views updated


Castizo, a term used for a person of mostly Spanish and some indigeneous ancestry. In the eighteenth century, Spaniards officially described a castizo as a person with one-quarter Indian and three-quarters Spanish ancestry, but genealogical investigations were rare, and most assessments of castizo status were based on such criteria as physical appearance, occupation, residence, dress, and income. A person of mixed Hispanic and indigenous ancestry who appeared darker or was lower in the social or economic order was called a mestizo. The term castizo was used most frequently in Spanish records during the eighteenth century and appears to have disappeared following independence.

See alsoRace and Ethnicity .


Nicholás León, Las castas del México colonial (1924).

Lyle McAlister, "Social Structure and Social Change in New Spain," in Hispanic American Historical Review 43, no. 3 (1963): 349-370.

Magnus Mörner, Race Mixture in the History of Latin America (1967).

John K. Chance, Race and Class in Colonial Oaxaca (1978).

Patricia Seed, "Social Dimensions of Race: Mexico City, 1753," in Hispanic American Historical Review 62, no. 4 (1982): 569-606.

Patricia Seed and Philip Rust, "Estate and Class in Colonial Oaxaca Revisited," in Comparative Studies in Society and History 25 (1983): 703-709, 721-724.

Rodney Anderson, "Race and Social Stratification: A Comparison of Working Class Spaniards, Indians, and Castas in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1821," in Hispanic American Historical Review 68, no. 2 (1988): 209-243.

Douglas Cope, The Limits of Racial Domination (1994).

Additional Bibliography

Carrera, Magali M. Imagining Identity in New Spain: Race, Lineage, and the Colonial Body in Portraiture and Casta Paintings. Austin: University of Texas, 2003.

Katzew, Ilona. Casta Painting: Images of Race in Eighteenth-Century Mexico. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

Katzew, Ilona, ed. New World Orders: Casta Painting and Colonial Latin America. New York: Americas Society, 1996.

Stephens, Thomas M. Dictionary of Latin American Racial and Ethnic Terminology. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1989.

                                             Patricia Seed

About this article


Updated About content Print Article