Southern America and the Influence of Spain and Africa
Southern America is considered as the melting pot of cultures in the world (Banker). Based on their history, these different cultures or traditions were adopted from two of the countries that entered the region. Some of the prevalent traditions in South America were influenced by both Spain and Africa.
One of the most important influences of both these countries is religion. In particular, the Spanish colonizers, who were known as advocates of Roman Catholicism, brought the religion to some parts of South America.
While African slaves who came into the region brought with them the shamanic beliefs and rituals including voodoo (Banker).
Relative to religion are the carnivals or festivities that different parts of the region usually celebrate. The origin of the celebration distinguishes one from the other. Spanish celebrations are mostly related to catholic or religious events, while the African carnival is done to invoke spirits or ward them away (Crawfurd).
The region’s art, including poetry and music, was also strongly influenced by foreign colonizers. The poetry of the greatest Latin American Poet, Pablo Neruda, is in the language of the colonizers although he was born and raised in South America. While the region’s music, the rhythm and beat, has the sound of the Bata’ Drums which is the musical instrument used in Africa (Weems 2-3).
Other forms of art in South America were also touched by the influence of these two countries, even the culinary arts. Because of Spaniards’ love for spices and grilled food, many southern American residents also adopted this in their cooking. They also adopted in their meals the foods that originated from Africa, like breadfruit and plantains (Rodriguez).
The most significant contribution of Spain and Africa in South America is their language. The Spanish Catalan or Castilian language is widely used in South America, but a small part of the region, mostly in the tribes, adopted the African language (“Text Transcript of Languages on the Continents”).
Apart from these, there are many other parts of the South America’s cultural tradition that were influenced by Spain and Africa. It can be surmised that the culture or language and other aspects of life within a certain region of a country or nation is greatly shaped by the people who came and lived in it. The population defines the country and the populace’s acts may be based on its rich history.
Banker, Mark. “Beyond the Melting Pot and Multiculturalism: Cultural Politics In Southern Appalachia and Hispanic New Mexico.” (2000). Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 29 October 2008 <http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3951/is_/ai_n8907248>.
Crawfurd, Jacob. “A short History of carnival with a touch of Africa.” (2004). Coloured Pictures Magazine. 29 October 2008 <http://crawfurd.dk/africa/carnival.htm>.
Rodriguez, Hector. “Introduction to Latin Caribbean Culinary Tastes.” (n.d). Latin Caribbean Food. 29 May 2008 <http://latinfood.about.com/od/latincaribbeancuisine101/p/introlatinfood.htm>.
“Text Transcript of Languages on the Continents.” (2007). National Virtual Translation Center. 29 October 2008 <http://www.nvtc.gov/lotw/flashDemo.html>
Weems, Tawayne. “The African Influence on Arts and Culture in Latin America.” (n.d). Rogers School for the Creative and Performing Arts. 29 October 2008 <www.chatham.edu/pti/PDF/Weems99.pdf>.
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