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Introduction to Latin America

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INTL 2000


1) Why does Chasteen believe that Latin Americans come to the United States?

Chasteen believes along with poverty and proximity, is to be able to live financially and match the lifestyle of the US middle class.

2) Who was Hernán Cortez?

Cortez is a Spanish leader who led an expedition to Tenochtitlan where he annihilated and caused the collapsing of the Aztec Empire. He had been interacting with indigenous Americans for fifteen years before encountering the Aztec empire.

3) Who was Bartolomé de las Casas? What is he best known for?

Bartolome was a university educated fortune seeking young man who lived for twelve years the life of an early Caribbean conqueror. By the age of forty, he had a change of heart, returned to Spain to propose vary of ways in protecting the indigenous Americans. He has traveled throughout the Caribbean and Central America defending the indigenous people which inspired the Pope and laws to end the encomiendas system altogether. Bartolomé de las Casas publishes A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies.

4) What is the "encomienda"?

Encomienda is where indigenous people where "entrusted" to each conqueror who were rewarded with indigenous laborers.

5) What does "mestizo" mean?

Mestizo means a mixed race in particular of a blended indigenous and European heritage.


1. Give three examples of things that all Latin-Americans have in common according to Chasteen.

According to Chasteen, Latin-Americans were interpreted as "Hot blooded Latin's" with too much "nonwhite blood". Chasteen mentions that as Catholics, Latin Americans lacked a "Protestant work ethic". They also were discouraged by their tropical climates from economic activity with extreme heat and sensuous sensations such as mangoes and papayas. According to Chasteen, Latin America history was racially, culturally, or environmentally determined.

2. Name the three main groups of sedentary indigenous people that populated America before the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese? Describe the main characteristics of each one of these civilizations. (location, government, religion, social organization, language, etc)

-The nonsedentary indigenous people moved constantly and were hunters and gatherers. Their social organization is simple and contained small groups. Their location is in areas of typical grasslands such as the Arid plains. Some example consisted of Chichimecas and the Pampas of Argentina grasslands.

-Semisedentary indigenous people were often found to live in forests and moved their villages every few years. This indigenous group built villages but moved frequently. Their agriculture practices were adapted to thin tropical soils which they also exercised shifting cultivation agriculture. An example of this group is the Tupi people of Brazil.

-Full sedentary is the last group and they are permanent settlers often in high plateaus instead of grasslands or forests. They also had a fully sustainable agriculture which sometimes allowed developed into creation of empires and allowed for complex social societies. Some examples of full sedentary group are the Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas.

3. The attitude of the Spaniards during the conquest and colonization can be explained by its history, especially by its relation to the Moors and Jewish. Explain some of those historical factors and how the Arab-Jewish-Spanish intercultural dependency shaped the mentality of the Spaniards that later on came to the Americas.

The Spanish and Portuguese



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