This book is primarily concerned with the construction of a community of natives of the kingdoms of Spain, one that in the early nineteenth century would be defined as the “Spanish community.” The book argues that this community emerged as a result of the establishment of a distinction between immigrants who were willing to integrate themselves into the community and take on both the rights and duties of membership, and those who were not. In the Middle Ages, this distinction applied only to immigrants. In the early modern period, however, it became instrumental in defining the status of people already living in the community. The distinction between “good” and “bad” immigrants was first elaborated in Castilian localities, where it found expression in the term vecino, designating people who were entitled to certain rights as long as they complied with certain duties.
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