Black Lives in Early Colonial Peru

This project is closed. No applications are allowed.

Spanish archives show that by the later 1400s Iberian Christians were enslaving other peoples under a racial rubric ("black," "white"), and they quickly added "Indian" to their categories of enslavement after 1492. By the time Francisco Pizarro went to colonize the Inca Empire in 1532, the capture and enslavement of Native Americans represented a major activity by Spanish expeditions, and Pizarro and his captains sought and received permission to traffic enslaved men and women from Africa into Peru. (It is important to recognize that free people of color also participated in conquest expeditions in the Americas.) In the early decades of Spanish rule in the Andes, Spanish enslavement practices devastated indigenous Andean communities, moved native populations between different parts of the Spanish-ruled world, and built a large population of Afro-Peruvians of different statuses, including free people of color. This project seeks to assemble the published literature on these processes in order to identify new projects--archival studies, analysis of administrative records, even archaeological excavations--where additional research could promote a more diverse and inclusive reconstruction of the early years of Colonial Peru.


A knowledge of Spanish is preferred (and necessary for working with primary documents), although attempts would be made to include any students with an interest in the topic.


This project is exploratory, and students would potentially work on literature review. Students with an extended commitment to the project could learn paleography (old handwriting styles) and start to study archival manuscripts.

Typical Time Commitment
Desired Length of Commitment


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