Miguel Leon, of the history department, presented a paper in the American Historical Association-Conference of Latin American History held in Washington, D.C. from Jan. 4 to Jan. 7. His paper, titled “Strategies for Success: A Notary and His Social Network in Colonial Lima, 1559-1619,” is an analysis of the social networks built by a notary, Cristóbal de Aguilar y Mendieta, who was a prominent vecino, or main dweller, of early seventeenth century colonial Lima (Peru).
This paper is an expanded version of a paper submitted to a conference a year ago in Peru.
A reconstruction of his life shows that Aguilar y Mendieta was an active member of society who, besides fulfilling his responsibilities as a provincial notary, participated actively in the economic, social and even religious life of the city. It is well documented that his activities included selling slaves and merchandise, especially textiles, and his social activities included being a guardian of children and trusted executor of people’s wills. He was a founding member and treasurer of a religious brotherhood which supported an orphanage. He also bought real estate, making it an important part of his fortune and investments. He left a bountiful inheritance to his children, and his son, Cristóbal de Aguilar, the Younger, became the notary of Lima’s town council, one of the most desirable positions by any notary at that time.