Bartolomé de las Casas discusses the use of an alcoholic beverage he calls "wine" among the Mexican natives.

Bartolomé de las Casas

Bartolomé de las Casas, Los indios de México y Nueva España : antologia (Mexico: Editorial Porrua, 1966), 134–35

Editorial Porrua
Bartolomé de las Casas
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Among the people of New Spain to get drunk had great shame and was a vile vice and disgraceful, and for this those who drank it used the wine, not as one wishes, nor all those who wanted it, except with the license of the lords and judges, who gave it only to the old men and women of fifty years and above or a little younger; and the reason that they gave was that those had a need for it as a remedy for their blood getting cold, so that they could warm up and sleep. These drank two or three or four small cups, of the wine which they made, if it is not of much quantity, one cannot get drunk. In their wedding feasts and other festivities, they can drink two or three cups, those who were of a manly age, and no more. The doctors gave many medicines in cup of wine, and to the women who have just given birth it was a most common thing in the first days of her delivery to give them a little wine for health and not for vice. They were many persons that so hated wine, that neither healthy nor sick did they want to taste it. The laborers and workers, then they hauled wood form the mountain and when they brought it down large stones, drank to temper the cold, and to better endure the work; some drank more and others less, as they felt it was necessary for them. The lords and chiefs had as a point of honor, and the people of war, to not drink wine. Their common drink was cocoa and other brews make of toasted corn meal that does not intoxicate but gives strength and refreshes the whole body. The punishment that was given to those who got drunk or for having drank much began to become drunk and gave voices or sang were taken to the market, were they, man or woman, and they publicly shared them, that is no less an affront among them than among us to give someone a hundred lashes by the usual way, and later then sent hm to knock down his house, giving the person that became drunk to understand the voluntarily losing the justice of reason, he is not worthy to have a house in the town nor to count himself as one of the neighbors.

This was the custom and the law and the punishment that was had and was given throughout the times that those people lived without Christians seeing, which all the monks, especially the Order of Saint Francis and by the way they have, and they had, searched, examined, and verified. After the Christians had conquered that land and the native lords and judges, and there being cause that they not use their ancient laws, there are so many excesses of drunkenness that they have done and the Indians when they can do it, especially if they can have Castilian wine, that the same monks that said, they cannot believe they did not use them in the ancient times; but after much and very well investigated, and as I said, looked into and examined, they confess to having been deceived, and it is true this that I say here is all from their writing, and from their writing I have taken it.

BHR Staff Commentary

English translation taken form Gary Bowen, Christianity in the Americas Before Columbus: Unfamiliar Origins and Insights (Sandy, UT: Elite Online Publishing, 2019), 210-11

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