish Empire, 1550–1610,” Colonial Latin American Review 5.1 (1996): 95115; Marrero, Cuba, 2:138–64.

35. Archivo del Museo de la Ciudad de la Habana (hereafter AMCH), Actas Capitulares del Ayuntamiento de la Habana, originales, 1672–1683, fol. 45. Local authorities constantly complained about the large number of female slaves who devoted themselves to service activities and tried repeatedly to curb their autonomy. Local regulations devoted specifically to black women were approved in 1553, 1557, 1599, 1601, 1620, 1654, and 1698. Actas Capitulares del Ayuntamiento de la Habana, 1550–1578 (Havana: Municipio de la Habana, 1937–1946), 1.2: 75, 150; AMCH, Actas Capitulares del Ayuntamiento de la Habana, trasuntadas (hereafter ACAHT), 1599–1604, fol. 474v, 521; 1616–1624, fol. 126; 1648–1654, fol. 874; 1691–1702, fol. 207.Women were also referred to in regulations dealing with slaves' urban activities in general. See Table 1 below.

36. AMCH, ACAHT, 1648–1654, fol. 618; Arrate, José Martín Félix de, Llave del Nuevo Mundo (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1949), 95. On the growing sector of artisans in Havana, see Romero, Leandro S., “Fichero ilustrado,” Revolución y Cultura (August 1975): 7882; Romero, , “Orfebrería habanera en las islas canarias,” Universidad de la Habana 222 (January-September 1984): 390407.

37. See the Lib. 2, Tit. 1, Const. 4 of Diocesan Synod of 1680 in Palacios, Juan García de, Sínodo Diocesano (Havana: Oficina de Arazoza y Soler, 1814), 46.

38. AMCH, ACAHT, 1599–1604, fol. 474v.; 1648–1654, fol. 874; 1691–1702, fol. 207.

39. The 1578–1610 estimate is taken from a database of 271 contracts and inventories of rural properties based on data from Havana's notarial records. For the early eighteenth century, see García, Fe Iglesias, “La estructura agraria de La Habana, 1700–1775,” in Las raíces históricas del pueblo cubano, ed. Orovio, Consuelo Naranjo and Puig-Samper, Miguel A. (Madrid: Arbor, 1991), 91112.

40. Archivo Nacional de Cuba (hereafter ANC). Protocolos Notariales de la Habana (hereafter PNH), Escribanía Fornaris, 1693, fol. 192; 1694, fol. 169, 508v.

41. Fuente, Alejandro de la, “Los ingenios de azúcar en la Habana del siglo XVII: estructura y mano de obra,” Revista de Historia Económica 9.1 (Winter 1991): 3567; Mercedes García Rodríguez, “Ingenios habaneros del siglo XVIII,” in Las raíces históricas del pueblo cubano, 113–38.

42. For a discussion of the slave provisions of Las Siete Partidas, see Davis, The Problem of Slavery, 102–6; Watson, Slave Law in the Americas, 40–47; Ortiz, Los negros esclavos, 309–16. I have used here the version of the Partidas contained in Los códigos españoles concordados y anotados, 12 vols. (Madrid: La Publicidad, 1847–1851).

43. Klein, Slavery in the Americas, 59.

44. For a discussion of the Havana figures, see my “Los matrimonios de esclavos en la Habana, 1585–1645,” Ibero-Amerìkanisches Archiv 16.4 (1990): 507–28. The figures from Sancti Spiritus are based on Libro Primero de Matrimonios de Blancos y de Color. Parroquial del Espíritu Santo, Sancti Spiritus, 1623–1739. Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Fondo Valle Iznaga.

45. These figures are based on Archivo de la Catedral de la Habana, Libro Barajas de Bautismos de Españoles, 1590–1610; Archivo de la Parroquial Mayor de la Villa de Sancti Spiritus, Libro Primero de Bautizos, in Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Fondo Valle Iznaga.

46. Forty-one percent of the godparents of slave children in Havana and 52 percent in Sancti Spiritus were white. Conversely, the overwhelming majority of godparents of adult slaves were also slaves (78 percent in Havana; 59 percent in Sancti Spiritus). Forty-one percent of the witnesses and godparents in slave marriages in Havana were also white. My findings concerning patterns of godparentage in early colonial Cuba coincide roughly with those of Schwartz, , Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 137–60.

47. For a discussion of manumission in early colonial Havana, see Fuente, de la, “Aalforria de escravos em Havana, 1601–1610: primeiras conclusões,” Estudos Económicos 20.1 (Jan.-April 1990): 139–59. I have also used results from a sample of three hundred manumission letters taken from ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fornaris, 1690–1694. For the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, see Fraginals, Manuel Moreno, “Peculiaridades de la esclavitud en Cuba,” Del Caribe 4.8 (1987): 410. For the 1790–1880 period, see Bergad, Laird W., García, Fe Iglesias, and Barcia, Maria del Carmen, The Cuban Slave Market, 1790–1880 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 131–41.

48. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fomaris, 1604, fol. 452.

49. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fomaris, 1691, fol. 273. In other cases, it was the white father who himself purchased the freedom of his children. For an example, see the will of Isabel Valderas in ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1606, fol. 207.

50. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fornaris, 1690, fol. 140, 144, 262, 363.

51. Ibid., fol. 44.

52. L. 45, Tit. 5, P. 5, in Los Códigos, 3: 614. But no specific law regulated coartación, which seems to have been a customary legal practice. See Watson, Slave Law in the Americas, 51; Salmoral, Manuel Lucena, “El derecho de coartación del esclavo en la América Española,” Revista de Indias 59: 216 (May-August 1999), 357–74.

53. Ortiz, Los negros esclavos, 285–90; Mellare, Rolando, Breve historia de la esclavitud en América Latina (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación, 1973), 136; Deive, Carlos E., La esclavitud del negro en Santo Domingo, 1492–1844 (Santo Domingo: Museo del Hombre Dominicano, 1980), 2:409. For a recent example in which the alleged lateness of the coartación policy is central to a critique of Tannenbaum's approach, see Ingersoll, Mammon and Manon in Early New Orleans, 221–32.

54. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1597, fol. 134; Ortiz de Matienzo to the King, Havana, 23 November, 1673. ANC, Academia de la Historia, leg. 89, no. 548; Española, Real Academia, Diccionario de la Lengua Castellana (Madrid: Imprenta de Francisco del Hierro, 1729), 626.

55. Davidson, David M., “Negro Slave Control and Resistance in Colonial Mexico, 1519–1650,” in Maroon Societies, ed. Price, Richard (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), 85. For a discussion of some of this legislation, see de la Fuente, “Los matrimonios de esclavos en la Habana,” 507–28.

56. R.C. 9–11–1526, Colección de Documentos, 1:355; R.C. 31–3–1583, Konetzke, Colección, 1: 547; R.C. 15–4–1540, later L. 8, Tit. 5, Libro 7 of the Recopilación.

57. These appeals are registered in AMCH, ACAHT.

58. Moreno Fraginals, “Peculiaridades,” 7.

59. For examples, see the petitions of Luisa Murga, 11–23–1671 and Maria Guiomar, 11–27–1676 in their legal processes for freedom. Both in AMCH, ACAHT, 1667–1672, fol. 748 and 1672–1683, fol. 150.

60. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fornaris, 1693, fol. 49.

61. For cases in which slaves had to surmount significant obstacles to obtain their freedom even with a freedom letter from their deceased masters, see ANC, PNH, Escribanía Junco, 1677–1678, s/f (declaration dated 1–1–1677); AMCH, ACAHT, 1672–1683, fol. 150; ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fornaris, 1691, fol. 343.

62. For instance, in 1681 the slave Felipa demanded freedom because she had “escaped from Jamaica in power of the British” and come to His Majesty's Catholic territories. The governor found in favor of the slave, a verdict that her alleged master appealed. Another slave requested freedom from Havana's town council in 1597 alleging that he had rendered a valuable service by discovering and denouncing those who had committed the “pecado nefando” (sodomy). Although this was not included in Las Partidas as a cause for freedom, they did stipulate that when slaves rendered some valuable social services they should be set free. The final outcome of both processes is unknown. See AMCH, ACAHT, 1672–1683, fol. 329v; 1584–1599, fol. 405; L. 3, Tit. 22, Partida 4, in Los Códigos, 3: 522.

63. For concrete examples, see a 1641 case in ANC, Gobierno General, leg. 319, no. 15,420 and ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1609, fol. 198.

64. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1591, fol. 191; 1595, fol. 424v.; 1596, fol. 331.

65. ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1596, fol. 331; 1610, fol. 349; Escribanía Fornaris, 1694, fol. 201v; Escribanía Ortega, 1653, fol. 2.

66. de Rojas, María T., Indice y extrados del Archivo de Protocolos de la Habana, 1578–1585 (Havana: n. p., 1947), 1: nos. 652–54; ANC, PNH, Escribanía Fornaris, 1690, fol. 264; ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1595, fol. 995.

67. For a good example, see the will of Ana bioho, who lists credits with various individuals, including whites, free blacks, and other slaves. Among the debtors was her own master, who had received money towards her manumission. See ANC, PNH, Escribanía Regueira, 1604, fol. 318.

68. I have grouped under “Others” regulations concerning various aspects of slaves' lives and of free blacks as well. Among these were ordinances dealing with nourishment, clothing, recreation, and so on.

69. The slaves' complaints concerning the daily rent were elevated to the Consejo de Indias in Madrid. See Informe del licenciado Gerónimo de Cordova, 1690. Archivo General de Indias, Seville (hereafter AGI), Santo Domingo, leg. 65, no. 4; Diego Antonio de Viana Hinojosa to the King, Havana, 1688. ANC, Academia de la Historia, leg. 90, no. 641.

70. For an example in which an African slave testifies in a process involving whites, see Demanda de naturaleza de Enrique Méndez y Diego de Noroña, 1608. AGI, Escribanía de Cámara, leg. 74A.

71. Klein, Slavery in the Americas, 217–18; Chapeaux, Pedro Deschamps, Los batallones de pardos y morenos libres (Havana: Editorial Arte y Literatura, 1976); Meléndez, Francisco Castillo, La defensa de la isla de Cuba en la segunda mitad del siglo XVII (Sevilla: Disputación Provincial, 1986), 194201; Marrero, Cuba, 5:28–30. Figures about the free population of color have been taken from Kiple, Kenneth, Blacks in Colonial Cuba 1774–1899 (Gainesville: The University Presses of Florida, 1976).

72. Eltis, David et al., The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-Rom (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); Riva, Juan Pérez de la, Cuántos africanos fueron traídos a Cuba? (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales, 1977), estimates that up to 1790 around 100,000 slaves entered the island, compared to some 700,000 during the 1800s.

73. On this, see the interesting debate between Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio, 2:7–90, and Scott, Rebecca J., Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860–1899 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985).

74. Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio, 1:126–33, 2:7–90; Knight, Slave Society, 59–126; Paquette, Robert, Sugar Is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict between Empires over Slavery in Cuba (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1988); Martínez-Allier, Verena, Marriage, Class, and Colour in Nineteenth-Century Cuba: A Study of Racial Attitudes and Sexual Values in a Slave Society (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1974); Klein, Slavery in the Americas, 220–22.

75. Bergad, Iglesias, and Barcia, The Cuban Slave Market, Al-52.

76. Moreno Fraginals, El ingenio, 3:59.

77. Ibarra, Jorge, “Regionalismo y esclavitud patriarcal en los departamentos oriental y central de Cuba,” Anales del Caribe 6 (1986), 2252.

78. Bergad, Iglesias, and Barcia. The Cuban Slave Market, 122–31. Visitors to the island frequently referred to this institution. For some examples, see Pérez, Louis A., Slaves, Sugar, and Colonial Society: Travel Accounts of Cuba, 1801–1899 (Wimington: SR Books, 1992).

79. Knight, Slave Society, 62–63; Marrero, Cuba, 9:208.

80. Concerning the urban free population of color, see Chapeaux, Pedro Deschamps, El negro en la economía habanera del siglo XIX (Havana: UNEAC, 1971) and Duharte, Rafael, El negro en la sociedad colonial (Santiago de Cuba: Editorial Oriente, 1988).

81. Duharte, El negro en la sociedad colonial, 56–58. So far I have identified more than five hundred cases in which slaves petitioned authorities and the courts in the 1770–1870 period in just one section of the ANC, that of Gobierno Superior Civil. These petitions usually revolved around two issues: their freedom or coartación and changing owners due to abuses or other reasons.

82. Bacardi, Emilio y Moreau, , Crónicas de Santiago de Cuba (Madrid: Breogán, 1973), 3: 159.

83. For a few examples, see Libertad que pretende la parda Francisca de Paula, 1830. ANC, Audiencia de la Habana, leg. 24, no. 312; Dimas Chavez por la libertad de su madre, 1866. ANC, Gobierno Superior Civil, leg. 968, no. 34211; Incidente al intestado de Dn. Luis Minet, 1833. Archivo Provincial de Santiago de Cuba (hereafter APSC), Juzgado de Primera Instancia, leg. 379, no. 9; Causa criminal por lesiones de la negra Agripina Criolla, 1879. ANC, Audiencia de la Habana, leg. 1, no. 65.

84. El Sindico Procurador General reclama la libertad del negro Nicolas. Santiago de Cuba, 1829. APSC, Juzgado de Primera Instancia, leg. 379, no. 3.

85. For a discussion of the “Reglamento de esclavos” of 1842 see Knight, Slave Society, 126–32; Ortiz, Los negros esclavos, 339–43, 439–52.

86. For a few examples concerning criminal cases, see “Expediente criminal contra Andrés y Justo Mena,” Havana 1864. ANC, Miscelánea de Expedientes, leg. 1391, A; Cano, Bienvenido and Zalta, Federico de, Libro de los Síndicos de Ayuntamiento y Juntas Protectoras de Libertos (Havana: Imprenta del Gobierno, 1875); Azoy, Antonio Andrés, Colección de causas criminales, 2 vols. (Matanzas: Imprenta El Ferrocarril, 1868); Ortiz, Los negros esclavos, 349.

87. Scott, Slave Emancipation.

88. Hurlbut, William H., Pictures of Cuba (London: Longman, 1855), 102.

89. Beckles, Hilary McD., “Social and Political Control in the Slave Society,” in The Slave Societies of the Caribbean, ed. Knight, Franklin (London: UNESCO, 1997), 201. On slave law in the U.S. South, see Tushnet, Mark V., The American Law of Slavery, 1810–1860 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981); Morris, Thomas D., Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619–1860 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1996); Watson, Slave Law in the Americas, 63–90; Finkelman, Paul, ed., Slavery and the Law (Madison: Madison House, 1977); Genovese, Eugene D., “Slavery in the Legal History of the South and the Nation,” The Journal of Southern History 59 (1981): 969–98; Gross, Ariela J., Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).

90. Berlin, Iba, Slaves without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (New York: Pantheon Books, 1974), 138. On restrictions on manumission, see also Howington, Arthur, “‘A Property of Special and Peculiar Value’: The Tennessee Supreme Court and the Law of Manumission,” in Law, the Constitution, and Slavery, ed. Finkelman, Paul (New York: Garland, 1989), 210–23. For a comparative assessment of this question in Latin America, see Cohen, David W. and Greene, Jack P., eds., Neither Slave nor Free: The Freedmen of African Descent in the Slave Societies of the New World (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972).

91. Quoted in Tushnet, The American Law of Slavery, 21.

92. For a discussion of the complex intersections between the wars of independence, the process of slave emancipation, and the creation of a cross-racial nationalist coalition, see Ferrer, Ada, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868–1898 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999); Scott, Slave Emancipation. For a discussion of blacks' activism and claims-making in the early years of the republic, see the recent volume edited by Heredia, Fernando Martinez, Scott, Rebecca J., and Martínez, Orlando F. García, Espacios, silencios y los sentidos de la libertad: Cuba entre 1878 y 1912 (Havana: Unión, 2001). See also Scott, Rebecca J., “Reclaiming Gregoria's Mule: The Meanings of Freedom in the Arimao and Caunao Valleys, Cienfuegos, Cuba, 1880–1899,” Past and Present 170 (February 2001): 181217, and Scott, Rebecca J. and Zeuske, Michael, “Property in Writing, Property on the Ground: Pigs, Horses, Land, and Citizenship in the Aftermath of Slavery, Cuba, 1880–1909,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 44 (2002): 669–99.

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