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1790 California Census- what's a COYOTE?

[California Spanish Query Board]

Posted by Pamela on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 14:35:49 :

Does anyone know about the "calidad" categories present on census rolls displayed at the Data Nook on this site? A book by Wm Marvin Mason is said to explain how the terms were used. But I don't have the book. Espanolo, mestiza, indio, mulata are familiar, but morizco, color quebrado and especially the coyotes and coyotas are beyond my imagination.

According to William Mason's The Census of 1790, A Demographic History of California (page 56):

[coyote] originates, at least in parish records, in the first half of the seventeenth century, and as do several terms signifying mixtures, appears to have more than one meaning. In eighteenth century California a coyote was apparently a person who was three-fourths Indian and one-fourth white. Elsewhere in Mexico, however, a coyote could be half Indian, one-fourth white, and one-fourth black. More commonly, however, they were Indian-white mixtures, as in California.

-Ron Filion, sfgenealogy

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