Violence in Latin America during Colonial Era

Violence in Latin America during Colonial Era (1521-181)

Violence in Latin America is still an important issue that affects the life of many people causing not only physical but also psychological sufferings. However, the problem of violence existed in the past as well, especially during the colonial era. In this regard, the violence was accompanied by extreme policies, including the policy of genocide which was the ultimate manifestation of violence and resulted to numerous casualties and long run social and demographic effects.

Thesis statement: The violence in Latin America persisted before and after colonization but the colonization has brought the shift to traditional violence patterns, which were domestic and military ones mainly, with the expansion of the scope of violence and contributed to the emergence of the oppression of the local population and violence based on the ethnic and racial ground.

Research Question: How does the violence in Latin America evolved during the colonial era under the impact of colonization?

The research of the issue of violence and its evolution during the colonial era should focus on the study of different types of violence and changes in violence patterns that occurred during the colonial era.

At this point, it is possible to refer to existing studies of the problem of violence in Latin America that refer to the colonial period. The use of both primary and secondary sources helps to reveal the scope of the problem of violence in Latin America, how it affected the society and influenced the social and cultural life of people of that time.

At this point, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that many researchers[1] reveal the fact that violence in Latin America before colonization was quite different from that after colonization. To put it more precisely, as a rule, researchers[2] report cases of violence at the dawn of the colonial era related to military conflicts between tribes, while some researchers[3] report cases of ritual violence which was used during religious or other rituals practiced by the native population of Latin America. In fact, such cases of violence were well-known and frequent. In case of ritual violence, this type of violence was systematic and long-lasting because the local population practiced their rituals and observed them carefully[4]. However, ritual violence varied depending on the specific tribe, religious beliefs and cultural norms of specific communities. As a result, some tribes were more violent, while others were more peaceful. In such a way, ritual violence were quite widely-spread but diverse. At the same time, researchers[5] point out that the domestic violence has started to decline overtime as the colonization progressed.

As for the military violence, this type of violence persisted and many European colonists were shocked by the violence and cruelty of Native Americans[6]. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact violence associated with military actions, including the extreme violence in relation to captured enemies persisted during the colonial era with the only difference that the change of the enemy had occurred since it was European colonists, who became the main opponents and enemies of the local population of Latin America. The distinct feature of military violence was the extreme cruelty of Native Americans to captured enemies. They were not committed to be merciful in relation to their enemies. Instead, they worked hard on the development of different tortures which they applied to captured enemies.

At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that cases of domestic violence in Latin American before and during the early stages of colonization were not frequent[7] but this issue may be under-researched because Europeans lacked evidence of domestic violence and this issue has to be studied further in details to find out the scope of this problem and how the problem has evolved in the course of time. Nevertheless, this problem did exist but reports on domestic violence were mainly recorded by European colonists and it is difficult to determine the evolution of the problem during the colonial era without the in-depth study of the issue.

However, the most distinct shift in the violence that had occurred during the colonial era was the violence of Europeans against the native population of Latin America. This violence included numerous cases of forced removal of the local population from their lands. Furthermore, European virtually slaughtered Native Americans in the course of the military invasion of their lands. Moreover, Europeans also used spiritual violence forcing Native Americans to convert to Christianity that was definitely the new type of violence and was different from conventional violence which normally born physical features but not psychological or spiritual ones.

Thus, the study of the problem of violence in Latin American during the colonial era should focus on the development and evolution of different types of violence, how violence changed and transformed and what was the impact of European colonists and colonization at large on violence in Latin America.

[1] Larson, B. (2012) Cochabamba, New York: Routledge

[2] Norman, G. (2007) The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History, New York: Routledge

[3] Hamnett, B.R. (1999) Concise History of Mexico. Port Chester, NY: Cambridge University Press

[4] Lipsett-Rivera, S. & Johnson, L.L. (2011) The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America, New York: Sage

[5] Spalding‪, K. (2010) Huarochirí: ‪An Andean Society Under Inca and Spanish Rule, New York: Random House

[6] Spalding‪, K. (2010) Huarochirí: ‪An Andean Society Under Inca and Spanish Rule, New York: Random House

[7] Spalding‪, K. (2010) Huarochirí: ‪An Andean Society Under Inca and Spanish Rule, New York: Random House

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