India, Africa, China, and the Americas all experienced syncretism in different ways and at different levels of intensity. Some benefited economically and culturally from this exchange of cultures and goods. Some would have been much better off if left alone. We will discuss the different effects of syncretism on these countries and how they are still feeling these effects today.
Syncretism: the Assimilation of Cultures
By definition, syncretism is the attempted union of different principles or cultures. Syncretism is a term that can be applied to English Colonists in North and South America when they attempted to merge with various native tribes. These colonists introduced many new things to the natives including religion, weapons, medicine, and various customs. The new technology was similar to magic to these groups of people who were accustomed to living among the trees and wildlife in the wilderness. Africans were able to gain from the many technological advances of the Europeans. A large portion of African culture derived from European Language, religion and customs (Sayre, 2010). On the contrary, only a small portion of African culture was adapted to European culture. The Europeans could have learned much from the seemingly primitive African Nation. Unfortunately Europeans treated Africans like commodities to be bought and sold. In America, Europeans attempted syncretism with the Native Americans with moderate success. The majority of Native Americans were peaceful and open to change. It wasn’t until the European Settlers made life altering changes like destroying herds of buffalo that syncretism became difficult and resulted in events like the Trail of Tears ( The Trail of Tears , 2012). Overall the Native American and African Cultures were open to change and made little resistance to syncretism. On the other hand the Chinese were like a boulder resisting the great force of a flowing river....
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