Colonial Social Classes in Latin America

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Colonial Social Classes in Latin America

Post  NellieBennett on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:01 pm

In the sixteenth century, Spain and Portugal imposed their rule on the new lands they had conquered. Spain established an enormous colonial empire that included most of the South America and parts of Central America and North America. At the same time, Portugal became the ruler of Brazil. European colonies imitated the culture and social patterns of all the other countries around them. Portugal became the ruler of Brazil. Within the lands of Central and South America, a new civilization arose, which we call Latin America. Colonial Latin America was divided by social classes that were based on the status. At the top were peninsulares. Peninsulares was a person born on the Iberian Peninsula; typically, a Spanish or Portuguese official who resided temporarily in Latin America for political and economic gain and then returned to Europe. The peninsulares held all the important government positions. Below the peninsulares were the creoles. A creole was a person of European descent born in Latin America and living there permanently. Beneath both of them were numerous multiracial groups. The Spanish and Portuguese in Latin America lived with Native Americans and Africans. Many of the Native Americans were forced to work in mines and on plantations.


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Re: Colonial Social Classes in Latin America

Post  AnaMartinez on Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:20 pm

Nice post Nellie! Smile
Here are some facts about the social structure in Latin America:
The second level in the social class were the creoles:
- The creoles rarely occupied powerful positions.
- Some managed to become landowners and merchants.
- They usually used slaves because they didn't want to do any labor.
- As time passed, their population grew, and many started to own large estates, where they had hundreds of peasants, factories, and mines.
- Eventually they started to compete against the peninsulares for their jobs as viceroy, archbishop, etc.

Then came the mestizos:
- They were considered inferior because they were't pureblooded.
- They remained poor and uneducated for many generations.
- Equality was demanded, and it was given to them, but many schools still excluded mestizos.
- If they lived in native american communities and wore native clothing, they were considered natives.
- If they lived in towns and wore spanish attire, then they were considered to be Spanish.
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