Primary Source

Gender and Race in Colonial Latin America: “Don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión Protests the marriage of His Daughter to Don Teodoro Jaramillo, a Person of Lower Social Standing (Quito, 1784-85)”


Until the mid-eighteenth century, the church regulated the institution of marriage in Spanish America, emphasizing the freedom of individuals to marry according to their will and, if necessary, independently of their parents' consent. However, on March 23, 1776, the Spanish Crown introduced its own legislation, the Royal Pragmatic (Real Pragmática), to assert control over this important social institution. By 1778 the Crown had applied the Pragmatic to all of its colonies, and in subsequent years it issued a series of explanatory guidelines and supplementary decrees) The Royal Pragmatic sought to protect families from socially "unequal" marries a thus to preserve the traditional hierarchical social order. It required that children now obtain permission to marry from their father or, in his absence, from their mother, grandparents, or nearest adult relative or guardian. In cases where they married without parental authorization, the law allowed for their disinheritance.

The Royal Pragmatic resulted in a groundswell of lawsuits that contested its new regulations on legally acceptable marriages. The records of these lawsuits constitute a rich documentary source, one that offers important insights into contemporary views of inequality and the hierarchical ordering of regional social structures. Concepts of honor and nobility primarily determined the most important social distinctions, though they were in turn affected (and defined) by a number of other factors, including ethnicity and occupation.

The following document excerpts are part of a lawsuit tried before the Audiencia of Quito in 1784 and 1785, just six years after the Royal Pragmatic was promulgated in the Americas. The suit was initiated by Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión, a vecino (citizen) of Loja, a city located in the southern highlands of the audiencia district. In April 1784, Valdivieso wrote a letter to the audiencia president asking him to intervene in a dispute he had with Juan Teodoro Jaramillo; Valdivieso argued that Jaramillo, also a vecino of Loja, was of low social standing and had seduced his daughter Baltasara into marriage. For Valdivieso, such a marriage was clearly an offense under the Royal Pragmatica and would greatly dishonor his family; it had to be prevented at all costs.

As the audiencia superior court could only accept the case as an appeal from a lower provincial court, the president passed the suit down to the corregidor of Loja. At this point, Jaramillo formally challenged the legal basis of Valdivieso's case, arguing against the notion that he and his elected bride were socially unequal. He insisted that the marriage take place. After completing his investigation, but apparently without pronouncing a sentence, the corregidor sent the accumulated court records back to the audiencia in Quito.

The case ultimately generated extensive documentation; the court records fill 268 manuscript pages (134 folios). The case file includes copies or summaries of the documents presented to the court in Quito and the corregidor in Loja, the closing statements made by the lawyers representing the two parties in the suit, and finally the argument of the fiscal (crown attorney). While the litigation contains the arguments made in support of both Valdivieso and Jaramillo, the transcripts provide only slight evidence of Baltasara's point of view. Within the document summaries prepared by the Loja corregidor, there does appear Baltasara’s statement that she had left her father's house after he had withdrawn his earlier consent to the marriage. While we lack the final decision of the audiencia and therefore do not know how the dispute turned out, we do know the fiscal’s recommendations. In October 1785, drawing extensively on the points made by Jaramillo's attorney, the fiscal argued that the court should rule against Valdivieso's opposition to the marriage of his daughter with Jaramillo. He refuted the position that there was a considerable social distance between the two parties, and he stressed as well the consent Valdivieso had given to the marriage before his change of mind led to the dispute.

In the following excerpts the two parties present their opposing points of view. The first section contains a summary of previously recorded testimony prepared for the court on behalf of Valdivieso y Carrión. The summary condenses the depositions of ten witnesses who had responded to a lengthy set of questions designed to elicit testimony that would prove Jaramillo's social inferiority.2 The court summary is followed by the detailed statements of the two opposing attorneys in the case, each laying out the legal basis of their client's claim.

The Cast of Characters

The following list of the main characters in the lawsuit and their kinship ties should help in negotiating the complex familial relationships referred to in the case:

Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión: the plaintiff in the suit.
Teodoro Jaramillo: the defendant in the suit.
Baltasara Valdivieso: Manuel's daughter and Teodoro's betrothed.
Juan Jaramillo and María Regalado y Lopez: Teodoro's parents.
Bartolo Galvez: María Regalado's second husband.
José and Francisca: two of María's children who she had with other men (one of whom was named Tomás Aguirre).
Francisco Jaramillo: Teodoro's paternal uncle.
Juan Jaramillo and Margarita González: Teodoro's paternal grandparents.
Francisco Jaramillo: Teodoro's paternal great-uncle.
Pedro Regalado y Greta: Teodoro's maternal grandfather.
Esteban (Regalado y?) Ureña: Teodoro's maternal uncle.
Joséfa Córdova: Teodoro's former wife.
José de Herique: Teodoro's close friend.

This source is a part of the Gender and Race in Colonial Latin America teaching module.


18.1 Court Summary of a Questionnaire, with Recorded Testimonies, Presented by Don Manuel Valdivieso

[Asked] if they know or have heard publicly that it is well known and well recognized.4 that don Manuel Valdivieso and his ancestors have been of distinguished nobility and have obtained in Loja and other provinces the most honorable offices, they all confirm [that this is true].5

[Asked] if they know that doña María Aguilera, don Manuel Valdivieso 's wife, and her ancestors have enjoyed an equivalent reputation, without any reduction of the noble privileges. All of them confirm.

[Asked] if they know publicly that don Juan Teodoro is of low birth, very inferior in origin and calidad6 to don Manuel Valdivieso and his wife. Don José Vivanco says that he has not heard anything about it, either publicly or privately, that he is ignorant of the calidad of the parents of don Teodoro, that he has seen [Teodoro's] mother wearing lady's clothing, dressed as a beata (lay religious woman),7 and that he has heard in public that Jaramillo was inferior in descent to don Manuel Valdivieso and his wife. Don Maríano Piedra [says] that he considered don Juan Teodoro a plebeian man and of low birth, but that he regarded him as neither mean nor ignoble,8 and he knows Jaramillo's origin is very much inferior to that of don Manuel and his wife. Don Agustin Vasquez [says] that he has heard that he is not of noble birth, [but] that he also has heard that he is the grandchild of a distinguished gentleman.9 Don Bernardo Aguirre [says] that he knows that the [honorific] 'don' was not given to Teodoro at first, but not because he was ignoble or mean; and he has considered him [Teodoro] a white man, and he has heard he descends from the Jaramillo family, which is reputed to be noble. No one can doubt that the family] of Valdivieso and his wife is of the most illustrious kind. Don Mateo Vasquez [says] he has considered Jaramillo neither ignoble, mean, nor plebeian, [and] that he has known him as a Spanish man, but it is certain that he is not equal to don Manuel and his wife. Don Francisco Moreno [says] that he has not considered don Juan Teodoro a mean and ignoble man, and he does not know anything about his lineage; he has judged him to be a man not of the highest distinction but also not contemptible since he has seen him held in esteem and high regard. He also knows that he [Teodoro] is not an equal of don Manuel and his wife, and that during this lawsuit he has heard [things] in favor and in disfavor of the calidad of Jaramillo. Don José Murillo [says] that he has considered don Teodoro a white man and of inferior calidad to that of don Manuel. Doña Micaela Castillo [says] that she does not know if don Teodoro is a mean or ignoble man and that she has regarded him as a white and decent man.

[Asked] if they know that Jaramillo was a silversmith by profession, like his uncle Esteban Oreha. Don Maríano Piedra [says] that he has seen him in the silversmith's shop in the company of Esteban Ureña, but he is not sure if he was practicing this craft [though] he has heard this in public on the occasion of this lawsuit. Don Agustin Vasquez does not know if he was or was not [a silversmith]; he says that [Jaramillo] has led caravans of mules owned by Miguel Carrión, getting paid a salary for his work. Don Mateo Vasquez [says] that he saw [Jaramillo] as a child learning the silversmiths's trade in the company of his uncle Ureña, and after a short time he left it [the craft]; [don Mateo Vasquez says] that Jaramillo ran the fábrica10 of the house of don Miguel Carrión at the rank of steward,11 I and he led the mules of don Miguel and his son, earning a salary. All the witnesses agree that Jaramillo served in the business and led Carrión's mule caravans . . .

[Asked] if they know or have heard etc.12 Don Bernardo Valdivieso [says], concerning the paternal ancestors, he knows and has heard that the sons of don Juan Jaramillo and Margarita González13 were regarded as plebeians, as were the maternal [ancestors] of Teodoro, and they did not hold any honourable offices. Don Bernardo Valdivieso says] that Francisco Jaramillo is the great-uncle of don Juan Teodoro, and that the descendants of don Francisco have served, because of their family branch or line, in the top occupations. Piedra [says] that he does not know [if] the ancestors of Jaramillo had obtained honorable occupations or manual ones,14 but that since his grandfather they have been reputed to be plebeians. Aguirre [says] that he does not know anything regarding [Jaramillo's] maternal [ancestors], but that the Jaramillos have served in honorable occupations. Don Mateo Vasquez [says] that he [has] heard that don Teodoro is related to and descends from Jaramillos, noble persons . . .

[Asked] if they have heard or known that don Juan Jaramillo etc. Don Francisco Riofrío [says] that on this same occasion15 he has heard in various conversations that don Juan Jaramillo married Margarita González, reputed to be the daughter of an Indian woman from Saraguro.16 Don Mateo Vasquez [says] that he has only heard that don Juan Jaramillo married badly and unequally for his noble station. The other [witnesses] do not know.

[Asked] if they know that Juan Jaramillo and González etc. Vivanco [says] that he only knows that the mother of Jaramillo had a son called José, and as a widow she married Bartolo Galvez, a humble man who due to his poverty works as a truquero.17 Don Maríano Piedra [says] that he did not know if María Regalado18 was a plebeian, but that he has regarded her as such …

Don Mateo Vasquez adds that María Regalado was a white woman, and that he never saw her in the clothing of a plebeian. Moreno [says] that he did not re¬gard María as plebeian. He knew that as a widow she had conceived José, the son of Tomás Aguirre, and Francisca, the daughter of another father, and that Marra married Bartolo Galvez, and because he was a truquero [Moreno] considered him a man of low rank.

[Asked] if they know that María Regalado y Lopez etc. Piedra [says] that he knew that she was the daughter of a Pedro Regalado Ureña, an ordinary man who neither deserved [the title of] don nor had obtained any office of honor. Doña Micaela Castillo [says] that she heard talk that Pedro was thought to belong to the second class and not be a distinguished gentleman …

[Asked] if they know that José Aguirre etc. Don Bernardo Valdivieso testifies that Francisca, sister of Teodoro, is the wife of Maríano Riofrío, bastard son19 of an Indian woman. Piedra [says] that Riofrío is the son of an Indian woman. Don Agustin Vasquez [states] that it is said in public that Riofrío is the son of a gentleman of distinguished nobility; although [Vasquez] has heard talk that [Riofrío] is a mestizo, he does not know anything about his mother. Aguirre [says] that he has heard it said that [Riofrío] is the son of an Indian woman and a gentleman . . .

[Asked that] they should declare if Francisco Jaramillo, brother etc. Don Bernardo Valdivieso [says] that on the occasion of the present case he heard don Bernardo Ríos say that don Francisco Jaramillo, Don Teodoro 's uncle, had married Catalina Alvarez first, and then Victoria Tinoco, known to be a mulata. Don Agustin Vasquez affirms that Tinoco, wife of Francisco Jaramillo, was a free mulata in the service of doña Ana Valdivieso. Aguirre declares that this [was] publicly known . . .

[Asked] if they know that Josefa Córdova, Juan Teodoro Jaramillo's former wife etc. Vivanco [says] that he has regarded Josefa Córdova to be of second class origins. Don Mateo Vasquez [says] that Joséfa [is] a white woman and that he has seen her wearing quite decent clothing. Moreno testifies that he regards Josefa not as a plebeian, although she is of humble birth, and that her father had married an Indian woman. One sister of Josefa had married Tomás Luna, a white man, but not of the plebeian kind, and the other [married] a chapetón . . .

[Asked] if José de Herique20 is a child born out of wedlock21 etc. Don Bernardo Valdivieso publicly clears him of the accusation22 that he [José de Herique] was the son of an Indian woman. [Don Bernardo says] that at first Herique carried out the profession of a smith23 and that he is an intimate friend of don Teodoro ... Aguirre clears him according to what he has heard regarding the calidad of Herique, and adds that as an honorable man of good behavior and virtue he [Herique] has taken some measures to end the hostilities and disturbances occasioned by the proposed matrimony, and that, although many years ago he had worked as a smith, he now maintains himself as a trader (mercader), respected by everyone.

18.2 Petition Submitted to the Court by Ramon Jaramillo, Attorney for Don Manuel Valdivieso

I, Ramon Jaramillo,24 attorney, in the name of don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión, citizen of the city of Loja, in virtue of the power he has invested in me to act in the lawsuit against Juan Teodoro Jaramillo, concerning the marriage that he requests to doña Baltasara Valdivieso, daughter of my client, thinking himself noble, and with the rest inferred, I say that in the name of justice [and] in order to serve the superior judgment of Your Highness, [you should] declare, with a just and clear judgment, that the named Jaramillo is plebeian and of humble birth and cannot and shall not enter into marriage with doña Baltasara. If she anticipates this decision with irregular and wrongful actions,25 in contradiction to her known nobility and hidalguía, she should suffer precisely the penalties26 prescribed in the latest publicly announced Royal Pragmatic (Real Pragmatica], that all in these realms are ordered to follow, guard, fulfill and execute. The court should condescend to resolve and judge the case, both because the law is clearly on my client's side and because, despite the cunning lobbying,27 with which Teodoro has tried, with no other merit than his moneyed wealth, to aspire to a much higher station than that [appropriate to] his low birth, he does not cease to be the son of Juan Jaramillo, who was himself born of another don Juan Jaramillo and Margarita González, Valdivieso, o Montesdoca, who, not knowing with certitude the identity of her father, must he classified as an Indian like her mother. Nor does Teodoro cease being the son of María de Ureña, known as the Maco Regala,28 wife of the truquero Bartolome Galvez, both low people, who as such occupied the servile and mechanical stations appropriate to their birth. Because of his low birth, Jaramillo worked in the profession of silversmith under the shadow of his uncle Esteban Ureña, who instructed him publicly as an apprentice, until he went on to serve as steward in the house fábrica of don Miguel Carrión, and then as muleteer, or driver of his mules, a profession he carried out for many years in the company of don Pedro Javier Valdivieso, without neglecting all the activities with which he made his fortune.29 He then bought the Catamayo hacienda, which has increased his means and made him conceited, so that, forgetting his humble beginnings, he claims not only to equal but even to exceed the distinguished calidad of my client. And his whole family, conspiring with their witnesses, who are of the same extraction as his, showing disrespect for the constant echo of the truth and the sacred religion of the oath, have insisted on ennobling their mean descent, not only through the [honorific] don, with which they prodigiously honor themselves, but also through nobility itself, which they ascribe to their ancestors, who, due to their contemptible calidad, never held any honorable position30 of the kind held by subjects of distinction. And as [they have always carried out the] low, manual trades, they have not passed beyond being silversmiths and servants. Jaramillo himself, with all his fortune, hardly exudes the dignity of a steward of the city,31 this being a position that the illustrious citizens of the most distinguished nobility have never obtained . . . 32

That a corrupt or indulgent patron might give the title of don, which these days plebeian men often enjoy, does not mean that they therefore can constitute themselves as nobles without the requisites that laws and rights prescribe . . .

The unfortunate witnesses had wished to distinguish the family of the Ureñas, Regalados and Lopez, who have earned nothing more than the honor of being either silversmiths or servants. Even if they might not have been of mixed origin, but had been Spaniards, they would not pass beyond the rank of montañeses,33 who are commonly known as mestizos of a slightly better class than the children of an Indian woman and a Spaniard . . .

That is why the inequality which exists between Jaramillo and doña Baltasara is irrefutable, he descending from subjects of obscure birth and the lowest plebs, and she from the most distinguished, who, corresponding to their eminent nobility, have occupied the most honorable offices of the republic, as is consistent and publicly known.

18.3 Defense Submitted to the Court by Tomás Garcia y Sierra, Attorney for Don Juan Teodoro Jaramillo

I, Tomás Garcia y Sierra, in the name of don Juan Teodoro Jaramillo, citizen of the city of Loja, in virtue of the power he has invested in me to act in the lawsuit against don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión . . . state that:

I will examine the foundations on which the complaint is based, and, as one cannot deny that don Manuel and his daughter doña Baltasara are accepted as noble and esteemed as such without dispute, it only remains to see if the lineage of my client has the claimed social distance to consider that matrimony is seriously offensive to the honor of the family of don Manuel, [considering] the [appropriate] degree [of relationship] laid out in the Royal Pragmatic of 1776. And in fact, the evidence given by both parties does not justify the [accusation of] low origin and extremely ignoble extraction which has been made against my client; on the contrary, the purity of his blood34 and his hidalguía are demonstrated, all of which refutes the insults and invectives he has been exposed to . . . All his uncles and cousins, legitimate descendants of don Juan Jaramillo, have been regarded as persons of known nobility and distinguished calidad, for which reason they had obtained the best offices of that community (republica)35 and were married to women of the same class, as is entirely confirmed in detail by the certificate36 presented by don Manuel Jaramillo, second cousin of my client and, at the moment, alcalde ordinario37 of the city of Loja. This document should be kept in mind because it accurately enumerates the offices, honors, and marriages from the first don Juan Jaramillo, who was born in Alcala de Henares . . . 38

The copious number of witnesses that my client presented before the corregidor39 confirmed unanimously that [Jaramillo's] ancestors, dona Margarita included, were not of the race of negros, Indians, and mulattos.

The nobility of his mother [is] impossible to deny, as it is confirmed by an extensive number of witnesses who affirm that they had known dona María, that she was the daughter of don Pedro Regalado de Ureña and dona Clara Lopez de la farina, and that he [Pedro] was the son of the captain Antonio de Ureña and dona Isabel de Solorzano, and that doña Clara was the legitimate daughter of don Marcos Lopez de la Parilla and doña Elena Roman, all of them noble persons, free (limpia: literally, "clean") of people [descendants] from other castes.40

The Royal Pragmatic does not require a mathematical equality between prospective husbands and wives when it obliges the parents, relatives, or guardians to give their assent. And it only requires assent when matrimony does not seriously offend the honor of the family, declaring just cause for dissent in the case of a serious offense. And no one doubts that not every inequality is seriously offensive, since to be so it is necessary that the social difference be too striking and excessive . . .

All of this evidence [about the standing of Juan Teodoro] is enhanced by the extensive proof that my client has offered concerning his good habits and behavior. Although the opposing attorney characterizes this justification as useless and superfluous to this lawsuit, my client thought to present it as more relevant to the honor of his person, since he has well understood, by what the arbitristas41 teach, that the political nobility that consists in good habits is better than the legal and civil one derived from blood, that moral virtue exceeds natural virtue, and that the nobility of heroic actions exceeds the nobility of blood. It is the same as when a philosopher, asked what nobility consists of, answers that in the case of the beasts it refers to the good constitution of the body, in the case of men to their good and laudable actions.42 One may infer, then, that, far from being superfluous to the lawsuit, this evidence is most suitable to prove that my client has this double nobility that makes him worthy of the esteem that has been granted to his person in private and public acts in this neighborhood (vecindario). Also, it [has not] been proven otherwise that the office and profession [of steward of the city], to which he had been appointed in the year 1781, is appropriate only to plebeian men as, on the contrary, it has clearly been carried out by nobles . . .

When asked if the nobility loses its privileges through the practice of ignoble and mechanical professions, A.A. [the arbitristas] resolve that it is not denigrated if the nobility derives from blood and not from privilege, and that is the general opinion . . .

The earlier consent [of Manuel Valdivieso] was directed toward removing, through the remedy of matrimony, the public infamy that doña Baltasara must have suffered because of the illicit contact she had with my client for over two years43 without her parents having said a word in opposition in all this time . . .

It would not be reasonable to thwart this marriage of doña Baltasara, because, under these circumstances, no one would want her to be his wife, nor would it be possible for her to find another husband who, knowing about her former relationship (amistad), would extend to her the appropriate respect. It is also not tolerable that my client be scorned43 when he aspires to grace through [the sacrament of] matrimony, having been valued during the illicit relationship, letting it be known through such irregular means that his notion of nobility prevails over [the obligations of] religion.44 One should conclude from this argument, and from the sufficient proof I have presented to demonstrate the hidalguía of my client, that the petition of don Manuel Valdivieso should be declared unfounded and unjust . . .

ACKNOWLEGMENTS: I am very grateful to James Van Hook for revising my translation of the original text into English. I was able to consult the documents pertaining to this case while working in the National Archive of Ecuador in Quito during July and August 1995, thanks to a research grant provided by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

1I. On the Royal Pragmatic, see Daisy Ripodaz Ardanaz, El Matrimonio en Indian: Realidad social y regulacion juridical, (Buenos Aires: Fundacion pars la Educacion, la Ciencia y la Cultura, 1977); Patricia Seed, To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico: Conflicts over Marriage Choice, 1574–1821 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), 200-25; and Susan M. Socolow, "Acceptable Partners: Marriage Choice in Colonial Argentina, 1778-1810," in Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America, Asuncion Lavrin, ed. (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press), 209-251.

2I have included the responses to only some of the thirty-three questions asked of the witnesses. The surviving court documentation does not contain the original questionnaire.

3Archivo Nacional del Ecuador/Quito, Seccion General, Matrimoniales, raja 3, expedients 3-VI-1785: "[Au]tos de Don Manuel Valdivieso [y Carrion] con Don Teodoro Jara[mill]o sobre el matrimonio que pretende con Doña Baltasara Val[divies]o, seguidos en Loja ante el corregidor que los remitid al senor [Presi]dente, Regente, y su Sefioria los paso a este tribunal."

4"pública y notoria" in the original. A critical defining characteristic of members of the hidalguía, or lower nobility, was that their status be "notoria;” publicly known and recognized. An alternative term for hidalguía notoria was hidalguía de solar conocido, or nobility of known family line or lineage. Persons who received their noble status as a privilege granted by the Crown (hidalguía de privilegio) enjoyed a lesser degree of esteem, though in subsequent generations nobility by privilege (hidalguía de privilegio) could evolve into a publicly known and recognized nobility (hidalguía notoria)

5"la absuelven todos" in the original.

6The term conduct refers to a person's recognized social status and esteem.

7A biota was a woman who led a religious life and wore a habit but who had not professed to he a nun and who continued to live in the community.

8"Ruin ni vil."

9"Caballero principal."

10Here fábrica would seem to refer to the running of the family business in its entirety, including the operation of the mule train.


12Here the entire question is not included in the document; rather, the sentence fragment merely ends with "etc."

13The paternal grandparents of Teodoro Jaramillo.


15The occasion of the present lawsuit.

16"A village in the Loja region.

17"The term truquero probably refers here to the owner of a table on which a card game, called truque, was played (see María Moliner, Diccionario de use del espanol, 2 vols. [Madrid: Editorial Credos, 1984]). An alternate meaning might he the owner of an early form of the billiards table (see Real Academia Espanola, Diccionario de Autoridades, 3 vols. [Madrid: Editorial Gredos (1726-39) 1979]).

18The mother of Teodoro Jaramillo.

19"hijo adulterino" in the original.

20José de Herique was a close friend of Teodorn's. As a person's reputation and rank was affected (and reflected) by the company they kept, Valdivieso tried to diminish Teodoro Jaramillo's social position by questioning the status of his friend José de Herique.

21"hijo sacrilege."

22The original here is "absuelve," but used in a different sense from that found at the begin¬ning of this document excerpt (see note 5 above); here the term is used in its strict legal sense, meaning to acquit or clear.

23"EI oficio do herreria"

24There is no indication in the document that Ramen Jaramillo was related to Teodoro.

25That is, if Baltasara gets married before the final decision of the court.

26The loss of all claims to inheritance.

27"astucia y cabilasi6n"

28There is no information in the document on the reason María de Urefa was given this nick-name, or on its meaning.

29Probably a reference to his occupations as a silversmith and steward.


31"Mayordomo de la ciudad." At the beginning of 1781, Jaramillo was elected by the town council of Loja to the office of steward of the city and its hospital ("mayordomo de la ciudad y de su hospital").

32Suggesting that the position was considered to be of too low esteem for people of high social status.

33In the highlands of colonial Quito the term moutarnts. referred to mestizos who were held in higher social esteem than "ordinary" mestizos due to their lifestyle, higher status occupations, and claims to a higher purity of blood.

34"Limpieza de sangre."

35"Republica," in its early modern sense, derived from the Latin term "res publics"; in the early modern period tepublka did not refer to a specific form of government or a nation-state but rather to a social and political community, an urban society organized politically (here the specific reference is to the city of Loja).

36Unfortunately, the certificate was not included in the court records.

37A member of the city council who served as a magistrate.

38Spanish city near to Madrid.

39A reference to the conegidor of Loja who initially tried the case.


41"A.A." in the original. The economic and political decline of the Spanish monarchy, beginning in the latter part of the sixteenth century and continuing into the seventeenth, led to the publication of a number of pamphlets with proposed remedies, or orbitnos, their authors, who were people of different social origin, were referred to as arbimstas. In the eighteenth century the term was used less frequently, though the political, social, and economic changes brought about by the Bourbon reforms led to a renewed interest in publishing pamphlets commenting on the monarchy and its reforms. An alternative reading of the abbreviation "A.A." could be abogados (lawyers or attorneys). This interpretation seems unlikely, though, as Tomás Garcia serves as the ahogado for his client and abogados were hardly decisive authorities in the special subject of determining the true origin and essence of nobility.

42"operaciones" in the original.

43"Illicit contact" refers to sexual relations; it was not uncommon for couples to have sex once they were betrothed. However, it was critical that the marriage then be completed, otherwise the woman (in this case Baltasara) would lose her reputation. For a detailed discussion, see Ann Twinam, "Honor, Sexuality, and Illegitimacy in Colonial Spanish America," in Sexuality and Marriage in Colonial Latin America, Asuncion Laurin, ed. (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1989),11&55.

44"se le desestime."

45An enigmatic passage; the original is: "quando aspira a la gracia per medic, del matrimonio, aviendosele apreciado, quando constava la ilicita amistad, dando a conoser con tan irregular procedimiento, que prevalece en su concepto la nobleza a la religion." This would seem to stress Teodoro's unbroken will to marry Baltasara and his contention that while it might havebeen a sin to engage in premarital sexual relations, it was more important to act with nobility and ensure her reputation through completing the marriage.


Source: Büschges, Christian. “Don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión Protests the marriage of His Daughter to Don Teodoro Jaramillo, a Person of Lower Social Standing (Quito, 1784-85),” in Richard Boyer and Geoffrey Spurling, eds., Colonial Lives: Documents in Latin American History, 1550-1850, (Oxford University Press, 2000), 224-235

How to Cite This Source

"Gender and Race in Colonial Latin America: “Don Manuel Valdivieso y Carrión Protests the marriage of His Daughter to Don Teodoro Jaramillo, a Person of Lower Social Standing (Quito, 1784-85)”," in World History Commons, [accessed August 7, 2022]