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Chapter 2

HIS 315K Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: History Of Latin America, Inca Mythology, Nahua Peoples


Department
History
Course Code
HIS 315K
Professor
M Seaholm
Chapter
2

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02: Instructor-Graded Assignment
A. Reflection (20 points)
I have very limited knowledge of any Latin American history, let alone the pre-conquest
indigenous peoples so most of what I read was completely new information. However,
the three facts/interpretations that most surprised me were: 1) In Latin America in
Colonial Times, Restall and Lane talk about the sudden drop in population once the
Europeans arrived. It’s common knowledge that the Europeans were the cause of this,
but they mentioned that it was not the Iberians fault that the diseases they brought
killed 90% of the native’s population.
1
This astounded me because, of course it was their
fault. They might not have known that the natives didn’t have an immunity to them, but
that doesn’t make them blameless. 2) I found it very interesting, learning about the
nahua slaves. Honestly, I had never thought about Native Americans participating in that
act, and I appreciated that fact that the slaves were treated more humanely than in
other societies. Apparently, all children were born free,” regardless of the mother’s
status.
2
And mothers were not sold away from their children,
3
although it seems they
found less fault in selling the children away from their mothers. 3) The third thing that
surprised me was how often the Mexica used human sacrifices. I thought all Latin
American native populations did so, but the Mexica did it on an unmatched scale. By
assuming the universe needed them to continue, the number of sacrifices reached an
unbelievable amount.
B. Identification (40 points)
1. The term “Indian” was constructed by Columbus when he traveled to Hispaniola and
saw the indigenous peoples. Thinking he had sailed to The Indies, “a name originally
given to East Asia,”
4
he referred to the natives as Indian and the term has stuck due to
its popularity. Because the natives were not as civilized as the Iberians in a European
sense, they were seen as inferior and taken advantage of. The reports that went back to
Iberia, mentioned how “barbaric” they were and paid more attention to the smaller and
different parts of their society than their similarities.
5
For example, people today think
1
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
60-62.
2
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 21.
3
Camilla Townsend, Malintzin’s Choices: And Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albequerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 2006), 28.
4
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 3.
5
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
59-60.

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of human sacrifices when thinking of “Indians” but it was far less common than people
perceive.
6
2. In Latin America, there were roughly four different categories into which we can sort
Native Americans: Concentrated Sedentary, Segmented Sedentary, Semi-sedentary, and
Non-sedentary.
7
The former two referred to societies that remained in one place while
the latter two referred to societies that moved around. The Mexica (Aztecs) and Incas
were examples of Concentrated Sedentary societies. They were built to expand and
focused on agriculture and had large empires.
8
The Zapotecs and Mixtecs were
examples of Segmented Sedentary which had no empires or large polities.
9
The Tupi and
Tainos were examples of Semi-sedentary.
10
They depended partly on agriculture but
also were hunter-gatherers.
11
And lastly, the Tehuelche and Amazons were Non-
sedentary.
12
They had few material possessions and were great at adaptation.
13
3. The Maya was one of the “two greatest civilizations to develop in Mesoamerica before
the famous Aztec-Mexica.”
14
The Maya were also the most literate - although it was still
very limited - and had the most complete writing system of any Mesoamerica society.
15
6
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 3.
7
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
12-16.
8
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
13-14.
9
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
13-14.
10
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
14.
11
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
14-15.
12
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
15.
13
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
15-16.
14
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
7.
15
Matthew Restall and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011),
10.
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