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The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves of El Cobre: Negotiating Freedom in Colonial Cuba, 1670-1780 (Cultural Sitings)

Maria Elena Diaz

7 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0804737185 / ISBN 13: 9780804737180
Published by Stanford Univ Pr, 2000
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Virgin, the King, and the Royal Slaves ...

Publisher: Stanford Univ Pr

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

Edition: y First edition.

About this title


This book tells the extraordinary story of a village of peasants and miners in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Cuba who were slaves belonging to the king of Spain and whose local patroness was a miraculous image of the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre. In reconstructing this history, the book reveals that in Cuba's eastern region, slavery to the King became a very ambiguous form of slavery that evolved into forms of freedom unprecedented in other colonial societies of the New World.

The author studies the relations that developed between the Virgin, the King, and the royal slaves as the enslaved villagers imagined and negotiated social identity and freedom in this Caribbean frontier society. In the process, she examines several dimensions of the royal slaves' daily and imaginary lives. Drawing on a range of cultural, social, political, and economic sources, this book presents a multisided history of enslaved people as they remade colonial spaces and turned them into a new homeland in El Cobre. As they produced social memory and appropriated popular religious traditions centered on the Virgin of Charity, they reinvented their past and present as a new people within the structures and strictures of Spain's colonial world.

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“This is an outstanding, highly original piece of work that should appeal to a very wide audience, given the great variety of themes the author discusses: slavery, freedom, legality, status, gender roles, authority, marginality, religion, social structure, colonial society, Cuban history, Caribbean history, and early Spanish colonial history.”—Franklin W. Knight, Johns Hopkins University
“This fascinating book treats issues of broad, interdisciplinary significance in original and stimulating ways, lending historical depth and concreteness to problems that are often pursued too abstractly. This is the best sort of history, one that will have an impact on the historical study of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as on the fields of anthropology and cultural studies.”—Ana María Alonso, University of Arizona

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