Spanish Racial Hierarchy

The Spanish Racial Hierarchy was not classified as the English Hierarchy instead it was a set of mixed races which were differentiated among each other on the basis of certain values and principles. The racial system was exercised from 16th century to 19th century racial. The mixed races evolved from the mythology of Spanish people. Early aboriginals were only men and only few people with higher ranks were permitted to marry and hence in need of female affiliation they married women of other races and hence leading to a mixed Spanish Racial Hierarchy.

The Spanish Racial Hierarchy was categorized on the basis of the amount of Indian blood a person had. In other words, the more the Indian blood of a person, the lesser will be his status and privileges. The races were differentiated on the grounds of the purity of the blood of a person.

Spanish Racial Hierarchy
Spanish Racial Hierarchy

The races in Spanish Racial Hierarchy were organized in the following manner:

  • Peninsular: This category belonged to the people who were the indigenous of Spain. Undoubtedly they were given more respect and advantages. They were also compared to aninsulars (Spaniards born in Philippines). They were given higher official ranks and authorities.
  • Criollos: In Spanish era of racism, Criollos were designated as full blooded Spaniards. They bagged the second highest position in the Spanish Racial Hierarchy. They were given space in Marianas by the government of Spain and were appointed as high rank officials as there were no full blooded people from Spain in those areas.
  • Mestizos: Mestizos were referred to those people who were born with mixed ancestry giving rise to mixed race population. These were ranked at the third position in the Spanish Racial Hierarchy. The mixed ancestry may belong to Spain and as well as the nations ruled by Spain. They lacked the position in the society and were not provided the higher rank jobs and thus treated as slaves appointed on low wages.
  • Insulares: Insulares was addressed to those people who were fully blooded Spaniards and belonged to Philippines and Marianas. They were also among the higher authorities who had the pleasure of respect and status but less than those of Peninsular as they belonged to Philippines’ instead of Spain.
  • Indios: The Chamorros people who belonged to Spain and Mariana Island aboriginally were referred as Indios. Earlier Filipinos were considered in the race of Indios but after some interval a separate class of Filipinos was constructed. Mestizos, Criollos and Peninsular were high tax payers and in order to reduce the tax, some Mestizos with dark skin would call themselves Indios.

The Racial Hierarchy in Spain was different as compared to other nations. In Spain it was based on the native place of the people and their ancestors. Politics also played a major role in the racial system and the ranks and authorities were provided to the people according to their caste in the society. However, this Racism was eliminated from the Spanish society after the independence of the Racial Philippines from the Spain in 1898.