Outline of Colonialism in Latin America

Outline of Colonialism in Latin America - COLONIALISM IN...

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COLONIALISM IN LATIN AMERICA I The Etymology of Colonialism II The Formation of the Modern Eurocentric World Economy III The Open Veins of Latin America IV The Uses of Religion in the Spanish Colonies I The Etymology of Colonialism Colonialism: from the Latin word colonia which means ‘an agricultural estate.’ In antiquity, a Roman colonia consisted of a landowning family and an array of peasant- slaves who devoted a significant portion of their labor to the maintenance of the land- owning family. Patriarchy: from the Greek word πατριαρχια (patriarkhia) which means ‘the rule of the father.’ The Roman colonia was a declaredly patriarchal institution, in which the landowner was expected to assume a position of paternal authority over his slaves – demanding absolute obedience, settling disputes among slaves, and looking after the slaves’ ‘general well being’ the way a father would care for his child. Latin-based languages still bear the mark of the patriarchal colonia’s long history: the word for ‘boss’ patron in Spanish and padrone in Italian mean ‘big father’. The owner of a colonia is the model of a patron . In Greek and Roman antiquity, the class of estate-owning slave masters were the most important citizens in political life. They directed the affairs of the state in their interests. The model of social relations in the ancient colonia (exemplified in the relation between master and slave) evolved into the feudalism of the European Middle Ages. The main difference being that the peasants of feudal estates were no longer the personal property of the landowner. The colonia served as the basic model of European class relations up until the growth of cities and industries began to surpass agriculture in the sixteenth century. When Europeans began to invade and settle in the American continent, most of them sought to ‘recreate’ European society in the new land. This meant organizing labor, property ownership and political power along the familiar lines of the colonia. Founding a ‘colony’ meant establishing many colonias – or estates – which would be owned by the European soldiers who fought in the wars of conquest against the indigenous. For example, Hernán Cortés – the famous conquistador of the Aztec empire – was awarded patronage over the entire valley of Oaxaca in 1529 by the Spanish crown; with all of the indigenous people living in the valley declared to be his slaves. As we will see in Spanish colonial America, the one big difference between the traditional European colonia (estate) and those formed in the colonies is that the latter 1
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were primarily concerned with exporting their products to the European market. In this way, the colonia evolved into the plantation in the colonies. II
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Outline of Colonialism in Latin America - COLONIALISM IN...

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