Racial Hierarchy in New Spain

Racial hierarchy leads to a phenomenon of dividing various racial groups on the basis of different racism bar. Racial groups differ from area to area. It is an act by which a person is separated from other person on the basis of any of the separation bar measured by that area’s social classes. It can be color, money or social status.

The racial hierarchy in New Spain was not classified as the normal English hierarchy but it was a well incorporated set of some mixed races and these races were distinguished from one another on the basis of certain principles and values. The racial system in New Spain was executed promptly from 16th to 19th century. The major racial groups that compose racial hierarchy in New Spain are:

Racial Hierarchy in New Spain
Racial Hierarchy in New Spain
  • Peninsular group
  • Criollos group
  • Insulares group
  • Mestizos group
  • Indios group
  • Mulatos and Negros group

There was a time in the beginning when only few people were allowed to marry and these were people of higher ranks. This thing lead to rise of mixed Spanish racial hierarchy since these higher ranks people even married women from other races in need of female affiliation. So it is true that the mixed races evolved from the mythology of Spanish people. On broader aspect it is true to say the racial hierarchy in New Spain was categorized explicitly on the basis of the amount of Indian blood a person had. In simple words, the more the Indian blood of a person, the lesser will be his privileges and status. Unlike other countries, the difference was not based on color or caste system yet on blood system.

The races in racial hierarchy in New Spain were organized in the manner that is described in brief as below. The hierarchy is explained starting from the highest rank group and ending with the lowest one.

Peninsular: Basically a Spanish born in Spain was considered a Peninsular and was privileged with higher official ranks, respect, more advantages and higher authorities.

Criollos: Criollos were the second highest ranked group in the racial hierarchy of New Spain. Spanish government during 17th to 19th century distinguished this category from other categories by providing them with higher ranks as well as authorities.

Insulares: The people who belong to Marians and Philippines but considered full blooded Spaniards were categorized under this category of Insulares.

Mestizos: The mixed race population of people born with ancestors from different racial groups was categorized under this racial group of Mestizos. This is the fourth rank in the racial hierarchy of New Spain and incorporate people born in Spain or the areas owned by Spain.

Indios: This is the lowest rank in the racial hierarchy of New Spain.

Mulatos and Negros – Well this group was not even considered a part of racial hierarchy of New Spain but were the lowest rank holder people in Spain. These were labors and workers hired or bought by high rank people.

Know about social hierarchy of New Spain