Limpieza de sangre: Wikis

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Limpieza de sangre is also a novel in the Captain Alatriste series by Arturo Pérez-Reverte.

Limpieza de sangre (in Spanish), Limpeza de sangue (in Portuguese), both meaning "cleanliness of blood" played an important role in modern Iberian history. It referred to those who were considered pure "Old Christians", without Jewish or Muslim ancestors.

Contents

After the Reconquista

After the end of the Reconquista and the expulsion or conversion of Sephardim (Jews) and Mudejars (Muslims), the population of Portugal and Spain was all nominally Christian. However, the ruling class and much of the populace distrusted the recently-converted "New Christians," referring to them as conversos or marranos if they were baptized Jews or descended from them, or Moriscos if they were baptized Muslims or descended from them. A commonly-leveled accusation was that the New Christians were false converts, secretly practicing their former religion as Crypto-Jews or Crypto-Muslims. Nevertheless, the concept of cleanliness of blood came to be more focused on ancestry than of personal religion. The first statute of purity of blood appeared in Toledo, 1449[1], where an anti-Converso riot succeeded in obtaining a ban on Conversos from most official positions. Initially these statutes were condemned by the monarchy and the Church. In 1496, Alexander VI approved a purity statute for the Hieronymite Order[1].

This stratification meant that the Old Christian commoners could assert a right to honor even if they were not in the nobility. The religious and military orders, guilds and other organizations incorporated in their bylaws clauses demanding proof of cleanliness of blood. Upwardly mobile New Christian families had to either contend with their plight, or bribe and falsify documents attesting generations of good Christian ancestry. The Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions were more concerned with repressing the New Christians and heresy than chasing witches, which was considered to be more a psychological than a religious issue, or Protestantism, which was promptly suffocated.

The claim to universal hidalguía (lowest nobility) of the Basques was justified by erudites like Manuel de Larramendi (1690-1766)[2] because the Arab invasion hadn't reached the Basque territories, so it was believed that Basques had maintained their original purity, while the rest of Spain was suspect of miscegenation. In fact, the Arab invasion also reached the Basque country and there had been a significant Jewish minority in Navarre, but the hidalguía helped many Basques to official positions in the administration[3].

Even in the 19th century, the Basque nationalism of Sabino Arana[4] demanded a list of original Basque surnames to rule out mixes with Spaniards. In this case the motivation was to create a Basque identity to claim independence from Spain, depicting often other Spaniards as imperialistic invaders and oppressors of the Basque people.

Tests of limpieza de sangre had begun to lose their utility by the 19th century, rarely did persons have to endure the grueling inquisitions into distant parentage through birth records. However, laws to officially suppress these tests were late in adoption. For example an edict of 8 March, 1804 by King Ferdinand VII resolved that no knight of the Military Orders could wed without having a council vouch for the limpieza de sangre of his spouse[5].

Official suppression of such entry requirements for the Army were enacted into law in 16 May, 1865 [6], and extended to naval appointments on 31 August, of the same year. In 5 November, 1865, a decree allowed children born out of wedlock or illegitimate, for whom ancestry could not be verified, to be able to enter into religious higher education (canons)[7]. In 26 October, 1866, the test of blood purity were outlawed for the purposes of determining who could be admitted to college education. In 20 March, 1870, a decree suppressed all use of blood purity standards in determining eligibility to any government position or any licensed profession[8].

The rise to power of Francisco Franco and the Falange, which had developed alliances to the racist governments of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, there was some renewed focus by the government on the "unity" of the Spaniards under one religion and one people. However, no statutes were officially enacted to enforce racial purity. The discrimination was still present into the twentieth century in some places like Majorca. No Xueta (descendants of the Majorcan Conversos) priests were allowed to say Mass in a cathedral until the 1960s[9].

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Historical genesis of Blue Blood

"It was the Spaniards who gave the world the notion that an aristocrat's blood is not red but blue. The Spanish nobility started taking shape around the ninth century in classic military fashion, occupying land as warriors on horseback. They were to continue the process for more than five hundred years, clawing back sections of the peninsula from its Moorish occupiers, and a nobleman demonstrated his pedigree by holding up his sword arm to display the filigree of blue-blooded veins beneath his pale skin--proof that his birth had not been contaminated by the dark-skinned enemy."
Robert Lacey, Aristocrats. Little, Brown and Company, 1983, p. 6.

Spanish colonies

Limpieza de sangre was a very important concept among Spaniards who settled in the Americas. The Laws of the Indies repeatedly banned descendants of Conversos and those reconciliated with the Inquisition of settling in the Americas (the reiteration suggests that the laws were often ineffectual)[1]. The philosophy led to the separation of the various peoples in the colonies and created a very intricate list of nomenclature to describe one's precise race and, by consequence, one's place in society. To illustrate how complex this nomenclature became the following list was in use in New Spain (Mexico) during the eighteenth century: [10]

  • Spaniard and Indian = Mestizo (50% European and 50% Native American)
  • Mestizo and Spanish woman = Castizo (75% European and 25% Native American)
  • Castizo woman and Spaniard = Spaniard (87.5% European and 12.5% Native American)
  • Spanish woman and black man = Mulatto (50% European and 50% African)
  • Spaniard and Mulatto = Morisco (75% European and 25% African)
  • Morisco woman and Spaniard = Albino (87.5% European and 12.5% African)
  • Spaniard and Albino woman = Torna atrás (lit. "turn back") (93,75% European and 6,25% African)
  • Indian man and Torna atrás woman = Lobo (50% Native American, 46,875% European, and 3,125% African)
  • Lobo and Indian woman = Zambaigo (75% Native American, 23,4375% European, and 1,5625% African)
  • Zambaigo and Indian woman = Cambujo (87.5% Native American, 11,71875% European, and 0,78125% African)
  • Cambujo and mulatto woman = Albarazado (43.75% Native American, 30,859375% European, and 25,390625% African)
  • Albarazado and Mulatto woman = Barcino (40.43% European, 21.87% Native American, and 37.7% African)
  • Barcino and Mulatto woman = Coyote (45.215% European, 10.935% Native American, and 43.85% African)
  • Coyote woman and Indian man = Chamiso (22.6075% European, 55.4675% Native American, and 21.925% African)
  • Chamiso woman and Mestizo = Coyote mestizo (36.30375% European, 52.73375% Native American, and 10.9625% African)
  • Coyote mestizo and Mulatto woman = Ahí te estás ("there you stay") (43.151875% European, 26.366875 Native American, and 30.48125 African)

This list represents only some of the existing social and legal terms put in place by the colonizing Spaniards to firmly establish how far away one is from pure European blood. Every Spanish colony had its own, equally complex, system of determining one's racial genealogy. They did not block intermixing but placed the result of interracial relations in the caste system.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Estatutos de Limpieza de Sangre, Pablo A. Chami.
  2. ^ Manuel de Larramendi, Corografía de la muy noble y muy leal provincia de Guipúzcoa, Bilbao, 1986, facsimile edition of that from Editorial Ekin, Buenos Aires, 1950. (Also published by Tellechea Idígoras, San Sebastián, 1969. Quoted in La idea de España entre los vascos de la Edad Moderna, by Jon Arrieta Alberdi, Anales 1997-1998, Real Sociedad Económica Valenciana de Amigos del País.
  3. ^ Limpieza de sangre in the Spanish-language Auñamendi Encyclopedia
  4. ^ "Original ancestry from Bizkaya: this is what cleanliness of blood meant for the Bizkaians of that time. Original ancestry from Euskeria: this is what means race purity for the nationalist Bizkaians of today"(Arana Goiri, Sabino, 1980, Obras completas. San Sebastián: Sendoa. 2nd edition, tome II, page 1170). Translated into English from Figuras retóricas en el discurso político nacionalista de Sabino Arana, Teresa Fernández Ulloa, Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación 14, Mayo 2003. ISSN 1576-4737.
  5. ^ Codigos Españoles Tome X. Page 225
  6. ^ Colección Legislativa de España (1870), p. 364
  7. ^ Ibid, page 365
  8. ^ Ibid, page 366
  9. ^ Los judíos en España, Joseph Pérez. Marcial Pons. Madrid (2005).
  10. ^ Yelvington, Kevin A. (2005). Understanding Contemporary Latin America. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner. p. 246. ISBN 158826341X.  

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