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One important result of the French Revolution was to give other people the courage to question their government. This belief in challenging the established authority was especially true in Latin America. Latin American consists of Mexico, all of Central and South America as well as some of the Caribbean Islands. Most of Latin America was colonized by the Spanish, while Portugal colonized Brazil and the French colonized Haiti, located in the Caribbean Sea. The people of Latin America were ruled by their masters, who lived in faraway in France, Spain, and Portugal. During the colonization period the conquerors raided Latin America and the native population. The raids included all precious metals and the native population became slaves.
From the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries the Spanish and Portuguese brought Blacks from Africa to work as slaves on large plantations. During this same time period, the different groups of people, which included natives, African slaves, French, Spanish, Portuguese, began to intermarry. The blending of diverse races, cultures and ethnic groups created the Latin American culture. The merging of these diverse cultures was responsible for the stabilizing of society
The Catholic Church was important to life in Latin America. The Catholic Church ran all the schools and established moral standards for the society. The Catholic Church was, and still is, a powerful institution in Latin America.
The social classes in the Spanish and Portuguese Latin American colonies determined how a person would be educated, what type of job he or she would hold, and that rights a person enjoyed. The top of society were the men that the king appointed to govern the colonies. The white colonists, known as Creoles and owned large plantations were next. People of mixed blood, mulattoes (white and black), and mestizoes (white and natives), along with the slaves of Africa formed the lowest class in Latin American society. These people had no rights and no real legal protection.
The most educated class was the Creoles. The Creole men learned about the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment. In 1776 the Spanish and Portuguese Creoles observed American neighbors revolt against England and soon learned that the French revolted against the king. The Latin Americans greatly desired independence from their European masters. The new ideas and success of the French Revolution started the spark of revolt at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Lesson 21 Review
Directions: For each question, present the answer in complete sentences with supporting information from the Lesson. Do not copy and paste from the Lessons or Internet resources, but answer in your own words to demonstrate understanding of the material.
1. What countries colonized Latin America?
2. How did the conquerors treat the native population?
3. Why did the Spanish and Portuguese bring Blacks from Africa to Latin America?
4. What helped to stabilize Latin America society? Explain your answer.
5. What role did the Church play in Latin American society?
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