Chile under Spanish influence

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February 8th 2015
Published: February 22nd 2015
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In the second room of the museum I re-learned about Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America in 1492 which was a period of history I’d studied at university in a Spanish and Portuguese history module. I also learned about the roles of Felipe II King of Spain and Pedro Valdivia, a leader of the Spanish Region who founded Santiago in 1541, by the river Mapocho. I then went on to study more about the Colonial Period and the order imposed by imperial Spain in colonial America, mainly in terms of the Church having complete influence over daily life.

I found this part very interesting as I learned that this was the period when Baroque art developed and I had already seen plenty of examples of it in the form of churches and Jesuit Estancias back in Cordoba in Argentina. I also learned that the Spanish King didn’t have power over the whole of Chile, but it seems that each region was governed by a separate representative. I also understood for the first time how Catholicism completely wiped out indigenous tribes in much of South America. There was a painting in the museum which gripped me, it was a painting of the first mass in Chile and whilst the priest is giving his sermon all the indigenous people with their costumes and spears are standing around all looking in different directions, looking completely disinterested and dumbfounded by what the priest was doing. I empathise with the indigenous people, it is never nice to be obliged to go to mass and even less so by people who have just invaded your country.

All other religions and traditions other than Catholicism were wiped out during this period. The churches were financed by the Spanish crown which was ruling from Sevilla in Spain and the crown provided land and then hired the indigenous people to work on it.


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