Cot Essay Latin America/Caribbean

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Religious Change Over Time in Latin America and Caribbean

Throughout the years of 1450 to present, the religion of Latin America and the Caribbean went through a number of changes. Although the religious beliefs and practices of these areas were mostly animistic prior to 1450, they proved to be flexible and went through many alterations get to where they are today. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors, the Latin American people had never heard of Catholocism, which would eventually become a dominant religion.

In the early centuries of Latin America, the religion was polytheistic. The people known as Aztecs, who lived in towns located along rivers, built sacred temples to honor their many gods. They worshiped at least 128 deities in total, including Tlaloc, the god of rain. Little distinction was made between the world of the gods and the natural world. The temples, some of which still stand today, were made of earth and/or large burial mounds. The burials included art such as pottery, paintings, and carvings and were often accompanied by rituals. These rituals contained human sacrifice, cannibalism, and executions. In the period after militarism, human sacrifice became much more prominent than before. It has been questioned whether the reason for the sacrifice was actually the result of religious conviction, or simply done as a tactic of terror towards rulers and priests. Aztec people had known nothing other than this lifestyle for centuries until a new culture made its way to their land.

In 1492, Spanish Conquistadors such as Hernan Cortes sailed to the coast of Latin America, bringing their religious views along with them. Cortes and his army of 600 conquered the land, destroying precious temples in the process. They pulled down all the polytheistic idols, rearranging their stone to replace them with Christian architecture such as Catholic cathedrals. In this time period, art and architecture were prominent and intended to serve the glory...
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