Chronologies for each part appear after the part-title page.


General Editor: R.I. Moore

*The Origins of Human Society
Peter Bogucki

*A History of India
Burton Stein

A History of South-East Asia
Anthony Reid

A History of China
Morris Rossabi

*A History of Japan
Conrad Totman

*A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific
Donald Denoon, Philippa Mein-Smith & Marivic Wyndham

A History of the Eastern Mediterranean
Nicholas Doumanis

The Western Mediterranean and the World
Teofilo F Ruiz

A History of Western Europe
Robin Briggs

A History of Central and Northern Europe
Robert Frost

*A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume I
David Christian

A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia: Volume II
David Christian

A History of the Ancient Americas
Fred Spier

*A History of Latin America
Third edition: A History of Latin America to 1825
Peter Bakewell

Foundations of the Modern World
R.I. Moore

The Early Modern World
Sanjay Subrahmanyam

*The Birth of the Modern World
C. A. Bayly

The Crisis of the Modern World
C. A. Bayly

* Denotes title published



WE see here what was undoubtedly the most famous hill anywhere in the Spanish empire: the Cerro Rico, or “Rich Hill,” of Potosí high up in the eastern Andes of what is now Bolivia. The source of the Cerro’s fame, and also of the envy that it inspired in Spain’s enemies, was the enormous amount of silver ore that it contained. Between 1545, when Spaniards first found ores here, and the 1650s, about half of the immense amount of silver that Spanish America produced came from Potosí. Many mine openings can be seen below the peak of the Cerro. Herds of llamas carry ore down to refineries where the silver is extracted. By the late 1500s (probably the time of this picture) Potosí had almost a hundred refineries. It was an industrial city. A typical refinery is in the foreground. Ore is finely crushed by a stamp-mill, and is then combined with mercury in the tanks at the bottom left. The silver in the resulting silver–mercury amalgam can then be isolated by heating, which removes the mercury by evaporation. The refinery is operated by skilled native workers, probably wage laborers. Forced native workers did most of the actual mining.

For Max and Nicholas

par nobile fratrum


The Bolivian altiplano (c. 4,000 meters) near La Paz, looking east to the peaks of the Cordillera Real of the Andes
An Andean volcano: Misti (c. 5,800 meters) in southern Peru, with the town of Arequipa in the foreground
The Cerro Rico (Rich Hill) of Potosí (Bolivia), seen from a square in an Indian quarter of the town
Sucre, capital of Bolivia until the end of the nineteenth century, and before that, as La Plata, seat of the Audiencia of Charcas
An Andean hacienda: Cayara, in a high valley near Potosí (Bolivia)
Interior ranges of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico: the valley of the Bolaños river (state of Jalisco)
The volcano Popocatépetl seen from the roofs of Puebla, in central Mexico
Seated hunchback holding a mirror, a ceramic figurine from Las Bocas (Puebla, Mexico) in the Olmec style dating from 1000 to 500 BC
Maya “eccentric” flint, probably from the Late Classic period (eighth and ninth centuries AD) and the Petén (northern Guatemala or southern Belize)
Aztec rattlesnake, carved from basalt, with day-signs incised into it
Impersonator of Xipe Totec, “our lord with the flayed skin,” a powerful Aztec fertility god
Ceramic stirrup-spout vessel with a scroll ornament, from the north coast of Peru, but in the Chavín style
Part of the lower wall of Sacsahuaman, just outside Cuzco in Peru
Quipu: an example of the device made of knotted, colored strings used in the Andes to record information
The Annunciation, by Cristóbal de Villalpando (Mexico, c. 1650–1714)
Archangel with a Matchlock Gun, Salamiel Paxdei (“peace of God”)
Archangel Michael Triumphant, a seventeenth-century polychromed mahogany sculpture
Our Lady of Pomata. A painting of the miracle-working statue of the Virgin of the Rosary at Pomata, a small town on the west shore of Lake Titicaca in Peru
St. Augustine defeating heresy, represented by Martin Luther
Biblical prophets in front of the church of Bom Jesus de Matozinhos, at Congonhas do Campo, Brazil, sculptured in soapstone (1800–5)
View of the Plaza Mayor of Mexico City, 1797, by José Joaquín Fabregat
An early example of the invasion of north European taste: Mexican-made chairs (1750–1800) in the “Mexican Chippendale” style
An eighteenth-century Peruvian table, of cedar
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City
The Capilla de los Reyes (Chapel of the Kings), 1718–37, in the Cathedral of Mexico City
The facade of the cathedral of Zacatecas, in mid-northern Mexico, c.1750
San Francisco, at Acatepec in central Mexico, c. 1730
The Santuario de la Virgen (Sanctuary of the Virgin), at Ocotlán (near Tlaxcala in central Mexico), c. 1745
The central portal of the church of San Lorenzo, Potosí (Bolivia), 1728–44
The mission church of Yaguarón, near Asunción (Paraguay), 1761–84
Yaguarón, interior view
Chapel of the Third Order of St. Francis at São João del Rei, Brazil, by O Aleijadinho, 1774
Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Greater in the guise of Moor killer)
Don Antonio de Mendoza, first viceroy of New Spain (1535–49)
Don Francisco de Toledo, fifth viceroy of Peru (1569–81)
St. Rose of Lima, canonized in 1671, the first American-born saint
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, scholar and greatest of colonial Mexican poets
Equestrian statue of Charles IV
Simón Bolívar (1783–1830) late in his career
José de San Martín (1778–1850), with his staff
Indigenous and alien still at odds: Bolivian Indians versus donkey
Young llamas in Bolivia
A modern example of the three-roller mill for crushing sugar cane, in Santa Cruz (eastern Bolivia)
Casta painting: De Mulato y Española, Morisco (“From Mulatto and Spanish Woman, Morisco”), by Francisco Clapera, c. 1785
Casta painting. De Español e India nace Mestiza (“From Spaniard and Indian Woman is Born a Mestiza”), by Francisco Clapera, c. 1785
A Dominican friar with an Indian weaving woman in the central Andes


South America in the mid seventeenth century: mountains, rivers, large towns, and audiencia districts
Middle America in the mid seventeenth century: mountains, large towns, and audiencia districts
Major movements of conquest and settlement in Spanish America (general directions rather than precise routes, are shown)
Colonial Mexico: principal towns and regions
North-west South America, showing current national boundaries
Colonial Brazil


View of the Peruvian montaña from Machu Picchu
Terracing at Pisac in the Vilcanota valley, Peru
Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán, Mexico
The North Acropolis at Tikal, Guatemala
Franciscan church at Tepeaca, Mexico
Detail of the main portal of the monastic church of San Francisco, Lima
Antonio José de Sucre Alcalá, 1795–1830: bronze statue, Plaza Mayor, Sucre, Bolivia


THERE is nothing new about the attempt to understand history as a whole. To know how humanity began and how it has come to its present condition, to grasp its relation to nature and its place in the cosmos, is one of the oldest and most universal of human needs, expressed in the religious and philosophical systems of every civilization. Only in the last few decades, however, has it begun to appear both necessary and possible to meet that need by means of a rational and systematic appraisal of attainable knowledge. History claimed its independence as an autonomous field of scholarship, with its own subject matter and its own rules and methods, and not just a branch of literature, rhetoric, law, philosophy, or religion, in the second half of the nineteenth century. World History began to do so in only the closing decades of the twentieth. Its emergence was delayed on the one hand by simple ignorance – because the history of enormous stretches of space and time had been known not at all, or so patchily and superficially as not to be worth revisiting – and on the other by the lack of an acceptable basis upon which to organize and present what knowledge there was.

Both obstacles are now being rapidly overcome. There is almost no part of the world, or period of its history, that is not the subject of vigorous and sophisticated investigation by archaeologists and historians. It is truer than ever before that knowledge is growing and perspectives changing and multiplying more quickly than it is possible to assimilate and record them in synthetic form. Nevertheless, the attempt to grasp the human past as a whole can, and must, be made. A world which faces a common future of headlong and potentially catastrophic transformation needs its common history. At the same time, since we have ceased to believe, as the pioneers of “scientific” history did a century ago, that a complete or definitive account is ultimately attainable by the mere accumulation of information, we are free to offer the best we can manage at the moment. And since we no longer suppose that it is our business as historians to detect or proclaim “The End of History” in the fruition of any grand design, human or divine, there is no single path to trace, or golden key to turn. There is also a growing wealth of ways in which world history can be written. The oldest and simplest view, that world history is best understood as the history of contacts between peoples previously isolated from one another, from which (some think) all change arises, is now seen to be capable of application since the earliest times. An influential alternative focusses upon the tendency of economic exchanges to create selfsufficient but ever expanding “worlds” which sustain successive systems of power and culture. Another seeks to understand the differences between societies and cultures, and therefore the particular character of each, by comparing the ways in which they have developed their values, social relationships, and structures of power.

The Blackwell History of the World does not seek to embody any of these approaches, but to support them all, as it will use them all, by providing a modern, comprehensive, and accessible account of the entire human past. Its plan is that of a barrel, in which the indispensable narratives of very long term regional development are bound together by global surveys of the interaction between regions, and the great transformations which they have experienced in common, or visited upon one another. Each volume, of course, reflects the idiosyncrasies of its sources and its subjects, as well as the judgment and experience of its author. In combination some two dozen volumes will offer a framework in which the history of every part of the world can be viewed and most aspects of human activity can be compared, at different times and in different cultures. A frame imparts perspective; comparison implies respect for difference. That is the beginning of what the past has to offer to the future.

The history of Middle and South America is by no means easy to fit into a framework of world history. To an even greater extent than other histories it is dominated, at least in the imagination of outsiders, by a few spectacular images – the exotic splendor of the Aztec and Inca civilizations, and the fabulous wealth their destruction promised to the first European arrivals; the devastation of native populations by conquest and disease, and their replacement by African slaves; the miseries of plantation economies, the heady triumphs of early revolution and the failure of the nations born of them – especially by inevitable comparison with their North American counterparts – to establish stable and powerful political and economic structures in its wake. But if generalizations are easy the reality that lies behind them is bewilderingly complicated. A geography of extremes was uncongenial to communication, and its North/South axis made cultural transmission and adaptation much harder and slower than in Eurasia, where migrants from East to West had to cope with correspondingly more gradual changes in climate and conditions. An ecology in itself both various and fragile was devastated and remodeled by conquest and its consequences. Geography and ecology presented every imaginable combination of circumstance and environment to their human inhabitants, themselves infinitely variable in their cultural and ethnic inheritances. The dazzling civilizations encountered by the conquistadores had developed quite recently, for the Neolithic revolution had come late to the Americas, most of whose inhabitants retained much less developed lifestyles. The European colonists brought with them contrasting cultural and political inheritances,and constructed highly differentiated economies, which they supplied with labor on a vast scale from Africa, but also in the nineteenth century from India and China. Even without the conflicting pressures from the world beyond it is hardly remarkable that societies composed of such various ingredients have experienced such extremes of wealth and poverty, in their cultural and political as well as in their economic history. To the historian, whose most difficult task is always to strike the proper balance between the general and the particular, they pose a peculiarly unnerving challenge. Peter Bakewell has responded to it with an account of formidable composure and reassuring clarity.

R. I. Moore


THE two earlier editions of this history of Latin America carried the story into the twentieth century. This new edition ends with the achievement of political independence by almost all the countries in the years 1810–1825. Discussion of native American peoples before the European explorations, conquests, and settlements has been expanded. A section has been added on those aspects of African history that bear on the slave trade to the Americas, and there is now fuller treatment of Africans and their descendants in Spanish America. Above all, the previous inadequacy of the discussion of the history of women and gender in colonial Iberoamerica has been remedied by Jacqueline Holler, for whose expert additions I am most grateful. Dr. Holler also suggested needed improvements to various passages on other aspects of social history.

I would like to restate here my gratitude to friends and colleagues who helped me with the colonial parts of the first and second editions – Michael Conniff, Brooke Larson, Donna Pierce, Laurel Seth, the late Mary Elizabeth Smith, Susan Socolow, Karen Stolley, Sharon Strocchia, and William Taylor. In preparing this new edition I have benefited greatly from the knowledge and advice of Dennis Cordell, Alan Covey, Adam Herring, David Meltzer, Frank Proctor III, Susan Ramírez, Ben Vinson, and David Weber. The gaps that remain in this telling of Latin America’s pre-colonial and colonial history, along with misunderstandings and mistakes that readers will surely find, are of my own doing.

I am grateful also to the members of the Wiley-Blackwell editorial staff with whom I have consulted while working on this new version of the book: Tessa Harvey, Peter Coveney, and Deirdre Ilkson and Galen Smith, his assistants. They have been generous with advice, patience, and encouragement.

Finally, my thanks to my family for putting up with my bouts of author’s distraction, impatience, and ill humor; and particularly to Susan not only for that, but for her guidance on the history of art, for reading various parts of this and the earlier versions, and for her perceptive and always helpful comments.

Peter Bakewell
Dallas, August 2008


REFERENCES to the Recopilación de Leyes de los Reinos de las Indias are given in the order book, title, law. Thus Recopilación, 1.2.3 means book 1, title 2, law 3.

“Peso,” in the context of the colonial centuries, means the Spanish peso de a ocho, or “piece of eight” (see Glossary). Amounts given originally in some other denomination have been converted to pesos of this sort.

“Indian” is widely used to mean the people resident in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans, and the descendants of those same people. The term is of course inaccurate; Columbus was the perpetrator of the misidentification. But other possibilities (“Amerinds,” “Native Americans,” “indigenes,” and so on) seem awkward or ugly.

South America in the mid seventeenth century: mountains, rivers, large towns, and audiencia districts


Middle America in the mid seventeenth century: mountains, large towns, and audiencia districts


Major movements of conquest and settlement in Spanish America (general directions rather than precise routes, are shown)


Colonial Mexico: principal towns and regions


North-west South America, showing current national boundaries


Colonial Brazil





12,500 BP (before present) Most recent date accepted for the first arrival in the Americas of people from Asia. Arrivals may have occurred up to 20,000 years earlier

c.10,000 BP Earliest date for first plant cultivation in the Americas (Guitarrero cave, Peru)

9,000–6,800 BP Time range for first cultivation of maize

c.4,000 BP End of “Archaic” phase of human development in the Americas

c.4,000 BP to c.AD 0 “Formative” or “Pre-Classic” phase of human development in the Americas

c.3,800 BP First appearance of Olmec culture, at San Lorenzo (southern Mexico)

c.3,000 BP First human occupation of the Chavín site in the Peruvian Andes

c.200 BC–c.AD 650 Rise, florescence, and fall of Teotihuacán

c.200 BC–c.AD 900 Rise, florescence, and fall of the Classic Maya

c.100 BC–c.AD 100 Start of Classic period in Middle America (corresponding to “Early Intermediate” to “Middle Horizon” in the central Andes)

c.100 BC–AD 1000 Rise, florescence, and fall of Tiwanaku

AD 711 Moorish incursion into Spain begins

c.AD 900–late 1400s Rise, florescence, and fall of Chimú culture in northern Peru

c.AD 900–early 1500s Post-Classic period of native cultures (Middle America) corresponding to “Late Intermediate” to “Late Horizon” periods in central Andes

c.AD 1000 Norsemen reach North America

1200s Moors expelled from Portugal. Moors in Spain restricted to the Emirate of Granada

Late 1200s Catalan voyages to north-west Africa, and possibly a Genoese visit to the Canaries

1320–50 Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco, the Aztec capital, begins to rise

1393 Castilian exploration of Canaries

c.1400 Start of Inca imperial expansion

early 1400s First caravels built in Iberia

1415 Portuguese capture of Ceuta in North Africa

1420s Portuguese settle Madeira

late 1420s Formation of the Triple Alliance, the basis of Aztec expansion

1427 Definitive discovery of the Azores by the Portuguese

1444 Portuguese reach Cape Verde, westernmost point of Africa

1460s Substantial settlement of Azores by Portugal

1469 Marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon

1479 Treaty of Alcáçovas: Castile’s rights to the Canaries, and Portugal’s to the Azores, Cape Verdes, and Madeira, mutually accepted

1487 Dedication of the Great Temple in Tenochtitlan

1488 Bartolomeu Dias rounds southern Africa, for Portugal

1492 Spanish conquest of Granada; expulsion of Jews from Spain; Columbus’s first voyage to America

1494 Treaty of Tordesillas: Castile and Portugal partition exploration and exploitation of the world (Portugal, east of c.50°W; Castile, west of that meridian)

1504 Death of Isabella


The basic work on Latin American geography is still Preston James, Latin America. Harold Blakemore and Clifford T. Smith (eds), Latin America: Geographical Perspectives, provides essays on regions by specialists; see also Robert B. Kent, Latin America: Regions and People.

The first volume of Leslie Bethell (ed.), The Cambridge History of Latin America, has chapters on native cultures before the arrival of Europeans. See also The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, volume 2: Mesoamerica, edited by Richard E. W. Adams and Murdo MacLeod, and volume 3: South America, edited by Frank Salomon and Stuart B. Schwartz, and, more briefly, Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., America in 1492, and Karen Olsen Bruhns, Ancient South America. Of the many works available on the Aztecs, the most engaging is Inga Clendinnen, Aztecs: An Interpretation. A more recent general account is Michael E. Smith, The Aztecs. On the Incas, see María Rostworowski de Diez Canseco, History of the Inca Realm, Terence D’Altroy, The Incas, and Michael E. Moseley, The Incas and their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Peru. The sixteenth-century view of the Incas provided by Garcilaso de la Vega, Royal Commentaries of the Incas, remains fascinating. Aspects of Inca and Aztec culture are compared by Geoffrey W. Conrad and Arthur A. Demarest in Religion and Empire.

Generally for exploration, see John. H. Parry, The Age of Reconnaissance and The Discovery of the Sea. For Portuguese explorations, Bailey W. Diffie and George D. Winius, Foundations of the Portuguese Empire, 1415–1580, and A. H. de Oliveira Marques, History of Portugal. For Portugal and Spain, Charles Verlinden, The Beginnings of Modern Colonization. For Spain, Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Ferdinand and Isabella; Peggy K. Liss, Isabel the Queen; David A. Boruchoff (ed.), Isabel la Católica, Queen of Castile: Critical Essays; and J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469–1716. For Africa, John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400–1800.