Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

8/1/2010 - 6/30/2011

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$46,200.00 (awarded)

The Making of a Colonial Ruling Class: The Hispanic Elite in Merida, Yucatan, 1700-1730

FAIN: FA-55333-10

Robert W. Patch
Regents of the University of California, Riverside (Riverside, CA 92521-0001)

Since societies must reproduce themselves not only biologically but also socially, economically, politically and culturally, it is important to understand how this process of reproduction actually worked in the past. I propose to do so by studying the entire social, economic, political, and cultural elite in one place over several decades. The place is Merida, Yucatan, a secondary city of New Spain that was the administrative capital of a province and the episcopal see of a diocese. The time period is the first three decades of the eighteenth century, when the economy was unstable because of war and piracy and when periodic epidemics killed a significant proportion of the elite. Those who died had to be replaced, and they had to be replaced quickly; there was no time to wait for surviving children to grow up and take the place of their deceased parents. The time and place chosen thus will allow me to study in detail how new people moved into the elite while others were denied entry.