Colonial Society, 1521–1810
THIS CHAPTER DESCRIBES THE SOCIETY THAT DEVELOPED during the threecentury-long colonial period. This society was divided along class, ethnic, and gender lines as well as by the division between the enslaved and the free. The chapter considers the emergence of what would become the dominant element of Mexican society-the mestizo, or person of mixed race. It also describes how settlement inexorably crept northward, incorporating some indigenous groups and coming into conflict with others. In conclusion, this chapter considers the colony’s intellectual life.