Like other regions in the world especially the African Countries which faced colonization, the Latin American region underwent a total change in its political, social, economic and cultural systems as a result of the colonization. The paper examines the impact of colonization on the economic, cultural and political spheres in Latin America.
The Latin American region is therefore characterized by the following effects of colonization. One of the characteristics was the destruction of the local cultures and the introduction of the Spanish culture in the Conquered countries. The Codices of the local people which were thought to be of a Devilish nature by the priests under the Spanish rule were totally burnt down. The re acquisition of the native cultures is what the local people today are trying to uncover for the recognition of their identity.
Another characteristic of the colonial experience in the Latin American Region is the exploitation of the local people by the Spanish officials and soldiers. The Colonialists for example displaced the native people from their traditional lands which the officials later on settled. The initial idea of the colonizers was to use the encomenderos as they were called, for the general control of the welfare of the native people. The privilege was however abused and power began being used for the purposes of the enslavement of the local people. There a total miscarriage of justice in the courts because the official language in use was Spanish which was beyond the reach of very many locals. Until recently, the Latin American people suffered injustice in silence as they could not access courts due to language barrier.
The third characteristic is the change of the traditional governance structure with the Spanish political structure. The change came about through the murder and assassination of the traditional leaders. The native political structure in the Latin American Countries for example was initially characterized by the nobilities and castes which were destroyed by the Spanish for their own selfish gains. Unlike Peru which managed to resist the conquering of the local governance structures until recently, for the other countries, the Chinese targeted the destruction of the upper class which would automatically lead to the destruction of the common people.
Fourth, the Colonization was characterized by underdevelopment in the colonized countries because the colonialists were only interested in the exploitation of the local people as opposed to assisting them. The locals were used as cheap labor by the Spanish officials for their own benefit. The economy of these countries like Brazil for example were severely affected leading to the collapse in the economy for a majority of the countries.
Lastly, the introduction of the new laws which were not Spanish as opposed to the native languages aided in the restructure of the history of the people of Latin America. The rejection of the codices as a source storing information was rejected by the colonialists and therefore messing up the development of any historical facts of the people in this region. With the region now under the control of the Spanish, some local persons used the idea as propaganda against the native leaders terming them tyrannical in nature. The mutilation of the native history led to the praise of the Spanish regime which was exploitative of the people.
Economic Impacts of Colonialism in Latin America
The main intention of the colonizers in the Latin American Region was mainly to introduce trade as opposed to local farming in these regions. After the landing of the colonialists however, the intentions changed to one of looting the properties of the natives including grabbing of their land and exploiting them to work on the lands for the benefit of the colonizers. The actions of the colonialists therefore contributed greatly towards the worsening of the economy in the Latin America region. The colonialists for example, sub divided the land they had acquired from the locals for agricultural purposes and used the natives as the laborers on their farms with very little or no pay. Further, the discovery of the precious minerals such as gold and silver further led to the enrichment of the Spaniards at the expense of the suffering of the natives who were used for the mines. The shift in the aspirations of the Spanish colonizers to colonize India for example were shuttered by the need to exploit the minerals in Latin America presumably Mexico. Several aspects therefore played a key role in the development of the Latin American economy today. First, Slave labor made the production of resources faster. Secondly, the forceful acquisition of the minerals such as Silver and Gold led to the expansion of the foreign trade and lastly the casta system paved way for every community to work hard for the benefit of all people.
Apart from the negative impacts however, the introduction of export and import based trade enabled the Latin American countries to really grow up economically. The system meant that the Latin American countries such as Mexico and Brazil would now trade in the exchange of goods with other countries and therefore improving on their economic welfare. The effect is celebrated today as international trade is responsible for the employment of very many people and improvement of the economy through foreign exchange.
Political Impacts of Colonization in Latin America
The Spanish, Portuguese and the French Colonialists played a very important role towards the Abolishment of the traditional informal leadership towards the current formal political system which is centralized and takes into account the interests of all the people. The political landscape was now characterized by the formations of political parties as vehicles for election and voting. Unlike the traditional leaders who were either appointed or inherited power. The new Spanish system gave a chance to the American countries to have their people engage actively in the political matters of their countries. In addition, the idea of democracy was also brought to the existence of the Latin American people for example, Venezuela and Columbia which ensured that every person has a voice in the election of the leaders and also be granted a chance to seek a political position. Lastly, the Colonizers in Latin America introduced the idea of the use of the armed forces as a means of building a stable government. In Venezuela for Example, the demise of Gomez the then president led to the arising to power of the military officers who took over the country. Colonization therefore shaped politics in Latin America.
The Cultural Impact of Colonization on the Latin American People
With Colonization in the Latin American countries, the Cultures of the native people were not spared. In fact the colonizers understood that the first aspect of capturing the American nations was to dissolve their cultures so that they could adopt the Spanish culture. Some of the erosion of these cultures include the rejection of the codices of the Latin American people which led to the erosion of their rich history. Secondly, language is a very key tool towards the development of the culture of a particular community. In Venezuela and Mexico for example, the introduction of the Spanish language as the official language for example changed the way of life of the natives. The change of these traditional cultures however, enabled the locals to adopt formal education.
In conclusion, the invasion of the Spaniards, the French and Portuguese on the Latin American countries contributed to the erosion of the traditional way of life of the native people and introduced a modern one. For example, formal education was introduced with the adoption of Spanish as the official language, democracy developed as the main political idea and international trade developed to boost the economy of the colonized countries. All in all, colonization was beneficial to the Latin American Natives.