This week's Spanish word is 'dormir'. Find out its meaning and how it is used! Read more. There are many diverse influences on the way that English is used across the world today.
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We look at some of the ways in which the language is changing. Read our series of blogs to find out more. The Paul Noble Method: no books, no rote memorization, no chance of failure. The nuts and bolts of conversations revolve around common courtesies. All the latest wordy news, linguistic insights, offers and competitions every month. Creo que no se encuentra bien. Their insertion into local communities, it was argued, would transform them into useful vassals because life without discipline and control produced thieves and deserters, while life in a recognized community guaranteed obedient citizens.
On occasions, the same policies were applied to peasants, the civil and ecclesiastical authorities suggesting that their lamentable state required such extreme measures. The most obvious example were the Roma Gypsies. As early as and again in , , , and , the Roma were ordered to abandon their nomadic way of life and establish a permanent domicile. The authorities re-issued similar orders throughout the eighteenth century, as well as drawing up a list of places permitted for Roma residence. These people were ordinary Spaniards.
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Born on the Peninsula as vassals of the king, they nevertheless behaved in an anti-social and illegal manner. Their constant movement allowed them to live freely, only obeying their own desires. Unlike all other Spaniards, who resided permanently in local communities, the Roma who constantly moved from one place to the next were not under the control of authorities, magistrates, or the clergy.
The aim of all anti-Roma legislation, the authorities argued, was to ensure that the Roma changed their way of life.
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They were to abandon their vagrancy and, instead of maintaining their isolation —which was viewed in these decrees as self-inflicted—, they would be forced to integrate into local communities. Refusal to do so would automatically lead to their losing the right to remain in Spain. The Roma who insisted on maintaining a separate existence and nomadism would be incarcerated, expelled, or even sentenced to death. Operating here, as in the Americas, was the conviction that life outside a recognized community produced dangerous individuals.
Equally constant was the belief that reduction would solve this problem because it would miraculously convert all those who refused to obey social, religious, and political norms into good Christians, faithful vassals, and exemplary citizens. This danger was religious heresy, sin, and ignorance , civic crimes and disorder and political disobedience to the authorities or the king. It was as if, by living outside the boundaries of a recognized local polity, these individuals also lived outside all social, political, and religious precepts, only obeying their own law.
Beginning in the Middle Ages mostly the tenth and eleventh centuries , most Iberian farmers residing in isolated rural estates began congregating in villages. Their omnipresence contributed to the emergence of new methods for physically and socially ascribing individuals. Whereas before this process took place most individuals were identified mainly by reference to their kin group, after communities started appearing all over the Iberian Peninsula, many began taking on an identity that linked them to a particular local polity, their patria Rucquoi Defined as aggregates of many villages, towns, and settlements, they were composite rather than unitary because they were configured as assemblies of autonomous local polities.
As a result, in the late fourteenth and fifteenth century, when each of the Iberian kingdoms defined its members naturales , these were mostly identified as vecinos of local municipalities Herzog The linking of local insertion vecindad to kingdom membership naturaleza continued into the early modern period. In the sixteenth century, it was used to define who Spaniards were: Spaniards were natives of the Iberian kingdoms, and natives were citizens of local communities.
In other words, it was through their formal insertion into a recognized local community that individuals could be classified also as members naturales of the various kingdoms and of Spain. This was what happened to the Roma who, albeit being born and bred in Spain, were considered alien because of their itinerant lifestyle. The same, however, also happened to other individuals, such as the poor and vagabonds, who were often suspected of foreignness.
Because of the tight link between local insertion and status as Spaniard, Spaniards could become aliens if they ceased being integrated within a Spanish local community. The contrary was also true: insertion into a local community was a means for naturalization. The Roma were aware of these connections. Outside observers tended to agree. Thus, while the resettlement of Indians clearly intensified the hardship inflicted on the native population, and it definitely served the ambitions of settlers, it was neither invented nor specifically designed to sustain a colonial situation Mumford , 7, 42; Verdesio , Instead, resettlement was to bring about a legal and political transformation: the conversion of foreigners into natives, strangers into members.
This transformation could be facilitated by external and quantifiable changes, but these were neither necessary nor sufficient. Looking back to Spain may help us appreciate this point. Skeletons without flesh, their existence was profoundly phantasmagorical. No Spaniard had ever resided there, nor were permanent houses ever built.
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Nevertheless, contemporaries concluded that it was a true community because it had a town council cabildo. The proof was that its so-called vecinos who habitually resided elsewhere regularly met in Londres once a year to elect local officials. The bishop was particularly concerned about Caloto, an enclave abandoned by its council members.
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Although these individuals continued to act as if Caloto existed, running its city council and distributing honors, as well as duties, among its so-called citizens, the bishop concluded that Caloto was an imaginary rather than a real town. At stake was not so much where they lived, not even how they lived though both things could be useful indicators , but under which legal and political conditions.
Communities were primarily legal entities, not physical structures. Like the church which was defined not as a building or an organization but as the community of believers , proper polities were made of the sum total of relations between authorities and members and between members among themselves; they did not include houses, or streets. They featured an adequate legal regime, a local fuero. It clarified why Spaniards could disagree regarding which enclaves were proper communities and which individuals merited reduction.
Back to the reduction of natives, historians have long struggled to explain why in many cases Spaniards agreed to leave natives in their original habitat rather than forcing them to leave, as the instructions on resettlement required. They asked why many Indigenous enclaves were only slightly modified rather than radically altered, and why the authorities allowed for this continuity rather than imposing a complete physical rupture Saito and Rosas Lauro , 31 and Yet, if communities were legal, social and political realities, none of the above is surprising.
At stake was not necessarily a gap between model and implementation, or the power of natives to negotiate, as many historians have asserted. Because these campaigns sought to transform natives from members in ethnic collectivities to residents of municipal entities, they did not require the restructuring of streets or buildings. Instead, they could be completed by ensuring the appearance of new relationships. In the colonies, poblados were identified with Spanish cities, whereby despoblados were associated with the not-yet controlled or insufficiently controlled Indigenous hinterland.
In Spanish imagination, this meant that they were chaotic and barbaric. Considered dangerous because not yet domesticated, their residents were said to live in a state of nature, more appropriate for animals than humans Scott ; Sluyter , In the Old World, despoblados were associated with abandonment, sterility, and desert.
In the Americas, they were also equated with inaccessibility and with the continuation of native control. They were therefore often designated as montes high land and quebradas uneven and open territory , regardless of what their geography was. Remote, uncontrolled, menacing, and resisting change were the characteristic they communicated, not a specific location. This could be the case because these designations did not describe a particular habitat but instead pointed to a political space that was insufficiently controlled, civilized, or Hispanized Mumford , As Inca Garcilaso de la Vega explained in his Royal Commentaries, while in Spain being of the mountains was a sign of prestige because it identified the natives of Asturias and Vizcaya, in the Americas it became a derogatory designation, which classified individuals as savages Garcilaso de la Vega , It also implied that these Indians lacked proper communities because the only legitimate form of settlement was the Spanish one.
These Indians would never become true political beings, and would never be part of the Hispanic commonwealth, if they would not be reduced to the right order. If what was at stake in theory were factual questions such as whether the individuals targeted were truly nomads, criminals, or dangerous, in practice what drove the resettlement campaigns was, above all, the conviction that what truly improved people was their integration into a formally constituted, self-governing community.
Following this assumption, those who were not members of local communities were considered to inhabit spaces external to the social, cultural, and political context. And, while the lack of local inscription produced disaster, integration in a community could operate miracles. Spanish and Spanish American archives are full of such examples that argued that, after they were resettled, both Indians and Spaniards were transformed from thieves into useful laborers, from heretics into believers, from barbarians into civilized people, and from foreigners into members.
They were not techniques developed in order to subject a colonial population, but rather an enterprise that was to guarantee the insertion of all the inhabitants into the Hispanic commonwealth. Colonialism was certainly a hurricane that left nothing standing.
However, the havoc and destruction it produced was often related to ideas and practices that also existed in Europe and that were also applied to its domestic population. These practices produced diverse results on either side of the ocean and had different effects depending on the targeted population.
But, unless we engage in a truly transatlantic analysis, any description we might offer of colonialism will be hollow, merely a product of our intellectual imagination.
Abercrombie, Thomas A. Pathways of Memory and Power. Ethnography and History among an Andean People. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. Aguilera Rojas, Javier Madrid: Mapfre. Borrow, George .
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