chapter  4
18 Pages

Illicit relations in a multi-ethnic city

Emotions, fidelity, and economic obligations in colonial Mexico
WithMargarita R. Ochoa

How did individuals experience emotions in colonial Mexico and under what circumstances were they provoked to act in defence of their emotions? What was the role of colonial authorities in managing and controlling those emotions? As recent studies on emotions in colonial Mexico demonstrate, men and women could and did engage in violence to defend their marital and other romantic relationships. But they also had other avenues by which to defend their relationships. Through analysis of law and criminal litigation over adultery and domestic violence, this chapter examines colonial marital expectations and the emotions – jealousy and love – that, when stoked, provoked defensive legal actions by the parties involved. In colonial Mexico City, a multi-ethnic urban landscape, residents lived, loved, and made use of the Spanish legal system to defend their lawful and illicit relationships.