Despite being physically absent from the court hearings related to her enslavement and her sale to a new owner, Elena, an enslaved woman in late colonial Santo Domingo, becomes the most ever-present witness and gives voice to her life through the testimony of others. The details shared by Sebastián Álvarez, the buyer; Baltazar Guerrero, the seller; and the witnesses bring Elena's character to life by means of the descriptions of her alleged “defects.” This article studies Álvarez's lawsuit against Guerrero for not properly specifying all of Elena's flaws in the bill of sale. I argue that Elena's carefree behavior—described in the redhibition case—allowed her an ascribed “freedom” that she attained by using her body as “rival geography” to contest the limitations of space. Accordingly, this article proposes that, at the same time enslaved people endured suffering, they used their bodies and minds as a refuge. Moreover, this article uses Elena's story to highlight Santo Domingo in the historiography of slavery in the Americas, within the context of “the unexpected” in Caribbean studies, and stresses the importance of archival research in giving a voice to the enslaved, even if they are not speaking for themselves.

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