Article

Legal Writing, Civil Litigation, and Agents in the 18th-Century Spanish Imperial World

Bianca Premo

in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History


Published online February 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780199366439 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.247

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)
  • Colonialism and Imperialism
  • Legal and Constitutional History

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This purpose of this essay is to reveal the diversity of writers responsible for creating the texts of lawsuits in the Spanish empire. It peeks behind the curtain of pages in civil complaints in an attempt to figure out how legal papers actually made it into the court record and who was doing their writing. While historians have recently thrown a spotlight on various official writers, from notaries to native procurators, in fact unidentified, unofficial writers penned quite a few petitions in civil suits. Knowing who wrote the filings in civil cases has a bearing on our understanding of Spanish imperial subjects, their interactions with the law, and ultimately how much of a hand they had in making their own historical record.

Keywords: law; literacy; civil litigation; courts; lawyers; scribes; notaries

Article.  9735 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700) ; Colonialism and Imperialism ; Legal and Constitutional History

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