Forasteros, indigenous peoples and their descendants who lived outside of the reducciones (settlements) to which they or their ancestors had been assigned by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo y Figueroa in his 1570s efforts to stabilize and exploit the indigenous labor force of the Andes. Under the reducción system, originarios (nativeborn members of those new communities) owed taxes and labor service to the state; because these levies were not assessed against forasteros, many individuals migrated, trading access to their community's resources for freedom from its tribute requirements. Regional demographic, migration, and labor patterns produced numerous types of forasteros with varying degrees of integration into rural society, mining and urban centers, and economic and political systems. Forasteros became a major force in the transformation of indigenous society under colonial rule. Numerous efforts to control indigenous migration and exploit the forasteros ended in failure, but in the early eighteenth century many forasteros con tierra (those with land) were redefined as taxpaying members of the communities in which they had access to land.
For a study of the forasteros and their impact on colonial society see Ann M. Wightman, Indigenous Migration and Social Change: The Forasteros of Cuzco, 1570–1720 (1990). Various aspects of indigenous migration are presented in David J. Robinson, ed., Migration in Colonial Spanish America (1990), esp. the chapters by Noble David Cook, Brian Evans, Karen Powers, Edda O. Samudio A., and Ann Zulawski.
Ann M. Wightman