CRIOLLO. In New Spain a criollo was a person born in the New World to Spanish-born parents. A criollo, although legally equal to a peninsular, was treated differently with regard to royal appointments to high colonial offices in administration, the military, and the church. The stigma of being born in America emerged from the difficulty of distinguishing between pure criollos and mestizos. In Spain it was also widely believed that exposure to the tropical sun in the New World retarded the development of children born there. Criollos therefore ranked one step below peninsulars on New Spain's social ladder. On the frontier of the Spanish empire, criollos held more important positions in the colonial administration because of the scarcity of peninsulars and their reluctance to serve in remote regions. The highest offices were usually reserved for the Spanish-born, and criollos and mestizos shared the other military and civil appointments. Criollos and mestizos also fared well in church positions because of their connections with local parishes. Social fluidity promoted miscegenation on the frontier, and the lines between criollos and mixed bloods quickly eroded.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Joan E. Supplee, "Criollo," accessed August 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/pfc04.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.