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The Archaeology of EthnogenesisRace and Sexuality in Colonial San Francisco$
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Barbara L. Voss

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061252

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061252.001.0001

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From Casta to Californio, II

From Casta to Californio, II

Social Identities in Late Spanish and Mexican-Era Alta California

(p.100) 4 From Casta to Californio, II
The Archaeology of Ethnogenesis

Barbara L. Voss

University Press of Florida

The ethnogenesis of Californio identity in Alta California was a multi-generational process. This chapter presents evidence of the emergence of Californio identities among military settlers during the 1790s through 1846, and includes a review of prior historical studies, which have typically emphasized land, labor, and cattle. An alternative model of Californio ethnogenesis is presented, emphasizing social practice. During 1776-1790s, individuals and families manipulated their sistema de castas status. By the 1800s, many colonists refused to use casta terms, adopting non-racial classifications such as gente de razón, hijos del país, and Californios. With Mexican independence in 1821, the role of presidios diminished. Secularization of missions in 1834 ended the dominance of religious institutions and expanded the availability of land, a necessary condition for the emergence of ranchero culture. After the 1840s, Californio identity was more frequently defined in opposition to Anglo-American and European identities.

Keywords:   ethnogenesis, California, identity, non-racial classification, social practice, sistema de castas

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