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INTRODUCTION TO LATIN AMERICAN POLITICS. Osvaldo Jordan-Ramos Fall 2009. The Physical Landscape. Two entirely different continents precariously linked by Central America and the Caribbean. The Andes Mountains separate the dry Pacific from the humid Atlantic.

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introduction to latin american politics


Osvaldo Jordan-Ramos

Fall 2009

the physical landscape
The Physical Landscape
  • Two entirely different continents precariously linked by Central America and the Caribbean.
  • The Andes Mountains separate the dry Pacific from the humid Atlantic.
  • Several large river watersheds – Rio de La Plata, Orinoco and the Mighty Amazon.
the human factor
The Human Factor
  • Unconfirmed, but highly likely, sporadic migrations from Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania followed by large migrations from Asia and/or Oceania.
  • Some of these peoples developed highly advanced civilizations – Mochica, Tiwanako, Toltecs, Olmecs, and Mayas.
  • By the time of the European Arrival, there was a very diverse mosaic of peoples, languages and cultures that extended from the Bering Strait to The Patagonia.
the european conquest
The European Conquest

Population Collapse (=GENOCIDE)

European and African Colonization

Population Recovery, and Genetic and Cultural Change

COLONIALISM (1492-1825)

the european invasion
The European Invasion

In the 1490s, the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus began the Conquest of the Caribbean.

Spanish adventurers were driven mainly by the sake of Gold – El Dorado and La Fuente de la Juventud.

They clashed with two major imperial states – The Aztecs (1519) and the Inkas (1532)

Why were not the Spanish completely obliterated by these imperial armies?

how did a few hundred spanish defeated several million natives
How did a few hundred Spanish defeated several million natives?
  • The experience and ferocity of 700-years of Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula.
  • Superior military armament and technology.
  • Old World disease (biological warfare).
  • The Spanish were originally seen as gods or demigods.
how did a few hundred spanish defeated several million natives8
How did a few hundred Spanish defeated several million natives?
  • Indigenous civilizations had become sedentary and would not abandon their agricultural lands.
  • Hierarchical nature of the political leadership in the native civilizations.
  • The Spanish capitalized the internal divisions and civil wars occurring in the Americas.
the colonial order

1494. Treaty of Tordesillas between Spain and Portugal. Dividing Line in the 46 37’.

1512. The Laws of Burgos protected the “Indians” from mistreatment, yet they were exploited through two different institutions:

Encomienda - The assignment of a group of natives to a Spanish colonist.

Repartimiento - Requiring the Indian population to provide free labor.

1542. The New Laws sought to eliminate the encomiendas, yet they were opposed by the Spanish colonists.

the colonial order10

The New Laws accelerated the massive importation of African slaves, yet Indian labor still continued.

The Spanish developed a complex system of castas that would eventually disappear through mestizaje and blanqueamiento.

To administer the large empire, the Crown created two independent viceroyalties: New Spain (Mexico) and Lima (Peru).

Portugal maintained the Brazilian colonies; and The British, the Dutch and the French dominated parts of North America and the Caribbean.

the colonial order11

Through the system of the Spanish Galeones, trade was controlled exclusively by the State and wealth was based on the accumulation of minerals(=MERCANTILISM).

Pirates of the Caribbean (and of the Pacific). The Challenge of England, France, and The Netherlands to Spanish and Portuguese Hegemony.

Catholic Missions to the Unconquered Territories, like Amazonia, Chaco, and Florida.

the land question land




Spanish Towns

Indian Towns

bourbon reforms

1701-1714. War of Spanish Succession. Defeat of the Habsburg Royal Line and Enthronement of the Bourbon Dynasty (ENLIGHTENMENT).

They sought to improve colonial administration, introducing enlightened policies, and bolstering the power of the Crown in the colonies.

They were also trying to introduce the Spanish Empire in to the Modern Era of the Industrial Revolution.

bourbon reforms14
  • Free Colonial Trade. Abandoning the Galeones System.
  • Promoting science and technological change (=early industrialization).
  • Political reorganization of the Empire. New administrative divisions.
  • Increased taxation and imperial control.
  • High political positions would be reserved for the peninsulares, and not for the criollos.
the demise of the colonial order
The Demise of the Colonial Order

1776. American Revolution. Independence of the British Colonies in North America.

1780. Rebellion of Tupac Amaru in Peru.

1781. Comunero Revolt in New Granada (present-day Colombia).

1789. The French Revolution destabilized both the Spanish and Portuguese Monarchies.

the demise of the colonial order16
The Demise of the Colonial Order

1804. The Haitian Revolution. Second Independent Republic in The Americas.

1810-1813. Hidalgo and Morelos Rebellion in Mexico.

1811. Venezuelan War of Independence. Simon Bolivar, Libertador de Las Americas.

1813. Argentinean War of Independence. Jose de San Martin.

1821. Peruvian and Mexican Conservative Independence Movements.