The Spanish Empire: Adaptive Animals in the Natural World

The Spanish Empire: Adaptive Animals in the Natural World

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“So, let us move forward with faith in ourselves, in our intelligence, in our indomitable spirit. Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.”—-Jane Goodall[i]

Big History is not merely a cultural construction of the 21st century. There is real empirical precedent for a big historical approach that reflects upon the human story in the context of natural history. By exploring our accounts of interaction with other animals, and comparing human efforts to subordinate them and our fellow human beings, broad natural patterns that impinge upon our behavior come to be detected in other time periods and cultures. From the time of Rome, with its slaughter of people and nonhuman animals alike in the arena, to the British empire’s exploitation of its colonies, including the trophy-hunting of wildlife, historical documents portray human efforts at dominance over people and nature reduced to resources.[ii] On occasion, the documents even demonstrate a certain level of ambivalence, with Plutarch’s concerns (c. 46–120 A.D.) that the killing of animals for food has made it easier to murder our conspecifics in war and peace and Alfred Russel Wallace’s criticism (1823–1913) of some British imperial practices and personal lament over shooting an orangutan mother.[iii]

The case study with which I am most familiar, the early modern Spanish empire, is no exception. Those involved in the construction of that imperial project were animals like ants or chimpanzees, only differentiated from other animals in a capacity for more elaborate reflection on their actions—reflection that sometimes led to the evolving critique of imperial abuse so central to the writings of the Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas (c. 1484–1566).[iv] In turn, that reflection has been passed on as the collective memory found in written records.[v] Accepting our status as a particular, highly reflective species of animal may be an entry point to understanding the ripples of natural patterns that define our many cultures’ proclivities to compete and cooperate.[vi]

When conquerors from the Iberian Peninsula invaded the Western Hemisphere in 1492, they were accompanied by subjugated humans and animals. In the very act of using African slaves as tools of transformation, boundaries between humans and beasts of burden were invidiously blurred. Both the slave and the mule became “objects” providing labor, but the sheer inappropriateness of reducing people in particular—and sentient, conscious beings in general—to the status of mere things was consistently contested by humans from Africa, as well as animals from the Eastern and Western hemispheres: Slaves, cows, and pigs all escaped at times, becoming cimarrones, “wild” and “renegade” in the eyes of Spaniards. By escaping from Spanish “imperio” (defined as “dominion,” “authority,” and “territory” in the Spanish Royal Academy’s 18th-century Diccionario de Autoridades), these cimarrones proved their agency—that they were fully animate beings and not insensible things.[vii]

Empire, “imperio,” is an embodied confusion of categories that would reduce independent beings to nothing more than means to an end, rather than appreciating their status as actors who choose, compromise, and are compelled. Spaniards were guilty of this confusion in their imperialism, but like the Africans and Amerindians whom they tried to control, Spaniards were both highly adaptive human beings and creatures like the ants, who herd aphids and “milk” them for their honeydew.[viii] The reduction of another animal to a mere resource is not only a human behavior after all, for honey ants of the genus Myrmecocystus will raid neighboring colonies of their conspecifics to bring back larvae, pupae, and honeypot ants who store food to be used by their sisters. The conquered and captured, often called “slaves” by entomologists, go about enhancing the resources of their new anthill, with larvae and pupae raised to be co-workers with their conquerors.[ix]

The quest for domination and the control of resources in nature has a long evolutionary history, and among our chimpanzee cousins, as shown in the 2012 film Chimpanzee, fruit-bearing trees can be warred over by two different communities.[x] With their woolbearing sheep, imperial wars, and human slaves, Spaniards replicated behavioral patterns already found in the rest of the natural world, but acts of violent domination do not themselves dominate nature. Cooperation between ascribed estates, mutual aid within hierarchy, helped to maintain the Spanish imperial project, as the anthill survives as a cooperative superorganism.[xi] As suggested by David Christian and elaborated by Russell Genet, we are indeed “the chimpanzees who would be ants.”[xii]

In the Iberian Peninsula itself, Spaniards were shaped by their economic domination of nonhuman animals like sheep, goats, and cows—and by the ranked human society that cooperatively maintained the Spanish economy. To the 17th-century Mesta official Miguel Caxa de Leruela, a Spain without livestock would be an impoverished land since nonhuman animals plowed the fields and provided their hides and fleece for clothing. A Spain without herds would be a place where rural children would be abandoned by poor parents because they were no longer needed to tend livestock.[xiii] Paternalistically demonstrating concern, Caxa de Leruela worried about the poor who owned a few animals being denied pasturage because of the enclosure of grazing lands by wealthier individuals.[xiv] Likewise, he argued against the killing of valuable oxen and cows before their time. He recommended that Spain adopt prohibitions on slaughtering fertile cows and oxen still capable of pulling plows and carts, saying that some 10 years of life seemed reasonable for these animals.[xv] Before being punished for damaging crops, livestock were also to be judged, with substantial evidence necessary to convict any culprit.[xvi] Harmony in Caxa de Leruela’s Spain required a certain level of unequal reciprocity between human elites and the humans and other animals laboring for them.

From the level of the peasant village with its communal pasture lands, or dehesas, to that of Spain’s aristocratically dominated sheepherding guild, the Castilian Mesta, with its individual flocks numbering in the thousands, Spaniards associated with livestock. But not all shepherds were valued equally. According to one 18th-century Spanish source, a flock of 500 sheep in Andalusia was tended by one shepherd and an assistant. The shepherd earned 24 pesos a year, and his helper 16 pesos. Bread, oil, vinegar, salt, donkeys, and food for sheepdogs were also provided, with an overseer hired to supervise three flocks. For the care of 800 to 1,000 sheep, an 18th-century Amerindian shepherd in Peru earned 18 pesos annually. The document also says that goods were costlier in Peru than Spain, and that no food or paid assistant were provided to the Amerindian shepherd, with 8 of the 18 pesos going to annual tributary payments.[xvii] Indigenous American shepherds prejudicially were ascribed less remuneration than European shepherds for comparable amounts of labor. Veritable castes existed in a Spanish imperial superorganism, with different individuals and subgroups playing out their particular roles toward common societal goals, just as they do among the ants.

However, even as Andean shepherds adapted their methods of tending alpacas and vicuñas to sheep, Amerindians in general were able to express dominion over nonhuman animals, thereby finding a truncated imperio. While late 16th-century Crown-commissioned reports, relaciones, for the viceroyalty of New Spain noted the presence of American turkeys and Castilian chickens in Amerindian communities, relaciones for the viceroyalty of Peru reported both Castilian sheep and llamas and alpacas identified as “native sheep” (ovejas de Castilla y de la tierra).[xviii] Cows and goats were also to be found in both places.[xix] Amerindians obviously dominated and used domesticated animals, from native turkeys and camelids to the new arrivals from Spain. And just as the fictional Quixotic squire Sancho Panza was capable of both using his donkey and embracing him as his friend and companion,[xx] historical Amerindians demonstrated care and concern, as well as imperio vis-à-vis nature’s sentient beings.

Though separating himself from his fellow Amerindians as a noble, the Andean Guaman Poma still showed concern for Amerindian commoners, his “true indios,” denouncing their exploitation by Spaniards and indigenous nobles like himself.[xxi] His idealized Spanish viceroy, the 16th-century Antonio de Mendoza, was “a friend of the poor” who “performed good works and a great deal of charity.”[xxii] In his own lifetime, the bad government that Guaman Poma saw around him was epitomized by the punishments meted out to his Amerindian noble disciple Don Cristóbal de León, a man described as “fond of defending the poor.”[xxiii] Evil Spanish and Amerindian authorities, on the other hand, were described metaphorically as untamed animals preying upon Amerindian victims. While local Crown officials called corregidores were identified as “worse than serpents,” the Spaniard who collected labor tribute, the encomendero, was a lion who “never lets go” of his indio prey. Abusive Amerindian nobles were mice who stole their subjects’ goods day and night, while also serving as prey to Spanish predators.[xxiv]

Aside from using animals metaphorically to describe conditions in the Spanish empire, Guaman Poma also literally drew a picture of engaging interaction with subordinated nonhuman animal companions. As already demonstrated by James Serpell, a professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, the indigenous people of the Americas have always been more than capable of creating a category for privileged animals, and Guaman Poma quite casually included two dogs among his traveling companions when he composed his First New Chronicle and Good Government (c. 1615–1616). In an illustration that shows the author and his son traveling to Lima, both are accompanied by a horse, believed to be named Quispito, and two dogs named Lautaro and Amigo.[xxv] That the Amerindian author took the time to include the names of his animal companions alludes to their status being more ambivalent than that of mere property. That one is named “Amigo” is also somewhat telling. To name a dog “friend” broke with patterns set by conquistadores, who named their dogs “Becerrillo” (“little bull”) or “Leoncillo” (“little lion”). “Amigo” exudes domestic companionship, and both dogs are wearing collars, while Lautaro is shown looking up at Guaman Poma’s son as any dog might look at his boy.[xxvi]

Andeans kept dogs. While noting that Quito was a place where good meat could be found, the young Spanish explorer, intellectual, and naval officer Antonio de Ulloa (1716–1795) also noticed that the Amerindians of 18th-century Quito demonstrated great affection for their dogs, who reciprocated by offering intense loyalty and protection against Spaniards and mestizos who might threaten their masters. Ulloa made the interesting observation that Spaniards and mestizos, in turn, taught their dogs to guard against indios, whom they feared.[xxvii] In a backhanded way, he recognized the educative capacity of dogs, even while he also made note of human xenophobia at work. In fact, he took some time to reflect on the ways in which humans associated with other animals in Quito, and he wrote that Amerindian women so loved the chickens they raised that they did not eat them and only sold them with great sorrow and regret if they were in dire need.[xxviii] A city whose population grew through migration in the 16th century, Quito was a locus for the accumulation of diverse Amerindian traditions, and while accumulated evidence points to the Eurasian chicken becoming a substitute for culturally preferred guinea pig meat among Quechua speakers, there are also sources that tell us of Amerindians who kept chickens as pets and suppliers of ornamental feathers.[xxix] Like other humans, Amerindians both used and loved nonhuman animals in a hierarchy of being that jointly recognized human dominance and mutualistic symbiotic relationships with other animate, sentient beings in nature.

Indeed, a conflicted relationship with nonhuman animals, and with other humans, characterized the Spanish empire, as it characterizes us today. In the midst of bullfights and the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition and American conquests, some dared to question the cruelties of their world, and there were, indeed, many ways of doing this. Among the intellectuals, Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616), on multiple occasions, demonstrated a concern for nonhuman animals, labeling two boys as “worse than the Devil” for tormenting Sancho’s donkey and Don Quixote’s horse Rocinante with furze, and illustrating, in the Colloquy of the Dogs, how a dog chained to a wall might lose his dinner to nimble-footed cats.[xxx] He also recognized that a lust for domination and control combined with compassion—sometimes in the very same situation. When the goatherd in the first part of Don Quixote finds his wandering lead goat, “Manchada,” he not only speaks to the nanny goat as though she were human, he uses terms of accusatory anger blended with concern and endearment, and then demonstrates a patriarchal gender bias that crosses species boundaries. The fictional goatherd was frustrated and worried by the disappearance of his lead “cabra.” Calling her “hija,” or “daughter,” he postulates that the condition shared by all females prevents her from being “sosegada”—placid and easily controlled.[xxxi]

The goatherd is concerned that Don Quixote, Sancho, and a canon should consider him a simpleton for speaking so to a goat, but he then continues to address her as another sentient being, telling her to lie down and wait while he relates a story to his new companions. She, in turn, appears to understand and looks up at his face to show her attentiveness. A wandering and loose female, the gadabout goat in Don Quixote may only be a cipher for the prejudicial attitudes of some Spanish males toward women, but the goatherd was written so that he applies a biased stereotype regarding women’s propensity to wander to a goat, as well as the goat’s restlessness to female nature, implicating both nanny goats and women.[xxxii] Species boundaries blur here, and this is not the only way in which roles ascribed to humans and livestock would meet in the Spanish empire.

Africans forcibly brought from their homeland across the Atlantic were tallied according to their ability to do work. On slave ships, a pieza de India measured the labor done by a young, healthy male adult. Children, women, and the old were horrifically counted up as fractions of one pieza.[xxxiii] Literally a “piece” or material article, “pieza” also referred to game animals and, on occasion, Amerindian captives.[xxxiv] In turn, when either a slave or a nonhuman animal like a cow or pig escaped Spanish subjugation, they were both called “cimarrón,” wild and renegade.[xxxv] Likewise, Spaniards were concerned about the “casta,” or lineage, of both livestock and humans. Prejudicial concerns about racial mixtures arose along these lines, as breeders of merino sheep judged the wool of newly born lambs to determine whether they were to be culled or not.[xxxvi] The sad truth is that Spaniards, in ascribing value to sentient beings, leveled the difference between humans and other animals in ways we, appropriately, are not comfortable with today. Africans could be cimarrones like livestock, and children of mixed ethnicity might be judged by their lineage or casta. However, it is interesting to note that casta was also used to discuss the noble lineage of knights.[xxxvii] Many Spaniards admitted their animality, but they usually insisted on a superior, more rational grade of being for those Spaniards, especially males, in positions of authority.  Spanish dominion, imperio, involved verbal dominance displays and outright brutal acts, just as dominance is put on display by other highly ranked individuals in the animal kingdom.

Authoritative influences on the early modern Spanish conversation regarding animals were filtered through modes of interpretation dating back to ancient Greece. The influential Jesuit professor Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) argued that “humanity’ is really a certain sensitive nature and has in this fact some agreement and similarity with the nature of ‘horse’ and of ‘lion’, taken in the abstract; for all are the integral principle of ‘being sentient.’” According to Suárez, there is “a certain analogy of proportionality” whereby “animal” can be applied equivocally to humans and horses in that both integrate sentience and sensitivity into their very natures. They are alike in genus, though essentially different in species. As with Aristotle, humanity is “rational animality.”[xxxviii]

From Plato and Aristotle, intellectuals derived the notion of a human soul with three faculties.[xxxix] In the Castilian heartland of the Spanish empire, the medical writer who published New Philosophy of Human Nature, with royal approval, in 1587— whether Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera or her father Miguel Sabuco —summarized this standard interpretation by writing that humans “share the sensitive with animals, the biological with plants, [and] the intellectual with angels in order to perceive and understand the evils and harms that derive from the emotions of the soul.”[xl] The author, most likely Oliva Sabuco, also posited that, “humans should learn how to be compassionate from certain animals.”[xli]

Citing Pliny the Elder, Sabuco wrote of a dolphin that died of grief after a boy who fed him died, and of sensitive elephants that demonstrated loving concern for particular humans.[xlii] Citing Aristotle, she wrote that elephants learn and understand the commands they are given in human languages.[xliii] Her dolphins can be “quite fond of communication with humans,” just like the 20th-century dolphins “fed and petted by people at a beach in Shark Bay, Western Australia” and the dolphins that have been reported in “symbiotic associations” with fishermen using nets along the shorelines of Australia, Mauritania, and Laguna, Brazil.[xliv] In Sabuco’s view, the drive for companionship is so powerful that the emotion of love can kill some sensitive animals.[xlv] In turn, Sabuco believed humans can learn from other animals to be sentimental, too. For her, cooperation and love make the world go round, and other Spaniards sometimes recorded and even praised examples of compassionate, altruistic behavior in their own ranks.

The testimony taken at the 1660 process of beatification for Martín de Porres (1579–1639; canonized 1962) is consistent in identifying him as a man who tended to the sick and hungry regardless of rank, race, or species. The illegitimate son of a Spanish hidalgo and a free black woman named Ana Velásquez,[xlvi] at the age of 12 de Porres’ father provided him with an apprenticeship to a barber-surgeon, and at 16 he became a professed servant, or donado, of the order of St. Dominic.[xlvii] Multiple witnesses said he cared for blacks, Spaniards, and Amerindians, and that animals came to him to be cured “as though they had reason.”[xlviii] On one occasion, it was reported that he walked beside a vicious fighting bull without being attacked.[xlix]n the recorded testimony of those who knew him, de Porres is presented as an individual who developed peaceful associations with other species, as well as with the needy of his own species. The witnesses also said that he disciplined his body in the approved manner of the day, sleeping without a real bed, refusing to eat meat, and whipping himself.[l]

To some, de Porres’ actions and his very being might have been transgressive, but to those around him, who testified on his behalf at his 1660 beatification process, he was admired and saintly because of his behavior, with his humility always being raised in this context. According to one witness, he focused on his own casta status—his own biracial and boundary-challenging status as a “mulato”—while praying and whipping himself, referring to himself as a mulato dog—“un perro mulato.”[li] Whether the “perro mulato” incident occurred or not, de Porres’ charitable acts, testified to by many witnesses, illustrate a man who shared food, medicine, and love regardless of how the prejudicial in his society judged the so-called purity of one’s blood, or limpieza de sangre.

De Porres failed to challenge the overall structure of the hierarchy directly, though he did offer some comfort to the weak and subjugated within the hierarchy. In the Dominican priest Bernardo de Medina’s 17th-century biography of de Porres, the Dominicans’ slaves at the hacienda of Limatambo are included among those he cured, and it can be argued that he thereby protected his order’s economic interests.[lii] Indeed, by being a food-sharer and healer, he helped to illustrate and maintain one of the Spanish empire’s justifications for its very existence: that it provided aid and comfort to those in need, and that though there were ranks, there was sharing according to rank, with charity trying to minimize suffering.[liii] The Spanish imperial vision of a well-functioning body politic called for charitable donations of food to be dispensed from hospitals, and even Cortés, the conqueror of New Spain, provided a legacy for the hospital he founded, the Hospital de la Limpia y Pura Concepción de Nuestra Señora y Jesús Nazareno, in his last will and testament.[liv] In a Christian context, charity could become a display of power and worth, and by living Christian humility and service, de Porres enhanced his own status, gaining respect and the liberty for an occasional criticism of what he perceived as heartless domination. Medina wrote that de Porres rebuked the Dominican in charge of his convent’s food for having his smelly, old kitchen dog killed after years of loyal service. Challenging the man’s lack of charity toward his loyal dog, de Porres still addressed him respectfully as “padre.” After a night in de Porres’ cell, the dog was restored to life and cured of his ill health and odor, according to Medina, and his new protector then told the dog to avoid his ungrateful former master’s pantry, which the dog did for the rest of his life.[lv] Far from being de Porres’ only companion, this resurrected animal joined the future saint’s multi-racial and multi-species community. When a dog and cat gave birth in a cellar of the convent, de Porres began to feed them, telling them, “‘Eat and remain calm and don’t fight.’ And so … they appeared to be of one species in their conformity.”[lvi] This scene of a dog and cat eating together (and they would eventually be joined by a mouse as well) meant much to Spaniards as a metaphor of harmonious interaction regardless of race or rank. However, it also presented a quiet challenge to the hierarchical boundaries between species.[lvii]

Today’s ethology presents cases of other-oriented behavior in our close relative the chimpanzee, including the adoption of the orphan Oscar by the alpha male Freddy in the movie Chimpanzee and the aunt-like care given a succession of infants by the infertile dominant female Gigi at Jane Goodall’s Gombe site in Tanzania.[lviii] Even primates less closely related to us, capuchin monkeys, have demonstrated a conception of justice and reciprocity in experiments.[lix] A primatologist like Frans de Waal can write a book entitled Good Natured to remind us that social animals do cooperate as well as compete, and nature is not only “red in tooth and claw.”[lx] Likewise, David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson argue that, from bacteria to humans, group selection can operate in such a way that an individual in a given community will sacrifice individual genetic fitness so that the community competes more successfully with other groups of conspecifics. Soldiers do sacrifice themselves for their fellows on the battlefield, and nuns fail to have children while often educating and tending to the offspring of others.[lxi] Already in the early 17th century, de Porres was demonstrating to his world a pattern of behavior that might earn respect without focusing on the aggressive pursuit of power. He also demonstrated that community might be built thereby, and that his community could include other animals as well as humans of different ranks. He was not able to discuss this or demonstrate this using the evidence of evolutionary biology, where species are far from hermetically sealed, but he lived in a world that had its own ways of discussing these principles. A number of the Dominicans around him would have been well aware of biblical passages envisioning perfect peace through the wolf dwelling with the lamb and calls for communal harmony through all humans playing their roles to the common good in the mystical body of Christ and feeding and clothing the least of Christ’s brethren,[lxii] and de Porres’ example resonated with his fellow Dominicans, who bore laudatory witness on his behalf after his death. Aggression and violence, dominance and brutality, were really not the only things imperial Spaniards embraced.

Social animals cannot live by dominance alone. The Spanish empire was not just a corrida or bullfight.[lxiii] It sometimes was the peaceful interaction of people, and other animals, too—a play with acts full of communication, community, and compassion, as well as atrocity and violence. It is time for us to recognize, as Cervantes already did, that, in the midst of their virtual reality, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza always, “returned to their beasts and the life of beasts that they led.”[lxiv] The pursuit of imperio is testimony enough of the basic animality we share across the centuries, but so too is the compassion of Sabuco and de Porres. In Mothers and Others, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy presents a strong case for the elaborate, complicated, and convoluted achievements of human cultures being rooted in our ability to read each other’s needs, and that this is developed through human (and perhaps hominin) levels of alloparenting not as pronounced in other hominids like chimpanzees and gorillas. According to her, at some point (i.e., perhaps starting with Homo ergaster, or early Homo erectus, some 1.8 million years ago), hominin infants were selected to read the intentions of multiple caregivers, including grandmothers, siblings, fathers, and the completely unrelated. In the foraging cultures of the 20th century, this led to a nexus of cooperative behaviors that restrained extreme hierarchical construction and competition.[lxv] While variations obviously exist, our cultural superorganisms are founded on a natural hominin propensity for cooperation and group selection, which struggles with our more competitive tendencies. We may not communicate chemically like ants, but communicate we do, constructing a highly adaptive collective consciousness of sorts.[lxvi]

Equality before the law, democratic institutions, universal human rights, the United Nations, and the question of animal rights have become some of our 21st-century efforts at combatting the competitive lust to dominate what we term natural resources and each other. Our challenge now is whether we will learn to emphasize our cooperative and self-effacing behaviors or we will use our cooperative capacity to form armies and compete violently over ever dwindling “resources” in a natural world reduced to objects to be used and used up. Can group selection embrace Gaia and her multiplicity of ecosystems and life forms, or will it continue to be community- and species-specific?[lxvii] Can reflection and learning in our highly adaptive species trump the competitive tendencies found in warring chimpanzees and anthills? Without being overly reductionist, it must be asked whether the 21st century will belong to San Martín de Porres or Caesar.


[i] Jane Goodall, with the Jane Goodall Institute, Jane Goodall, 50 Years at Gombe: A Tribute to Five Decades of Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation (New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2010), 127.

[ii] Linda Kalof, Looking at Animals in Human History (London: Reaktion Books, 2007), 27-34; Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), 243-88.

[iii] Plutarch’s argument was that humans turned to meat-eating gradually, first eating dangerous wild animals, then eventually turning to harmless sheep, and finally to the killing of other humans and the waging of war, having been desensitized first by the slaughter of nonhuman animals. See Plutarch, “The Eating of Flesh II,” in Plutarch’s Moralia in Fifteen Volumes, trans. Harold Cherniss and William C. Helmbold (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann, 1958), vol. 12: 573.

For Wallace, see Alfred Russel Wallace, Infinite Tropics: An Alfred Russel Wallace Anthology, ed. Andrew Berry (London and New York: Verso, 2002), 136-38; Ross A. Slotten, The Heretic in Darwin’s Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 219-22. While Wallace took colonialism for granted, he occasionally attacked the cruelty of British imperial institutions and settlers.

[iv] On Bartolomé de las Casas, Rolena Adorno has written, “His concerns evolved from his initial attempts in 1516 to protect the Indians while ensuring the economic prosperity of the crown, to his ultimate recommendation , made forty-eight years later, that Spain abandon altogether its rule of the Indies.” He also changed his position on the enslavement of Africans, initially wishing to eliminate abusive tributary demands made of Amerindians in the Caribbean islands by importing African slaves, and finally regretting that he had ever made such a suggestion when he realized the horrible abuses that Africans faced as slaves on Spanish plantations. Rolena Adorno, Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 28-29; Lawrence A. Clayton, Bartolomé de las Casas and the Conquest of the Americas (Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), 79-81, 137-38, 146

[v] For the impact of human collective learning, and how, in humans, “the benefits of cooperation increasingly tend to outweigh the benefits of competition” through the use of language to network and exchange technical knowledge, see David Christian, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004; reprinted 2011), 146-48.

[vi] “Animal Studies,” as a relatively new field of endeavor, is still in its formative phase. It focuses on human interactions with other animals, from the economic to the symbolic, and methodologically it can include approaches as diverse as scientific ethology and postmodernist deconstruction. An effort to understand the agency of nonhuman animals and their status as independent beings does seem to permeate the discipline however. Kalof’s Looking at Animals in Human History and Ritvo’s The Animal Estate serve as worthy introductions to the field. For animal studies applied to the Spanish empire, see Martha Few and Zeb Tortorici, eds., Centering Animals: Writing Animals into Latin American History (Durham: Duke University Press, in press, forthcoming spring 2013); John Beusterien, Designing Dogs and Humans in Early Modern Spain: An Animal Studies Reading of Cervantes and Velázquez (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, in press, forthcoming May 2013). Also see the Michigan State University website “Animal Studies at MSU” (Accessed at on June 9, 2012).

[vii] For “cimarrón,” Real Academia Española, Diccionario de autoridades, 3 vols. facsimile ed. (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1963-1964), 1: 350. For “imperio,” 2: 224.  The Diccionario de autoridades originally was published between 1726 and 1739.

[viii] As Spaniards with their dogs provided sheep with protection from predators, then sheering them for their wool, ants protect and feed their “cattle”: “An extreme development of mutualistic symbiosis is represented by the associations between homopterous insects such as aphids and their ant hosts. The ants provide protection from predators and parasites, and the homopterans ‘repay’ them with honeydew expended as excrement … ”  Edward O. Wilson, Sociobiology: the New Synthesis, 25th anniversary ed. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000), 356. Also: “Some species of ants have become wholly dependent on their insect cattle.” Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson, Journey to the Ants: A Story of Scientific Exploration (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1994), 147, 149.

[ix] D.J.C. Kronauer, D. J. Miller and B. Hölldobler, “Genetic Evidence for Intra- and Interspecific Slavery in Honey Ants (genus Myrmecocystus),” Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 270 (12 March 2003): 805-810. Accessed at on May 29, 2012.

[x] Chimpanzee, directed by Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield (Great Ape Productions, 2012). Distributed by Disney Nature, the official movie site is (accessed June 3, 2012). 

Also see Jane Goodall, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986), 503-514. Goodall describes the most famous chimpanzee war, that between the Kasakela and Kahama communities of Tanzania. Kasakela eliminated its rival by the end of 1977.

[xi] Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson define “superorganism” as: “A society, such as a eusocial insect colony, that possesses features of organization analogous to the physiological properties of single organisms. The eusocial colony, for example, is divided into reproductive castes (analogous to gonads) and worker castes (analogous to somatic tissue); its members may, for example, exchange nutrients and pheromones by trophallaxis and grooming (analogous to the circulatory system).” Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson, The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2009), 513.

It is interesting that early modern Europeans referred to their hierarchical and cooperative societies as social organisms: “the body politic.” See Abel A. Alves, “The Christian Social Organism and Social Welfare: The Case of Vives, Calvin and Loyola,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 20:1 (Spring 1989): 3-21.

[xii] Christian, 250-52; Russell Merle Genet, Humanity: The Chimpanzees Who Would Be Ants (Santa Margarita, CA: Collins Foundation Press, 2007), esp. 41-110. Christian argues that while some species of ants will fertilize fungus gardens with leaf matter, “insects evolved genetically,” while humans adopted agriculture by adapting culturally. See Christian, 252. Genet presents a similar argument (see pp. 51-53, 86, 93).

[xiii] Miguel Caja de Leruela, Restauración de la antigua abundancia de España, ed. Jean Paul Le Flem (Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, 1975), 17-25, 177-78. 

From 1623 to 1625, Miguel Caxa de Leruela was alcalde mayor entregador of the Mesta, the Castilian sheepherding guild. In this capacity, he presided over all the Mesta’s alcaldes entregadores, itinerant judicial administrators who enforced Mesta privileges and had the power to fine those they determined were guilty of stealing Mesta animals. See Julius Klein, The Mesta: A Study in Spanish Economic History 1273-1836 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920; reprinted Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1964), 68, 78; Carla Rahn Phillips and William D. Phillips, Jr., Spain’s Golden Fleece: Wool Production and the Wool Trade from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 51, 54-55; Caja de Leruela, 49.

[xiv] Caja de Leruela, 88-90; David E. Vassberg, Land and Society in Golden Age Castile (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 172.

[xv] Caja de Leruela, 109; Vassberg, 160, 162.

[xvi] Caja de Leruela, 130-31.

[xvii] Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, Discourse and Political Reflections on the Kingdoms of Peru. Their Government, Special Regimen of Their Inhabitants, and Abuses Which Have Been Introduced into One and Another, with Special Information on Why They Grew Up and Some Means to Avoid Them, trans. John J. TePaske and Besse A. Clement (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978), 132-34; Jorge Juan and Antonio de Ulloa, Noticias secretas de América sobre el estado naval, militar, y político de los reynos del Perú y provincias de Quito, costas de Nueva Granada y Chile: gobierno y régimen particular de los pueblos de indios: cruel opresión y extorsiones des sus corregidores y curas: abusos escandolosos introducidos entre estos habitantes por los misioneros: causas de su origen y motivos de su continuación por el espacio de tres siglos, ed. David Barry (London: R. Taylor, 1826), 273-75.  For 18th-century Mesta salaries, see Rahn Phillips and Phillips, 103-104. For the valuation of Spanish coins and money of account, see John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 1600-1775 (Chapel Hill: Institute of Early American History and Culture, University of North Carolina Press, 1978), 99.

[xviii] For the appearance of chickens in New Spain’s tax lists, see “Tasaciones de los pueblos de la provincia de Yucatán,” in Epistolario de Nueva España, 1505-1818, ed. Francisco del Paso y Troncoso, 16 vols. (Mexico City: José Porrúa e hijos, 1939-1940), 5: 103-81, 207-17; 6: 73-112. For a representative sampling of such townships in the valleys of Oaxaca and Mexico, see Papeles de Nueva España, ed. Francisco del Paso y Troncoso, 7 vols. (Madrid: Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, 1905), 4: 9-44, 56-68, 100-108, 163-82, 289-300, 308-13; 5: 1-11, 55-65, 99-109, 124-82; 6: 1-5, 12-19, 31-34, 87-152, 199-208, 291-305. For sheep and camelids in Peru, see “Descripción de Vilcas Guaman por el ilustre señor don Pedro de Carabajal, corregidor y justicia mayor della, en el año de 1586,” in Biblioteca de autores españoles, Vol. 183: Relaciones geográficas de Indias.—Perú, Tomo 1, ed. Marcos Jiménez de la Espada, 3 vols. (Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1965), 206;  “La Cibdad de Sant Francisco del Quito.—1573,” in Biblioteca de autores españoles, Vol. 184: Relaciones geográficas de Indias.—Perú, Tomo 2, ed. Marcos Jiménez de la Espada, 3 vols. (Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1965), 213; “Sant Juan de Pasto, distrito de la Audiencia Real de San Francisco del Quito,” Relaciones geográficas—Perú, Tomo 2, 189.

[xix] At its greatest extent, the viceroyalty of New Spain, administered out of Mexico City, included all of present-day Mexico and Central America, except Panama, and most of the United States west of the Mississippi River.  The viceroyalty of Peru, until the 18th century, included most of Spanish-ruled South America. Its capital was Lima. In the 18th century, the creation of the viceroyalties of New Granada, with its capital at Bogotá, and Río de la Plata, with its capital at Buenos Aires, significantly reduced the territory administered by the viceroy, or governor, in Lima, called Ciudad de los Reyes in colonial times. Relación de la provincia de Quito y distrito de su Audiencia, por los oficiales de la Real Hacienda.—1576,” in Relaciones geográficas—Perú, Tomo 2, 170.  For the cows and goats found in both Quito and Sant Juan de Pasto, also see “La Cibdad de Sant Francisco del Quito.—1573,” in Relaciones geográficas—Perú, Tomo 2, 213; “Sant Juan de Pasto, distrito de la Audiencia Real de San Francisco del Quito,” in Relaciones geográficas—Perú, Tomo 2,  189.

[xx] Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El Ingenioso Hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. Salvador Fajardo and James A. Parr (Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 1998), Pt. 2, chap. 53, p. 787; Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha, trans. Samuel Putnam (New York: Viking Press, 1949), 858.

[xxi] Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, The First New Chronicle and Good Government, trans. and ed. David Frye (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2006), 263, 266-67; Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, ed. Rolena Adorno (Copenhagen: Royal Library Digital Facsimile, 2002), 802-803. Also see David Frye, “Introduction: Guaman Poma, an Andean Life,” in The First New Chronicle and Good Government, xxvi; Rolena Adorno, Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru, 2nd ed. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 99-120, 126-28.

[xxii] Guaman Poma, First New Chronicle and Good Government, 143-44. Also see Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, 439.

[xxiii] Guaman Poma, First New Chronicle and Good Government, 169.  Also see Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, 499.

[xxiv] Guaman Poma, First New Chronicle and Good Government, 225-27. Also see Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, 708-709. The “Guaman Poma” in Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala was itself Quechua for “Falcon Puma.” See Frye, “Introduction,” vii.

[xxv] The name of Guaman Poma’s horse is obscured by the bleeding through of ink from the previous page, thereby creating some uncertainty. It has appeared as “Gías” and “Quisiputo.” In correspondence, the translator David Frye told me that he favors “Quispito.” David Frye, email correspondence (January 5-6, 2012). Guaman Poma, First New Chronicle and Good Government, 350. Also see Guaman Poma, El Primer Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, 1105; Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno, ed. John V. Murra, Rolena Adorno and Jorge L. Urioste, 3 vols. (Madrid: Historia 16, 1987), 3: 1176-77. For Amerindian pet-keeping in general, see James Serpell, In the Company of Animals: A Study of Human-Animal Relationships (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 60-64, 70-71.

[xxvi] The illustration drawn by Guaman Poma is available online—as is his entire manuscript—through the generosity of the Royal Library of Denmark. Available online at Royal Library of Denmark, The Guaman Poma Website (accessed June 4, 2012),

[xxvii] Antonio de Ulloa, Viaje a la América meridional, ed. Andrés Saumell, 2 vols. (Madrid: Historia 16, 1990),1: Bk. 5, chap. 7, p. 369; Bk. 6, chap. 6, pp. 511-512.

[xxviii] Ibid., 512.

[xxix] Karen Vieira Powers, Andean Journeys: Migration, Ethnogenesis, and the State in Colonial Quito (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995), 7-8, 13-43; Edmundo Morales, The Guinea Pig: Healing, Food, and Ritual in the Andes (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1995), 13, 62; Linda J. Seligmann, “The Chicken in Andean History and Myth: The Quechua Concept of Wallpa,” Ethnohistory 34: 2 (Spring 1987): 143; Erland Nordenskiöld, Comparative Ethnographical Studies, Vol. 5: Deductions Suggested by the Geographical Distribution of Some Post-Columbian Words Used by the Indians of S. America, trans. G. E. Fuhrken (Gothenburg: Elanders Boktryckeri Aktiebolag, 1922), 9-12.

[xxx] See Don Quixote, Pt. 2, chap. 61. Fajardo and Parr edition, 841; Putnam edition, 913. Also see Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Coloquio que pasó entre “Cipión” y “Berganza,” perros del Hospital de la Resurrección, in Obras completas, ed. Ángel Valbuena Prat, 2 vols. (Madrid: Aguilar, 1975), 2: 271; Miguel de Cervantes, The  Colloquy of the Dogs, in Three Exemplary Novels, trans. Samuel Putnam (New York: The Viking Press, 1950), 155.

[xxxi] Don Quixote, Pt. 1, chap. 50. Fajardo and Parr edition, 414-15; Putnam edition, 445-46.

[xxxii] “Wandering women free from enclosure in marriage or convent worried many who saw them as the most potent symbol of disorder. One response, fired by impatience with women who did not conform to prescriptions for enclosure, called for establishing a workhouse to confine the many ‘lost’ and vagabond women who wandered about Seville. Another response appeared in the proliferating books that prescribed enclosure and shame in socializing young girls, calling upon parents to guard “as dragons” the purity of their daughters.” Mary Elizabeth Perry, Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 69.

[xxxiii] Philip D. Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), 22.

[xxxiv] David J. Weber, Bárbaros: Spaniards and Their Savages in the Age of Enlightenment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 235.

[xxxv] For cows and pigs, see “Relación y descripción de la ciudad de Loxa,” in Relaciones geográficas—Perú, 2: 296; Diccionario de autoridades, 1: 350. 

For the origins of the 16th-century application of the term to Amerindians and escaped black slaves, see José Arrom, “Cimarrón: apuntes sobre sus primeras documentaciones y su probable origen,” Revista española de antropología Americana 13 (Madrid: Editorial Universidad Complutense, 1983): 47-57. Available online at Accessed June 3, 2012.

[xxxvi] Rahn Phillips and Phillips, 116.

[xxxvii] The Diccionario de autoridades illustrated “casta” through horse lineages and a reference to a “caballero de tan gran casta,” among other things. Generically meaning lineage, “casta” was much more commonly applied to horses and biracial individuals than knights (caballeros) and other nobles however. Diccionario de autoridades, 1: 219-20.

[xxxviii] See the following translation from the Latin of a portion of Suárez’s Metaphysical Disputations. Francis Suarez, On Formal and Universal Unity (De Unitate formali et universali), trans. J. F. Ross (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1964), 117, 101. For Aristotle, the ordering principle was logos, words or speech. His “rational animal” was an animal with ordering words, or logic, capable of discussing “good and evil, just and unjust … .” Aristotle, The Politics, trans. T. A. Sinclair and Trevor J. Saunders (London and New York: Penguin Books, 1992), p. 60, 1253a7-1253a18. Also see Laurence Berns, “Rational Animal-Political Animal: Nature and Convention in Human Speech and Politics,” The Review of Politics 38:2 (April 1976): 177-89.

[xxxix] While Aristotle presented the three faculties of the soul as human, animal, and vegetative, Plato wrote of the rational, spirited and appetitive parts of the soul in the Republic. Plato, Republic, trans. Paul Shorey, in The Collected Dialogues of Plato, ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), Bk. 4. 435-42; Aristotle, De Anima, Books II and III (with Passages from Book I), trans. D. W. Hamlyn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), pp. 11-13, 413a25-413b32.

[xl] Though published under his daughter’s name in 1587, Miguel Sabuco, in his last will and testament, presented himself as the author of New Philosophy. Based on their research and analysis, Mary Ellen Waithe and Maria Vintró have argued otherwise in recent years, returning to the position accepted by the Spanish Crown during Oliva’s lifetime that she was the author. See Mary Ellen Waithe and Maria Elena Vintro, “Posthumously Plagiarizing Oliva Sabuco: An Appeal to Cataloguing Librarians,” Cataloguing and Classification Quarterly 35: 3-4 (March, 2003): 525-40. For the alternative position that “the mystery of the authorship … has not been solved yet,” see Gianna Pomata, “Introduction,” in Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera, The True Medicine, ed. and trans. Gianna Pomata (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2010), 20-24. Pomata still states, “On the side of Oliva’s authorship, the question that looms largest in my mind is: if Oliva’s authorship was a sham, why did none of the contemporaries see through it?” (p. 22) She also points out that in a manuscript probably written before 1587 by Cristóbal de Acosta, but published in Venice in 1592, Oliva Sabuco was praised “as an eminent learned woman even before her book came out.” (p. 23)

For the citation, see Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera, New Philosophy of Human Nature Neither Known to nor Attained by the Great Ancient Philosophers, Which Will Improve Human Life and Health, trans. and ed. Mary Ellen Waithe, Maria Colomer Vintró, and C. Angel Zorita (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), ch. 1, pt. 2, p. 49; Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera, Coloquio del conocimiento de sí mismo en el cual hablan tres pastores filósofos en vida solitaria nombrados Antonio, Veronio y Rodonio, in Adolfo de Castro, ed., Obras escogidas de filósofos (Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, 1953), título 2, p. 333. Also Aristotle, De Anima, pp. 11-13, 413a25-413b32.

[xli] Sabuco, New Philosophy, ch. 1, pt. 15, p. 61; Sabuco, Coloquio, título 15, p. 340.

[xlii] Sabuco, New Philosophy, ch. 1, pt. 2, p. 48 and ch. 1, pt. 27, p. 70; Sabuco, Coloquio, título 2, pp. 332-33, título 27, p. 345. For the original descriptions in Pliny, see Pliny, Natural History, with an English Translation in Ten Volumes, Vol. 3: Libri VIII-XI, trans. H. Rackham (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann, 1956), Bk. 9, ch. 8, pp. 178-81 and Bk. 8, ch. 5, pp. 12-13.

[xliii] Sabuco, New Philosophy, ch. 1, pt. 59, p. 94; Sabuco, Coloquio, título 59, p. 358. In his History of Animals, Aristotle wrote that the elephant “is quickly tamed and obeys orders.” The elephant “both learns and understands.”  Aristotle, History of Animals, Books VII-X, ed. and trans. D. M. Balme (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), 233, 391.

[xliv] Susan H. Shane, “Comparison of Bottlenose Dolphin Behavior in Texas and Florida, with a Critique of Methods for Studying Dolphin Behavior,” in The Bottlenose Dolphin, ed. Stephen Leatherwood and Randall Reeves (San Diego: Academic Press, 1990), 544; David T. Neil, “Cooperative Fishing Interactions between Aboriginal Australians and Dolphins in Eastern Australia,” Anthrozoös: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People and Animals 15:1 (2002): 3-18; Ed Yong, “Dolphins that Help Humans to Catch Fish Form Tighter Social Networks,” Discover Magazine (May 1, 2012); accessed online at the “Not Exactly Rocket Science” Discover blog, June 19, 2012.

[xlv] Sabuco, New Philosophy, ch. 1, pt. 9, p. 57; Sabuco, Coloquio, título 9, p. 338.  For the dolphin’s fondness of communication with humans, see Sabuco, New Philosophy, ch. 1, pt. 2, p. 48; Sabuco, Coloquio, título 2, p. 332.

[xlvi] Seventeenth-century documents usually spelled his name “Martín de Porras.” Beatified in 1837, Martín de Porres finally became a saint in 1962.

In her son’s 17th-century beatification process, Francisco de Arce identified Ana Velásquez as “negra libre,” while Andrés Marcos de Miranda identified her as “morena libre.” A 17th-century biography by the Dominican Bernardo Medina called her “una morena libre.” The terms “moreno” and “morena” were used somewhat interchangeably with “negro” and “negra” to describe dark people of African ancestry, but “moreno” and “morena” were deemed more polite. Testimony of Padre Francisco de Arce, O. P. (26 June 1660), in  Proceso de beatificación de fray Martín de Porres, vol. 1: Proceso Diocesano Años 1660, 1664,1671 (Palencia: Secretariado “Martín de Porres,” 1960), 230-31; Andrés Marcos de Miranda (26 June 1660), 235. Also Bernardo Medina, San Martín de Porres: Biografía del Siglo XVII (Mexico City: Editorial Jus, 1964), 26; José Antonio del Busto D., San Martín de Porras (Martín de Porras Velásquez) (Lima: Fondo Editorial de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 1992), 35-36; Diccionario de autoridades, 2: 607; Ildefonso Gutiérrez Azopardo, “Los Libros de registro de pardos y morenos en los archivos parroquiales de Cartagena de Indias,” Revista Española de Antropología Americana 13 (1983): 129.

[xlvii] Del Busto, 65-68.

[xlviii] Testimony of Fray Cristóbal de San Juan, O. P. (17 June 1660), in Proceso de beatificación, 100. In the same volume, also see the following testimonies: Fray Francisco de Paredes, O. P. (18 June 1660), 105; Padre Fernando Aragonés, O. P. (19 June 1660), 125-129; Marcelo de Ribera, surgeon (19 June 1660),  139; Baltasar de la Torre Menasalvas (25 June 1660), 194-95; Andrés López de Ortega (25 June 1660), 201; Padre Antonio de Estrada, O. P. (25 June 1660),  206; Padre Francisco de Arce, O. P. (26 June 1660), 228; Padre Gerónimo Baptista de Barnuy, O. P. (26 June 1660), 245; Padre Fernando del Aguila, O. P. (28 June 1660), 249; Joseph Pizarro (28 June 1660), 252; Fray Francisco Guerrero, O. P. (30 June 1660), 275; Fray Antonio Gutiérrrez, O. P. (1 July 1660), 291-93; Capitan Juan de Guarnido (1 July 1660), 310-11; Fray Francisco de Santa Fe, O. P. (3 July 1660), 318.

[xlix] Testimony of Francisco Ortiz (18 June 1660), in Proceso de beatificación, 121. 

[l] Testimony of Padre Gaspar de Saldaña, O. P. (17 June 1660), in Proceso de beatificación, 98; Marcelo de Ribera, surgeon (19 June 1660),  136; Baltasar de la Torre Menasalvas (25 June 1660), 193; Gaspar Calderón (1 July 1660), 299.

[li] During Martín de Porres’ own lifetime, the castas—racial lineages and mixtures that derived from Amerindians, Africans and Europeans—came to be an increasingly significant challenge to a Spanish American empire that initially saw itself as divided into a república de los indios and a república de los españoles. See J. H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 170-71.

The Diccionario de autoridades explicitly says that early modern Spaniards derogatorily compared the generation of a “mulato” to the generation of a mulo or mule. Diccionario de autoridades, 2: 628.

[lii] Medina, 88.

[liii] For efforts to balance hierarchy and reciprocity in the Spanish imperial world, see Alves, “Christian Social Organism”; A. A. Alves (with contributions by Carol Blakney), “The Alpha Factor and the Conquest of Mexico: a Study in Ethological History,” International Journal of Anthropology 17: 2 (2002): 59-75; “The Alpha Factor and Religion: The Display of Power and Altruism in the Sixteenth-Century Conquest of Mexico,” Big History, Metanexus Institute, (December 17, 2003).

[liv] “Descripción. Hospitales de la Ciudad de México (16 Henero 1570),” Papeles de Nueva España, 3: 23; Josefina Muriel, Hospitales de la Nueva España, 2 vols. (Mexico City: Editorial Jus, 1956-60), 1: 40-43; Abel A. Alves, Brutality and Benevolence: Human Ethology, Culture, and the Birth of Mexico (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996), 183-211.

[lv] Medina, 106-107.

[lvi] Testimony of Padre Fernando Aragonés, O.P. (21 June 1660), in Proceso de beatificación, 158. Also see Medina, 98.

[lvii] Celia Langdeau Cussen, Fray Martín de Porres and the Religious Imagination of Creole Lima (Unpublished Dissertation, the University of Pennsylvania, 1996), 141, 150-51, 172, 246; Alex García-Rivera, St. Martín de Porres: The “Little Stories” and the Semiotics of Culture (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995), 4-5.

[lviii] Chimpanzee, directed by Fothergill and Linfield; Jane Goodall, Through a Window: 30 Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990), 154-60.  Also see Christophe Boesch, Camille Bolé, Nadin Eckhardt and Hedwige Boesch, “Altruism in Forest Chimpanzees: The Case of Adoption,” Public Library of Science: PLoS ONE 5:1 (January 27, 2010): e8901. Accessed at, June 14, 2012.

[lix] If one capuchin is generous with a piece of cucumber, Frans de Waal has found that a second capuchin is more likely to share a piece of apple. Frans de Waal, Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are (New York: Riverhead Books, 2005), 205.

[lx] Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 148. Felix Warneken, Brian Hare, Alicia P. Melis, Daniel Hanus, and Michael Tomasello, “Spontaneous Altruism by Chimpanzees and Young Children,” Public Library of Science Biology, 5:7 (July 2007): e184. Accessed at, June 3, 2012. Also see Frans de Waal, Peacemaking among Primates (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

[lxi] For discussions of group selection, see David Sloan Wilson and Edward O. Wilson, “Evolution ‘for the Good of the Group’,” American Scientist 96 (September-October 2008): 380-89; David Sloan Wilson, Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002), 9-25, 35-37, 138-40. For a view that combines group selection with the impact of human culture, including those bits of mental information that can be copied, transmitted and replicated (Richard Dawkins’ “memes”), see William Grassie, The New Sciences of Religion: Exploring Spirituality from the Outside In and Bottom Up (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 86-91. For Dawkins on “memes,” see Richard Dawkins, chapter 11, “Memes: The New Replicators,” in The Selfish Gene, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), esp. p. 192.

[lxii] For the wolf dwelling with the lamb, see Isaiah 11:6; for calls for communal harmony through all humans  playing their roles to the common good in the mystical body of Christ, see 1 Corinthians 12; and for feeding and clothing the least of Christ’s brethren, see Matthew 25:35-40. 

[lxiii] For the bullfight in Spanish history and culture, see Garry Marvin, Bullfight (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988); Adrian Shubert, Death and Money in the Afternoon: A History of the Spanish Bullfight (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

[lxiv]Volvieron a sus bestias, y a ser bestias … ” Don Quixote, Pt. 2, chap. 29. Fajardo and Parr edition, 639. Putnam translation, 703.

[lxv] Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009), 4-5, 17, 76-78, 133-34, 179-80, 273-75, 278-86.

The current state of categorization in the seamless web of evolutionary species interrelationships is somewhat in flux, but increasingly scientists now place the great apes and their ancestors in the family Hominidae, along with humans and the ancestors of humanity. We and our ancestors constitute the subfamily Homininae with chimpanzees and bonobos. Together with the genus Pan we are hominines. The tribe of hominins is then made up of today’s Homo sapiens and our ancestors, including Homo erectus. By this classification, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos are now hominids. Bernard Wood, Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 23, 84-87.

[lxvi] According to David Christian, we collectively learn and radiate group adaptation thereby. Christian, 146-48. 

For more on ant chemical communication, see Hölldobler and Wilson, The Superorganism, 178-83.

[lxvii] For more detailed musings about the future, from ecologically sustainable earths and the expansion of humanity into space to the disastrous collapse of global civilization, see Christian, 467-91; Genet, 151-92.