The Concept And Formation Of The Term 'hispanic"

1232 words - 5 pages

Over the course of history, the term ‘Hispanic’ has been used to categorize a certain portion of the world’s population without knowing the true meaning behind the term. By definition, the term ‘Hispanic’ refers to “of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal” (Webster, 2014). Another definition of this term is “of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin” (Webster, 2014). Before one can assume that they fully understand this controversial term, they must remember how the term came to be. The formation of this term began in the early years of the XV century when Spain and Portugal began the conquering of the New World.
During the XV century, Spain and Portugal began to send conquistadors such as Pizarro and Cortes to the New World in search of raw materials that would benefit their popularity among the other European countries. In addition, the possibilities of fame due to the new discoveries and other results were never far from their minds (Hernandez, n.d). Throughout the years, historians have found evidence that indicated that the ‘uncivilized’ indigenous tribes that inhabited the areas of Mesoamerica that were conquered by the Spanish and the Portuguese were in fact advanced in their development when compared to other tribes (Fox, 2010). Evidence also indicates the hardships and struggles that the indigenous civilization suffered through due to the power-hungry behavior of the conquistadors; the very same conquistadors that were sent to an ‘underdeveloped’ country by some of the most powerful monarchs of that time. The conquistadors were anything but polite to the indigenous civilizations; from wars to disease and more, the conquistadors made sure that the message was clear—they were the ones with the power. At first, the indigenous civilization, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas believed that these white men that rode on horse came in peace. Even though these strangers used words such as ‘tainos’, they certainly did not come in peace (Santiago, 2012).
Moreover, the lasting consequences left by the introduction of the conquistadors to the New World, can still be seen today. The conquistadors created an entire racial mixture between the native Spaniards, the indigenous inhabitants and the native Africans that were introduced to slavery by the Portuguese colonists (Fox, 2010). When the conquistadors first arrived to the New World, they were introduced to what some referred to as ‘exotic women’ which was a term often used to describe the indigenous women. Due to this introduction, both races created what today is known as ‘criollos’ ‘mestizos’, ‘mulatos’, etc. The term ‘criollo’ refers to the ‘whites’ that were born in in latinoamerica. Whereas, the term ‘mestizos’ refers to those who had a mix of European and indigenous blood. However, the social cultural status became stricter for those that fit...

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