143. Formation of the ethnic map of Latin America.
The ethnic and racial composition of the population of Latin America is characterized by great complexity, which is due to the peculiarities of its historical development. Representatives of all three great races live here: Mongoloid, Caucasoid and equatorial. Here live about 250 large and small peoples. Unlike the peoples of the Old World, many of the major ethnoses of Latin America were formed already in modern times. Three main elements participated in their formation: indigenous Indian population, emigrants from Europe and slaves exported from Africa.
Before the discovery and conquest of Central and South America by Europeans, their territory was inhabited by numerous indigenous peoples. According to the most common hypothesis in science, their ancestors came here from Northeast Asia through the Bering Strait 15-12 thousand years ago. Some scholars also believe that the ancestors of these peoples could be more recent people from Oceania. Before the discovery of America by Columbus, the total number of aboriginal peoples was probably 15-20 million. As a result of the erroneous presentation of the first European seafarers who accepted the lands they discovered for India, in the 16th century, these people began to be called Indians.
For many millennia, they led a vagabond way of life, engaged in gathering, hunting, fishing, and later primitive agriculture in the conditions of the primitive communal system. However, some Indian peoples inhabiting Middle America and the Andes, eventually reached a much higher level of civilization. Here, terracing of the slopes was already performed, large irrigation systems arose, potatoes, corn, beans, cotton, tobacco, cassava, cocoa, pineapples, agave and other crops were grown, cattle breeding began to develop. Then the Aztecs, the Maya, the Incas also had their first early-class states. So there were two main areas of Indian civilization - the Mexican Highlands and the Central Andes.
Fig. 223. Signs of the Maya, denoting the names of the months.
The preserved monuments of the pre-Columbian period indicate a high level of cultural development of the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas. Already in the first centuries BC there appeared the verbal and syllabic writing of the Maya (Figure 223), which it was possible to decipher only in the 50's. XX century. the Russian ethnographer and linguist Yu. V. Knorozov. Mayan Indians created a calendar, determined the duration of the solar year, the periods of the moon's circulation, accumulated knowledge in the field of geometry, mechanics, healing. The Aztecs, the Maya and the Incas had a diverse literature on genres, which reached us in the form of fragments of a mythological and historical epic, songs, fairy tales. Remained also remarkable examples of Indian architecture (pyramids, temples), paintings (wall paintings), sculptures (stone images), gold and silver ornaments. Ancient Indian traditions in art remain in our time, as evidenced, for example, by the world-famous monumental painting of Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros and other Mexican artists.
And yet, from the rich material and spiritual culture of the indigenous peoples of Latin America, only a small amount has survived to this day. This culture was almost completely destroyed in the era of the Spanish-Portuguese conquests of the New World. Especially unlucky for the Caribbean, from which the Spanish colonization began: the indigenous population of Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Lesser Antilles, Costa Rica was already in the XVI century. virtually completely destroyed.
In 1521, when, according to the order of E. Cortes, a census of the population of New Spain (Mexico) was carried out, it turned out that there were more than 9 million people living in this country, including 7.3 million Aztecs. And at the beginning of the XIX century. A. Humboldt estimated the population of Mexico in 5.8 million people. In Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, the Indian population was pushed into the deep inaccessible areas.
"Gold was the magic word that drove the Spaniards across the Atlantic," Engels wrote. Indeed, in the pursuit of gold Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez in 1521 with incredible cruelty destroyed the state of the Aztecs and their capital Tenochtitlan. English writer Henry Haggard reproduced these events in the novel "The Daughter of Montezuma." Another conquistador, Francisco Pizarro, plundered and destroyed the Inca state with the same cruelty. In 1532, he deceived the Supreme Inka Atahualpu, who in exchange for his freedom offered an unprecedented ransom: he promised to fill the room with gold, serving as a place of confinement, to the height of the raised hand. The supreme Inka kept his word, but the Spaniards, having received gold, executed him.
The almost complete extermination of Indians in some regions and a significant reduction in their numbers in others (with a comparatively small number of Europeans themselves) confronted the colonialists with the question of labor, which was resolved mainly through the importation of Negro slaves from Africa. The total number of Negroes brought to America in three centuries of the slave trade was approximately 10 million people. The main distribution center of the slave trade was Fr. Jamaica, where the first slaves were brought back in 1513. From here they were sent to the plantations and mines of the Caribbean countries, Guyana, Brazil. In most of them, slavery was officially abolished only in the second half of the 19th century.
So, the three main racial-ethnic elements that were mentioned above were formed. In this first place in the social hierarchy of colonial society belonged Creoles - the descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors born in America. Then came the Indians, Negroes and numerous mixed groups. The mixed groups included the mestizo - the descendants of the Creoles and Indian marriages, the mulattoes - the descendants of the Creoles with Negroes and Sambo - the result of the Negro and Indian marriages (Figure 224).
In the XIX century. and the first half of the XX century. The "white" population of Latin America has increased significantly. This was due to the fact that after the collapse of the Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires, young independent states were interested in additional immigration for the development of new lands, the expansion of mining. And the rapid development of maritime transport made it possible to transport immigrants from Europe.
When the Europeans chose a place for resettlement, they usually wanted it to be the most reminiscent of the "old homeland". That is why the main flows of immigrants were sent to Argentina, Uruguay, the south-eastern and southern regions of Brazil. In total, 10-12 million immigrants moved to Latin America, including 6.5 million to Argentina and 3.5 million to Brazil. First among them, the Spanish and Portuguese, then the Italians and Germans, prevailed. At the beginning of the XX century. immigrants from Slavic countries - Poles, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, Russians began to arrive. The influx of English, French and Dutch was much smaller. 
In the middle of the 19th century, after the abolition of slavery, the import of labor under a contract from India, China and Indonesia also reached a significant scale. The British imported contracted agricultural workers on the plantation of English Guiana, and the Dutch - Dutch Guiana. You can also note the immigration of Japanese to Brazil in the 20-40's. XX century; now there are more than 1 million of them.
Thus, a modern ethnic map of Latin America was formed (Figure 225). It clearly shows the Spanish-Portuguese area, within which roman-lingual immigrants of the 19th and 20th centuries assimilated without much difficulty. The predominance of this kind of immigration led to the fact that the whole region began to be called first the Ibero-Amerika, and before the Second World War the term "Latin America" came into use. Even more extensive is the area where the Creole population is combined with the half-breeds, as well as with blacks and mulattos. Finally, in the interior regions the Indian peoples still predominate, the total number of which by the beginning of the 1990s. was 35-40 million people.
If we consider a fairly widespread map of the peoples of Latin America, it turns out that most of the countries in this region have a very complex ethnic composition. So, even without small Indian tribes in Brazil there are more than 80, in Mexico and Argentina - more than 50, in Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Chile - more than 25 different peoples. Of course, these and other peoples have already consolidated into single large nations, covering the overwhelming majority of the population of the countries concerned. For example, Cubans, Brazilians and Colombians make up more than 92-95% of the population of Cuba, Brazil and Colombia, Paraguayans and Chileans - more than 90% of the population of Paraguay and Chile, Venezuelans and Mexicans - more than 85% of the population of Venezuela, Mexico. However, we must not forget that these nations were formed on a mixed basis. Depending on their basis, Latin American countries are usually grouped into several groups.
Fig. 224. Diagram of racial and ethnic composition of the population of Latin America.
First, these are the countries where the Creoles and other European settlers made up the basis of the respective nations. These include Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Secondly, these are countries where the basis of the nations was made up of mestizos: Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile.
Thirdly, these are the countries where the Indians, Paraguay and Bolivia, still predominate.
Fourthly, these are small countries, where nations were formed on the basis of the peoples of Africa (Haiti, Jamaica) or Asian (Suriname, Guyana) origin.
The language composition of the population of Latin America is much more homogeneous. Since the beginning of the European conquests, Spanish, Portuguese and other European languages have been introduced here. Nowadays, Spanish is the official language in 18 countries, and 280-300 million people speak it. Characteristically, in "Latin American" Spanish, under the influence of immigration, many borrowings from Italian, French, German, and English languages have appeared. The second place is occupied by the Portuguese language, which has become the state language of Brazil (Figure 226). Among the English-speaking countries are Jamaica, Barbados and some others from the Antilles, as well as Guyana. French is accepted as official in Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Dutch in Suriname and Netherlands-owned Antilles. In Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, along with the Spanish official languages are considered Indian languages (Aztec, Quechua, Guarani, etc.).
Fig. 225. Ethnic map of South America.
The religious composition of the population of Latin America is largely determined by its ethnic composition and is also closely related to the history of its colonization. Approximately 9/10 of its population professes Catholicism, which was forcibly implanted in all Spanish and Portuguese colonies, while belonging to other faiths was pursued by the Inquisition. In addition to Catholics, there are also Protestants and Orthodox, and non-Christian believers are Hindus and Muslims (among Asian immigrants). Some groups of Indians still have vestiges of pre-Christian traditional beliefs and rituals. Of course, the dominant religion in the region was and remains Christianity. Moreover, according to the total number of Christians (165 million), Brazil ranks second in the world after the United States, and Mexico (98 million) is the third.
As already noted, Latin America is usually viewed as a single cultural region. But this does not exclude attempts to divide it into cultural (cultural-geographical) subregions. A similar attempt was made, for example, by AP Kuznetsov, who identified within the region: 1) the Andean belt (Mestizo, Indians, official languages Spanish, Indian, predominant religion - Catholicism); 2) West Indies (mulattoes, Negroes, official languages English and French, religions - Catholicism, Protestantism); 3) "Guianas Triangle" (descendants of South Asians, Negroes, official languages English and Dutch, and religions - Hinduism, Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism); 4) South-East (descendants of European immigrants, official languages are Spanish and Portuguese, religion is Catholicism).
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143. Formation of the ethnic map of Latin America.