Week 2 Assigned Reading Notes
- Modern latin american history begins with the independence movement in the early 1800s
- What are the legacies of colonialism in Latin America?
- Christian Faith
- Multi-ethnic region and population
- Caste hierarchies with risidual cultural life in the subtle orm of bias and preference
- At the point of contact spanish colonizers recognizes similarities in the complex social
structures of the amerindians and their own and exploited this by absorbing some of the
amerindian elite in the the apex of spanish civilization.
- The amerindian elite were co-operative with the spanish and so were used to exact tribute
from lower status amerindians.
- this was a form of indirect rule
- Amerindians owned the country side in spanish america with whites scattered amoung them in
small towns in estates.
- in Brazil however whites were concentrated in a few port towns most notably rio de janniero.
- West europeans were a minority in a population of millions of coloured people.
- miscengenation is deemed by the authors to have not only been inevitable but encouraged
due to the absence of a substantive female european population. (9:1 odds of West european
men to west european women)
- Spaniards would marry and produce children with amerindian nobility in order to produce
pacification from the ruled or those being encroached upon.
- Africans used as slaves in the home were called “domestics”
- Those born of mixed race often moved away from work and plantation and worked rather as
wage labourers or artisans. They lived a hostile existence which necessitated an agressive
ethos for survival. they would also become vagrants in large numbers where it is believed the
negative stereotypes for mixed race people being drunkers and beggars as a whole were likely
- the collective culture of the amerindian played against them as skilled labour was needed in
the agricultural sector of the new world economy. this void would be filled eventually by the
mixed race peoples who had less of a collectivist culture. this led to their “inclusion into the
white mans world” as the authors have it.
- population reached stabilization in the first half of the 1700s for the first time since the
epidemics of disease that arose from contact.
- iberian colonial society was not a replica of iberian society
2. A spiritual Economy
- Religious nuns and other members of the catholic church made sure they experienced poverty
with all their senses in the begining of contact.
- Yet the dominicans and the monestary did secure much property.
- Usury was highly controversial and condemned by the catholic church in Latin America and
although still practiced - nuns found away around it by constructing what would now be
considered in a modern times a mortgage. (The difference is described as instead of taking
money off interest in a loan the mortgage negotiates the sale of a certain property for awhile
with the right to collect annuities yearly.)
- in this way the catholic church came be be major lenders of credit in the spanish american
economy of the 1600s
- older forms of the censo or mortgage lending did not have the power to seize property after
non payment but newer forms did have the power to seize property which led to anger from
certain sectors of the population.
Becoming “legally white” in colonial Venezuela - City Council in Caracas
- white europeans strongly and publicallly believed in their superiorities over what they call
- written by a creole elite who mentions divisions between the spanish crowns view of the new
world and their delusional perceptions that equate white american creoles with the
perdos,mullatos and zambos.
- writer argues that the american spanish are more interested in the cultivation of the land than
the spaniards who are preoccupied with the maintenance of public office and who are in other
words irrelevant to the reality of latin americans and latin american society,
- not arguing for a completely native solution but rather a sharing of power between creole
americans and europeans.
- written by creole loyalists who are fighting for a way to retain/attain a certain level of peace
while remaining as traditional as possible.
- letter is being written to the royal family of spain.
- contests being considered legally equal to those of mixed race as an outrage.
- written in 1796
- one could apparently be legally recognized as white for a small fee
- thinks that a latin american world with zambos or mullatos in power would be hell for whites
- argues that mixed race peoples as artisans do not pay taxes and live a life of “comfort”
- live off the avails of militia pensions.
- suggests that they should provide more benefit to the state before they are rewarded with the
designation of whiteness
A bishop reports on social conditions in Colonial Mexico
- population breakdown considers society to be Spaniards, Indians and castas (regards each as
a seperate class.
- argues that there is no average life just rich and poor.
- the indians and castas live in “degregation and squalor”
- speaks to enclosure law which denies indians and castas the right to individual property within
600 yards of their village.
- Says that the indians are kept in conditions of idiocy outside the city and thus harbour ancient
practices he sees as backward (Civilization Vs Barbarism)
- recognizes that the law benefits the white rich and only serves to keep amerindians down and
- judges in indian jurisdictions are not salaried and thus easily bribed and extorted.
- calls for the abolition of tribute (1799)
- abolition of legal discrimination
- free distribution of vacant lands
- the provision of higher quality land similar to that given to more prominent cities frequented by
- whishes to have government support of the church as bishops are very involved in community
development while not being paid enough to live.