Week Three: “The Colonial Experience”

I found Week Threes lecture and articles very interesting, as they are lead from last weeks ” The Meeting Of Two Worlds” topic of the very beginning of the colonial quest.

“Who Are We?” seemed to be a question that was asked during the video lecture, three words that could be simple but seem to be quite the opposite for many Latin American indigenous people at this time. The purity of the native people changed immensely as a result of colonialism. Black slaves from Africa were brought to work in the sugar cane fields and there began many inter racial relationships as a result  of the different groups mixing.

I was very intrigued by the Casta Paintings, in Susan Dean Smiths Casta Paintings, there was two pictures of mixed families. Examining the paintings further, they seemed to be like any other couple painting except both parents were of different races. But I also noticed that both parents wore their own cultural identities. At first, the boxes seemed simple to analyze as they were simply eight boxed families of different pure or mixed families. If the boxes were there to contain a social group and tries to give everyone a place… Then why would they be all in one painting? In the video lecture the point of “the lines are forever blurred” because they are crossed and all touching. The negative side of the mixing of families is that the native identity was/is threatened to be dissolved.

As well as the paintings the statistics that were giving to us on the video lecture shocked me. Resulting from the beginning of colonization in Latin America its population decreased greatly from the 1500’s at nearly 100 million to in 1600 nearly 20 million. That is 1/5 of the population dying in around 100 years, that is absolutely devastating. Having that much of a decrease would affect as aspects of life for the people, including a huge loss of culture as a disease would first wipe out the elders, who carry the most history.


3 thoughts on “Week Three: “The Colonial Experience”

  1. Emily Townsend

    You bring up an interesting point about all the different racial groups being portrayed on the same canvas. I feel that as much as the Spanish, in particular, felt it was important to distinguish between pure and mixed races, it became impossible post-conquest. The same canvas may have been used because racial differences became more and more blurred. Yet, the paintings still attempt to separate the castes particularly by emphasizing the skin color, position/gesture, clothing, and labor type of different caste individuals.

  2. yusuke sakanashi

    It was also surprising to me that so many indigenous people were killed because of disease that Europeans had brought. Before reading about Casta paintings, I did not know anything about it, so race hierarchy that Casta paintings had conveyed was also interesting.

  3. Piero Castillo

    I was also shocked to find out that the diseases from Europe wiped out most of the indigenous people. I wonder what it must have been like to be a native at that time. It would have been horrifying to see everyone around you die from something alien you have never seen before! I wonder if they even knew that all of this death was caused by the Europeans!


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