So I'm gonna own right off the bat that this isn't my original idea but something that I've seen brought up a lot of times in things like history TIL threads. With that out of the way, I do feel like brainstorming this a bit more.

First off, Spanish colonialism connected Western Europe to Africa (Northern African Moors and primarily Western African slaves) to the Americas (Gulf of Mexico, SW US down to Chile etc) to Asia (Marianas, Philippines and China). Other countries participated too but stay with me.
Their main goal was to connect Spain to the Spice Islands (Moluccas/Maluku) and convert people to Catholicism along the way. The papal bull Inter caetera issued in 1493 and Treaty of Tordesillas the next year "allowed" the division of the New World between Spain and Portugal.
Those scare quotes definitely belong there because hoo boy that's some bad discourse to talk about #colonialism as having anything to do with actual rights to conquest without considering power differentials.

The point of all this is to establish historical precedent for the real greatest crossover event in history (sorry not sorry #Marvel).

That's right: samurai in Mexico.
Begin with the triangle trade between Africa and Latin America, which brought slaves from Guinea, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, the Songhai Empire, and Bantu polities. *Disclaimer* I'm not an Africa expert by any means so feel free to correct any terminology I use here.
Islam had already spread to most of these regions by the 15th century so it's highly likely that our hypothetical African slave in Colonial Mexico Avengers is Muslim. However, he won't have been enslaved for long since many Africans escaped and started their own "pueblos negros".
The 2015 estimate on the Afro-Mexican population was around 1.4 million, which doesn't include the tens of thousands who died of disease, overwork and murder but should tell you they're definitely a nontrivial ethnic minority.


This gives us our African character, most likely a man (since male slaves were preferred) and probably from the Songhai Empire. He speaks a local language (feel free to interject, Africa experts), Hausa and Arabic as trade languages, and some Spanish picked up along the way.
Given that a lot of Spanish colonies concentrated on cash crop farming, he probably has experience farming and carries around a sweet cane knife. Before he was enslaved, he could've been any sort of occupation. Maybe still a farmer but why not an artisan or Islamic scholar?
Next up, the SE Asian end of the galleon trade, which connected Acapulco to Manila, China and Maluku. Undercutting Muslim merchants in the Indian Ocean and Venetians in the Mediterranean was the biggest deal for the Spanish (and the Portuguese, Dutch and English later).
Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521 but it wasn't until after a few more voyages that Legazpi established the first permanent Spanish settlements in the Philippines. First Cebu in 1565, then Villa de Arevalo (Iloilo) in 1569, then Manila in 1571.
Along the way, they overpowered Rajah Tupas of Cebu (the Sanskrit title is important) and made blood compacts with several others in Limasawa and Samar. They did what had worked previously in Mexico by pitting local antagonisms against each other to divide native opposition.
Arriving in Manila put the Spanish up against at least three other local rulers: two Muslims of Bornean descent (Soliman and Ache) and one who may or many not be Muslim (Lakandula). These were also defeated in battle but later accommodated into Spanish nobility.
In addition to food, the Spanish in the Philippines (though really just parts of the Visayas and Manila Bay since the islands weren't unified by any means) wanted control of ports for deep water vessels: galleons from Mexico and junks from Java, Borneo and Southern China.
The Indian Ocean trade zone also included at least the Coromandel coast of India, Persia, the Somali coast, and Madagascar (Austronesian-speaking people had already arrived there over a thousand years before Legazpi's expedition). All this ultimately connected to Europe too.
Fun fact: this trade route is how chili peppers, squash, avocados, guavas, potatoes, chocolate, papayas, tomatoes, cashews, peanuts and dozens of other foods reached Asia. Thanks for the food, Spain, but also no thanks for the forced conversion, slavery, disease and murder.
Back to our characters and things to know about them. First off, we have our Visayan babaylan, a sort of spirit medium who is biologically a man but dresses like a woman. Carolyn Brewer talks a lot about this being fairly common: amazon.com/Holy-confronta…
As a male babaylan, he can act as a spirit medium (typically reserved for women) and as a warrior, which many such figures did in various conflicts with the Spanish and their allies. He's nominally Catholic and has a Spanish given name but Filipino Catholicism was never orthodox.
His prayers to the spirits (dewa, diwata, tamawo, etc) include Spanish invocations like "Hesu Maria Yosep" but then also name non-Catholic ancestors, asking them for favor and safety. A big obstacle in Mexico would be not knowing the local spirits and how to appease them.
His traveling companion (and more???) is a Javanese warrior. Since I'm placing all this in the 1600s, he would be from either the Mataram or Banten Sultanate. He speaks Javanese, Malay as a regional trade language (with our Visayan babaylan) and Arabic (perhaps even as a haji).
And since I like cool swords, let's not forget that he gets one of these bad boys: a Javanese kris.
Now then. Chinese people have been living in the Philippines for over 600 years and have been trading with various Filipino polities for a lot longer than that. If you get technical, the original Austronesian speakers migrated from the mainland to Formosa and then southward.
Many of these Chinese settlers were merchants, since only in a few periods (like the Yuan) did emperors try to actually to conquer parts of Island SE Asia militarily. This did not end well so I don't really blame them for not wanting to repeat it: badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=7…
For the most part, the Ming and Tang dynasties stuck to trade: porcelains and iron for tortoise shell, gold, birds' nests, sea cucumber, spices (cloves, cinnamon, etc) and hardwoods. Chinese merchants also intermarried with locals and opened businesses.
Precolonial records are sketchy to nonexistent so it's hard to say if there was tension between Chinese settlers and Filipinos. Under the Spanish though, they were often targeted for pogroms, confiscation and forced exile.
Still, there were Chinese people in Mexico beginning in 1635 working as servants and barbers, so well within our time period: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_i…
That article does bring up an interesting point, namely that the Spanish called all Asian slaves "chinos", meaning our Chinese character could be ethnically from the Fujian coast (like many Chinese Filipinos) but could also be from Ayutthaya, Champa, or elsewhere in SE Asia.
Probably a merchant or child of one with a Filipino/a parent, so probably also speaks both parents' languages (Spanish, Hokkien Chinese plus Tagalog, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, etc). Maybe also Malay, depending on how involved they were in regional trade.
They would come over on a galleon from Manila to Acapulco, then join up with our crew of adventurers in Mexico.
To recap: we have an escaped slave originally from Songhai, a Visayan transvestite shaman, a Javanese warrior, and a Chinese merchant. That leaves at least two more members of our Colonial Mexico Avengers team.
Now for our samurai. Japanese people in colonial Mexico would've been lumped in with other Asians as "chinos" no matter where they were actually from, though three Japanese slaves were recorded by name in Mexico the 16th century, bought from the Potuguese: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_…
Let's say he's a ronin because ronin are totally sweet and really, what's cooler than a lordless samurai deciding to pick up his sword and find passage to freaking Mexico in an effort to win back his honor? Nothing. The answer is that absolutely nothing is cooler than that.
OK. That leaves us our Aztec character. Now the class I took on Spanish Mexico was recent enough that I remember this much about demographics but not enough that I could give you a treatise on Aztec religion.
However, I can tell you that Spanish regulations about ordaining natives (read: non-whites, especially if you might have Jewish, Muslim or black ancestry) as priests left a lot of religious specialists in New Spain without a livelihood.
Our Aztec character could be a specialist of any gender (including third). I'd have to specify if this were an actual pitch but for now, let's leave it open. The big thing I want to avoid is just checking off boxes to meet an imaginary diversity quota.
This isn't to say that diversity isn't important in this or any other instance of storytelling. Diversity is extremely important and to avoid the appearance of shoehorning, all these previous tweets are here for one reason: to show that history is already diverse.
All these hypothetical people could've coexisted together in colonial Mexico during the 16th century and showing them doing just that would not just be diverse but entirely historically accurate given current scholarship on the demographics of New Spain.
So to make a very long thread much shorter, samurai in Mexico is not just possible but historical fact and I want to watch it now.
Oh and lest we forget, the Spanish were also super concerned about crypto-Jews and set up an entire Mexican Inquisition in part to root them out in New Spain. This wasn't its only purpose and they weren't its only targets but it was a major factor.
So if we wanted to go full Magnificent Seven on this, the composition of our team could be as follows:
1.) Javanese warrior
2.) Cebuano shaman
3.) Japanese ronin
4.) Chinese merchant
5.) African escaped slave
6.) Aztec priest(ess)
7.) Sephardic Jew

All of them could speak at least passable Spanish and have some relevant skills to make them good party members.
Sources are cool. It's past midnight and I'm sleepy but if you guys have some other cool and relevant books or articles, feel free to include them.




This is right up your respective alleys @medievalpoc and @siwaratrikalpa
No point being subtle about it. Buy my book(s) please and thank you: amazon.com/David-Gowey/e/…
Hopefully one of the biggest takeaways from this thread is that globalization isn't just some newfangled thing. The world was already interconnected long before the present and multilingualism was a fact of life for many due to colonialism, migration, intermarriage, and trade.
It should go without saying (but really can't) that ideas of racial purity are also fiction. People have always been moving and interacting with others, whether nonviolently or violently, and that tends to produce a lot of babies. The proof is in our own family trees.
Well would you look at that:

"Rodríguez discovered that about one-third of the people sampled in Guerrero, the Pacific coastal state that lies nearly 2000 kilometers south of the U.S. border, also had up to 10% Asian ancestry, significantly more than most Mexicans."
"And when he compared their genomes to those of people in Asia today, he found that they were most closely related to populations from the Philippines and Indonesia."

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