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Latin American Institutions & Colonial Legacy

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Discuss the series of institutions established during the Spanish and Portuguese colonial era in what today is Latin America. In your discussion be sure to indicate the legacy of the colonial era (1492-early 1800s or 19th century) highlighting the institutions and traditions still in place today in Latin America. Why do you think this is?

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Dear Student,
Hello & thank you for using Brainmass. The question you posted is broad but the answers could essentially be narrowed down to focus on the fundamentals. The solution below does that and is based on work I have done before on this research topic. I hope this helps. Good luck!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones


An Insight on Latin American Institutions

Today's Latin America is comprised of nations whose independence in the recent years were won from Colonial masters, primarily Portugal and Spain. During the era of Spanish & Portuguese conquest of the continent from the 15th to late 19th centuries much of Latin America - it's native inhabitants, the shape of social classes, the way of life, political relations, language was changed. The names of Columbus and Pizzaro still inspire tales of conquest today as they took land and territory translating to ownership all local resources for the Spanish & Portuguese crown who were at that period the bitter rivals of Europe. While later on France, Holland & the British came to join in colonizing territories in North of America (New World) all the way to the Middle East and Asia, South America has become so 'Latinized' that it cannot be anything else but a fusion of Iberian (the peninsula where Spain & Portugal is) customs with local & African additions (African Slaves were taken by force from Africa to work in the mines and plantations of South America). Before going any further let's quickly enumerate what makes up Latin America. The border cutting the US from the Caribbean in the Atlantic to Mexico in the Pacific pretty much indicates the North & the South. This is also the line that starts to indicate Latin America. While Latin America is divided into two regions: Central & South, they all share one colonial indicator: their colonial masters where Spain & Portugal despite the English playing around in the Caribbean. Latin American nations include Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Haiti.

Institutional Indicators

1. Language - All the countries indicated above speak Spanish or Portuguese or an adopted form by which their native tongue is enmeshed with the colonial tongue. Many of the African Latinos or mulattos/Creole who descended from the slaves for instance have adopted their own tongue; a mix of African + Spanish/Portuguese + local terminologies creating a rich sub-language unique to Latin America. While there are many other Amerindians like those belonging to the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, ...

Solution Summary

The solution is an extensive 1,540-word narrative that lists the lasting institutions established by the Spanish & Portuguese in Latin America as their colonial legacy. A discussions about their assimilation into the resulting Latin American culture is included discussing the notion of acculturation, assimilation and identity. References and resources are listed throughout the narrative to provide students room for expansion.A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.