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(rāpärtēmyĕn`tō), in Spanish colonial practice, usually, the distribution of indigenous people for forced labor. In a broader sense it referred to any official distribution of goods, property, services, and the like. From as early as 1499, deserving Spaniards were allotted pieces of land, receiving at the same time the native people living on them; these allotments were known as encomiendas (see encomiendaencomienda
[Span. encomendar=to entrust], system of tributory labor established in Spanish America. Developed as a means of securing an adequate and cheap labor supply, the encomienda was first used over the conquered Moors of Spain.
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) and the process was the repartimiento; the two words were often used interchangeably. The encomienda was almost always accompanied by a system of forced labor and other assessments exacted from the indigenous people. The system endured and was the core of peonagepeonage
, system of involuntary servitude based on the indebtedness of the laborer (the peon) to his creditor. It was prevalent in Spanish America, especially in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru.
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 in New Spain. The assessment of forced labor was called the mita in Peru and the cuatequil in Mexico.



a term that came into use at the end of the 15th century in Spain’s American colonies to designate the distribution of the land, indigenous population, and goods among the Spanish colonists.

One of the frequent instances of repartimiento was the transfer of Indians to the encomienda system. In colonial Mexico, the term repartimiento denoted the labor duty (analogous to the Peruvian mita) that obliged all male Indians, with the exception of Indian leaders, from the ages of 15 to 50 to work for a certain part of each year in, for example, mining, agriculture, and the construction of roads and buildings.


Al’perovich, M. S. “O kharaktere i formakh ekspluatatsii indeitsev v amerikanskikh koloniiakh Ispanii.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1957, no. 2.
Ivanov, G. I. “Repartim’ento v Meksike v XVI–XVIII vv.” Uch. zap. Ivanovskogo ped. in-ta, 1964, vol. 35.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cada casa destas tem dois ou tres buracos sem portas nem fecho: dentro delas vivem logo cento ou duzentas pessoas, cada casal em seu rancho, sem repartimento nenhum, e moram duma parte e outra, ficando grande largura pelo meio, e todos ficam como em comunidade, e entrando na casa se ve quanto nela esta, porque estao todos a vista uns dos outros, sem repartimento ou divisao.
Por exemplo, a maior quantidade de emprestimos (alguns sendo verbos e preposicoes) ocorreu a partir de 1640-50, quando o sistema de repartimento estava sendo substituido por acordos individuais entre indios e espanhois para negociacao dos salarios.
Los mas importantes fueron los conocidos como repartimentos, en Castilla, o repartiments, en Cataluna.