Second edition, 1998

Compiled and edited by:

Ophelia Marquez and 
Ramos Navarro Wold

Copyright, 1998

Published by:
SHHAR PRESS, 1998 (Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research) 
P.O. Box 490 Midway City,
CA 92655-0490 


Cover: Census Bookcover was provided by Ophelia Marquez
In 1791, and again in 1792, a census was ordered throughout the viceroyalty
by Viceroy Conde de Revillagigedo. 
The actual returns came in during 1791 - 1794.


This pamphlet has been compiled in response to the need for a handy, lightweight dictionary of Colonial terms
 to use while reading documents. This is a supplement to the first edition with additional words and phrases included.
Refer to pages 57 and 58 for the most commonly used phrases in baptismal, marriage, burial and testament documents.


Ophelia and Lillian want to record their gratitude to Nadine M. Vasquez
for her encouraging suggestions and for sharing her expertise with us.

Muy EstimadoS PrimoS,

In your hands you hold the results of an exhaustive search and compilation of historical terms of Hispanic researchers. Sensing the need, Ophelia Marquez and Lillian Ramos Wold scanned hundreds of books and glossaries looking for the most correct interpretation of words, titles, and phrases which they encountered in their researching activities. Many times words had several meanings. No attempt was made to identify the document reference for each word, tile or phrase; however, the primary sources are listed in the bibliography.

SHHAR is proud of distributing this concise glossary, confident that it will facilitate the efforts of anyone engaged in transcribing Spanish language historical materials.

Please write to us if you come across any puzzling Spanish words or terms in Hispanic colonial documents, not included in this glossary. Ophelia and Lillian and love a challenge and will search out a solution.

Para Servir

Mimi Lozano, President



Abad; An abbot; in some provinces the rector of a parish
Abandonado; Abandoned.
Abastecedor; Meat monopoly holder.
Abasto de carries; Meat supply monopoly in a city or town, usually rented out by municipal government.
abogado; Lawyer; advocate.
Abril; April
Abuela/o; Grandparent; ancestor; forefather; old person.
Acequia; Irrigation ditch.
Acequia madre; Main or mother water ditch.
Acequia real; Main (royal) canal.
Acequiero; Canal keeper.
Acordada; Law enforcement tribunal and agency.
Acordado; Organization established in 18th century Mexico to arrest and adjudge highwaymen.
Acto de posesión; An act of possession (rite) conducted at the location of a land grant that symbolized taking actual possession.
Ad interim; In the meantime (Latin).
Adarga; Bull-hide shield of oval form.
Adelantado; In colonial Spanish America, a person authorized by the crown to explore, conquer, and hold new territory. He pushed back the frontier and extended Spanish claims and control of the New World. Holder of a royal contract (capitulacion) providing for the conquest of a certain area without cost to the exchequer. After the conquest the adelantado would continue as the crown's governor with specified privileges.
Adobe; Mud brick.
Adoptado; Adopted.
Aduana nacional; National customhouse.
Adulterina/o; Illegitimate daughter/son.
Adulterio; Adultery.
Adultero/ra; Adulterer/adulteress.
Advertí; I advised.
Afinador; Tuner (occupation).
Afinidad; Relation by marriage.
Afinidad adoptive; Adoptive relationship
Afinno y ratifico; I affirm and confirm (ratify).
Afrancesado; Term of ridicule applied in the eighteenth century to Spaniards who aped French manners, or who advocated the introduction of French reforms. Francophile; a name given to those who supported France.
Agiotista; Loan shark of Mexico who lent money to the government, usually at exorbitant rates of interest.
Agosto; August (month). Harvest time.
Agravio; Injury, offense.
Agregado; A district (partido) attached to another for administrative convenience.
Agregados; Concentration or collection of recent settlers in a community.
Agua; Water
Aguaje; A running spring.
Aguardiente; Locally manufactured whisky or brandy.
Ahora; Now; today.
Ají; Chile;
Alabado; Religious hymn of praise, (short for "Alabado sea el Santisimo Nombre de Jesus"): A favorite hymn of praise taught to neophytes at missions.
Albañil; A stone or brick mason.
Alabardero; Spanish Royal Guard.
Albacea; Trustee/executor of a will.
Albarradón; Dike.

Excise or sales tax paid on goods when they changed hands; sales tax. In 1572 it was a little below 2 percent.

Alcabala de forastería; Sales tax paid by agents of nonresident merchants.
Alcabala de vecindad; Sales tax paid by persons selling on their own account.
Alcabala de viento; Sales tax paid by persons selling certain types of goods.
Alcaide; Warden; Keeper of the local jail.
Alcalde; Municipal officer with administrative and judicial functions.
Alcalde de barrio; City district magistrate.
Alcalde de corte; Judge of the civil division of the audiencia.
Alcalde de cuartel; City district magistrate.
Alcalde de mesta; Magistrate for common grazing land.
Alcalde de las cárceles secretos; Officer of the prison of the Inquisition.
Alcalde del crimen; Judge of the criminal division of the audiencia.
Alcalde mayor; Official appointed by the provincial governor to administer a district composed of one or more towns and their countryside. The chief political and military officer in the district who presided over the cabildo meetings with a tie-breaking vote. He had judicial responsibility on a local or district level. Local chief magistrate and administrative officer of a province. Equivalent of a corregidor. Deputy governor.
Alcalde ordinario; A judge, usually located in a city, who had original jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases. There were usually two per municipality. Their jurisdiction sometimes overlapped that of the alcaldes del crimen. He presided over a court of first instance as well as over cabildo meetings when the alcalde mayor and his lieutenant were absent.
Alcaldia mayor; Administrative division subordinate to a gobiemo, ruled by an alcalde mayor.
Aldeia; An Indian village or settlement in Portuguese America administered by the religious orders until the mid-eighteenth century and then by secular officials thereafter.
Alferez; Ensign; army officer lower than lieutenant; in Bolivia and in Peru a municipal office in the Indian villages. Approximately equal to a modem lieutenant.
Alferez real; Royal standard-bearer with the vote of a regidor in the town council when the office was purchased for life. He took precedence over all other regidores at cabildo meetings and public functions.
Alguacil; Constable or peace officer. Used of both civil and ecclesiastical officers. The civil officer in Mexico was usually called the Alguacil.
Alguacil de campo; Constable for agricultural property.
Alguacil mayor; Town sheriff with a vote as a regidor in the town council when the office was bought for life; otherwise, he was elected annually by the regidores and did not vote at the cabildo meetings which he attended; Chief constable, usually on a municipal level.


Alhondiga;  Public granary.  Central granary in a city or town.
Alquacil mayor desta
Senior constable of the high court.
Almacen; Warehouse.
Almacenero; Owner of an important merchant house.
Amistad; Friendship.
Almojarifazgo; Import/export duty.
Almud; One-twelfth of a fanega; about one and one-quarter bushels of grain.
Alquilones; Persons hired to serve as replacements in the Urban Regiment of Commerce of Mexico.
Alquitrán; A mixture of pitch, tar, grease, and oils used as a caulking material for hulls of ships.
Alzados; Rebel Indians. 
Alta California; Upper California; region of present state of California.
Alteza; Your Highness, Honorary title given to the kings, princes, and officials of the high court (Audiencia) and to some of the royal councils.
Alta; Upper.
Ambos; Both
Amo; Master, proprietor.
Amonestaciones; Banns (the published intent to marry required of all couples)
Amonestar; To publish the banns of marriage.
Ancestro/a; Ancestor/ancestress.
Ancianos; Elders.
Ancón; Floodplain. An alluvial shelf that runs along an arroyo just above the watercourse.
Andaluz; A native of Andalucia, southern province of Spain.
Anexo (anejo); Dependent church.
Año; Year.
Ante; Before, in front of, in the presence of; in view of, with regard to.
Ante mi; Before me; in my presence. 
Atencion; Recompense for a service. 
Antepasados; Ancestors.

Anterior; A Previous
Ante todo; Above all, first of all.
Antequera  Oaxaca
Antiayer; Day before yesterday.
Antigúedad; Seniority.
Aparejo; A pack saddle made from two thickness of leather sewed at their edges; draped over the back of pack animals and offered little padding at the spine but, on each side, provided a large pouch, stuffed with straw, to protect the beast's vulnerable ribs.
Apartador de oro: Assayer of gold.
Apellido; Surname.
Apoderado; Attorney; agent.
Apoderado general; Attorney general.
Apostolico/ca; Apostolic.
Arancel; Ecclesiastical fee list.
Aranceles generales; Tariffs of duties, fees or taxes; rate schedules.
Arbitrios; Taxes.
Arciprestazgo; Office of the archpriest.
Arcón; A chest with a vaulted lid; the common container to protect good clothing from dust.
Area; Common village threshing floor.
Armada de Barlovento; Squadron of twelve warships and two to three support craft to patrol western Caribbean.
Armadores de buceo; Pearling entrepreneurs with ships, stores, tools, and crews and finances necessary for pearl diving expeditions.
Arráez; Skipper of large dugout canoe or a sailing launch.
Arrastra; Large grinding wheel pulled by animals or men to pulverize the stone.
Arrendamiento; Renting, letting, lease.
Arrendatario; Renter.
Arribeño; Person from the highlands.
Arrieria; Mule-train transport.
Arriero; Muleteer; arriero; muleteer, teamster.
Arroba; Unit of dry measure, about 25 pounds; liquid, about 3 gallons.

Arroyo; Small stream or stream bed. Creek, usually with running water.
Arzobispado; Archbishopric.
Asentista; Contractor or monopolist.
Asesor; University-educated lawyer appointed to advise an executive official.
Asientó; Inhabited place, small settlement.
Asistencia; Dependent church or chapel with resident priest, often synonymous with ayuda de parroquia or vicaria.
Asistio; He assisted.
Astillero; (1) lumber camp. (2) shipyard.
Atlati; Throwing stick.
Atole; Boiled, strained corn in a porridge or gruel form.
Audiencia; The highest royal court of appeals within a jurisdiction, serving at the same time as a council of state to the Viceroy or Governor. It as also a court of first instance in certain cases (casos de corte), usually involving higher officials. It was divided into two chambers, one for criminal cases (sola del crimen). The judges of the audiencia (pidores) varied in number. In 1583 the audiencia of Mexico had six. The term was also applied to the area of district under the audiencia's jurisdiction.
Auditor de guerra; A judge-advocate of the army, audiencia judge responsible for army affairs.
Auto; Decree or edict; Various legal documents:
(1) A judicial sentence in secondary matters that ordinarily did not demand a sentence.
(2) A decree of the audiencia
(3)A drama of a biblical or allegorical nature.
Auto de fe; Public ceremony at which the sentences of the Inquisition were pronounced or the resulting punishment. In language histories it is often given in the Portuguese form auto da fe.
Aecindar; To domicile oneself
avenida; A flash flood channeled by an arroyo into an overwhelming destructive rush of wate
Avería; Convoy tax
Aviador; Supplier of working capital or goods to an agricultural enterprise; usually a merchant. Financial baker of an alcalde mayor. 
Avío; Credit, cash, or goods provided to an enterprise.
Ayer; Yesterday.

Ayllu; Communal unit in the Inca empire which worked the land in common, part for themselves and part for the Inca ruler and priestly elite.
Ayuda de costa; Stipend derived from Indian tribute.
Ayuda de parroquia;  Subordinate church with resident priest, similar to asistencia or vicaria.
Ayudante inspector; Adjutant or assistant inspector to a military superior.
Ayuntamiento; The municipal government; the cabildo (city council) 
Azadón; Pickaxe or hoe.
Azogue; Mercury, a vital ingredient in refining silver by the amalgamation process.
Bachiller; Holder of a bachelor's degree. Less common and more prestigious in the sixteenth century than at present. The honorific title of a secular priest.
Baja; Lower.
Baja California; Lower California; that part of California south of the international boundary between Mexico and the United States.
Balanzario; Official who weighed silver bar at mint and had quinto removed. 
Baldias; Vacant or public lands.
Balsa; A raft made by binding bundles of reeds or the pithy trunks of corcho; used by California Indians for fishing platforms and transportation.
Banas; Banns (marriage).
Bandera de recluta; Recruiting team.
Bando; Proclamation.
Barbaramente; Nomadic, non-urban life, the opposite of politicamente.
Barbero; Barber
Barranca; Ravine. Deep canyon or gorge, similar to quebrada.
Barrero; Potter; clay pit.
Barretero; One who works with a pick in mines.
Barrio; Settlement subordinate to a. pueblo, usually within or next to the main settlement; sometimes synonymous with estancia. Cuidad, villa, pueblo and barrio.
Bartolomico; A fellow of the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolome at the University of Salamanca.
Bastante; Sufficient, enough; competent.
Bastardo/a; Bastard; born of adulterous relationship.
Bastón; A baton with a silver head, a symbol of office given to a presidial captain.



Batea;  Wooden bowl used for panning gold.
Bautismo; Baptism.
Bautizar;  To Baptize.
Bautize; I baptized.
Beata; A single woman, usually a widow, who led a form of religious life without belonging to any order, often wearing distinctive garb and engaged in charitable works.
Bendición; Benediction; blessing.
Bendito; Prayer beginning with this word as a blessing.
Beneficio;  Benefice, an ecclesiastical office with an income attached.
Beneficio curado; Benefice, secular parish ministered by a beneficiado (beneficiary).
Beneficio de azogue; Treatment of ore with amalgams.
Bestia de carga; Pack mules or burros.
Bestia de silla; Riding animals collectively; either riding mules or a mixed group of riding mules and horses (see caballadd).
Bienes; Assets.
Bienes de comunidad; Community revenues on deposit in royal treasury.
Bienes de dimntos; The goods left by those who died intestate or with heirs outside the colony, usually sold and the money sent to the heirs.
Bisabuela;  Great grandmother.
Bisabuelo; Great grandfather.
Boca; Mountain pass.
Bodega; Storehouse.
Bolsón; Interior drainage basin.
Bonanzas;  Large gold or silver strikes.
Borrador; Rough draft.
Borrasca;  Played out (en borrascd), referring to a mine.
Boticario; Pharmacist.
Bóveda; Grave.
Bozal; Temporary head-stall for a horse.
Br.; Abbreviated form of Bachiller, the honorific title of a secular priest.
Braceaje;  Mint director's tax on coined silver.
Braza;  Unit of measure; commonly two varas


Breve, bula; Brief, bull. A bull (from the Medieval Latin Bulla, referring to a lead seal) was a papal pronouncement or letter that usually carried the name of the pope without his number, followed by the words Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei (Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God) and the year of his pontificate. A brief was a shorter form, without the formalities mentioned, but essentially the same as a bull.
Brigantine;  A small, partially decked pinnace, propelled by oars and sails. The
brigantines of Hernando Cortes had a small gun mounted forward and carried a crew of twenty-three.
Bronco;  Wild, rough, coarse, rude, unmannerly. Contemporary American term: A small, wiry, spirited horse.
Bubas;  Pustules, often associated with yaws or syphilis.
Bulas de santa cruzada;  Papal indulgences sold to support war against infidels, collected for the Crown.
Bulto;  Religious image usually carved in the round from pine or cottonwood.
Burro; Donkey.
Caballada; Properly, a group of horses; often a group of horses and mules.
Caballería;  Tract of rural land, normally used for the production of agricultural
crops granted to a horse-soldier. Unit of agricultural land measurement equivalent to 105.8 acres in Mexico; 95 acres in Spain, 33 in Cuba and 194 in Puerto Rico. Knightly order e.g. la Caballeria de Santiago (the Knights of Santiago).
Caballerizo mayor;  Master of the horse for an entrada, responsible for care, quartering, grazing and provisioning for horses.
Caballero;  A knight, the lowest ranking of nobility. A gentleman or horseman.
Cabecera;  Administrative center for a political jurisdiction;
province, region or district.
Cabildo;  Municipal government of a town, roughly equivalent to a town council, composed of various officials who purchased their positions for 1 who were elected annually by the permanent or outgoing members of the cabildo; Town council or municipal form of government; building in which the council met.
Cabildo (eclesiastic);  (1) Chapter of canons. The chapter usually ruled the diocese in The interim between bishops (sede vacante), often through an elected representative called the vicar capitular. In some dioceses the cabildo had the right to nominate the new bishop, but under the patronato this was not done in the Spanish dependencies. The cabildo had four ranks: five dignidades; ten canonigos, or canons; six racioneros; and six medio-racioneros.



The five dignidades, who had other functions in addition to the two mentioned on page 9 were:
Dean. President of the cabildo and presided over its meetings in the absence of the bishop. He was usually its senior member. He was in charge of all ceremonies and divine worship and acted more or less as the pastor of the cathedral church.
Archdeacon (arcediano). He was originally the head of the deacons who participated in the cathedral ceremonies. By the sixteenth century he was the examiner of those who presented themselves for ordination. He sometimes acted as administrator of the diocese in the bishop's absence and was ordinarily expected to have at least a bachelor's degree in canon law. In the sixteenth century this was the most powerful position on the cathedral chapter of Mexico.
Schoolmaster (maestrescuelas). He was in charge of the cathedral school, if there was one. He was required to offer Latin classes to all clerics and aspirants who asked for them, and he was ordinarily required to have a bachelor's degree in canon law or philosophy.
Choirmaster (chantre). He was in charge of the cathedral choir and had to do some of the singing personally.
Treasurer (tesorero). Person in charge of the administration of the physical plant and revenues from the patrimony, or foundation, of the cabildo. Included thefabrica, or income for the upkeep and maintenance of buildings, and the superavit, or superfluous funds at the end of each year.  
Cabildo extraordinario; A cabildo convened for an important reason.
Cabildo de naturales; Indian governing council.
Cabo;  A man designated to head a detail of soldiers or workers; a foreman.
Cabo de esquadra; A corporal; the presidio's lowest non-commissioned officer.
Cacastle; A crate made from the straight wands ofguatamote (baccharis glutinosa), a common plant ofarroyo beds.
Cacica; Female cacique.
Cacicazgo; Estate of a Cacique.
Cacique; Indian chieftain. Indian noble. His district was called a cacicazgo. Arawakian word brought from the Caribbean meaning hereditary indigenous ruler.
Caja; Royal treasury; also, a box. The district administered by the royal treasury officials (oficiales reales).
Caja de tres Haves; Royal strongbox for holding money and revenues.



Cajeta; Fruit (and sometimes milk) boiled down to a stiff, moist preserve.
Cajero; Manager for, apprentice of, a merchant, treasurer.
Cajonero; Owner of a wooden store or market stall with straw or shingle roof; retailer.
Cal; Lime in powder form, prepared by grinding kiln-fired pieces of limestone.
Calabaza; Squash, gourd.
Calabozo; Dungeon.
Calafate; A caulker of ship and boat hulls—and usually a rigging expert; a regular position in the marineria of the presidio of Loreto.
Calicata; Sliding price scale for bread relating it to the price of wheat.
Calidad; Quality, condition, character, kind, nature; nobility, rank;
personal qualifications. In Colonial New Spain, the term indicated aspects of color, occupation, wealth, purity of blood, honor, integrity and place of origin.
Calificado,-da; Qualified, authorized, competent.
Californio; A person raised or, later, born and raised in California.
Calzada; Causeway leading to and from Mexico City.
Camino real; Royal highway. A principal road or trail for mounted travelers or pack trains.
Caminos reales; Royal highways.
Campesino; Rural worker or resident. Farmer.
Camposanto; Cemetery or holy ground.
Canoa; A dugout canoe large enough to carry men and supplies in the gulf.
Cantador; Singer of ballads. 
Cantero; Stonemason
Cantora; Indian woman trained as a singer and a leader of singers in mission church services.
Cañada; Canyon or glen between the mountains.
Cápellan; A priest who has a chaplaincy, or says mass in a private Chapel and who is paid by a trust fund or private individual To administer the affairs of said fund or individual. 
Capellán de canales adentro; A secular cleric appointed by the bishop of Guadalajara as chaplain of the entire region surrounding the Gulf of California.


Capellánia; (1) Chaplaincy of masses established for the soul of a deceased person or persons on a principal sum of money or the value of real property. Its yield of five (5) percent annual interest was paid to the cleric who said the masses. (2) chaplaincy, subsidized by the crown, at a presidio or military headquarters. The beneficiary (priest) was a capelldn or cura castrense.
Capilla;  Chapel; hood; cowl.
Capital; Property husband has at time of marriage.
Capitán; Captain. In Northern New Spain, generally a rank bestowed on an individual who maintained a private militia.
Capitán cajero;  Chief treasurer or paymaster. 
Capitán principal;  Indian leader. 
Capitán reformado; Officer on half pay.
Capitán a guerra;  Head of a military operation in an area smaller than a province-usually on a frontier beset with unfriendly Indians.
Capitána;  The chief ship of the presidio -so called because a captain commanded the presidio.
Capitáncillo;  Subchief.
Capitulo;  Chapter, an official meeting of the members of a religious order, usually held every three years.
Capulli (tiaxilacalli);  Group of families (Indian) living in one vicinity, either in an estancia or a barrio.
Caravana;  Caravan.
Cardón;  The giant columnar cactus of the California peninsula; its skeleton has many uses as a building material and its sap and fruit have been regarded as medicinal.
Carga; Maximum load that could legally be carried by Indian bearers, about fifty
pounds. A load, generally of two fanegas, or about 200 pounds. Unit of dry measure equaling 300-330 pounds.
Cargadores;  Merchants trading overseas, reputed to be agents of peninsular traders.
Cargo; Burden or office.
Carnal;  Related by blood; primo (first cousin); carnal; fleshy; sensual.
Camiceria;  Municipal slaughterhouse or butcher shop, established to regulate the supply, and also, the price of meat.
Carpeta; Portfolio; file of documents usually on one subject.
Carpintero de rivera;  A shipwright or ship's carpenter.
Caneras de baquetas;  Military punishment of running the gauntlet between two files of soldiers.
Carretas;  Wooden carts, drawn by oxen or mules.



Carta ánua; Annual report submitted to Jesuit superiors (Latin, carta or littera annud).
Casa; House.
De casa; A phrase descriptive of an inhabitant of the cabecera of a mission; to distinguish him or her from an inhabitant of a Visita'. Literally, a member of the mission "household."
Casa de Contratacion;  The House of Trade, in Seville, Spain. It was established in 1503 to organize, regulate, and develop trade with the New World.
Casa de fundición;  Foundry.
Casa de moneda; The mint.
Casa de rentero; Household of a subordinate or tenant.
Casa poblada; Literally "peopled house." Ideally, a large estate headquarters, preferably managed by a Spanish wife, where a number of relatives, guests, and Spanish employees were maintained, catered to by a staff of black slaves and Indian servants.
Casa Morada; Dwelling place.
Casado/da; Married.
Casamata (casa mata);  Fortified position installed with artillery; slaughterhouse.
Casamiento; Marriage, wedding.
Casar; To marry.
Casas reales; (1) The principal buildings of a town.
(2) The residence of the viceroy and audiencia.
Case y vele; Married and veiled (blessed).
Casta de razón; Acceptable castes; usually whites, castizos, and mestizos.
Castas; Castes; generic term for racial mixtures.
Castellan; Governor of a fort or a castle.
Castellano; The peso de oro, peso de orofino, or peso de minas, valued at 450 maravedis.
Castizo/za; Spaniard and Indian; Mestizo and Spaniard.
Catedral; Cathedral.
Catedratico de Prima; University chair in law that was taught at the time corresponding to the canonical hour of Prime.
Catedratico del decreto; University professor who taught Gratian's Decree, one of the major source books of the canon law.
Caudillo; Military chieftain or commander, military rank varied. 
Cazo; A copper cauldron used in refining silver from silver ore.
Cazonci; The supreme ruler of the Tarascan empire in Michoacan.




Cedula real; Royal decree or order.
Celemín; Unit of dry measure; commonly one almud.
Cenote; Sink hole;
Censo; Census.
Chaparreras/Chaparejos;  Leather chaps or leg coverings.
Charqui; Strips of beef, deer, or buffalo that were dried in the sun. 
Chía; Sage.
Chichimeca; Hispanicized plural ofNahuat! chichimecati; Anglicized, Chichimecs:
the hunter-gatherers of the arid plains and mountains north of Mesoamerica; by extension, any relatively rustic and wild Indians.
Chichique; A fermented beverage made with sugar.
Chinampa; Artificially built piece of land irrigated by capillarity in swampy areas or along lake-shores (often anchored to solid ground but sometimes afloat), used for intensive agriculture.
Chinguirito; Inferior grade rum.
Chino; A Filipino, many of whom came to New Spain on returning Manila ships.
Chirimia; Reed flute of Moorish origin.
Chubasco; A violent summer storm common to the Sea of Cortes and surrounding lands.
Churro; Breed of sheep that was new to the Southwest.
Cíbolo; Mexican bull; bison.
Cigarro; Frontier cigarette rolled by smoker.
Cimarrón; Term applied to runaway Negro slaves who formed colonies in the wilderness and lived by brigandage.
Cincha; Strap or band that holds the saddle onto the horse.
Cinco; Five.
Ciudad; Settlement with royally granted privileges. In New Spain such municipalities were authorized by twelve councilmen and two magistrates.
Clase; Class, rank, quality. In Colonial New Spain an occupational standing. It also included dimensions of wealth and race.
Clerigo; (1) A diocesan priest.
(2) Any person who had received tonsure.
Coa; A short planting hoe or digging stick. 
Cocina; Kitchen.





Cocinero; Cook 
Cocolistii; An epidemic.
Cofradia; Fraternity of workers, usually grouped in trades, who took charge of church festivals.
Cojo; Cripple, lame.
Colacion; Conferral of an ecclesiastical office.
Colcha; Coverlet or blanket, sometimes with geometric designs.
Colegial; Fellow of a colegio, or residential college.
Colegio; A school or seminary.
Coligados; Bound together.
Colono; Colonist, or settler.
Coloquio; Literary composition in the form of a dialogue.
Color quebrado; Of broken color; person of mixed blood showing defmite color strain.
Comal; A flat sheet of earthenware or metal for cooking tortillas.
Comandante-general; Commandant-general, usually used in connection with chief administrative official ofProvincias Internets del Norte after 1776.
Comisario; The officer in charge of royal warehouse. Peace officer. Commissary.
Comisario de guerra; Official in charge of fiscal matters relating to the army.
Comisario general; Among the Franciscans an official in Spain intermediate between the superior general and the provincials.In New Spain he was the highest official in the order and had certain powers as visitador.
Comisión; A special appointment - one that carried unusual or additional duties.
Comisionado; A soldier appointed to carry out a special appointment.
Communication; In canon law refers to the granting of privileges and means that the privileges granted to one religious order are shared by all orders.
Compadre; Name given reciprocally by the father and godfather of a child.
Compañero; Literally "companion"; a missionary's usual term to indicate the soldier assigned as a guard/'may'ordomo to his mission.
Compañia suelta; Reserve company of militia.



Compañia volante; A "Flying Company" - a cavalry troop frequently on the move to pursue hostile Indians and protect frontier settlements; unit detached from the main garrison. A "quick-response" military group.
Competencia; Conflict of jurisdiction.
Composicion; Regularization of defective land titles; the fee paid to the Crown in such a transaction.
Compradrazgo; God-parentage. A very important social institution which establish ties between parents of a baptized child and the child's godparents. The mother and godmother are comadres; the father and godfather are compadres. Especially important in Indian communities.
Composiciones; Lump sum payments to the Crown for clear titles of land ownership.
Comun; Community, or the total population of a community.
Comúnero; Joint holder of town lands and defender of the municipality against encroachment of crown and other centralizing agencies.
Comunidad; Municipal corporation.
Con; With.
Concesión real; Royal concession.
Conciliares; Conciliar.
Concilio de Trento; Council of Trent (The 19th Ecumenical Council which opened in Trent, Italy on 13 December 1545 and closed there on 04 December 1563). There were a total of 25 sessions. Session 24 (11 November 1563) enacted dogmas and decrees concerning marriage.
Conde; Title of nobility equivalent to a marques in Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries; not equivalent to the title of count in the English nobility.

Condicionalmente; Conditionally.
Confesados; (Having) confessed.
Congregacion; The Spanish policy of concentrating Indians into villages.
Conocido(s); Known.
Conozco; I know.
Conquista; A conquest.
Conquistador; Conqueror. The first settlers of the provinces ofCoahuila and Nuevo Leon referred to themselves in various documents as "conquistadores y pobladores".
Consanguinidad; Cosanguinity (related by blood).
Consejo;  Council, advice, monition.
Consejo de guerra; Court-martial.



Consejo de Indias; Council of the Indies (chief administrative body of Spain regarding the New World and elsewhere in the Indies).
Consejo pleno de guerra; Full war council of the imperial government.
Consentimiento  Consent.
Conste; Witness.
Consul; Consulado judge.
Consulado: Tribunal and guild of wholesale merchants. That of Mexico City was founded in 1592, and those of Guadalajara and Vera Cruz in 1795.
Contador; Accountant; one of the four treasury officials assigned to New Spain to look after the Crown's fiscal interests. The other three were the Veedor (inspector). Factor (business agent), and Tesorero (treasurer).
Contenido/da; Contained; - n.m. contents, context, tenor, enclosure.
Continuo; Royal bodyguard.
Contra; Against.
Contracosta; The term for the pacific coast of the peninsula employed by people in California in the 18th century (see otra banda).
Contraian; They contracted.
Contramaestre; A boatswain; sometimes a skipper of one of the presidio ofLoreto's smaller sailing craft.
Contraer matrimonio; To contract marriage.
Contrayente; Bethrothed; (person) contracting marriage. 
Contrayentes; Both parties contracting marriage. 
Convento; A religious house.
Conversión; In ecclesiastical terms, a conversion through which Indians became members of a mission community.
Converso; A convert from Judaism to Catholicism.
Conyuge; Spouse.
Coplas populares; Popular, common, or everyday quatrain; stanzas of four lines.
Copula ilicita; Illicit carnal union; Unlawful sexual relationship.
Copula licita; Licit carnal union; lawful sexual relationship.
Corcho or colorín;
A small tree with balsa-like wood; native Califomians bound together five or more of the trimmed trunks to form rafts (balsas) that were used in lagoons or on the open ocean.
Coronel graduado; Colonel by rank, but without pay or effective command.  
Corral;  Round animal pen.
Corredor; A covered, open-sided porch.



Corregidor; Spanish official in charge of a province or district. Local magistrate and administrator with jurisdiction over an Indian polity. District magistrate. Corresponds to alcalde mayor.
Corregimiento; Institution, office, or jurisdiction of a corregidor.
Correos conductores; Mailmen, often presidial soldiers performing this duty.
Corrida; Bullfight.
Corriente; Current, present (week, month, year).
Cortes; Parliament; the senate and congress of deputies of Spain.
Cortijo; House in the country, frequently surrounded by lands used for cultivation or the hunt.
Coso; Plaza or enclosed place for bullfights and other public celebrations.
Costumbre; Custom; native law.
Council of the Indies; An advisory board that, with the courts and the king, handled colonial problems and performed administrative functions under the Code of the Indies, codified in 1680.
Council of war; Administrative body in Spain responsible for military matters throughout the empire.
Covento; Living quarters for religious personnel.
Coyote/ta; Blood mixture. (Mulatto and Indian; mestizo and Indian; barcino and Spaniard). Classification of racial mixtures varied within New Spain during the colonial period.
Criado/da/; Educated, instructed, bred; servant, domestic. In New Spain, the term generally meant that an individual was being reared by another person.
Criar;  To rear, to foster.
Criollo/lla; Creole. A white Spaniard that was bom in the Spanish-American empire (the Indies).
Crisma; Holy oil.
Cristiano nuevo; A new Christian (usually refers to Jews who accepted baptism into the Catholic faith).
Cronista; Chronicler, historian.
Cruzada; Tax or offering, levied originally to finance the wars against the Moslems. In return, the person who gave, received indulgences and spiritual benefits. By the sixteenth century it was used to support the expenses of empire.
Cuadrillero; Police Official.



Cuándo; When.
Cúanto; How much?
Cuartel; Quarter or district of a town.
Cuartel general; General headquarters.
Cuartillo; One-fourth, especially of an almud or a real.
Cuarto; Fourth.
Cuarto grado; Fourth degree; third cousins.
Cuatro or quatro; Four.
Cube; Unit of measure; bucket; vat.
Cuerda; Cord
Cuera' Short leather jacket worn by soldiers and settlers on military campaigns; usually made up of several thickness. This distinctive garment gave the presidial soldier the name by which he was known for over two centuries: Soldado de cuera.
Cuerte; Horsewhip.
The "Mexican Empire," or Triple Alliance ofTexcoco, Tacuba, and Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Gomara uses "Mexican" and "Culhuan" indiscriminately, although "Mexican" should be restricted to the inhabitants of Mexico-Tenochtitlan.
Culpa; Sentence of guilt given in a residencia or visita;
Cum venia parochi; With permission of the parish priest (Latin). 
Cumbe; A settlement of runaway slaves in Spanish America.
Cumplimiento; Compliment, act of complementing; courtesy, compliance, ceremony, formality.
Cuñado/a; Brother/sister-in-law.
Cura; A parish priest, curate, or rector; member of secular clergy.
Cura benificiado; Secular priest subordinate to a bishop.
Cura interino; Priest (provisional, temporary; pro tempore)
Curandero; Medical practitioner without official degree.
Curáto; Parish administered by secular clergy.
Curia; A religious court.
Custodia; A group of Franciscan conventos, within aprovincia, governed by a custodio (Latin, custos).
De casa; A phrase descriptive of an inhabitant of the cabecera of a mission - to distinguish him or her from an inhabitant of a visita: Literally, a member of the mission "household".



De dicho; Of said.
De este lugar; Of this place.
De su libertad; Freely.
Debia; Peak seasonal demand period in agricultural repartimiento.
Declarar; To declare.
Deciembre; December.
Decimo; Tenth.
Declaracion; Declaration.
Declarar; To declare.
Decreto; Decree; decision; order.
Definidor; A councilor in a religious order.
Dentro de; In, within.
Denuncia; A judicial claim to land. Accusation or statement of land claim.
Dependencia; A settlement subordinate to a cabecera.
Depositada; Woman who is removed from her home by authorities and placed in another house when her parents object to her pending marriage.
Depositario; Receiver or trustee.
Depositario general;  Bonded offiical named by the municipal cabildo to have charge of sequestered goods and those under litigation.
Derecho; Right, justice, law.
Derechos; Ecclesiastical or other fees.
Derrama; Unofficial local tax levy.
Derrotero; Diary or description of a journey of exploration.
Desaque; The drainage of the valley of Mexico.
Despacho; Office, place of business, despatch, commission or warrant.
Despoblado; Abandoned town site.
Desposado/da; Formally engaged; betrothed.
Desposar; To marry; to be betrothed or married.
Dia(s); Day(s).  
Dias de la semana; Days of the week.
 Dicho dia, mes y año; Said day, month and year.
Diciembre;  December.
 Diez;  Ten




Diezmo; Tithe or, tenth part of agricultural produce collected.
Difunto/a; Demnt, dead, deceased, late. 
Digo; I mean to say (used in making correction).
Diligencias;   Obligation, duty; (law) judicial formalities, procedure.
Diocesis; Diocese, unit of the Catholic Church presided over by a Bishop.
Diputación Another name for the municipal cabildo or the building in which it met.
Diputación de la minería;  Regional mining board under the Mining Tribunal.
Directo; Direct.
Dirimente; Breaking off, dissolving.
Discrete; Assistant elected to council of missions.
Dispensa; Dispensation (e.g., when related by marriage or blood).
Dispensar; To dispense, exempt, excuse, dispense with; to excuse, pardon.
Dispuestos; Disposed.
Dobia; Peak seasonal demand period in agricultural repartimento.
Doctrina; Religious doctrine; parish consisting of recently converted Indians but no longer in a strictly missionary status. Mission school.
Doctrina Cristiana; Christian doctrine.
Doctrinero; Priest in charge of a doctrina. Priest, friar, or catechist, charged with providing Christian training to an indigenous community.
Dogal; A short rope used to tie a calf while its mother is being milked.
Domingo; Sunday.
Don,doña; A title of honor. In California accorded to any Spaniard, officer, or person from an important, respected family.
Doneella; Maiden; unmarried woman.
Donde; Where.
DOS; Two.
Dote; Dowry, Usually found in documents as "carta de dote".
Doy fe; I attest, I certify.
Dragón; Dragoon.
Ducado; Coin equivalent to 374 maravedies; a ducat.



Dudoso; Doubtful.
Dula; Plots of land irrigated by a common stream or canal; the number of clock hours required to irrigate a specified tract of land.
Duquesa; Duchess in Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries; not equivalent to the title of duchess in the English nobility.
Edad; Age.
Ejercito; Army.
Ejido; The common lands of an Indian community. Lands held communally by a township, generally used for grazing and wood collecting. Common lands allotted by crown to each settlement.
El;  The (masculine).
El cura; The parish priest.
El mozo;  Junior.
El reverendo padre; Reverend father.
Elotes; Immature maize ears.
Embarcadero; Wharf, pier.
Empresario (impresario); Official land developer.
En el; In the.
En iqualdad; In equality.
En la; In the.
Entiempo debido; In due time.
Enero (henero); January. (Note: Months are not capitalized in Spanish documents)
Encargado; In charge.
Encomendero; Holder of an Indian encomienda; also, a commission merchant or factor.
Encomienda; A tribute institution used in Spanish America in the sixteenth century. The Spaniard received Indians as an entrustment ( encomienda) to protect and to Christianize them, but in return he could demand tribute ( including labor). Also the practice of commission sales in the grain market.
Enseñarle; Of teaching him/her.
Entrada; An expedition organized for trade, raid, exploration or conquest.
Enterrado; Buried.
Entierro; Burial; interment, funeral.
Entremes; Interlude, a short production of a lighter nature presented between acts of a weightier drama.



Ermita;  Hermitage; A chapel of pease. 
Errero/Herrero; Smith; blacksmith.
Es pariente;   Is related.
Esclavo;  Slave or captive
Escolta;  The escort or squad of soldiers assigned to protect a missionary at a new mission.
Escopeta; Firelock or gun
Escribania;  Notarial office.
Escribano; A notary. A secretary or scribe primarily expert in executing documents in correct legal format.
Escribano apostolico;  Ecclesiastical notary.
Escribano de cámara; Notary employed by the Audiencia.
Escribano de minas; Notary assigned to a mining region.
Escribano de provincia; Notary in the civil chamber of the audiencia.
Escribano publico; Public notary or secretary in legal and judicial cases.
Escribano mayor; Audiencia notary in charge of registering documents and papers from the minas y registros mines.
Escribano real; A notary who was licensed to practice.
Escribano receptor;  Notary who accompanied ajuez de residencia to take evidence and testimony.
Escrito;  Writing, manuscript; (law) writ; brief. 
Escritura;  Deed.
Escudero; Squire. Entry level of conquest nobility.
Escuela de primeras letras;  Primary school.
Español/a; Spaniard. In New Spain the term referred to peninsulares, Creoles and those passing as whites.
Españolado;   Spanish-speaking Indian. 
Espediente; File of documents bearing on a case.
 Espiritu militar; Esprit de corps or martial spirit.
Espiritual;  Spiritual.
    Esposa;   Wife; Spouse.
Esposados;  Married.
 Esposo;  Husband; spouse.
Espurío;  Illegitimate, spurious. 
Estacas; Pilings for building.



Estado;  Summary report in tabular form.
Estampida;  Stampede. A general bolting of animals.
Estancia;  Landed property; a stock-raising estate or farm for grazing cattle. Settlement subordinate to a pueblo, usually some distance from the main settlement.
Estanco;  A monopoly.
Estante; Someone that has no legal residence in a certain town.
Este/esta;  This.
Estrecho de sangre; Intimately blood related.
Europeo; In theory a European, but on the frontier it meant a Spaniard from the mother country.
Ex licentia parochi;  By license of the parish priest (Latin).
Excommunication;  Ecclesiastical penalty whereby a person was barred from receiving the sacraments and participating in public worship.
Ex licentia parochi; By license of the parish priest (Latin).
Expediente;  File of papers bearing on a case.
Exposito/a; Foundling. Placed in the home of foster parents.
Expuesto en casa de; Raised in the house of.
Fabrica; Income used for the repair and upkeep of cathedrals. Factory.
Factor; One of the three treasury officials of New Spain, a disbursing agent and royal business manager.
Faenero; Miner who does piece-work.
Fallecio; Died.
Familiares; Deputies or police agents of the Inquisition.
Fandago;  A lively dance accompanied by guitars and other instruments.
Fanega; Measurement of grain and seed; usually equal to about two and one-hall bushels, but varied according to locale.
Fanega de sembradura; Area sown with onefanega of maize; about nine acres.
Farautes; Interpreters.   
Farsa; A short comedy skit.
Favela; Squatter settlement in Brazil.
Fe;   Faith; certificate. 
Febrero; February.
Feligres; Parishioner.
Feligresia Parish




Feligresia de; Parish of.
Fiador; Bondsman; one who put up a bond, usually for the good conduct; of an officeholder.
Fiesta; Public celebration; holiday or feast. 
Fiesta de toros; Bullfight.
Filación; Military enlistment papers or regimental register with physical description; (height, physiognomy, age, etc.).
Fin; End.
Firma; Signature. 
Firmo; I sign.
Fiscal; Crown or city attorney. In civil cases he represented the royal interests and in criminal cases was prosecutor.
Fiscal de lo civil; Crown attorney attached to the audiencia.
Fisco; Royal treasury; also called camara del rey.
Fiesta; Feast.
Finca; Land or house property; ranch
Flechero; Indian militiaman under Spanish orders.
Flota; One of the two fleets that were customarily sent each year from Cadiz or Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain, to Veracruz, New Spain, carrying Spanish products and passengers, and transporting New World products and passengers back to Spain.
Foja (hoja); Leaf (of manuscript), page.
Folio; Page of a book, notebook or bundle legajo.
Foráneo; Traveler, foreigner.
Forestero; Stranger.
Fraile; Frair, a member of a mendicant order.
Fray; Title used before the first name of a frair, from the Medieval Latin for "brother."
Frijol; American bean. 
Fue/fueron; Was/were.
Fuero; Special laws by which the Church and later, the Army, reserved jurisdiction over all its officers; ecclesiastical and military immunity from civil jurisdiction.
Fuero criminal; Right to trail by the military in criminal cases.
Fuero militar; Corporate privileges and the right of soldiers to trial by the Military jurisdiction.




Fuerza; (1) Setback administered to a person by a judge who found against a particular party or refused to admit an appeal.
(2) Alzarfuerza, process whereby a superior judge took a case on appeal.
(3) Por via defuerza, recur so defuerza, legal process whereby a case was appealed from an ecclesiastical to a civil court, often in violation of the privilegium fori.
Fulano; Such a one; so and so.
Fundo legal;  Standard township site.
Gachupin; A Spaniard bom in Europe, resident in New Spain. A derogatory term used in New Spain to describe a native of Spain.
Gamuza; A deer hide tanned like a chamois.
Ganaderia; Breeding feeding of cattle.
Ganado alzado; Half-wild to wild stray cattle.
Ganado Mayor; Larger livestock, such as cattle, horses, and mules.
Ganado Menor;  Smaller livestock, such as sheep and goats.
Gañán; Hacienda laborer or peon.
Gemelas; Twin girls
Gemelos; Twins (two boys or a boy and a girl).
Genizaro; Localism used in New Mexico to describe an Indian of nomadic tribe capturet or ransomed by New Mexicans and then employed by them or settled in an established community; non-Pueblo Indians peaceably settled under Spanish control.
Gente decente;  "Decent," reasonable or civilized people.

Gente de razon; "People of Reason"; civilized people, or Spanish settlers; educated or rational persons in distinction to unconquered Indians.
Gentil; Heathen Indian.
Gobemacion; Area governed by a governor (gobemador).
Gobemador; Governor of a region or province, subordinate to a virrey.
Gobemador (Indian);  A neophyte official with duties and responsibilities in leading mission inmates, particularly in the padre's absence; chosen by a padre and appointed by the captain of the presidio - a man performing the same duties might instead be called a capitdin.
Gobierno; Government; public administration; district or province under a governor.
Goipe de estado; Coup d'etat.
Grado;  Degree of relationship, grade, rank.
Graduado; Brevet.
Gran Quivira; Great Quivira.




Granaderos; Grenadiers.
Grandee; Member of one of the families comprising the official elite of Spanish society
Grano; The smallest denomination of Spanish currency. They were ninety-six to a gold peso. One-twelfth of a real.
Guacamole; A paste made of the meat of the aguacate (avocado), mixed with onion and green pepper.
Guachinango; Term used at Veracruz to describe a person from overseas.
Guaracha; Leather sandal.
Guarda; Guard, keeper.
Guardia; Guard, body of armed guards.
Guardianía; Franciscan monastery ruled by a guardian, and its territory.
Guerra; War
Guerrilla; Irregular warfare; "guerrilla" war.
Guerrillero; Irregular soldier.
Gufa; Letter of safe-conduct proving that the customs and duty are paid at the customhouse.
H.L.; Hijo legitimo.
Hija legitima; Legitimate daughter.
Hijo legitimo; Legitimate son.
Habiendo corrido; Having taken care of.
Habilitación; Paymaster's office.
Habilitado; Paymaster or presidio quartermaster.
Habitación; House, lodging.
Hacendado; Owner of a rural estate, or hacienda.
Hacienda; (1) A large landed estate. Five sitios of "ganado mayor" (a sitio was one square league); A large rural estate, typically based on a mixture of grain farming and livestock production; usually embracing smaller properties and employing many families in raising crops or livestock. (2) Overall term for the royal treasury or financial area of government.
Haciendo oficio de; Performing the office of.
Halach uinic; Ruler of a large state or confederation in pre-Hispanic Yucatan.
Hechura; Client or protege.



Henero (Enero);  January.
Heredad; Rural property.
Heredar;  To inherit.
Heredera;  Heiress.
Heredero;  Heir.
Hermandad; Sodality.
Hermano/a;  Brother/sister.
Hermanos camales; Full brothers and sisters (identical parentage).
Hermanos naturales; Half brothers and sisters (one parent in common).
Hermita; Dependent church.
Herido de molino; Mill site.
Hibueras; The sixteenth-century name of Honduras.
Hice los exorcismos; I exorcised.
Hidalgo;  A member of the lower nobility. An untitled noble. In theory, a "son of somebody."

Hija;  Daughter
Hijo; Son.
Hijo/ja adoptive; Adopted child; a person who legally uses the name of another (usually that of the adopted father).
Hijo/ja. bastardo/da;  Bastard child; a child bom of unwed parents, one or both of whom was not able to be married.
Hijo/ja de la iglesia; Child bom of unknown or undeclared parentage.
Hijo/ja legitimo/ma; Legitimate child; a child bom of a legal union (legitimo matrimonio).
Hijo/ja natural.;  Natural child; a child bom of unwed parents who could have been legally married.
Hilandero; Spinner of wool.
Hoja;  Leaf of paper; therefore, cigarette paper.
Hondon; Eyelet.
Homo;  Beehive-shaped oven brought by Spaniards to America.
Hospicio;  Poorhouse, orphanage.
Huerfano/a Orphan child.
Huerta; Small tract of agricultural land near a Spanish settlement used for a garden, orchard, or vineyard purposes.
Huipil; Woman's shirt.



Humilidad; Humility, modesty; submission.
Iglecia; Church
Ilegitimo/a; Illegitimate child bom of an adulterous relationship.
Ilicita; Illicit; unlawful
Impedimento; Impediment.
Imposicion; Overall name for the tax and financial administration of the port ofVera Cruz and San Juan de Ulua.
Incontinencia; Incontinence, incontinency; unchastity, lewdness.
Indiano; A Spaniard who lived in America or one who had returned wealthy to Spain from America.
Indies; The Spanish colonies in America.
Indio/a; Indian.
Indio laborio; Resident Indian estate laborer.
Indios bárbaros; Wild, or unpacified, Indians.
Indies de Razon; Usually Indians of Central Mexico; peaceful or sensible Indians.
In front of the church (describes a marriage in compliance with the church).
Infacie ecclesiae; Princess.
Infanta; Prince.
Infante; To infest.
Infestar; Impediment.
Inpedimento; Inspection.
Inspección; Instructed.
Instruidos; Intendancy; territorial division under the direction of the Intendente.
Intendencia; It had its origin in the Americas after 1786 under the reign ofCarlos III and it continued until the Independence Era.
Intendente de ejercito; Intendant of the army.
Intenagacion; Interrogation, inquiry.
Intestado; Intestate, without testament.
Inventario; Inventory, list.
Islas Fortunatas; Colonial name for the Canary Islands.




Isleño;  Literally an islander; in Texas a settler from the Canary Islands at San Fernando de Bexar; a descendant of such immigrant colonists.
Jacal;  Indian hut of straw and wooden sticks.
Jaquima; A type of western bridle without a bit. Usually made of braided rawhide.
Jefatura de Texas; Political district of Texas as part of state of Coahuila y Texas
Jefe militar; Military commander.
Jefe (gefe) politico;  Chief administrative officer in a Mexican municipality, responsible for setting the public agendum.
Jomada; Journey. 
Jomalero; Day laborer.
Judaizante; A Jewish convert to Catholicism who continued or was suspected of continuing the covert practice of Judaism.
Jueves; Thursday.
Juez;  Judge.
Juez de alzadas; Judge in appeal cases.
Juez de bienes de difuntos; An oidor who by rotation was in charge of the goods of those who died intestate or with heirs outside the colony. Roughly equivalent to a probate judge.
Juez de residencia;  Official in charge of a residencia, or review of an official's term of office.
 Juez de visita; Official in charge of a visita; a visitador. Juez del campo; Judge of the plains.
Juez eclesiastico; Ecclesiastical judge.
 Juez privativo; Judge having jurisdiction over a case to the exclusion of the judge who woulc normally hear it.
Juez repartidor;  Royal official in charge of allotting conscripted native labor to public works under the repartimiento of the New Laws.
Julio July.
Junio June.
Junta;  Meeting of the viceroy and ministers of an audiencia; meeting of civil or military officials.
Junta de comercio;  Council of merchants.
Junta de generates; Council of senior army officers.
Junta de guerra; Council of war.
Junta de marina  Naval war or planning council.
Junta de seguridad y buen orden; Tribunal established to look into suspicious political
behavior and unrest. 




Junta superior de real hacienda; Chief finance committee after the creation of the intendencias.
Juramento; Oath.
Jurar;  To swear, attest solemnly.
Jurisdiccion;  Jurisdiction. 
Juridiccion de; Jurisdiction of.
Juro; State-financed annuity, whereby an individual or corporation, upon lending the crown a sum of money, received a government bond in return.
Justicia;  Justice, magistrate or judge; local administrative officer; court of
justice; royal officer with responsibility of supervising judicial matters.
Juzgado; Courthouse.
Juzgado de capellanias; Ecclesiastical court having jurisdiction over chaplaincies and their distribution.
Juzgado de indios; General court with jurisdiction over Indians.
La;  The (feminine).
La mayor; The eldest sibling with the same given name as her younger sister.
La menor;  The younger sister with the same given name as her older sister.
La reata; Rope; lariat.
La violo; He violated her.
Labor; Land measurement of approximately 177 acres. Grain farm.
Labor de pan;  Wheat farm.
Laborio;  Hacienda worker or resident.
Labrador; White farmer, husbandman (usually owned his land).
Ladino;  Spainish-speaking or acculturated Indian; blood mixture: Spanish
(3 parts) and Indian (1 Part); in Panama, a Christian Negro who spoke Spanish; In Costa Rica, a name indicating a social position, or a Spaniard with a small amount of Indian blood. Language spoken by Sephardic Jews.
Lagunilla; Small lake.
Lanzas; Payment made to the crown by Spanish grandees and titled nobles in lieu of providing soldiers for military service.
Las generales de la ley;  General exemptions from testifying, such as minority of age, friendship, or kinship with the defendant, etc.
Latifundio; Large landed estate. 
Latifundismo;  Institution of holding land in large estates.




Le tocan las generales;  The witness is related to one or both persons contracting marriage.
Legajo; Bundle of loose papers that are usually tied together because they deal with a common subject; most common unit of filed papers in Spanish archives.
Legftíma; Legitimate (feminine); lawful
Legftímo;  . Legitimate (masculine); lawful
Lego; Layman.
Legua; Roughly, the distance that can be traveled on horseback in an hour, varying with the terrain and also with the period (leagues seem to have been longer in the sixteenth century, before a standard of 5,000 varas or somewhat over 21/2 miles was adopted by Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1536 in Nueva Espafia).
Leñero; A gatherer of firewood.
Lepero; Leper; applied to beggars and vagabonds of cities.
Les advert! (latin); I advised them (of).
Letrado; Holder of a law degree, who was a professional civil servant.
Ley; Law.
Liberalito; Term of ridicule applied to anti-clerical party.
Libertad; Liberty, freedom.
Libranza; An order for payment
Libre/s; Free (to marry).
Libre de matrimonio; Free to marry.
Libro de marcas; Cattle-brand register.
Libros de misión; A mission's books of vital records, usually separate registers of baptisms, marriages, and burials.
Licencia; Permission, leave, license, liberty. 
Licenciado; Licenciate, commonly in law; holding a master's degree.
Licentiate; A general title for lawyers and university students given to holders of degrees between the baccalaureate and the doctorate.
Licita; Legal; lawful.
Lienzo; Colonial Indian painting on cloth.
Ligado,-da; Tied, bound.
Limosna; Alms.




Limpieza de sangre; Purity of blood. Certification that a person and his ancestry were not contaminated with heretic religion nor the blood of Moors (Moriscos), Jews, or Negros; Records showing the purity of ancestry of the person applying for a position.
Linea; A measure of 12 puntos=. 194cm.
Llamamiento; Summons, usually for labor
Lobo/a;  Blood mixture of Indian and mestizo ancestry
Loma;  Small hill.
Lugar;  Small place or village; a hamlet.
Lunero;  Term applied to Indians working on weekly shifts in Yucatan.
Lunes; Monday.
Macana; Sword-like weapon.
Macehual; Aztec term for peasant.
Machete;  Large knife carried by Mexican peasant.
Madre; Mother.
Madre no conocida; Mother unknown.
Madrina; Godmother, matron or maid of honor.
Maestre; Master, master artisan, non-degreed medical practitioner;
Maestre de campo;  Senior entrada official charged with logistics, camp orderliness, billeting.
Maestre de obras; Municipal official charged with supervising public works.
 Maestrecuelas;  Member of the ecclesiastical cabildo in charge of the cathedral school.
Maestro de idolatría; Indian shaman.
Maestro de primeras letras;  Teacher of the primary grades; schoolmaster.
Maguey;  The century plant, used for making pulque and fiber.
Maiz; Corn; also its grain.
Mal de siete días;  Childhood disease; literally, illness lasting seven days.
Malagueño;  A native of Malaga, Spain.
Malocas; Indian country.
Mandar; To command, order, enact.
Mandón;  Indian officer charged with rounding up repartimientos.
Manifestando;  Manifesting.
Mangana; Roping of the forefeet of the animal.
Manta; Cotton cloth or mantle.




Maravedi; A fictitious unit of Spanish currency that was used as the standard of value for the coinage. Ancient Spanish coin, 450 to the gold peso. One thirty-fourth of a real.
Marco; Mark, or weight of about one-half pound.
Marido; Husband.
Marinero; A sailor.
Marques; Marquis.
Marquesado; Marquisate.
Marrano; A slang word used in a derogatory sense for Jew.
Martes; Tuesday.
Marzo; March.
Más or menos; More or less.
Masa; Corn treated with lime water; ground to coarse flour, and mixed with water to create the dough from which tortillas are made.
Matanza; A slaughter of herd animals.
Matemos; Maternal, from the maternal line.
Matlazahuati; Typhus or yellow fever, the epidemic of 1576.
Matricula; List of tributaries, persons, etc.; often the same as padron.
Matrimoniales; Of the marriage.
Mayeque; Dependent serfs.
Mayo or Maio; May.
Mayor; Indian chief constable.
Mayorazgo; Family estate, entailed on the eldest son; a legal term indicating priority right to authority, inheritance or succession; first-born son with the \ right of primogeniture.
Mayordomo; Manager, chief steward, overseer or supervisor of some activity. 
Mecate; Rope or cord.
Media annata; Tax paid by certain officials consisting of half a year's salary and a third of all other financial perquisites from the grant of public office, favor, or concession, whether permanent or temporary.
Media plaza; A soldier on half-pay during a probationary period. 
Medida; Measure.
Medio hermano/na; Half brother/sister
Mejicanos; People of Mexico City, (prior to 1821).
Mejico; Mexico. Prior to 1821Mejico, it referred to "Mexico City".



Memorias;  (1) An annual shipment of supplies; the itemized list of orders that preceded an annual shipment.
(2) Ecclesiastical endowments used to finance memorial masses, dowries, and charitable works.
Mendicant; Member of a religious order that originally supported itself by begging.
Menor; Minor.
Mercader; Merchant or shopkeeper. Wholesaler.
Mercader de plata;  Merchant who sold silver bar to the mint for coining; merchant who coined silver at the mint.
Mercader viandante; Traveling merchant.
Mercedes de tierras; Royal grant, usually of land or office.
Merino;  Expensive breed of sheep, having very fine wool.
Mes  Month.
Mescal;  Liquor prepared from agave cactus.
Meses del ano;  Months of the year.
Mesillero;  Person selling wares from small table.
Mesta;  Association of livestock men.
Mesteño;  Wild horse.
Mestizacion;  Racial amalgamation or crossbreeding.
Mestizaje; Miscegenation.
Mestizo/a;  Mixture of Spaniard and Indian. Person of mixed European and Indian blood.
Metate;  Grinding stone used for crushing corn.
Mexora;  Larger share of inheritance; the remaniente plus one-third of the rest of the estate.
Mezcal (Agave species);  A plant whose heart, when roasted, provided a staple of Indian diet both before conversion and an important emergency food for a half-century after.
Miercoles;  Wednesday. Mil; Thousand. Mil quinientos;The year 1500.
Milicias;  Militia. 
Militar; A military man.
Milpa; Plot of agricultural land or cornfield; often used of those belonging to Indians.


Minero; Miner.
Miniestras; Provisions, general ingredients, or greens for a person's daily consumption and subsistence.
Ministerio; Ministry, department.
Ministro; High-level post.
Misa; Mass (Liturgical celebration of the Eucharist).
Misión; A congregation of frontier Indians, in theory neophytes; in long settled
areas the term doctrina was more common.
Mismo; Same.
Mita; See repartimiento.
Monastery; In the sixteenth century used generically of any house of religious.
Montanes; A peninsular bom in the mountainous province of Santander in Spain.
Monte; Uncleared scrub land used for livestock grazing, usually on a hillside. A card game.
Monte pío militar; Military pension fund; a pension for widows and orphans of military personnel..
Morada; Dwelling.
Morador; Dweller, lodger, inhabitant, resident of (maculine).
Moradora; Resident of (feminine).
Moreno; Free Negro.
Morisco/ca; Moorish; those baptized Moors that lived in Spain and the colonies;
Mexico, blood mixture: Spanish and Mulato.
Motu Proprio; Letter or pronouncement of the Pope issued on his own initiative rather than in response to a request.
Moza; Younger woman.
Mozo; Youth, young man, lad, bachelor; manservant. A younger person with the same name, usually related.
Muerto/a; Deceased. 
Mujer; Woman; wife.
Mulato; Person of mixed white and black parentage; a mulatto; Half Spanish, half Negro.
Mulato esclavo; Mulato slave.
Mulato libre; Freed mulato. 
Municipio; Municipality.
Murio;  Died. 
Mutuo; Mutual.



Naboría;  Indian of intermediate status between slave and free who was forced to work for a particular Spaniard or Spanish town.
Nacimiento;  Birth.
Nació;  Born
Nación;  Usually an Indian tribe or rancheria, but sometimes a larger group speaking a common language.
Nao;  A fully decked vessel, larger than the caravel. Columbus's flagship, the Santa Maria, was a small nao of about one hundred tons.
Natural;  (1) Born out of wedlock but not of an adulterous relationship.
(2) Person from a given locality.
(3) If used as "Pueblo de Naturales" it refers to Indians.
Nave;  Aisle in a mission church.
Navio;  Sailor.
Navio de aviso;  Ship in a flota that carried correspondence.
Negro;  Negro, black (person).
Negro fino;  Spanish (1 part) and Negro (3 parts); offspring of Mulato and Negro.
Negro,/gra libre;  A freed male/female Negro slave. Slaves obtained their freedom by manumission, purchase, or by other means.
Nieto/a;  Grandson/granddaughter.
Ningun; None.
No; No, not.
No Ie entiendo;  A person of unclear racial ancestry.
No Ie tocan las generales; Is not related.
No es pariente;  Not related.
No sabe firmar; Does not know how to sign.
No tener; Not have.
Nombre compuesto; Composite surname; combined surname passed on for several generations.
Nopal {Opuntia species); The prickly-pear cactus whose leaves and fruit are eaten by men and cattle.
Norte;  Norther, a strong wind from the north.
 Notario; Notary.
Notario publico;  Public Notary.
Notario y alguacil mayor; An official of the Holy Office of the Inquisition who would be expected to seek out or report cases of heresy in his area.
Notorio;  Generally known, notorious.



Noviembre; November. 
Novillada; Bullfight with young bulls.
Nueva Andalucia; Region of Tierra Firme between the Cabo de la Vela in the gulf of Uraba or Darien in modem Colombia; the region and city ofCumana, Venezuela.
Nueva Castillo; The northern part of colonial Peru, its southern boundary 25 but no more than 60 leagues south of the San Juan de Chincha River.
Nueva Cordoba; Venezuela during the early colonial era.
Nueva España; Colonial Mexico.
Nueva Extremadura; The territory of Coahuila, Mexico. Early colonial Chile; the northern part of Chile.
Nueva Galicia; Colonial Aguascalientes, Jalisco, and parts of Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, San Luis Potosi, and Coahuila, Mexico (its capital was Guadalajara.).
Nueva Vizcaya; Separated from Nueva Galicia 1573-1576; Sinaloa, Sonora, Durango, Chihuahua, and parts of Coahuila, Mexico (its capital was Durango).
Nuevo Leon; Nuevo Leon, Mexico and its surrounding areas including part of Tamaulipas.
Nuevo Navarra; The Califomias in the early colonial period.
Nuevo Santander; La Colonia del Nuevo Santander was a military government organized in 1748-1749 to occupy the territory bounded by Nueva Espana on the south, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila on the west, Texas to the north, and the Gulf of Mexico or Seno Mexicano in the east.
Nuevo Toledo; Southern part of colonial Peru; 1559 was known as the Audiencia de Charcas, its southern boundary being the straits of Magellan; Chile.
Numeros ordinales; Ordinal numbers.
Obispado; Bishopric, episcopate.
Obligaciónes; Obligations.
Obraje; Large workshop producing textiles and other goods.
Obrero mayor; Superintendent in charge of some sort of public work, such as a cathedral or aqueduct.
Occidente; West.
Ochenta; Eighty.
Octovo;  Eighth.
Octubre; October



Odrero; Wineskin maker.
Oficial; Lower-level post.
Oficial de beneficío; An officer who purchases his commission.
Oficial mayor; Post sold by provision of King.
Oficial menor; Post sold by provision of viceroy.
Oficiales reales; Royal treasury officials.
Oficio; Occupation; Trade.
Ofrenda; Offering.
Oidor; A high court judge of the Audiencia.
Ojo de agua; Spring, waterhole.
Oleo; Oil.
Oposicion; Public competition for an office.
Ordenanza general; General ordinance.
Ordenes; Ordination.
Ordinary; An ecclesiastical official who exercised jurisdiction on his own name, not that of another. The opposite of vicar.
Oriente; East. 
Originario de; Native of; originally from.
Otra banda; The opposite shore; then - and now the peninsular California term for the coastline of Sonora and Sinaloa.
Otro obispado; Another diocese.
Padre general; Jesuit ruler in Rome.
Padre provincial; Jesuit head of each geographic area in which the Society of Jesus was represented.
Padre; Father; parent; priest.
Padres; Parents.
Padres no conocido; Parents unknown.
Padrino; Godfather; one who assists at the sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation, or Marriage (best man). Usually a relative or friend.
Padrinos; Godparents.
Padrón; A Spanish census; often a listing of families of a village or parish.
Páginas manchadas; Stained pages (usually documents) 
Páginas revueltas; Pages not in order.



Páginas rotas;  Tom pages.
Páginas sin orden;  Page out of order.
Páginas sueltas; Loose pages out of a book.
Paisano; Citizen, countryman; a Spanish settler or resident.
País;  Country.
Palabra/s; Word/s.
Pallium;  Woolen religious insignia worn only by archbishops.
Paiio numero 24;  Highest-quality woolen cloth.
Panocha;  Cakes of crude brown sugar made by boiling down cane pressings; the staple sweet of New Spain's frontiersmen and poor.
Papa; Pope.
Papel;  Paper.
Para;  For.
Para constancia lo firm6;  In witness thereof he signed it.
Paraje;  A stopping or camping place with water and pasturage
sufficient to support the caballada of a party for the length of its stay.
Parcialidad;  Large section of a town.
Parda/Pardo; Mulatta/Mulatto. A dark-skinned casta, or person of mixed blood.
Parentela; Family or kin group.
Parentesco;  Relationship, cognition, kindred; union, bond, tie.
Parentesco espiritual;  Spiritual relationship (e.g., godparent-to godchild).
Pariente;  Relative, kinsman / kinswoman.
Parroco;  Pastor, parson or parish priest.
Parroquia; A parish; rector's jurisdiction. In Northern New Spain, the parish included a town or city, and outlying ranches.
Parroguia mayor; A cathedral parish.
Partida;  Entry of a shipment in official records.
Partido;  District. Share of ore taken by mine workers.
Parvulo/la; A small child.
Pasado;  Past.
Pase regio;  Royal permission for the publication of papal documents in Spanish dominion.
Pastor;  Shepherd.



Patemos;  Paternal; from the male line.
Patria;  Fatherland; also, one's native town or province.
Patrón;  Boss; the Big Boss.
Patronato real; Congeries of rights and privileges that regulated the relations between church and state in Spain.
Patronazgo;  Real Patronazgo; also. Real Patronato). Right of Spanish monarchs to make nominations for ecclesiastical appointments.
Pedrero; A large mortar designed to fire a charge of stones or balls.
Peninsular; Peninsular. Someone born on the Iberian Peninsula (generally originating in Spain and Portugal).
Penitente;  Popular name for member of religious brotherhood which administered ceremonies in New Mexico and practiced penance by scourging, carrying crosses, etc.; one who practiced a folk religion in New Mexico.
Peón;  Foot-soldier; laborer; unskilled day laborer.
Peoneria;  Land and town lot granted to a footsoldier.
Peonfa;  A house and farm lot in a Spanish community smaller than a caballeria.
Permiso; Maximum value of cargo allowed shipped from Manila.
Peso; The most widely used denomination of Spanish America coinage; eight reales added up to one peso. There were different kinds of peso, each with its own value in terms of the maravedi.
Petaca; Trunk or any piece of luggage.
Petate;  Palm-mat.
Peticion;  Petition; (law) petition, prayer.
Pieza de indias; One slave in good condition; various young slaves or women in poor condition.
Piloncillo;  A pyramidal or cone-shaped cake of panocha.
Piñon; Small pine tree with edible nuts widely consumed by settlers.
Pinto; A horse of more than one color, a paint-horse.
Pipiltin; Indian nobles (Spanish, principales).
Piquete;  Picket of soldiers.
Placer;  A bed of pearl oysters; offshore areas where oyster beds were abundant.
Plan;  Clearing.
Plaza;  An open square (usually a rectangle) in center of Spanish town; also, a small village or community.
Plata de azogue; Silver produced by amalgamation. Plata de fuego; Silver produced by smelting.



Platina; Ore of Platinum.
 Plaza;  Public square.
Plaza de annas;  Site where an army camps and musters in formation when it is on campaign or where garrisoned troops muster and drill.
Población;  (1) A settlement of any kind.
(2) A group of dispersed non-Indian farms in Nuevo Mexico.
(3) Unchartered frontier village of Spanish-speaking people.
Poblador; Spanish settler or founder of a community. A first settler - who often claimed credit for opening and developing an area.
Poblador antiguo;  First settler.
Poblezuela;  Small settlement.
Pobre; Poor.
Poder;  By proxy; in the hands of; power, authority; command.
Politicamente;  Civilized and settled form of life, usually in a city and with municipal organization. Opposite oibarbaramente.
Polizón;  An illegal immigrant.
Por cuanto; Inasmuch as.
For palabra(s); By word.
Por parte matema;  On the maternal line.
Por parte patema; On the paternal line.
Por tanto;  Therefore.
Por verdad lo fame; In witness thereof I signed it.
Porción;  Lot or allotment of land, especially in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Porque;  Because.
Portales de los mercaderes; Masonry buildings containing ships with arcades in front, along west side of Plaza.
Portero;  Doorman.
Posada; Inn.
Posito; Stock of grain (generally maize) maintained by municipal government for purpose of manipulating grain market.
Posole; A stew made from meat, hominy, and chile, boiled together.
Postada; Military post.
Potrero; Herdsman for colts.
Practicante;  An assistant to a physician or surgeon.



Prebendado; Cleric whose income came from the income of the cathedral.
Pregonero;  Town crier and auctioneer.
Prelado; Prelate; any ecclesiastical officeholder who exercised ordinary power.
Premería Alta; Upper Primeria, or land of the Pima Indians; northern Sonora including that part of Arizona below the Gila River.
Premio de Albaceazgo; Commission received by the executor of an estate.
Presa; A dam.
Presbitero; Priest.
Presente; Present.
Presidario; A criminal sentenced to labor in a presidio or fortress.
Presidio; Garrisoned fortress
Preso/a; Prisoner
Pretendientes; Candidates.
Pretenso/a; Pretender; (col) Groom/bride-to-be; solicitant, candidate;
office holder.
Previo; Before; prior information.
Prima; Cousin (feminine) 
Primer grado; First degree; siblings.
Primero or 1° 1st; number one ("one" is uno, however, it is rarely used for the first day of the month. Instead, scribes used the ordinal number primero ("first") or the numeral 1°. But uno ("one") is used for forming compound numbers, e.g. veinte y uno or veintiuno (21).
Primeros; First ones.
Primeros pobladores; First settlers.
Primo; Cousin (masculine).
Primo hermano; First cousin.
Primo segundo; Second cousin.
Primo tercero; Third cousin.
Principal; Member of Indian upper class or status group.
Prior; Head of the consulado.
Privilegium Canonis; Ecclesiastical privilege excommunicating all who used violence against the clergy.
Privilegium Fori; Ecclesiastical privilege exempting clerics from civil tribunals.




Probanza; AfRdavit of services rendered.
Procurador; Attorney. One who had the legal right by delegation to act in the name of another. Representatives who defended the rights and privileges ofcabildos (both municipal and ecclesiastical), cities, and religious orders. Untitled lawyer.
Procurador de Californias; Jesuit California's own business administrator, stationed at the Colegio de San Andres in Mexico City and subordinate to California's Visitador.
Progenitor; Ancestor; forefather.
Prometido; Cash advance to treasury by tax farmer.
Propiedad; Property.
Propietario; An officeholder who held his position for life.
Propios; Lands, property, and goods that belonged to a city or town.
Protector; Protector. (Appointed by the viceroy to oversee the running of the secular government of an Indian community; e.g. the pueblo of San Esteban de la Nueva Tiaxcala near Saltillo).
Protocolos; The name given to the books generated and preserved by the notary publics; notarial books.
Protomedico; Official authorized to inspect and license medical practitioners.
Providencia; Judgment on simple legal matter.
Provincia; Province; territorial division representing extensions of jurisdiction depending on the country. Presided over by a governor.
Provincias Internas; Interior provinces; that region of northern Mexico which included the states of Durango, Coahuila, Chihuahua and Sonora particularly in the eighteenth century.
Provision; (1) Order given by a tribunal that accompanied a royal decree and directed that it be implemented.
(2) Act of conferring an office, such as a benefice.
Provisor; Chief ecclesiastical judge of a diocese, sometimes also the vicar general.
Proximo; Next.
Pueblo; Indian town; lowest level of municipal administration. Unchartered frontier village or town under direct royal control and administration; usually composed of Spanish settlers; in New Mexico, however, an established community of sedentary Indians; also, the Spanish name for Indians living in this manner.




Pueblo de naturales; Indian town/locality.
Pueblo de visita; Town too small to support a priest; visited periodically.
Puerto; Port.
Puesto; A place, post, or small town.
Pulgada; 12 inches=2.33 cm.
Pulperia; A small store.
Pulque; Liquor made of sap of the maguey.
Pulqueria; A tavern which served pulque, the beverage made from the fermented juice of the maguey plant.
Punche; Native tobacco grown in New Mexico.
Pureza de sangre; Purity of blood; absence of Moorish, Negro, or Jewish blood-required of nobles.
Puro; Pure. 
Puse; I put.
Puso; Put; Placed. 
Que; That, which. 
Que en paz descanse; May he rest in peace.
Quelites; Edible herbs
Querella; Criminal complaint.
Quiere; Wants.
Quinto; Royal tax of one-fifth on silver and gold mined in the colonies (theoretically 20 percent but often varying) and paid by middlemen; three of the fifteen shares of the property set aside to pay testator's funeral expenses, bequests, and debts.
Quinto Real; Duty paid to crown by individuals in return for right to operate mines; theoretically one-fifth of mine's output, but often less.
Quinta; Country house, manor, villa. Peru: group of town houses with a common entrance. Spanish: annual draft; induction of recruits for the army. Unit of dry measure equaling 101 pounds.
Racionero; Prebendary (a canon or clergyman who for special services at a cathedral or collegiate church is entitled to a stipend).
Ramada; Literally, a house of branches; a simple structure made by setting forked posts in the ground as comers and laying other posts across them as superstructure, the whole to be roofed with thatch.





Ramo; Section of an archive.
Rancherias; Small Indian settlements; collection of huts.
Ranchero; Small agriculturist; owner or renter of a small farm.
Rancho; Small, privately owned farm for raising crops, livestock, or both, especially of Indians; a subsistence-type farm; in New Mexico a small settlement or place with few dwellings.
Rea; Female defendant or criminal.
Real; One-eighth of a peso, also called a tomin.
Real acuerdo; Resolution of the audiencia in executive session presided over by the viceroy.
Real Cedula; A royal order.
Reales de minas; A mining district consisting of a principal community including its lesser settlements, and the surrounding environs.
Real hacienda;  See Hacienda.
Realengas; Unoccupied land belonging to the Crown.
Reata; Rope; Lariat.
Rebisabuelo/a; Great-Great-grandparent.
Rebisnieto/a; Great-Great-grandchild.
Reboso; Shawl.
Receptor; Treasurer, receiving agent of funds or fines.
Receptor de azogues; Officials receiving the royal mercury allotment.
Receptor general de penas de camara, estrados y gastos; General manager of the high court's fines and expenditures.
Receptoria;  Office of tax collector or treasurer.
Reconocimiento;  Examination; inspection.
Reconquista; Spanish reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moslems, covering the period 711-1492.
Rectorado; A rectorate; a territorial division of a regional Jesuit mission system, supervised by a padre rector.
Recua; Packtrain.
Reduccion; A village of Indians converted to Christianity, usually directed by a religious Order, such as the Jesuits.
Regalías; "Gifts" to royal officials in appreciation for, and anticipation of, their interest and attention.
Regaton; Small-scale speculator in foodstuffs.
Regencia; Regency.



Regidor; City councilman, whose most important duties in the sixteenth century, dealt with supervising foodstuffs and the distribution of public lands. He was appointed directly by the King and his duration of office was five years. His salary was 1,800 or 2,000 pesos in gold annually.
Regimiento; Office or institution of city councilmen. Synonymous with municipal cabildo.
Registros parroquiales; Parish register. Reino; Kingdom, realm. Relacion; Relation; report; account.
Relator;  Clerk responsible for drawing up accounts (relaciones) of cases for forwarding to judges. Narrator; reporter.
Relección; University lecture. Relegar; To banish; to exile.
Religion; (1) Religion in general. (2) A religious order.
Religiose; Member of a religious community, i.e., one who lived in the community according to rules and under vows.
Remaniente;  Balance of the quinto (three of fifteen shares) of the parents' property once expenses paid.
Remuda de caballos; A relay or string of horses. 
 Renta de tabaco; The tobacco monopoly. 
Repartidor;  Same as a juez repartidor.
Repartimiento;  Temporary assignment or allotment of paid Indian labor on a
Conscription basis for work on projects involving the common good under the New Laws of 1542, usually in agriculture. Same as mita. Apportionment of a tax among payers.
Repartimiento de comercio;  Forced distribution of money for production purposes or sale of goods to Indians by a Spanish official.
Repostero;  Butler, valet
Republica de indios; Indian community.
Rescatador;  Creole middlemen dealing in contraband in the Caribbean; person buying unrefined silver ore directly from the mineowner.
Rescate; Refined, but unminted, silver produced from ore that was either bought or received as payment.
Reservado;  Tribute-exempt.
Residencia;  Judicial review of an official's conduct in office at the conclusion of his term. Conducted by one's replacement. Trial of public officer held after he left office.



Retablo; Painted wooden religious image, usually on a flat surface.
Retatarabuelo; Great-great-great-grandparent.
Revelacion; Revelation.
Reverencia; Reverence, homage, veneration.
Rincón; A comer; a small piece of land.
Rodeo; To encircle, to round, to round up.
Romance; Traditional ballad or poetry.
Rubric or Rubic; Spaniards observe the custom of supplementing their signatures with a "rubric" - or a "flourish" of the pen, placed immediately beneath their name. The rubric served to certify the signature and sometimes the rubric was used "alone" to indicate a signature.
Rural; Member of Diaz' state police.
Sabado; Saturday.
Sabe; Knows.
Sacerdote; Priest.
Sacramentalmente; Sacramentally.
Sacristán; Sexton.
Sagrario; Tabernacle.
Sala; Meeting room and court chamber of the audiencia.
Sala de provincia; Chamber of the audiencia for civil suits from outside Mexico City.
Sala del crimen; Audiencia court which heard criminal cases.
Saladero; Processing plant for salting down beef, developed in Argentine pampas region during nineteenth century.
Salina; A salt pan, a natural surface deposit of salt in an inlet from the sea; salt pit.
Salta atrás; A mixed-blood of mulato and Spanish ancestry.
Salvo; Gun salute.
Sambenito; Distinctive garb worn by those reconciled or condemned by the Inquisition.
Sambradura; Farmed land.
Sangre; Blood.
Santa/o; Saint. 
Santa Madre Iglesia; Holy Mother Church.




Santero;  Maker of religious images. 
Santo;  Image of a saint, carved or painted.
Santo concilio de Trento;   Holy council of Trent (1545 - 1563).
Santo Oficio; The Holy Office of the Inquisition.
Sargento Mayor; Sargeant major. Strictly speaking a Major, the third in command of a regiment. In frontier areas, often filled by a non-professional and often in command of local forces under the lieutenant captain-general. There was usually only one serving at a time in a province.
Sastre; Tailor.
Secretario; Secretary, usually to a government agency.
Secretario de entradas de la carcel de la ciudad; Secretary of the income of the municipal jail. 
Secreto; Secret.
Secularization; (1) transfer of a mission, doctrina, or curato from the regular to the secular (diocesan) clergy.
(2) transfer of mission lands and livestock from religious to governmental control.
Sede; See. (Old Frontier, from Latin sedes, a seat). The charge of a bishop, which in its territorial aspect is called a diocese.
Sede vacante; Vacant bishopric.
Segun; According to.
Segundo grado; Second Degree; first cousins.
Semana; Week.
Sembrador; One who sows, thus a small farmer.
Seno Mexicano; Gulf of Mexico.
Senorios; Small city-states.
Señal de la cruz; Sign of the cross.
Señales; Marks on the calfs.
Señor; Sir; lord;
Señora; Lady; mistress; gentlewoman. 
Señoreaje; Royal minting tax.
Septiembre; September. 
Septimo; Seventh.
Sepultado; Interred, buried.




Sepultar; To bury; to inter.
Serape; A woolen shawl or narrow blanket.
Serrano; Resident of the mountains or sierra.
Servicios; Grants of money to the Crown.
Setecientos; Seven Hundred.
Sexto; Sixth.
Siete; Seven.
Silla vaquera; Saddle.
Sin oficio; Loiterer; without a job.
Sinperjuicio; Without injury.
Sindico; Minor municipal official; collector of fines imposed by court;
an assignee or trustee.
Sindico procurador; Attorney or official in charge of the military draft named by the cabildo.
Sinodo; Missionary's stipend. 
Sirviente; Domestic servant. 
Sisa; Municipal tax on wine.
Sito Spanish square league of land (measurement varies according to use) with water and grazing potential.
Sitio de ganado mayor Sitio de ganado mayor; Land grant for grazing cattle and horses, measuring 4,388.9 acres. 
Sitio de ganado menor Sitio de ganado menor; Land grant for grazing sheep and goats, measuring 1,928.4 acres.
Situados; Subsidies sent to less wealthy Spanish possessions.
Sobrina; Niece.
Sobrino; Nephew.
Sociedad de castas; System of social stratification based on socially defined racial categories.
Solar; A house lot in a Spanish community. 
Soldada; Salary; wages; soldier's pay.
Soldado; Soldier.
Soldado de cuera; A presidial soldier on the northwest frontier of New Spain.
Solemnemente; Solemnly.
Solicitar; To solicit; to entreat.
Soltero/ra; Bachelor; Unmarried male/female; single.
Sombrerero (sombredero);  Hatter.




Sorteo; Lottery for selecting army recruits.
Su(s); His; her; their.
Su majestad; His majesty.
Su muger; His wife.
Subalterno; Subaltern, deputy.
Subdelegado de correos; Postmaster.
Subdelegato; Late colonial Spanish official replacing the corregidor and alcalde mayor.
Suegro/á; Father/Mother-in-law. 
Suelto/Suelta; Unmarried person; single.
Suerte; Farm lot allocated to settlers in vicinity of a town; field separated from house lot.
Suertes de huerta; Fruit and vegetable plots
Suffraganeo; Suffragan; one who pertains to the jurisdiction or authority of another.
Sujeto; Indian town subject to political jurisdiction of a large town. Community subject to a cabecera.
Suplicante; Petitioner.
Suplicar; To entreat, supplicate, beg, request, petition, implore.
Sumaria; Formal inquiry or investigation.
Suplente; Alternate, substitute.
Supremo Consejo; Supreme Council.
Suspender; To suspend; to delay, stop.
Suspension; Ecclesiastical penalty whereby a cleric was forbidden the exercise of his ministry.
Suyo; His; her; their. 
Tabaquera; Miniature tobacco flask.
Tabardillo: Calliandra califomica: A low shrub whose flowers and leaves are regarded as medicinal.
Tabia; Butcher shop.
Talabartero; A skilled leatherworker.
Tallador; Official who stamped silver bar with royal die.
Tambor; Drummer in the infantry.
Tameme; Aztec term for Indian porter or carrier.
Tapatio; A native of Guadalajara.




Tasación; Tribute valuation.
Tasador; Public appraiser.
Tasajo; Jerked meat, salted and dried.
Tatarabuelo/a; Great-great-grandfather/great-great-grandmother.
Tejedor; Weaver.
Temporal; Farming without irrigation or unirrigated farm land.
Tenatero; Nueva Vizcayan localism to describe an ore carrier in the mines. In the absence of hoisting machinery, the man who carried ore to the surface in a leather bag {tenate).
Tendejon; A small retail store.
Teniente; Lieutenant, or the officer second-in-command of a military unit. In charge of a tenientazgo. Assistant.
Teniente de; Deputy of.
Teniente de Alcalde; A member of the city council who performs certain functions for the alcalde.
Teniente de Cura; Interim Priest; Deputy to the parish priest.
Teniente del rey; Lieutenant-governor at Campeche.
Teocentii; Aztec term for maize; "holy grain."
Teponaxtle; A large Indian drum.
Tercer grado; Third degree; second cousin.
Tercero; Third.
Tercias; Payment to the crown of two-ninths of the ecclesiastical tithe.
Tercio; One-third of a normal pack-animal load; about sixty pounds.
Terrazguero; A Spanish colonial term for mayeque, Indians of roughly the status of serfs.
(1) Ecclesiastical official in charge of the revenues and physical goods of a cathedral or church.
(2) One of the three treasury officials of New Spain.
Tesorero de la casa de moneda;  Tesorero de la casa de moneda; 
Testamento; Will; a document in which one declares his last will and in which he disposes of his property and makes other arrangements for after his death.
Testamento abierto;  Will dictated by the dying person before witnesses or notary and later recorded by the notary in his protocolo.



Testamento adverado; Will dictated before the parroco, especially in Galicia, was later recorded by the parroco in his parish records or by the notary in the protocolo and two or more witnesses, and later recorded by the parroco in his parish records or by the notary in the protocolo to make it a public record.
Testamento cerrado; A will which is written in secret and then sealed before a notary and witnesses to be opened after the death of the testator.
Testigo; Witness.
Testimonio; Written testimony of a witness; deposition.
Tia; Aunt.
Tianguis; Indian market.
Tiburón; The great shark of the West Indies and the Pacific coast of North America, much feared for its ferocity.
Tienda de raya; Store on a hacienda selling goods on credit to resident laborers.
Tiento de cargo; Preliminary accounting.
Tierra; Land.
Tierra caliente; Hot or humid lands.
Tierra de guerra; Land of warfare.
Tierra de paz; Land of peace; pacified land.
Tierra despoblada; Uninhabited or deserted lands.
Tierra incognita; Unknown land.
Tigrillo; Wildcat.
Tinaja; A water catchment in the bedrock of a watercourse; a cask of about eleven-gallon capacity.
Tio; Uncle.
Titulo; Title, article, or heading.
Tiatoanazgo; An Indian chieftainship.
Tocaron; Touched.
Tomin; One-eighth of a peso. Also called a real.
Topil; Low-ranking Indian official.
Toreador; Bullfighter.
Torreón de la garita; Guardhouse or sentry's tower.
Tortilla; Flat cake made of corn meal; usually eaten instead of bread.




Trajinero; Middleman or carrier.
Trapiche; Animal-driven sugar mill. An arrangement of a press, a cauldron, and a fireplace that allowed sugar cane juice to be extracted and boiled down to produce Panocha.
Trastero; Large wooden cupboard.
Tratante; Petty merchant, often dealing primarily in trade with Indians.
Traza; Boundaries of the various divisions of Mexico City, especially those separating Spaniards from the castas and Indians.
Tres dias festivas; Three festive days on which the amonestaciones (banns) were proclaimed or published.
Tributo; Tribute; tax; an annual payment of money or goods theoretically owed to the crown by all free men.
Trigo; Wheat.
Tronco; The origin of a family.
Tronco comun; Common trunk (refers to a common ancestor).
Tuna; Edible fruit of the prickly pear cactus (nopal), opuntia tuna.
Turco; Turk
Tutela; Guardianship.
Tutor; Guardian.
Tuvieron; Held.
Tuvo relacion; Had a relationship.
Ultramarine; A foreigner.
Union de Annas; Squadron and other measures to be funded jointly by the kindgoms of Spain.
Uno One, however it is rarely used for the first day of the month. Instead, scribes used the ordinal number primero ("first") or the numeral 1°. But uno ("one") is used for forming compound numbers such as veinte y uno (21) or veintiuno.
Ut.supra; (Latin) as (shown) above.
Vagabundo; Vagabond, idler, loiterer; one without a home, job or occupation ("sin oficio").
Vamos; We go.
Vaquero; Cowboy; herdsman
Vara (3 pies); (1) Badge or staff of office.
(2) Measure of length, about 3 feet; eight thousand to a league.
Varo; Unsettled.




Varon; Man, male human being; man of respectability.
Varona; Woman, female human being.
Varonia; Male issue; male descendants.
Varonil; Male, masculine; manful.
Vasco; Basque.
Vastago; Descendants, offspring.
Vecino; A householder; citizen of a city, town or a real de minas;usually restricted to whites in colonial times.
Veedor; Inspector or supervisor, overseer, of royal financial interests. One of the four royal treasury officials.
Vemticinco; Twenty-five.
Velaciones; Veiling ceremony of bride and groom in nuptial mass.
Velados  Participated in part of the nuptial mass.
Vele; Veiled.
Verdad; Truth.
Verso; Spanish verse of four parts; a saying, philosophy, or idea sung by a cantador.
Vicar; One exercising power in the name of another rather than in his own right.His authority is called vicarious.
Vicaria; Vicarage; the territory over which a vicar presides; an area similar to a parish in size but not yet advanced in its development sufficiently to be elevated to the position of a parish; a vice-parish.
Vicario; Vicar.
Viejo; Elder. 
Viernes; Friday. 
Viga; Wooden beam.
Vigana; Zapotec term for priest or young man in training for the priesthood.
Vigesimo; Twentieth.
Villa; A royally chartered settlement with certain rights to self-government; larger than pueblo or real de minas. A small city.
Vino; Wine.
Violar; To Violate; to ravish; to profane a church.
Violentar; Violated. To force, to violate.




Virreinato; Viceroyalty; the territory governed by a viceroy, like New Spain; term of office of a viceroy.
Virrey; Viceroy; the personal representative of the king in colonial America.
Viruela; Smallpox; pockmark.
(1) General or specific investigation of governmental operation and abuses.
(2) Tour of inspection made by a bishop or his delegate of the parishes in the diocese.
(3) Tour of inspection by an oidor in some area of the audiencia's jurisdiction
(4) Church of ease, visited at times by nonresident priests. Settlement on the circuit of a priest or friar.
(5) The homebase of a band in Indians attached to but not resident at a mission - so named because it was visited at set intervals by the missionary.
Visitador; An inspector appointed by the king and royal council to assess and act for them in a major colonial area, like New Spain. An inspector appointed by the Jesuit provincial to visit and report on the missions of the northwest: Nayarit, Tepehuana, Tarahumara, Sinaloa, Sonora, and California.
Visitador-general; General inspection or examination conducted by royal officials.
Vista de ojos; Boundary inspection.
Viudo/Viuda; Widower/Widow.
Vive; Lives. 
Vizde; Chapel of.
Vizconde; Viscount; a title of nobility which follows that of Count in its rank.
Volador; Ceremonial "flying" or swinging from a high pole.
Voluntad; Will, purpose, volition, free will.
Voto de castidad; Vow of chastity (purity, honour).
Voto de religion; Religious vow.
Y; And.
Yerga (jerga); Coarse woolen cloth woven in New Mexico.
Yo; I.
Zacate; Straw, lake reeds, fodder.
Zpatero; Shoemaker.




Phrases found in baptismal, burial and marriage documents:
A quienes adverti; Whom I advised (of).
A quienes advirtióó;  Whom he advised (of).
A quienes dije;  Whom I told.
A quienes hice saber;  Whom I informed (of).
A quienes instruí sobre;  Whom I instructed concerning.
A sets del citado mes y año; On the sixth of the said month and year.
Amoneste en tres dias festivos; I published (banns) on three holy days.
Asistí al matrimonio de;  I assisted at the marriage of.
Bautice solemnemente;  I solemnly baptized.
Bautize a un parvulo de tres días de nacido;  I baptized a child of three days of age.
Bautize solemnemente, y puse oleo y crisma;  Solemnly baptised, (and) put oil and christening. 
Bautizó bajo de condicion;  He conditionally baptised.
Bautizó condicionalmente; He conditionally baptised.
Con el mutuo consentimiento;  With the mutual consent.
Confesados;  (having) Confessed.
Cum venia parochi;  With permission of the parish priest (Latin).
Dominica segunda de cuaresma; The second Sunday of Lent.
En constancia lo firme (con el senor cura);  In witness thereof I signed it (with the parish priest).
En el año del Senor;  In the year of the Lord.
En el mes de;  "In the month of.."




Phrases found in baptismal, burial and marriage documents:
En la ayuda de parroquia de; In the vice-parish of. 
En la capilla de; In the chapel of.
En la ciudad de; In the city of.
En el curato de; In the parish of.
En la doctrina de; In the curacy of.
En la feligresia de; In the parish of.
En la iglesia de; In the church of.
En la villa de; In the village of.
En la viz Parroguia de; In the vice parish of. 
En la vicaria de; In the vicariate of. 
Hizo los exorcismos; He exorcised
Hizo testamento pero no se porque; No tenia nada; He left a will but I do not know why since he had nothing.
Inter missarum solemnia; In solemn mass.
No eso testamento porque no me necesario;  Did not leave a will because it was not necessary.
No hizo testamento, por no tener bienes;  Did not leave a will because he had no property.
No hizo testamento porque murio de repente;  He left no will because he died suddenly.
Padrinos "que lo tuvieron y tocaro";  Godparents "who held and touched him".
Se bautizó; Was Baptized.
Y no habiendo resultado impedimento alguno;  And no impediment to marriage having resulted.
Yo el Presbitero; I, the priest.



"Antigua California", Mission and Colony on the Peninsular Frontier, 1697-1768, Harry W. Crosby, University of New Mexico Press Albuquerque, 1994
"The Aztecs Under Spanish Rule", a History of the Indians of the Valley of Mexico 1519-1810 by Charles Gibson, Stanford University Press, 1964.
"The Bexar Archives (1717-1836), AName Guide", compiled and edited by Adan Benavides, Jr., published by the University of Texas Press, Austin 1989.
"Conquest of the Sierra, Spaniards and Indians in Colonial Oaxaca" by John K. Chance, University of Oklahoma Press: Norman and London, 1989.
"Cortes, the Life of the Conqueror by His Secretary, Francisco Lopez de Gomara" by Lesley Byrd Simpson, University of California Press, 1964.
"The Century after Cortes" by Femando Benftez translated by Joan MacLean, University of Chicago Press, 1965.
"Diccionario Biografico de Saltillo", Martha Duron Jimenez and Ignacio Narro Etchegaray. Archivo Municipal de Saltillo. May 1995.
"Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth-Century Mexico, The Rural Economy of the Guadalajara Region, 1675-1820" by Eric Van Young, University of California Press Berkeley, L.A., London.
Index to the Marriage Investigations of the Diocese of Guadalajara, Provinces ofCoahuila, Nuevo Leon, Nuevo Santander and Texas, 1653-1750, compiled and edited by Raul J. Guerra, Jr., Nadine M. Vasquez, Baldomero Vela, Jr., Published by the Authors, Texas, 1989.
"Latin America, A Concise Interpretive History" by E. Bradford Burns, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1972.
"Los Paisanos", Spanish Settlers on the Northern Frontier of New Spain. Oakah L. Jones, Jr., University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK, 1979.
"Many Mexicos" by Lesley Byrd Simpson, Van Rees Press, N.Y., 1941, 1946. "The North Frontier of New Spain" by Peter Gerhard, Princeton University Press, 1982.
"Mexico's Merchant Elite, 1590-1660 - Silver, State, and Society" by Louisa Schell Hoberman, Duke University Press, 1991.
"Pedro Moya de Contreras, Catholic Reform and Royal Power in New Spain, 1571-1591" by Stafford Poole, C.M., University of CA Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1987.
"Spanish Records Extraction", Published by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1981
"The Southeast Frontier of New Spain", revised edition, by Peter Gerhard, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman and London, 1993.
"The Story of the Mexican Americans; the Men and the Land", California Textbook, Sacramento, 1971 by Rudolph Acuna.