Sample History Paper on Issues in Latin American Studies

Part A: Two Short Critical Reflections
Critique of Website Definitions of Latin America And Evaluation of Authenticity
According to Owlocation, Latin America refers to the 21 countries in the American continent
that speak Latin. The link to the website is https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/What-is-Latin-
America. Wikipedia defines Latin America as a region that consists of entire South American
continent alongside Mexico, Central America, and other regions inhabited by individuals who
speak Roman language such as the Islands of Caribbean. The link to the site is
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_America. Similarity of the two websites is demonstrated
when they define the concept of Latin America in terms of the language spoken by the
inhabitants of the region. Both websites also specify the geographical location of various
countries in the region, although they use different words. However, the two definitions leave out
the key concepts of culture and shared historical experience which are the key identities of Latin
America. Regarding the authenticity of the two websites, Wikipedia is more authentic than
Owlocation given that the accuracy and authority of the website’s information can be
ascertained.
Critique of Selected Reading
"History and Power" by Green and Branford provides a brief background and history of Latin,
before, during, and after its conquest. Green and Brantford assert that the conquest of Spanish

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and Portuguese in Latin America had a significant impact on the region's culture and way of life.
By taking control of parts of Latin America, the Spanish and Portuguese led to the natives’
poverty as they stole their valuable resources such as lands. The colonials also enslaved Latin
American natives. Aztec Empire and the Inca are the two kingdoms that dominated Latin
America.
I agree with Green and Brantford's view that the emergence of an infectious disease
epidemic contributed to elimination of 90 percent of the local indigenous population in Latin
America. It saw a reduction of labor thereby forcing colonials to replace the local indigenous
slaves with African slaves to work in the large plantations. As centuries passed, the local
indigenous population became extinct. I disagree that only the emergence of the infectious
diseases contributed to the extinction of the local indigenous population including loss of its
culture and language. I believe that economic exploitation also contributed to the extinction of
the population. After the outbreak of infectious diseases, those who survived were subjected to
work in harsh environments such as mines and plantations without food. In the process, many
survivors died and the remaining local indigenous individuals were assimilated to Spanish
culture (Green and Branford 19). Such an experience is similar to the case of Aboriginals and
First Nations in Canada. Although there has been no attempt to eliminate them, the non-
aboriginals, however, have tried to assimilate them into the western culture so that they become
extinct. Aboriginals and First Nations have constantly resisted assimilation.
The article gives a detailed critique of the historical details that led to the creation of
contemporary Latin America and the subsequent culture change. The emergence of the epidemic
and economic exploitation contributed to the extinction of the regions of local indigenous

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populations. Aboriginals and First Nations in Canada have had a similar experience as the local
indigenous population in Latin America as they are forced to adopt a new culture.
Part B: Essay
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Imperialism in Latin America started when a group of European invaders from Spain and
Portugal conquered the area in the fifteenth century and took control of the existing kingdoms
including Aztecs and Incas. Some of the first countries that the European invaders controlled
include Peru and Mexico. The Spanish and Portuguese invaded Latin America with an excuse for
the Christian civilization's mission. However, their main reason for invading the region was to
grab the region's resources especially minerals such as silver. Their occupation marked the
beginning of the extermination of the local indigenous populations.
Extermination started when 90 percent of the local indigenous population in Latin
America was wiped by a massive calamity. European invaders brought along infectious diseases
such as measles, influenza, smallpox, and others that wiped out a large portion of the local
indigenous population because they did develop resistance for such diseases. The European
invaders also subjected the local indigenous population to slavery. The local indigenous were
forced to work in mines, plantations, and engage in battlefields as slaves. Coupled with
economic exploitation and misery, some of the surviving local indigenous individuals died in the
mines and plantations because they were overworked and never given food in most instances.
A society becomes extinct if 90 percent of its population is wiped out. There were four
distinct Indian cultures in the Caribbean islands before the arrival of the Spanish. The local
indigenous in the islands were estimated to be 4 million. However, only 100,000 Caribbean
Indians remained by 1506 (Nunn and Qian 166). By 1570, Indians who inhabited the Caribbean

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islands became extinct as a consequence of the infectious diseases that European invaders
brought to Latin America. The least affected areas in Latin America lost 80 percent of their
population while the most affected lost all their people (Azzaro et al. 3). However, they became
extinct as centuries passed, and the racial boundaries in Latin America became blurred. Local
indigenous women who survived either got married or were forced into sex by the European
invaders (Grand 88). They ended up giving birth to mixed children. Furthermore, other women
decided to learn the Spanish language and culture, thereby the local language and culture became
extinct (Green and Branford 19). Cultural criteria gradually became the new way of identifying
racial or ethnic identities in Latin America.
The treatment of the indigenous population in Latin America is similar to that of the
Aboriginals and First Nations in Canada. Although there has not been a deliberate effort to
exterminate the Aboriginals and First Nations in Canada, the measures that the country has taken
towards the populations can be perceived to be undermining their existence (Fast and Collin-
Vézina 170). The process of civilization and subsequent assimilation of the Aboriginals and First
Nations into the mainstream western society has negatively affected various aspects of their lives
such as culture and traditional roles (MacDonald and Steenbeek 32). The Aboriginals and First
Nations have also been denied rights to own lands, and this continually created divisions
between them and non-aboriginals in the country (MacDonald and Steenbeek 33). As a result,
Aboriginals and First Nations live in poverty and experience inequities across Canada. Such was
also witnessed in Latin America when the European invaders took control of the regions, and
stole the indigenous population's lands and subjected them to harsh environments, denied them
rights to land ownership (Nunn and Qian 165). The culture of the local indigenous populations in
Latin America also became extinct when they started learning the Spanish culture.

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European imperialism in Latin America contributed to the extermination of the local
indigenous populations through the emergence of epidemics and exploitation in farms. In the
process, 90 percent of the local indigenous population was wiped out. How the local indigenous
people in Latin America were treated is similar to how the First Nations and Aboriginals are
treated in Canada. For instance, European invaders stole lands from the local indigenous
populations and denied them rights to land ownership. Aboriginals and First Nations are treated
in a similar way as they are denied rights to own lands.

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Works Cited

Azzaro, Sebastián, et al. "History of indigenous policies as trace of erythrocyte antigen dia in the
current population of the American continent." Asian Journal of Transfusion Science
(2018)., https://doi.org/10.4103/ajts.AJTS_38_18
Fast, Elizabeth, and Delphine Collin-Vézina. "Historical trauma, race-based trauma, and
resilience of indigenous peoples: A literature review." First Peoples Child & Family
Review 14.1 (2019): 166-181. Retrieved from
https://fpcfr.com/index.php/FPCFR/article/view/379
Grand, Sue. "The other within: White shame, Native-American genocide." Contemporary
Psychoanalysis 54.1 (2018): 84-102., https://doi.org/10.1080/00107530.2017.1415106
Green, Duncan, and Sue Branford. Faces of Latin America. NYU Press, 2013.
MacDonald, Cathy, and Audrey Steenbeek. "The impact of colonization and western
assimilation on health and wellbeing of Canadian Aboriginal people." International
Journal of Regional and Local History 10.1 (2015): 32-46.,
https://doi.org/10.1179/2051453015z.00000000023
Nunn, Nathan, and Nancy Qian. "The Columbian exchange: A history of disease, food, and
ideas." Journal of Economic Perspectives 24.2 (2010): 163-88.,
https://doi.org/10.1257/jep.24.2.163