Early history


Slides here

Class activity

Market for governorships

Today, we’re looking at what happened when the Spanish Crown switched from appointing governorships in colonial Peru to selling them to the highest bidder. The motive for switching to sales was the Spanish Crown’s financial troubles due to foreign wars.

In groups of 2-3, find out the following:

  1. Look up the following colonial institutions in Peru: repartimiento, mita, and tributo; what were they, and how did they differ from one another?
  2. Use the following data on the sale of governorships in colonial Peru. Make a histogram of sales prices. What does the distribution look like?
  3. Look up a very valuable and very not-valuable province on Google. What does it look like today in terms of development?
  4. What factors made a governorship more or less valuable?
  5. What kind of buyers tended to get better/worse prices?
  6. How are prices changing over time?
Variable dictionary
original labels
audiencia Spanish Audiencia
provincia colonial province name
year year of sale
name_approx name of purchaser (approximate)
military military career (or rank)? 1=yes
noble holds either a knight or other nobility titles? 1=yes
rprice1 real office prices (in pesos) 1 peso=272 maravedies
lrprice1 log real office prices (in pesos)
suitindex avg agricultural suitability in province (1=max suitability)
lz log avg elevation
distlima avg distance to Lima (based on center of districts in province)
mita province to provice forced labor to mines? 1=yes
mine gold or silver mine in province? 1=yes
reparto2 assigned repartimiento quota (in pesos) in 1754
lreparto2 log assigned repartimiento quota (in pesos) in 1754