Chasten’s intro presents shared and differing characteristics of LA Shared: Young (average age in teens); Catholic; urban; Spanish/Portuguese languages Diverse: Literacy; geography and population (Paraguay could fit into capital of Sao Paulo, Brazil); Life expectancy; Diversity Chasten discusses what is shared and what is different to lead into the following question (next slide).
Borders that we see on left map are arbitrary, created much after colonialism. Traits of countries, indigenous groups span across boarders. So, some shared and some differing characteristics: Can we write a unified history? What does this question imply about most written histories of Latin America? Why might we want a unified history? What sort of risks is Chasten taking by writing a unified history? Would everyone agree that one history can be written? (Hint: think of Howard Zinn)
- Early encounters: All shared similar encounters with Europeans. Political trends: What is a dictatorship ? The picture below is of Agusto Pinochet, a dictator who replaced a democratically elected Chilean leader (Allende). The United States government was partly responsible in that they led the coup (define a coup). Why? To make sure that land and business (especially mining) interests were represented by the country’s leadership. Chile’s case is not unique, happened similarly in Guatemala (to represent fruit interests, United Fruit Company). Regardless of US involvement, perhaps the majority of Latin American countries through the mid 20 th century had conservative dictators that fought off socialist/communist movements. Economic trends: During those dictatorships these countries acquired large amounts of debt funded by IMF and other multilateral banks. Debt lead to inflation (define) and stagnation (define). The picture below shows a Hungarian note of one million of the Hungarian currency. Some countries (like Hungary, similar experience to Latin America) experienced thousands upon thousands percent in inflation, meaning that what you could buy with one dollar one day (i.e. a loaf of bread) would cost thousands of dollars sometime later. I have spoken to people in Peru who had to carry around money in wheel barrows. Finally, after some time, some economies experienced some recovery in the 1990s. Class struggle: What Chasten really focuses on is the “struggle.” These struggles pervade all shared history of economics (socio-economic class struggle), politics (liberalism vs. nationalism), encounters (conquered vs. conquerors), etc.
-As I mentioned, “struggle” is the shared history. This struggle emerged from the imposition of religion, language, social institutions, and politics. -Examples: - Religion : Catholicism - Language : Spanish, Portuguese - Social institutions : includes religion and language, but also customs, norms of behavior (dress, music) - Political institutions : leaders, structures (set up of government), courts (norms of justice/fairness) -Though this began a long time ago, struggle persists today, and represents a push against many structures that began with the encounter. Has become.. (next slide)
…the modern struggle! What does this struggle look like today? It has become a struggle between liberalism and nationalism. Which side tends to come from Western perspective (liberalism) and non-Western perspective (nationalism)?
-Prior to 1930s: determinism (define) -Racial determinism: good races versus bad races -Cultural determinism (lacking the Protestant work ethic) -Climate based explanation (too hot to work) -1940-1970: -Modernization: the idea that all countries follow a pre-determined path to development. -Developing countries were thought to be backward and behind, and that they needed to follow specific development paths of Western countries (what might be weaknesses in this argument?). -Blamed greedy landowners and dictators (Should we not blame them?) -Weaknesses: focus and blame still within Latin America
-Out with modernization theory: scholars within Latin America start to fight back – “We’re not backward, we’re not all to blame. what is the effect of colonialism and Western countries on our history?” -They became critical of the West, saying that it had forcefully structured the world so that former colonies were dependent (i.e. dependency theory) on the West (in the form of loans, technology, consumer markets for primary commodities). -Looking at the photos below of pre-colonial ruins, what does this say about former perspectives on Latin America? Are they lazy? Do they lack intelligence? If not, how else could we explain economic underdevelopment? (Possible answers: Jared Diamond, dependency theory, etc.) -Photos: Machu Picchu, Peru (left); Teotihuacán outside of Mexico City (right)
-Read quote. - Ask about what it means . What is original sin? What about the original sin in its original definition is a useful metaphor for Chasten’s example of the first encounter? Is there a way in which his use of this metaphor is inappropriate? (Think about original sin being a self-inflicted sin. Discuss importance of carefully choosing metaphors.) - Read essential question : Can we judge the colonizers/explorers? Why or why not? If we can’t blame them as individuals, what do we blame? What about the indigenous groups? Were there some among those groups who shoulder some of the blame? Why or why not?
-Question: What does sedentary mean? - Non-sedentary : Make connection between needs of society (requiring participation of everyone) and societal structure (egalitarian) - Semi-sedentary : talk about slash and burn, shifting cultivation; more organization in society, but still egalitarian - Fully sedentary : Talk about emergence of agriculture -Agriculture specialization in occupation & accumulation of wealth/status stratification of society
- Personal riches : to gain fame and fortune discovering far off lands (Columbus demanding 10% of Spanish wealth accumulation in the colonies) - Imperial riches : to gain minerals, land, crops for the crown - Interstate rivalry : Spain vs. Portugal -Portuguese did not establish much of a colony until France came close to Brazilian coast. - Religion : Talking about religion as a justification, but perhaps a “secondary” justification - Essential question: Which reasons were more important? Think about secondary vs. primary justifications.
Let’s think about what was similar about Portuguese-Indigenous and Spanish-Indigenous encounters (Venn diagram) - Question : Do they share more in common or less? - Note : Flags are not current flags, but flags used during first stages of colonial empires in Americas. - Current day relevance : Many similarities exist between current day Brazil and other Latin American countries – slave heritage, greatly reduced indigenous populations
-Slavery in Africa existed, but was different in structure (not necessarily based on race; slaves’ children born free). -Existing system of slavery facilitated European exploitation of slaves -Similarity between European exploitation of indigenous Americans and slaves in Africa: use of existing social cleavages. -Europeans developed concept of slaves as a ”commodity” Why use slaves? Natives would run away, difficult to contain Natives had low immunity to Old World diseases -Slaves were unfamiliar with surroundings, unable to communicate amongst themselves, had immunities to microbes
-Cortez arrived in Hispanola long before he made it to Aztecs. Had experience with natives, knew of Aztecs. -Europeans had developed antibodies to microbes through travels and encounters. Native Americans relatively isolated biologically. -Military advantages a product of trade with China, trade with diverse groups -What does it mean to divide and conquer? -Local indigenous groups willing to work with Europeans to defeat the Aztecs and Incans because of frustrations with empires, taxation, enslavement, sacrifice -Europeans needed their help because of fewer numbers
-Chasten discussed how non-sedentary groups vanished while fully sedentary groups survived the encounter. What accounts for different results? -Answer: fully sedentary groups had structures and systems taken over by Europeans, non-sedentary groups pushed out and demolished. Fully sedentary groups too large in number to systematically wipe out.
What happened after the conquest? Intermarriage : birth of mestizo race (see picture 1 and 2, both of which comment on first mestizos). Photo 1 shows Gonzalez Guerrero who washed ashore and assimilated into indigenous life. Photo 2 shows La Malinche and Pizarro with the blue-eyed mestizo in tow. How does this depiction differ from the one on the left? Which intermarriage does Diego Rivera seem to support? Religious conquest : Goal was to displace former religion, so built structures on top of old holy sites (like Basillica of Lady Guadalupe on top of indigenous holy site in Mexico City or Cathedral in Mexico City above former ruins). What resulted was not a displacement of indigenous religion but religious syncronism , a mixing that mirrors more of a polytheist religion with many patron saints. Many countries, like Bolivia, have large indigenous populations that concurrently observe Catholic holidays (Easter) and indigenous festivals (fertility festival where animals are sacrificed in homage to Mother Earth).
-Note that some who came to proselytize and dominate came to advocate for and respect local culture and the local people.
BORN IN BLOOD AND FIRE: a concise history of Latin America by John Charles Chasten
Chapter 1: The encounter “ For Latin America, conquest and colonization by the Spanish and Portuguese created patterns of social domination that became eternal givens, like the deep and lasting marks of an original sin.” (page 25) Essential question: Should we judge the moral quality of European explorers? PD-US
Bound for India Accidental “discovery” Religious goals Seeking resources Decimated local populations Relied upon slave labor Established colonies http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_New_Spain.svg PD-US
Chapter 1: Slavery from Africa to the Americas
How were slaves taken from Africa?
Preexisting (though distinct) system of slavery within Africa
Portuguese came for gold, left with slaves
Slaves as a “commodity”
Spanish and British soon to follow
Why were slaves used to replace natives?
Indigenous groups : difficult to contain, sensitive to “Old World” diseases
Slaves : unfamiliar with land and language; long-developed immunity to microbes; familiarity with sedentary life, iron working, and domesticated animals
Chapter 1: The conquest Essential question: How did a few hundred Spanish soldiers defeat vast empires of the Aztecs and Incas?
Cortez was familiar with Aztecs, though Aztecs were unfamiliar with him.
Divide and conquer
Empires demanded tributes from conquered groups.
Dissatisfied groups helped Europeans.
Pizarro Atahualpa PD-US PD-US
Chapter 1: Same encounter, different results Essential question: After the encounter, why did some indigenous groups vanish while others survived?