Early Cultural Influence in Spanish America

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Spanish and early indigenous interactions from the mid 1500’s until the early 1600’s played a significant role in how Latin American culture is shaped today. The Spanish conquests of hundreds of indigenous tribes such as the Mayan, Aztecs, and the people of the Andean mountain range led to an inevitable clash of traditional indigenous cultures and what Europeans considered to be an established and civilized culture of the Spanish Empire. Through primary sources such as Catalina Erauso’s, Lieutenant Nun, and secondary source Peru’s Indian Peoples and the Challenge of Spanish Conquest, by Steve Stern, we are able to piece together how the indigenous tribes and the Spanish Empire shaped the culture of one another. Europeans called them, caused unrest and unwillingness to co-exist in a peaceful manor. As the Spanish continued their conquest through Andes Mountains up through modern day Mexico they began capturing and exploiting the works of the indigenous tribesmen and women. Members of tribes were now doing the hard manual labor that did not want to be done by the wealthy Spanish Lords. Intensive work such as farming was a contributing factor to the unrest between the indigenous and Spanish. Steve Stern depicts the relationship between the both parties. In doing so, he retracts the idea the many Spanish and other Europeans considered true at the time, which was the fact that the Indians were incompetent and unworthy in any intellectual capacity. Indians, during the time of arrival of the Europeans, were considered “savage” and a lesser race. The Spanish and other Europeans used their pre-conceived notion about the Indians to try to exploit their manual labor abilities, particularly in farming. And although tribes were not always enslaved, and actually allowed a modified system of self-government, they still were ordered to pay tributaries to their Spanish Lords.

The Spanish highly underestimated the Indians ability to act against the tributaries they were...
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