ca. 1725 · [Spanish America, most likely the Viceroyalty of Peru]
Because Spanish colonial-era laws concerning Indians were numerous and published in the unwieldy Recopilacion de leyes de los reynos de Indias (5 vols., 1681 with subsequent revisions and editions) and authoritatively interpreted in Solorzano Pereira's also hefty Politica indiana (2 vols., 1648 and later editions), lawyers and judges often resorted to reducing the laws most relevant to their own work to a manuscript epitome, i.e., a booklet offering an abstract of each chosen law with its proper citation to either the Recopilacion or to Politica indiana when the full law or interpretation might be wanted.
THIS IS JUST SUCH A WORKING EPITOME, and that it speaks both to laws relating to Indians generally and, as per its title, to => laws relating specifically to Indians settled in reducciones helps to localize it. In regions where the indigenous populations were sedentary (e.g., Mexico, Guatemala, central Peru) there was no need to force them into "reducciones" (essentially, created communities with a high degree of "townness"); but in places were the natives were nomadic (e.g., Paraguay, and some jungle regions of the Viceroyalty of Peru) enforced resettlement was the norm.
Whether the Indians within the ken of this law practice were sedentary by tradition or "resettled," they were to enjoy numerous privileges and exemptions and also were prohibited from doing certain things. The first chapter headings here are a good summary of these privileges, exemptions, and prohibitions: "On the treatment of Indians," "Personal service," "Privileges in legal matters," and "On criminal behavior." A second section of the manuscript, in a different hand, offers chapters titled "On the service of Indians," "On the privileges that the Indians enjoy because of their status as miserables [i.e., a Roman law term for certain categories of individuals]," "On conducting legal proceedings against Indians," and "Other privileges granted to the Indians." The many dozens of laws recited here sketch the legal parameters of Indian life under Spain: the requirement of fixed addresses, the ban on white and black residents in the Indian reducciones, bans on polygamy and wine, whippings for those who move to another settlement without permission, and more.
We assign the manuscript's place of composition to the viceroyalty of Peru because in the period to 1776 it included regions were there were reducciones, whereas there were none in the viceroyalty of Mexico. Written in a clear secretarial hand on two different paper stocks: One for the first six leaves, a different for the last four. Original stitching. Some stray ink stains. Slight loss of text in one corner, minimal worming, otherwise only minor wear. Overall, very good. (Inventory #: 36916)