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Latin america and slavery

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Latin america and slavery

Prior to its independence Latin America had been controlled by external forces for hundreds of years. To be freed of control from these outside interests did not in any way guarantee Latin America a return to the status quo. In fact, the inhabitants of Latin America had done very well in assimilating their in house controllers. They adopted European language, religion, color, and just about everything else that the European culture had to offer them. Although they were free to do as they please and run their own affairs in the global neighborhood as we know it, they struggled to create an entity for themselves. They embody too much of what is not native to their region, yet the people that used to represent their land 500 years earlier were a truly unique culture. Let us go back to that point in time and trace the route Latin America has taken, from an isolated civilization with a unique, independent culture to a Europeanized puppet continent with little cultural identity.

Latin America began as a secluded land of aboriginal inhabitants that was cut off from the rest of the world. It was first discovered by Europeans while trying to find more efficient trade routes to India and China. These Europeans noticed the vast resources present in Latin America and smelled money. Europeans are very greedy and would do anything for their country if it meant higher social status when they returned. Soon the monarchs of their respective countries were sponsoring conquests and colonization of the Latin American lands in turn for profits and goods from the lands they took. Due to the tropical climate that encompasses most of Latin America, colonization meant growing sugar on plantations in the coastal regions of the continent. Labor was the main expense of this operation, so enslaving the natives and putting them to work on these plantations seemed like the most economically sensible thing to do. This was the first step to sterilizing the identity of the continent. Diseases introduced by the immune Europeans took their toll on the natives and killed many off. Coupled with the stress of working in the fields and in other aspects of enslaved life the aboriginal population soon dwindled to next to nothing. Looking at just the aboriginal population, there was a traumatic fall. Birth rates were very low, especially given that the newer 'mixed' children as a result of crossed marriages took genes out of the native pool and into the European pool. Extreme blood mixing was going on. Between the Europeans, the natives, and Africans brought in to replace the dead natives, new races were popping up in Latin America. Right then the population in Latin America was undergoing vast changes.

Population growth is usually due to either high birth rates with low death rates or heavy immigration. During this time there were normal birth rates, high death rates, and heavy immigration to compensate for the death rate. This caused a slight increase in the population during this time, but the demographics changed drastically. Over a short period of time an independent group of people had their identity erased only to be replaced by a mixed European culture with varying skin colors.

Changes in population are usually analyzed using the demographic transition model. This has four separate categories in which countries may be classified according to their situation. The category is countries with extremely high birth and death rates. This category has become unneeded due to the medical revolution. Death rates are lower because medicine can keep people alive longer than before. Common diseases don't have people dropping like flies anymore. There are no countries fitting this description in present day countries. If they were before, they have probably moved into the second category, which is high birth rate and low death rate. Several Latin American countries are in this group today, including Venezuela and Peru. The third category is characterized by midrange death rates and lower birth rates. Countries having this classification are more developed countries that have both the medical institutions of the medical revolution and developed economies. The highest grossing economies are not in rural based areas. They are in urbanized countries. Most developed Latin American countries underwent a rural to urban migration before the present date. Those with the most developed cities and booming economies have the most blue collar workers. If you are working for a living you do not need to turn your wife into a child machine as can be seen in rural areas, where the children are needed for help on the farm. Actually, excessive children are harmful to the blue collar worker on his limited income, and thus one reason for lower birth rates. Another is a direct result of the Medical Revolution. This is a drop in infant mortality. Again, this is just the product of better medicine and general health care. The Medical Revolution also produced better contraception, which lowered birth rates and made life less stressful for teenagers, resulting in less suicide. Given the choice of unprotected sex and no sex at all, I think we know what most people will choose. Brazil and Mexico fall into category three with their large metropolitan centers and advanced economies. Category four is characterized by low birth and death rates. This results in a slow population increase. Basically, it is caused by high amounts of contraception and medical care. Many of the smaller countries with localized and socialist governments have this classification. In these countries immigration, and even tourism, can cause major population fluctuations.

Cities grew in the first years of colonialism due mainly to mining. Cities grew up around mines to distribute supplies to miners and to manufacture finished products. Soon industry was developing in cities around mining centers, creating jobs for more people to move in on. Rural areas were less densely populated with basically the same family structure until social security and child labor laws came about. Once it was not profitable to have many children, people slowed down on their procreation. Today, each country basically ...

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