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Latin American studies midterm
Political Studies
Undergraduate 1

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A system of large, generally mono-crop plantations that typify the Latin American agriculture system. Originally set up by the Romans, the Latifundia spread to the New World through the Spanish and Portuguese. Evolving from the legal device "Encomienda," wealthy citizens of generally European decent were granted land and patronage over the existing natives. The legacy of Latifundia can be found in the land structures embedded in most Latin American countries today, where large plantations, with a exploitative hierarchy, still dominate the agricultural market.
The legal device used to grant ownership of land and the accompanying natives to wealthy Criollos and Peninsulares. Originally penned as a way to protect the natives both spiritually and physically, it quickly evolved into nothing short of slavery. Banned by the Crown in 1520, the order was not generally heeded, and the eventually evolved into the "Repartimiento" system which created feudal, serf like economies on large plantations. The legacy of this exploitative patronage is still visible in most Latin American agricultural economies.
Usually of mixed race, the "Caudillo" or "Leader" got his start in the military, generally paid by the Criollos to put down peasant rebellion. His rule evolved out of the independence movement when democracy did not set in and a power vacuum formed. He was not usually well educated, but was generally charismatic and portrayed himself as a king. The dominant rule of those like Trujillo and Rosas established a trend of behavior in Latin America known as "Caudillismo." The male authority figure is still prevalent in Latin America today, from Hugo Chavez to Fidel Castro.
Influence of Catholic Church
Unlike most of Europe, Spain did not reform religiously in the same way. Their riches, in conjunction with their isolation enabled them to continue to be wedded to the Catholic church. This relationship spread to Latin America, where the church became an integral part of the government. Along with
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