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10 January, 18:22

Describe the purpose of the sistema de castas, why it failed, and its impact on how race is viewed in the Hispanic world.

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  1. 10 January, 19:08
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    The fluid nature of the Castas did allow for a few persons of African descent to attain a socioeconomically elevated status more frequently on the Colonial Spanish frontier than in the United States at the end of the 18th century. Mulatto Pedro Huizar, for example, was able to become a Don (Spanish nobleman) at Mission San Jose and thus change his status to espanol in 1793. Huizar was born and raised at Aguascalientes, Mexico, acquiring many skills in the arts and building trades. Around 1778, he journeyed north, first to San Antonio de Bexar, and finally, el Pueblo de San Jose, where he worked as a sculptor, mission carpenter, and surveyor. As Huizar's changed racial status shows, racial lines became so blurred through biological and occupational miscegenation that they became useless to Spanish census takers and other Iberian officials by 1800.

    The Castas was officially dismantled by the 1830s, following the wars of independence raging throughout Latin America in the 1810s-1820s.
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