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Faire carrière aux Indes de Castille ? Les aléas du rêve colonial chez les officiers du roi en Nouvelle Espagne (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles)

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  • Michel Bertrand

Abstract

[fre] Le développement d'un appareil d'Etat aux Indes de Castille signifia la multiplication progressive des charges administratives. Cependant, tous ces offices n'étaient ni profitables ni attrayants, comme le montre le désintérêt précoce des élites en Amérique pour les offices municipaux. Seules ceux, peu nombreux, supposant un exercice effectif du pouvoir présentaient des attraits tangibles. En ce sens, il est légitime de s'interroger sur l'attractivité que représentait l'exercice - et bien souvent l'achat - de ces charges dans les Indes de Castille, une fois assurée la mise en place d'un appareil d'État suffisamment complexe, c'est-à-dire à partir du XVIIe siècle. Pouvait-on «faire carrière» aux Indes? Quel pouvait être le sens de cette ambition aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles? Sous quelles conditions cela pouvait-il s'envisager? Quels pouvaient être les obstacles à surmonter de la part des candidats à l'exercice de ces emplois et à la jouissance des éventuels avantages qui les accompagnaient? C'est à ces questions que répond ce travail en se fondant sur le corpus de ceux qui constituaient, dans le cadre d'une vice-royauté - ici la Nouvelle Espagne - le cœur de l'administration coloniale centrale, exclusion faite des vices-rois eux-mêmes. [eng] The development of the state administration in Castilian Indies supposed the progressive burgeoning of executive charges. All the functions were not rewarding nor enviable, as the early desin- terest for the municipal careers of the élite in America proved to be. Only the rare positions that meant some effective power were considered attractive enough. One is consequently entitled to pounder about the supposed attractivity of these careers in the Castilian Indies — not to mention the financial compensation that was commonly linked to them - once the implementation of a somewhat complex administration became a tangible reality in the XViith Century. Was it possible "to make one 's career " in the Indies ? What could be the meaning of such an ambition in the XVllth and XVHlth Century ? Under what conditions was it possible to seek such a goal ? What obstacles were to be found and eventually overcome by the candidates if they wished to secure their positions as well as the subsequent enjoyment of promising advantages ? This paper intends to answer to these questions based on the officers profiles working within the framework of a Viceroy alty - hier New Spain - that is in the very central part of colonial administration, the viceroys excepted.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Bertrand, 2004. "Faire carrière aux Indes de Castille ? Les aléas du rêve colonial chez les officiers du roi en Nouvelle Espagne (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles)," Histoire, économie & société, Programme National Persée, vol. 23(4), pages 525-540.
  • Handle: RePEc:prs:hiseco:hes_0752-5702_2004_num_23_4_2441
    Note: DOI:10.3406/hes.2004.2441
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