Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 204–225 | Cite as

The vitriolic blood of a Negro: the development of racial identity and Creole elitism in New Spain and Spanish Louisiana, 1763–1803

  • Andrew N. WegmannEmail author


This paper shows that the introduction of concepts of whiteness, purity of blood and legitimacy of kin under the Spanish caused a transformation within the New Orleans coloured community. As generations of mixed-race men and women emerged from interracial families established during the late French Period, Spanish social and legal practices permeated the New Orleans cultural landscape. Suddenly, new ideas of racial science, mixture and definition appeared in law, gradually affecting social intercourse. The ambiguous awareness of mulâtres and nègres under the French gave way to a regimented taxonomy of ‘races’ and ‘hybrids’ developed over more than a century in Latin America and the Caribbean and manifested in the social and racial identities of the New Orleans mixed-race community.


race Casta Louisiana Creole New Spain identity 


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Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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