Women, Men, and the Legal Languages of Mining in the Colonial Andes

Citation:

Bigelow, Allison Margaret. 2016. “Women, Men, and the Legal Languages of Mining in the Colonial Andes.” Ethnohistory 63 (2): 351–80. doi:10.1215/00141801-3455347.

Author: Allison Margaret Bigelow

Abstract:

Histories of colonial Latin American mining have cemented the image of a scientifically backward society whose pursuit of easy wealth sacrificed the lives of indigenous and African miners in places like Potosí. By examining a mid-seventeenth-century mine dispute between an Andean woman and a Spanish man, this article suggests how legal archives can reveal indigenous women’s contributions to the history of colonial silver. It also provides an appendix with one hundred cases of indigenous, creole, and Spanish women miners, refiners, and managers in Alto Perú, 1559–1801, suggesting how women of different socioeconomic and technical backgrounds participated in the silver industry.

Keywords: colonial science, technical literacies, law, gender, Andes

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Rights, Land Rights Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Bolivia, Peru

Year: 2016

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