THE RACIAL PROFILE OF A RURAL MEXICAN
Late colonial Mexico possessed one of the largest free-colored populations in Spanish America, numbering around 370,000 in 1793. The colony’s pardos, morenos, and mulattos were highly dispersed, being found throughout the major urban centers, coastal zones, rural areas, and in selected portions of the northern frontier. Studies conducted over the past two decades have assisted enormously in reconstructing the free-colored demographic profile, with particular emphasis on occupational and marriage patterns. Much of this research has resulted from sustained examinations of the caste vs. class debate, which has attempted to understand the manner in which the caste system worked in structuring colonial social relations.