MATERIAL: Hand-Written/Painted
TYPE: Book
DIMENSIONS: 12” (all three books)
COMPONENTS: Three books; all with leather bindings and straps (third nook missing one strap) 1. 139 folios; many in blank. 2. 62 folios (124p.).  3. 199 folios (398p.). 
NOTES: I was quite surprised to see this system already in action in 1798. I found everything about these books appealing, from the covers to the content.
ITEM ID: 3503

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Record Books for Servants on a Hacienda

DATE
Year: 1798
Decade: 1790s
Century: 18th (1701-1800)

Three “Servants of the Hacienda” books. First is the general administration book of the Hacienda, that includes loans (including one from the Count of Medina y Torre), their assets (horses, cattle, etc.) and the agricultural production. “Libro de gobierno de la Hacienda de Amascala, que comienza desde 16 de Junio del año de 1799 y consta de 139 f.” (Book of the Governing of the Hacienda Amascala, that began in the year 1799 and has 139 pages). Also includes Mexican colonial accounts, operations and staff books for a ranch. The ranch had already a system that was more popular in the late XIX century during the Porfirio Diaz era: the Debt Bondage. It was a sort of slavery system, where the servant was always in debt to the Hacienda. Because they received such a low salary, they had to ask the hacienda for supplies. Which in turn they could only pay with more work, and so on. They were basically slaves. The most common labor system in the ranches in colonial Mexico was the Encomiendas. The second book are accounts from a chandlery that the Hacienda bought. It has a balance from every year of operation since its acquisition in 1804-1826. “Cuenta de la cera en marqueta y demas gastos de las labranzas.” The third book contains servent lists: “Quaderno N. 3 en 199 f. uts. Donde constan las cuentas de los sirvientes de esta Hacienda de Amascala, y comienza en 17 de junio de 1798” (third notebook where the counts of servants present at Hacienda Amascala beginning June 17, 1798). It is divided in two sections: the list of all servants organized alphabetically arranged and the personal accounts of each servants. The last one itself is divided in 4: the personal info (occupation, name, salary and current balance), list of all acquired items from the Hacienda, rations received and working days.  As it can be seen, almost all the servants were currently on debt with the Hacienda. Contrary to the Encomienda’s system, were a number of Indian workers of a specific community were granted by the Spanish crown, the labor arrangement of the Amascala Ranch was the Debt bondage (also known as debt slavery or bonded labor). The charges from the Hacienda range from tools, clothing, extra food or services such as burials, as it can be seen from the entries. Background on the Hacienda of Amazcala: Founded in the XVI century in the municipality of El Marques, Queretaro, by the landowner Don Juan Cueva. In this place, he built a garrison known as Casa Fuerte, to defend from the chichimeca rebels called “guachichiles” or “red heads” in the Nahuatl language. In April 10, 1576, the Viceroy of the New Spain, Don Martin Enriquez de Almanza, granted a license to the Otomi Indians of Santa Maria del Rincon, Atongo, Alfajayucan, Máxcala and Telayupa, to give them protection and work in fertile fields of the Amazcala ranch under the care of its owner. Thus, starting the Encomineda system in this ranch.