Original paper

Class endogamy,inbreeding and migration during the Argentinean colonial period: Analysis based on individuals of European ancestry

Colantonio, Sonia E.; Fuster, Vicente;Marcellino, Alberto J.


During the Spanish colonial period, Córdoba was an important town due to its location suitable for controlling communication throughout a wide region of Argentina. As a typical colonial society, where individuals belonged to a well established social class, marriages among Whites were the result of strict norms and prejudices founded on nets of kinship, friendship and neighbouring. The objective of this paper is to determine, whether the elevated class endogamy among Whites during the colonial period resulted in high consanguinity and whether a process of selection of surnames was present in 1813. In both cases the interaction with the migratory flow was taken into account. It is concluded that a) Although an endogamy of "class" existed among Whites, there is no evidence of the consequences on the biological structure of the population through preferential mating between relatives, as deduced from the low level of inbreeding from isonymy. b) There was no differential reproduction reflecting the selection of families carrying certain surnames; therefore surnames followed a "neutral" model. c) The diversity of surnames and the gene flow deduced from them were of a magnitude similar to present populations; this fact could have balanced the effect of the "class" endogamy. d) Finally, the congruence between information derived from the population age distribution and historic data and the quantification of migration from surnames allowed the detection of mistakes in the census data file regarding the number of foreigners, thus validating the use of surnames as biological markers of the population structure.


Surnamesisonymydiversityinbreedingmigrationethno-social classArgentina