hist250paper1 - 1 Julie Gilbert HIST250, Section 0101...

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Julie Gilbert HIST250, Section 0101 October 15, 2008 Hegemony by nature can take on a lot of different meanings. It is commonly understood as a leadership or dominance of one country or social group over another. In viewing the Conquest of Mexico through the lens of the Black Legend, this definition seems fitting. However, a more flexible sort of hegemony determined the Conquest of Mexico, where there was not just simply cultural domination, but also cultural merging. Many aspects of the indigenous cultures of Latin America influenced the society of New Spain much more than it is normally depicted by Spanish accounts of the conquest. In this way, hegemony of the Spanish over the indigenous cultures was not absolute. Although Mexico is viewed as an area traditionally influenced by Spanish hegemony, there is actually not a complete dominance of only Spanish culture; there are also aspects of indigenous culture that permeated into parts of Mexican life and society during and after the conquest. When attempting to fully understand hegemony in regards to the Conquest of Mexico, it is essential not to think of it literally, but rather in different parts. This argument is outlined in Jeremy Adelman’s Colonial Legacies . Spanish conquest in Mexico brought about large-scale modification to Latin American society, not simply complete domination. As Adelman states, “time lines of Latin American history cannot be reduced to simple linear accounts of cumulative change and evolution” (Adelman, 2). Indigenous culture in Mexico was not simply stifled and forgotten with the arrival of the Spanish. It is imperative to regard the views of the native peoples along with those of the conquistadors, as well as how they viewed each other. It is also crucial to understand that the indigenous peoples were not all from the same tribe or lineage. “The peoples 1
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of Mexico did not form a single political entity…” (Schwartz, 23). Therefore, they had different views of the conquest and the conquistadors as well as each other. Because the were not a single unified entity, it was harder for the Spanish to dominate them all at once, as their reactions to Spanish assertions of power were different. This difference makes the hegemonic influence of the Spanish even less ultimate. Before the Spanish even arrived in Latin America, the indigenous peoples had thriving empires and societies all their own. “When the Spaniards arrived in central Mexico, they encountered a great civilization with a powerful political and military force…” (Schwartz, 10). The natives had their own social hierarchy with “military accomplishment [as] the measure of
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2011 for the course HIST 240 taught by Professor Lampe during the Spring '08 term at Maryland.

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hist250paper1 - 1 Julie Gilbert HIST250, Section 0101...

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