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Columbus's Outpost among the TainosSpain and America at La Isabela, 1493-1498$
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Kathleen Deagan and Jose Maria Cruxent

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780300090406

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300090406.001.0001

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A Spartan Domesticity: Household Life in La Isabela's Bohíos

A Spartan Domesticity: Household Life in La Isabela's Bohíos

(p.131) Chapter 7 A Spartan Domesticity: Household Life in La Isabela's Bohíos
Columbus's Outpost among the Tainos

Kathleen Deagan

José María Cruxent

Yale University Press

This chapter highlights the differences of La Isabela from other fifteenth-century towns in its virtually all-male population and its utterly isolated frontier position. It was nevertheless a community of people with many of the concerns common to households and communities everywhere: cooking and eating, household organization, health and sanitation, religious life, personal appearance, social hierarchy, leisure activities, and personal economy. What little we know about how the people at La Isabela dealt with these issues comes from the archaeological record. La Isabela's chroniclers wrote of virtually nothing about life in the town other than the starvation, sickness, and misery of its residents. While their focus is understandable, it ignored most of what was happening on a daily basis in the town, and it is the material world of La Isabela that reveals the cultural practices and texture of daily life there in the late fifteenth century.

Keywords:   fifteenth-century towns, La Isabela, all-male population, isolated frontier position, archaeological record, misery, cultural practices

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