Insufficient mestizaje

Joshua Goode says Spain attributed its 1898 defeat to the racial inferiority of its soldiers — they were not mixed enough. Mixing the blood of Spaniards would also help dissolve regional divisions in the country.

They reasoned that when you choose the most robust youths for soldiers, you then remove their genes from the general pool. Thus do military adventures weaken the Spanish stock; soldiers must be selected differently.

There is more to this but I must find out when Spain, or anyplace outside Latin America, started valuing mestizaje. Goode is studying the 1870-1930 period but the answer to my question may be in his book or in one of the many others I have on this matter. Where did Bolívar get his ideas?

Well, he got them in part from Bello, who theorized a mestizo grammar and lexicon; what else did Bello say about mestizaje and statesmanship? I talk so far about mestizaje and culture from the point of view of language and Nebrija, but Bolívar spoke at Angostura at a time when the modern idea of national consciousness was quite new.

I have to follow up on this — does he have a single source for this idea? Will Maduro give me a grant to go to Venezuela and learn about these things?

One might also read Susan Martin-Márquez on Spanish identity in relation to its colonial adventures in Africa, and then that other book, The Return of the Moor.



Filed under Bibliography, Noticias

4 responses to “Insufficient mestizaje

  1. Z

    There is something here about inclusiveness and exclusiveness; Spain was a linguistic, military, and religious entity, ecumenical and exclusivist by turns, or in different pockets. Bolívar is in an inclusivist mode … but I would still like to know more about his sources and to know to what extent his model and Spain’s in 1870-1930 are connected (positive mixture). And in L.A. you have him, but you also have the outright champions of whitening and exclusion.

  2. Z

    Cut from paper, wordiness, but here we are: La “raza” española que se fue ideando desde la edad media tenía bases principalmente religiosas y lingüísticas, y ante el “desastre” de 1898 los médicos de la época, valiéndose de teorías eugenicistas, citaron un mestizaje deficiente como causa de la vulnerabilidad del soldado español a las enfermedades tropicales.

  3. Jonathan Mayhew

    Hybrid vigor?

    • Z

      Yes. Well, apparently the thought was this: by picking the strongest and most beautiful men for soldiers, you take their genes out of the pool. You get them killed and then the less perfect procreate. Then you take the most beautiful of those and get them killed, and then on you go, weakening the words of the tribe (sorry, I just could not resist that).

      This caused the desastre of 1898: the weakened raza just could not stand up to the pesky Americans. So the beautiful ones must be kept, and the people in the provinces have to get moved and mixed around so they do not get so inbred and weak.

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