Justice by Insurance

Justice by Insurance

The General Indian Court of Colonial Mexico and the Legal Aides of the Half-real

Book - 1983
Rate this:
As Western Europe expanded its empires in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it came to dominate many peoples, especially in America, whose cultures and legal systems differed dramatically from its own. The resulting conflicts of both law and custom posed difficult problems: How could these conflicting laws and customs be adjusted within a common political administration? And, in particular, how could legal remedy be provided for groups of lesser political weight? Woodrow Borah vividly depicts one of the more unusual institutions that arose in response to these problems--the General Indian Court of New Spain. In what is today Mexico, the conquering Spaniards had at first attempted to preserve such Indian customs as were deemed not contrary to reason or Christianity. However, as interpreted by Spanish judges, so much turned out to be "contrary" to these standards that native customs were soon recast in largely Spanish norms. At the same time, the conquered Indians discovered the uses of the Spanish courts, unleashing a flood of litigation. The ensuing social and economic upheaval sparked great concern among Spanish administrators and jurists. The result was the establishment of the General Indian Court, a remarkably innovative special jurisdiction vested in the viceroy and corps of legal aides. Expenses were paid from a small contribution by each Indian family--in effect, legal insurance. Woodrow Borah analyzes the kinds of cases that came before this court, the decisions it reached, and the policies underlying these decisions. He enriches this study by examining the separate but parallel structures in the Yucatan peninsula and on the seigneurial estate of Hern#65533;n Cort#65533;s, and by comparing the General Indian Court to the tribunals of Guadalajara, which had no similar special arrangements.

The development of the General Indian Court and the relation of the legal aides to their Indian clients and to other lawyers form a complicated story of both service and exploitation and contribute an important chapter to the history of colonial Mexico.
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c1983
ISBN: 9780520048454
0520048458
Branch Call Number: 347.7201 BORAH
Characteristics: xviii, 479 p. ; 24 cm

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at SAPL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top