Week Six readings

The readings from chapter six contain many interesting and examined conclusions about Latin American in the late 19th century. The impact of western science, indigenous and rural rights, and the slow and sometimes tedious path towards the end of slavery.

The impact of science is a interesting topic and especially how it relates to the continents history of trying to categorize all the different races on the continent. The way in which Scientific racism was used to try to reestablished or conclude with the idea that whites are more rational and smarter then all the other races and should be considered the heads of government and what not. This is also like or has similarities to the Casta paintings where the Spanish tried to used measures to try to fit all the different races and ethnicities into their “rightful” places in society. But like the Casta paintings, the real world got in the way. There were mixed people like the Mulattoes who populated varies countries and were just as intellectual insightful as the full whites but were considered nether less to the be blew.

The indigenous population during that time also mirrors the colonial past in a strange way. After the Wars of Independence, stats on the population of indigenous people are not taken until the mid 20th century and that in places like Argentina and Peru there were campaigns to take land from the indigenous people of the continent. This almost mirrors the Spanish conquest of the continent that took place only a few hundred years ago but rather then covering their actions with the pursuit of gold and conversations, it is rather the pursuit to modernize and bring the countries resources into use for social progress. The indigenous populations were not the only people in the country side to be forced into a wave of modernism and modernization but also the peasants who at times rebelled and revolted against such measures as reaction.

But what I found was interesting and provided no close mirror to the past is the slow elimination of the practice of slavery on the continent. Brazil and Cuba are interesting examples because there were the last places on the continent to outlaw slavery and did it through close to peaceful means. Yes, there was slave revolts in those countries that did lead to the death of many people but when compared to the States and the way they got rid of their slavery, the history of these countries are something to be looked. Brazil is a interesting in the way which it allowed free blacks and mulattos were allowed some political rights when compared to nations like the South of the US. Cuba as well was close to this but yet was able before Brazil to free all the slaves and outlaw the the practice all together.

To summarize, I would argue that this time saw parallels to Spanish colonialism with the categorization of ethnicities and races with the use of scientific racism and looks a lot like the measures used in the Casta paintings. The taking of land from the indigenous and peasants in the country side also parallel the Spanish conquest of the populations of the continent. Yet finally, the slow liberation of slave on the continent was something that was slow and long but at least was not as violent as the US elimination of slavery.


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