Latin American Change Essay

Latin American Change Essay

Length: 3055 words (8.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Over the course of the past half-millennium, the 33 countries that now comprise Latin America and the Caribbean have gone through drastic change. Since the discovery of the New World in 1492, each country has gone through some level of colonization by a European power and transition to its current state. During this period the regions have seen political, social, religious and economic transformations of various degrees.

Nevertheless, many scholars argue that regardless of the changes encountered, many are merely on the surface with little to no meaningful change instilled. A Variety of leaders have attempted to improve their country by both conservative and liberal means. Despite these attempts, though, the underlying foundation of colonial ideals remains.
The colonial period began with the discovery of Hispaniola by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and most Latin American countries gained their independence in the nineteenth century. The colonization of Latin America and the Caribbean was dominated by the Iberian countries with small colonies established by the French, English and Dutch. Regardless of the nationality of the colonizers, almost all of the colonies shared basic characteristics, which have persevered over time in some way or another. It is possible to organize the traits of these colonies into four distinct categories: economic development, religious and social mixing, racial and ethnic mixing and political structures.

There were two basic industries found in the New World that shaped their economies: agriculture and mining. Both of these required tremendous labor input to match the demand of continental Europe. Goods such as sugar, cotton, coffee, indigo, tobacco, silver and copper were produced and exported in great quantities. At a very early point in the development of the colonies it was understood that the European settlers weren’t willing to do the physical labor themselves; instead African slaves were brought to the New World in order to work on the plantations. When the situation arose that African slaves didn’t adapt to the conditions properly, Native Indians were forced to labor.
This subjugation of Africans and the indigenous populations has had dramatic effects on society. As most regions emancipated the slaves sometime in the mid eighteenth century, a social pyramid developed where white elite’s at the top, mulatto landown...


... middle of paper ...


...d of colonialism has permeated through every aspect of society leaving a legacy with recognizable origins and characteristics regardless of the changes instilled by any specific government. As revisions to the economy, political structure, racial and gender situation and national identity are made it is impossible to escape the similarities of the past. Only drastic, social upheaval can cause the type of change activists dream about. Maybe the Spanish inadvertently left a trait that has hindered growth across their history, the concept of Manana (“tomorrow”), thus putting important policy decisions for another day. We can find examples in the histories of these countries where significant change is found, but it never has a contagious element allowing it to spread across the region, and it is rarely going to affect more then one aspect of society for any extended amount of time. Regardless, of the actual results we have witnessed in the past, there is one constant: a desire for improvement and the ever increasing number of leaders willing to take unorthodox steps to achieve these goals. As long as these characteristics remain, transitions to desired ideals will eventually occur.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Latin American Music Scene Essay

- The Latin American music scene is an amazingly diverse, engaging and entertaining music culture. Thomas (2011) explains, “…Latin American music has engaged in ongoing dialogue and cultural exchange that has profoundly affected music making in Europe and the United States and, more recently, in Africa and Asia as well”. This paper will be describing different aspects of the music culture from its musical features, to the historical aspect of this interesting music culture. Also, I will discuss a personal experience with Latin American music....   [tags: Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Latin America]

Strong Essays
2033 words (5.8 pages)

The United States And Latin America Essay

- Many in Latin America believed that they would achieve a similar self-governance much like the United States and many European nations. The members of Latin American society that lived in more urban environments enjoyed the amenities similar to any highly advanced city centers around the globe. However those living in rural areas in Latin America suffered a different fate. A sort of new colonial system had been imparted upon them. A system of increased American and European influence that was very reminiscent of the previous colonial governments....   [tags: United States, Latin America, Americas]

Strong Essays
858 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Tradition of Dictatorial Rule in Latin America

- Tradition of Dictatorial Rule in Latin America Dictator: 1 a: a person granted absolute emergency power b: one holding complete autocratic control c: one ruling absolutely and often oppressively. If there is one thing that Latin America has in common, its the overwhelming amount of dictatorial rule since its separation from Spain. Almost all the Latin American countries have had significant changes in rule, however, they are basically smooth transitions. Rulers come in and out of countries without so much as a whisper of opposition....   [tags: Latin America History Essays]

Strong Essays
829 words (2.4 pages)

The Impact of the Remittances in Latin America Essay

- Introduction In Latin America migration and remittances have become structural features in the economy, the society, and in the political environment; due to the underdevelopment and inequality of the region. Because they relative importance, trends in migration and the impact of remittances in population of Latin America are the main topics that we will analyze in this research focusing on reduction of poverty and inequality. This research will aim to answer the next: Do remittances finance development in the region....   [tags: remittance, poverty, latin america]

Strong Essays
1415 words (4 pages)

Economic Policies Of Latin America Essay

- The historian Ronn Pineo wrote “Beginning in the 1980s nearly all of Latin America began to take part in a great experiment, the adoption of capitalist free market economic policies.” (1) This great experiment began with the promotion of democracy and free market that promised a better future for Latin America. Neoliberalism, the economic ideology that promotes free-market capitalism, laid the foundation for many of the US military interventions and economic policies that caused a dramatic transformation of Latin America....   [tags: United States, Americas, Latin America]

Strong Essays
1343 words (3.8 pages)

The Influence of Sor Juana and Catalina de Erauso on Colonial Latin American Society

- Colonial Latin American society in the Seventeenth Century was undergoing a tremendous amount of changes. Society was transforming from a conquering phase into a colonizing phase. New institutions were forming and new people and ideas flooded into the new lands freshly claimed for the Spanish Empire. Two remarkable women, radically different from each other, who lived during this period of change are a lenses through which many of the new institutions and changes can be viewed. Sor Juana and Catalina de Erauso are exceptional women who in no way represent the norm but through their extraordinary tales and by discovering what makes them so extraordinary we can deduce what was the norm and how...   [tags: Colonial Latin American]

Strong Essays
1239 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about The Society for Latin American Anthropology

- The Society for Latin American Anthropology Changes in the SLAA's definition of "Latin America" have gone hand in hand with changes in the intellectual, social and political goals of the Society. As then president Michael Kearney wrote in an open letter to the membership published in the Society's April 1997 column in the Anthropology Newsletter:" (Until recently the society's membership) was centered in North America while its objects of study were primarily to the South of the United States....   [tags: SLAA Human Rights Latin America Essays]

Free Essays
1005 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Encomienda to Hacienda and Latifundio in Latin America

- Encomienda to Hacienda and Latifundio in Latin America The encomienda system developed in the Antilles (the islands of the West Indies except the Bahamas) when the group of settlers Columbus brought with him on his second voyage to the New World were, essentially, unwilling to work (Vigil 218). They solved this problem through forced Indian labor. Queen Isabella I of Spain considered the native people "free crown vassals" (Vigil 218) and instructed Governor Nicolas de Ovando, Comendador Mayor of the military order Alcantara, to inform the Indians that they had to pay tribute to the crown equal to the other subjects....   [tags: Latin American History Essays]

Strong Essays
1014 words (2.9 pages)

Latin American Culture Essay

- Latin American Culture Latin America represents 1/10 of the world's population, and geographically can be located from the land extensions of Mexico, until the Patagonia at Argentina. Some of the most relevant elements of today's culture in Latin America are; Religion, Values, Attitudes, Social structure, Social stratification, Language and Gift-giving hospitality. The predominant religion throughout history in Latin America has been Catholicism. From big cities to small villages, churches, basilicas, and cathedrals are found....   [tags: Hispanic Latin America South America Latino]

Strong Essays
1056 words (3 pages)

Ethnicity and Latin America Essay example

- Ethnicity and Latin America Latin America and the American colonies were “tamed” based on completely different ideologies. From a Latin American perspective, the most important of the European explorers were of course, the Spanish and the Portuguese. These explorers arrived in Christopher Columbus’ “new world” with the express goal of bringing glory and prestige to their homeland. In stark contrast, settlers came to the colonies seeking freedom from the religious persecution in Europe. The different approaches used in each area affected how well and to what extent the African, indigenous, and European cultures combined and shaped the characteristics of the regions today....   [tags: History Latin America Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
1155 words (3.3 pages)