By Herman L. Bennett
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Extra info for Africans in Colonial Mexico: Absolutism, Christianity, and Afro-Creole Consciousness, 1570-1640
84 Most of the 478 Africans sold to Jalapa’s nascent plantocracy toiled on the sugar estates. After 1610, Jalapa’s planters were not aggressive buyers of enslaved Africans. Jalapa’s withdrawal from the international slave trade effected a social and demographic transformation among its resident labor force. 85 The demographic patterns on the Santisíma Trinidad sugar plantation vividly illustrate the precipitous decline of African slavery in New Spain. 86 By 1670, the number of slaves had increased but now represented a smaller percentage of the estate labor force.
As the encomenderos devised new ways to pro¤t from their tributaries, they relied on acculturated Africans and the miniscule but growing mulatto nucleus to serve as intermediaries and supervisors over indigenous laborers. 45 Throughout the 1530s, a constant stream of bozales—recent arrivals from Africa unfamiliar with Portuguese or Spanish and ignorant about Iberian customs—joined acculturated Africans (ladinos) and mulattos already present in the countryside. 46 In the 1540s and 1550s, Spanish commercial activities rapidly expanded throughout New Spain.
The attire of this baser sort of blackamoors and mulattoes . . ”100 In Mexico, a culture of excess had emerged, in which even slaves and their descendants participated. ”103 Present in signi¤cant numbers, both African slaves and Afro-Mexican servants occupied prominent roles in an economy structured by circulation, production, and consumption. But rather than describe Mexico City as a slave society on the basis of the slaves’ role as labor in the economy, Gage captured something much more elusive.