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Caste category

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By apozolco - Posted on 01 May 2018

Hola primos,

Can someone help me with this term for Pioquinto Zambrano. In the female's testimony, the groom (my great-great-great grandfather) as casta...Is he a castizo? From other documents, he was described as mulato.

Thank you!

Hi Andelmo,

I think, during that era, they would sometimes use "casta/s" to mean any of the "lower" castes, like Mestizo, Mulato, Morisco, etc. Though, I'm not sure!

Manny Diez Hermosillo

I agree with Manny. There are other cases such as this one. It seems that casta was often the default category used by record keepers for individuals of seemingly mixed but undetermined ancestry.

Thanks to both of you.

the term castizo was rarely used in my experience. usually those 1/4 native and 3/4 spanish were called espanol




This last one comment is correct a Castizo is the child of a Spanish with a Mestizo (1/2 native and 1/2 Spanish) so the child would be as Katy said 1/4 native and 3/4 Spanish. and if a Castizo married a Spanish their child would be Spanish.
As Katy said normally Castizos were passed as Spanish anyway. Thats why you don’t see very often the word Castizo in the church records.

The Castas were very important back then, and if you read carefully the baptize and marriage records especially before 1820’s, you can read words like: Indio, Coyote, Mulato, Lobo, Mestizo, Español. All this words are Castas, they represent the mix mainly between Spanish, Natives and Africans. They were many more Castas, but I think this ones are the most common ones to be found in the church records.
Sometimes the priest wasn’t sure to which Casta someone may belong to. That was probably because he or she was already very mixed, so a priest may use one Casta for this person, and in time the same priest may select different Casta for the same person in a different event, or another priest may select a different Casta for this person.
Mulato is a mix between Spanish and African, but some times a child of a Castizo with a Mulato could be passing as Castizo, Mulato, Mestizo or Spanish.
Not long ago I came across some records where the mother was Spanish, the father Mulato, therefore their children Casta should be Morisco, instead of Morsico. one child was baptize and recorded as Mulato, four children were baptize and recorded as Mestizo, and other three were baptize without recording their Casta, probably because they were visibly white, I founded their later marriage records and their Casta were recorded as Spanish.

the term morisco was rarely used also. usually they were written down as being mulato or espanol.

note:occasionaly, someone with less than 3/4 spanish/espanol , would be written down as being espanol depending on legitimacy, social class they were born into, time period, the race/ethnicity of the godparents, and even possibly depending on the scribe who wrote down the record.

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