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Slavery in Colonial Latin America - Essay Example

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Slavery in Colonial Latin America

This is most evident in Latin America.
The history of Latin America is a complex interplay of economic and political agenda that buffeted these countries in as a result of what can only be termed the struggle for supremacy between European powers from the 15th century.
The term Latin America is ascribed to countries in South America, North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands that lie south of the United States where the spoken language is of Spanish or Portuguese extraction. ("Latin America," 2007)
Colonial Latin America is the period that many believe began with the discovery of Christopher Columbus of the Americas, referred to as the New World, landing in the Bahamas in 1492, but in fact the colonial era began when the Council of the Indies was convened in 1524 ad ended with the Comuero revolt in 1781. ("Colonial Period," 1998) This was after the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1493 divided the New World wherein the Spanish controlled everything west of the Line of Demarcation and the Portuguese had power over the east, which later became Brazil. At this point, the indigenous people, including the ruling Incas and Aztecs, had been overpowered by the colonists.
Large percentages of the indigenous people in colonized Latin America died during this period, attributed mostly to diseases brought by the Europeans such as measles to which the natives had no defense against. It was to augment the pool of available slave labor that the colonists decided to take advantage of the wars in Western Africa which resulted in a glut of available slaves of African descent in the late 16th.
This right of entrepreneurs to import slaves or asientos was controlled by King Charles I of Spain. These slaves were farmed out to the different colonies in large numbers, outnumbering the indigenous and European population combined. However, not all black immigrants are African-born. Spain brought Spanish-born Africans called "Ladinos" to work as mine laborers. Free Africans also immigrated to the New World in search of a better life. (Cruz, 2000)
The move to free the slaves began in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1793 in the middle of the French Revolutions when Lger Flicit Sonthonax emancipated all slaves and made them full citizens, only to have it revoked in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Until 1870, when the slave trade was finally outlawed, it is estimated that 10 million Africans were brought to the Americas, almost half to the Caribbean islands and the Guiana's while 38% went to Brazil. Mainland Spanish America got 6% while North America and Europe roughly approximated 4.5% each.
It seems undeniable from a popular point of view that the influences of the African immigrants, as slaves or otherwise, and to a lesser degree the European colonists who dominated them have served to enrich an otherwise self-contained population. The incursion of a foreign influence has led to the growth and development of the Latin American culture that would otherwise be unknown in the modern era. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the role of the importation of slaves of African descent on the social, cultural, and economic formation of Latin American countries.

II. Role of Slavery on Colonial Latin America
A. Social aspects
Prior to the importation of ...Show more

Summary

Slavery has many negative connotations because of the perceived violation of basic human rights to freedom and choice. In the case of many slave nations, the inhumane treatment of slave races evident in centuries of testimonials and independent study, as well as allusions in literature, has made it an incompatible concept in modern society…
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Slavery in Colonial Latin America essay example
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