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alcalde: holder of one of the major offices in the urban government; magistrate

alférez: ensign; member of the municipal government whose duty was to carry the standard on ceremonial occasions; a highly coveted office

alguacil mayor: senior municipal constable

audiencia: high court; highest resident royal governing body of Spanish America, functioning as administrative body and court of appeal; also the territory governed by the high court

auto de fe: ceremony in which the Holy Office of the Inquisition announced and/or carried out its sentences, generally though not always public

ayuntamiento: municipal government; synonymous with CABILDO

Aztec: popular name for the empire centred on the city-state TENOCHTITLAN, whose people called themselves the MEXICA

barrio: neighborhood

beata: woman who wore a religious habit, lived a religious life, and may have taken formal or informal vows, particularly concerning chastity; in English, beguine

beaterio: house in which one or more BEATAs lived, generally uncloistered; beguinage

caballería: unit of land measurement, approximately 105 acres

cabildo (or cabildo secular): municipal government; synonymous with AYUNTAMIENTO

cabildo eclesiástico: cathedral chapter or governing council of a cathedral, assisting the bishop in his duties

cacique: native leader, generally a noble or notable

capellana: nun who served a CAPELLANIA

capellanía: chaplaincy; an endowment that provided a certain yearly income in return for spiritual services

capitalinos: inhabitants of Mexico City (modern usage)

Casa de Contratación: the body established in Seville in 1503 to oversee trade and travel between Spain and America

castas: Africans and those of mixed race

cédula: decree or authorization, generally royal (real cédula)

censo: lien or encumbrance on property, generally to yield annual income

clausura: cloistering

cofradía: religious brotherhood or sodality made up of laymen (and sometimes laywomen), usually to support a particular cult or festival

cofrade: member of a COFRADíA

colegialas: scholarship or charity recipients

colegio: school, generally a secondary school

comisario general (commissary general): high authority of the Franciscan order, with power over the provincials and subordinate to the superior general

costumbrismo: writing about local customs and manners; in a historian, devotion to such details; hence costumbrista

Council of the Indies: the body that governed Spanish America, resident in Seville, Spain; next to the King, the highest authority in matters American

Council of Trent: the council (1545-1563) that drafted the series of measures for the reform and rejuvenation of the Catholic Church generally known as the Counter-Reformation or Catholic Reformation

criada/criado: generally, dependent (from criar, "to raise,"), usually a servant

criolla/criollo: creole; that is, American-born Spaniard

crypto-Jew: individual who practices Judaism (illegal in New Spain)

de levi: lightly; a lesser abjuration than de vehementi, which connoted serious wrongdoing

depositada: a woman "deposited" for safekeeping

doctrina: (a) religious doctrine; (b) an Indian parish administered by friars

donada/donado: lay sister/brother

dowry: money or property granted to woman (usually by parents) for her support upon entering marriage or religious life

ejemplo: "example"; (a) modeling good (particularly Christian) behavior; (b) a teaching play used (especially by the Franciscans) to dramatize the importance of such behavior and promote "proper" conduct

emparedimiento: RECOGIMIENTO or BEATERIO, usually cloistered

encerramiento: enclosure or confinement; (a) the ritual of closing a newly established convent; (b) RECOGIMIENTO or BEATERIO, usually informal

encomienda: grant to Spanish settler of authority over Indians for the purpose of tribute collection and (in the early colony) labor extraction; obliged the holder to Christianize and protect the Indians

encomendero: holder of an ENCOMIENDA

escribano: scribe, notary

fiscal: adviser or legal counsel

flamenco: Flemish

flota: the regularly scheduled fleet that sailed from Spain to Vera Cruz

friar: member of a Mendicant (begging) religious order

Friars Minor: Franciscans

gachupín/gachupina: Spaniard (born in Spain); also peninsular

gente de razón: "people of reason"; generally, Spaniards

hidalgo: gentleman, petty nobleman

indígena: indigenous person (modern usage); a term acceptable in modern usage

indio: Indian, one bearing a special legal status under Spanish colonial law; generally a pejorative term in modern usage

internado: boarder

limpieza de sangre: "purity of blood"; generally, the absence of Jewish ancestry

maestra: teacher

maestrescuela: member of the CABILDO ECLESIASTICO in charge of cathedral school

mayorazgo: an entailed estate, created to prevent fragmentation of family wealth

mayordomo: majordomo or administrator, particularly in financial matters

merced: "mercy"; royal grant or gift

mestizaje: race mixture; miscegenation

mestiza/mestizo: person of mixed race, generally describing a Spanish/Indian mixture

Mexica: the name used by the people who inhabited TENOCHTITLAN and ruled the "AZTEC" empire; the people known popularly as Aztecs

Moctezuma (also Motecuhzoma): tlatoani or "emperor" of the MEXICA during the conquest, known as Montezuma in English

morisca/morisco: "Moor"; person of Muslim ancestry

mulata/mulato: person of mixed African/Spanish ancestry

naturales: "natives"; when used this way, usually meaning Indians, though it was customary for Spaniards to describe themselves as "natural" of a city or region

New Spain: the Spanish colony (viceroyalty) corresponding roughly to the territory of modern Mexico, though its jurisdiction included the Philippines and parts of Central America, the Caribbean, and the modern United States of America; Mexico City was its capital

Old Christians: those without Jewish or Muslim ancestry (see LIMPIEZA DE SANGRE)

oidor: judge of the AUDIENCIA

Peru: the Spanish colony (viceroyalty) encompassing (until 1739) the entirety of Spanish South America and modern Panama

peso: monetary unit used within New Spain, though (confusingly) of different varieties

petate: straw mat

plaza mayor: the main plaza of a city

principal: native noble or notable, member of the Indian elite

procurador mayor: senior solicitor of the urban government

protomédico:in this period, offical appointed by the cabildo to oversee matters medical

provincial: governor of a religious order's province

provisor: chief judge (in church matters) of a diocese, and assistant to the bishop

pupilas: boarding school students

recogimiento: (a) "house of penitence": a place where women were collected and enclosed to "remedy" their defects

regidor: alderman or councillor of the CABILDO

regular clergy: members of religious orders, who live according to a rule (regula)

relación: narrative; official account

religiosa: roughly, nun, but could also mean more generally "religious woman"

república de españoles: "republic of Spaniards": all non-Indians; Spaniards, Africans, and those of mixed race

república de indios: "Indian republic": Indians, particularly those living in villages and native communities

secular clergy: diocesan priests, subject to the authority of the bishop

solar: city lot

Tenochtitlan: the Mexica (Aztec) city-state that dominated Central Mexico at the time of Spanish conquest; the city that became Mexico City and was called México-Tenochtitlan for much of the sixteenth century

traza: city center, laid out on the gridiron pattern typical of Spanish America (and decreed by law)

tridentine: influenced by the decrees and/or spirit of the COUNCIL OF TRENT

vecino: citizen or resident of a city; formally, someone granted this status by the municipal council, thus generally propertied and Spanish

viceroy: the supreme representative of royal authority; an appointee resident within a viceroyalty and exercising royal power

vida: "life"; a formal biography or resumé of an individual's life

vida común: the communal life of convents in the early colonial period, in contrast to the later vida particular or private life

visita: (a) pastoral visit or inspection carried out by bishop or someone acting on his behalf; (b) royal inspection by appointed inspector, generally to investigate a specific problem; (c) church or community with a non-resident pastor

visitador: inspector; one appointed to conduct a VISITA

zócalo: Mexico's plaza mayor



Escogidas Plantas: Nuns and Beatas in Mexico City, 1531-1601