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Defining NationsImmigrants and Citizens in Early Modern Spain and Spanish America$
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Tamar Herzog

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300092530

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300092530.001.0001

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Vecindad: From Castile to Spanish America

Vecindad: From Castile to Spanish America

(p.43) 3 Vecindad: From Castile to Spanish America
Defining Nations

Tamar Herzog

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the Spanish conquistadors who, after their arrival in the New World, proclaimed royal jurisdiction over the land and founded new settlements. Standing in open territory and in the presence of notaries when these were available, expedition commanders announced that, under the authority received from the king, viceroy, or governor, they were founding a settlement. They then set the territorial jurisdiction of the community, nominating the local authorities and dividing the land by plots, assigning sites for the main square, local council hall, and jail. Asking those present if they wished to become citizens, commanders announced that they could do so by presenting themselves to the authorities in the following days. Through this ceremony, new communities came into being before the first cornerstone was ever laid.

Keywords:   royal jurisdiction, Spanish conquistadors, New World, notaries, expedition commanders, territorial jurisdiction

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