Latin America And Slavery Essay

1925 words - 8 pages


Prior to its independence Latin America had been controlled by external forces for hundreds of years. To be freed of control from these outside interests did not in any way guarantee Latin America a return to the status quo. In fact, the inhabitants of Latin America had done very well in assimilating their in house controllers. They adopted European language, religion, color, and just about everything else that the European culture had to offer them. Although they were free to do as they please and run their own affairs in the global neighborhood as we know it, they struggled to create an entity for themselves. They embody too much of what is not native to their region, yet the people that used to represent their land 500 years earlier were a truly unique culture. Let us go back to that point in time and trace the route Latin America has taken, from an isolated civilization with a unique, independent culture to a Europeanized puppet continent with little cultural identity.
     Latin America began as a secluded land of aboriginal inhabitants that was cut off from the rest of the world. It was first discovered by Europeans while trying to find more efficient trade routes to India and China. These Europeans noticed the vast resources present in Latin America and smelled money. Europeans are very greedy and would do anything for their country if it meant higher social status when they returned. Soon the monarchs of their respective countries were sponsoring conquests and colonization of the Latin American lands in turn for profits and goods from the lands they took. Due to the tropical climate that encompasses most of Latin America, colonization meant growing sugar on plantations in the coastal regions of the continent. Labor was the main expense of this operation, so enslaving the natives and putting them to work on these plantations seemed like the most economically sensible thing to do. This was the first step to sterilizing the identity of the continent. Diseases introduced by the immune Europeans took their toll on the natives and killed many off. Coupled with the stress of working in the fields and in other aspects of enslaved life the aboriginal population soon dwindled to next to nothing. Looking at just the aboriginal population, there was a traumatic fall. Birth rates were very low, especially given that the newer “mixed” children as a result of crossed marriages took genes out of the native pool and into the European pool. Extreme blood mixing was going on. Between the Europeans, the natives, and Africans brought in to replace the dead natives, new races were popping up in Latin America. Right then the population in Latin America was undergoing vast changes.
     Population growth is usually due to either high birth rates with low death rates or heavy immigration. During this time there were normal birth rates, high death rates, and heavy immigration to compensate for the death rate....

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