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Nuptiality in Latin America

even first cousins required special permission to marry (e.g.

Bernand and

Gruzinski

1996).

The

levirate

was

forbidden.

However,

somet

imes the Church

went further to outlaw the marriage of Europeans to Indians,

even Catholic

Indians,

and

often

demanded

a

high

price

for

a

wedding.

Thus

, even when some

Europeans wanted to formally marry Indians, they were prohibi

ted from doing so

by miscegenation laws, Church rule, or just the expense of a

religious

ceremony.

The second situation was that the Europeans were predomi

nantly men,

perhaps six men to every woman, and many of these, even marri

ed ones, wanted

and did have relations with aboriginal women (Bernand and Gru

zinski 1996;

McCaa

1994).

We

might

think

of

true

marriage

as

being

betwee

n equals (more or

less) but these relations were between conqueror and conquere

d.

Today

the

population of many areas is predominantly a mixture of white

and Indian blood,

the

people

called

mestizo.

For

a

variety

of

reasons,

many

of

these people

historically were not the product of formal marriages per se.

And despite the

fact that the current ratio of

males to females is much more equal, the custom

that men might have a marriage

and

extra-marital

relations

persists.

It

is

this persistence that we shall

explore further.

Our story is not finished

yet however because the situation was further

complicated by the importation

of African slaves to work on Spanish or

Portuguese

plantations.

Africans

had

yet

other

marital

customs

(including

polygamy and bride-price) that were ignored by the plantation owners, and

slaves

were

also

predominantly

male.

While

slaves

might

have

been

encouraged

to marry each other, there often was a striking sex imbalance that could only

be

solved

by

other

means

(Love

1978).

Also,

it

was

not

uncommon

for

a

plantation owner to have a European family by legal marriage and another

family (or families) by less legal means (see also Nazzari 1996), or for a son

of the owner to be initiated into sexual relations by a slave (see also Smith

8

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