One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In colonial South America: a group of Peruvian or other Indians employed in forced labour by the Spanish colonists, usually for a specified period; the system under which such groups were employed.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in John Stevens (c1662–1726), translator and antiquary. From American Spanish mita from Quechua mitʔa turn, successive or alternate order.
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