Appendix A
Employers and Workers at Querétaro, 1588–1609
Thanks to the work of José Ignacio Urquiola Permisán and his associates, a set
of nearly three hundred work contracts completed at Querétaro between 1588
and 1609—most between 1598 and 1609—allows a revealing exploration of
labor relations during formative decades. Urquiola provides an analysis that
emphasizes advance payments and judicial findings, creating contractual obli-
gations to labor. He shows that textile workshops, the obrajes, played key roles
but were not majority employers. Most workers were indigenous, yet from
diverse regions. And while coercion was a tool of employers and the courts,
ultimately labor relations were monetized, contested, and repeatedly renego-
tiated at Querétaro as the seventeenth century began.1
Urquiola published the entire set of contracts. They include detailed infor-
mation on employers, workers, work relations, salaries, ethnic origins, and
family relations, the basis of the quantitative analysis offered here and of the
social and cultural discussion in chapter 1. Table A.1 summarizes the labor re-
lations revealed in the contracts, distinguishing those employers who appear
only as recipients of payment for debts left by unfulfilled work, those only ad-
vancing money to gain obligations of work service, and those who did both.
Fifty- seven employers, most engaging one or two workers, appeared only as
recipients of payment for workers’ existing obligations. Most of those previous
debts had not been formalized in contracts; previous employers had advanced
goods or money valued more than the work performed. When workers sought
a new position the new employer paid the old obligation and demanded a con-
tract documenting the amount owed, the salary offered, and the work needed
to cover the obligation. The fifty- four employers who only paid advances
were usually small employers. The thirty- nine who both received payment for
earlier debts and paid advances to acquire new workers were major employers.
Most employers contracted for the work of only one or two workers dur-
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