From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in Montevideo, 1770-1850 Open Access

Borucki, Alex (2011)

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From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in Montevideo, 1770-1850
Alex Borucki
My dissertation examines the formation of the social identities of Africans and their
descendants living in Montevideo in the era of Atlantic slaving and emancipation.
Identities emerged from the interplay of social forces and conceptions of self. I explore
experiences that bonded free blacks and slaves to each other and to the larger society in
which they found themselves. The slave trade, Catholic black lay brotherhoods, African-
based associations or "nations" and black military service were crucial and overlapping
fields of experience. While the historiography has hitherto focused on one or other of
these fields at a time, my work draws on new archival material to chart the
interconnectedness of these arenas and how individuals simultaneously operated across
these organizations. It offers a more precise and more comprehensive interpretation of
black identity formation. It also shows free blacks and slaves were active participants in
the written culture of the period. Given that the Río de la Plata has been largely excluded
from the studies on the African Diaspora, this project aims to fully integrate the region
into the larger historiography of the Black Atlantic.

From Shipmates to Soldiers: Emerging Black Identities in Montevideo, 1770-1850

Alex Borucki
University of the Republic of Uruguay, BA 2002
Advisor: Prof. David Eltis, PhD
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the
James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies of Emory University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy in History

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1: The Foundation of the Black Population of the Río de la Plata, 1777-1839 38

Chapter 2: The Origins and Social Networks of Africans in Montevideo, 1770-1810 89
Chapter 3: Networks and Leaderships in Black Militias, Confraternities and Nations 136 Chapter 4: Black Battalions and Caudillo Politics in Uruguay, 1810-1850 195 Chapter 5: African-based associations and the quest of the Day of Kings, 1830-1850 252 Chapter 6: Jacinto Ventura de Molina, a Black Quixote of Montevideo 303

Epilogue 355

Primary Sources 359

Published Primary Sources 361

Secondary Sources 362

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