This book provides new perspectives into a subject that historians have largely overlooked. The contributors use fresh archival research from Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, and the Philippines to examine the lives of slaves and farmworkers as well as self-serving magistrates, bishops, and traders in contraband. The authors show that corruption was a powerful discourse in the Atlantic world. Investigative judges could dismiss culprits, jail them, or, sometimes, have them "garroted and their corpses publicly displayed."
Christoph Rosenmüller is a professor of Latin American history at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. His books include Corruption and Justice in Colonial Mexico, 1650-1755, winner of the 2020 Alfred B. Thomas Award from SECOLAS for best book on any Latin American subject, and Corruption in the Iberian Empires: Greed, Custom, and Colonial Networks (UNM Press).
"This fascinating collection of detailed studies rests on archival research spanning more than two centuries of Iberian rule and provides insight into the changing meaning of corruption from the Río de la Plata to Mexico to the Philippine Islands."--Mark A. Burkholder, author of Spaniards in the Colonial Empire: Creoles vs. Peninsulars?
Introduction. Corruption, Abuse, and Justice in the Iberian Empires
Chapter One. Forgery and Tambos: False Documents, Imagined Incas, and the Making of Andean Space
Jeremy Ravi Mumford
Chapter Two. From Corrupt to Criminal: Reflections on the Great Potosí Mint Fraud of 1649
Chapter Three. Clients, Patrons, and Tribute: The Indigenous Aguilar Family in Mexico Tenochtitlan, 1644-1689
William F. Connell
Chapter Four. Portraits of Bad Officials: Malfeasance in Visita Sentences from Seventeenth-Century Santo Domingo
Chapter Five. "The Execrable Offense of Fraud or Bribery": Corrupt Judges and Common People in the Visita of Imperial Mexico (1715-1727)
Chapter Six. "Our Delivery Consists in Appointing Good Ministers": Corruption and the Dilemmas of Appointing Officials in Early Eighteenth-Century Spain
Francisco A. Eissa-Barroso
Chapter Seven. Custom, Corruption, and Reform in Early Eighteenth-Century Mexico: Puebla's Merchant Priests versus the Reformist Bureaucrat
Frances L. Ramos
Chapter Eight. Merchant-Bureaucrats, Unwritten Contracts, and Fraud in the Manila Galleon Trade
Catherine Tracy Goode
Chapter Nine. Addicted to Smuggling: Contraband Trade in Eighteenth-Century Brazil and Rio de la Plata