Lesson: Colonialism is never a one way situation.

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The onus of Mexican history and cultural development is that it lives in the shadow of Spain. Its very colonial name Nova Espagna suggests at once an opportunity for and an obstacle to growth.

Paz insists that Mexico may actually have become, despite the size and consistency of its Native American (Indian) population, more Spanish than Spain, itself.

Octavio Paz, Mexican author, diplomat and social reformer, (1910-1998)

Recurrent archways; Cordoba Mosque and church, Spain.

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Compare Mexico and the Caribbean, Identity in Latin America, Geography.

"History has the cruel reality of a nightmare and the grandeur of humans consists in their making beautiful lasting works out of the real substance of that nightmare . . . it consists in transforming the nightmare into vision, in freeing ourselves from the shapeless horror of reality -- if only for an instant -- by means of creation."


"the worth of a spirit, Neitzsche said, is measured by its capacity for enduring the truth."

{Oct 30, 1969; Austin}

"The feeling of solitude. . . is a longing for a place."


The Labyrinth of Solitude, 1950
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We are products of geography, evolution and culture. Social change and income then mold us and taste may drive us to both the unspeakable and the grand gestures; but only later do we develop the ethical imagination for a profound morality to reshape us based on our recognition of our failures, biases and fears.

People --like society-- can and do change, for example, after Magellan's fleet sailed completely around the earth (circumnavigation) intelligent observers could no longer doubt that this planet was a sphere. The flat earth was demonstrably round!

The view, literally, of the earth changed in the 1492-1590 period.


The route followed by Magellan and his surviving fleet from 1520-1522.

Caribbean and Mexican historical conditions

157016th Century map of "middle" America, The Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

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Caribbean and Mexican conditions


population: 1/3 the size of the USA.
104.7 million double in 42 years 140 Million by 2025
35% are under 15 live 72 years 74% urban
$3,700 per capita per annum.


population: about the size of California
37 million double in 49 years 46 Million by 2025
31% are under 15 live 69 years 59% urban
$380 - $7,380 per capita per annum.

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Ambiguity of identity throughout Latin and Mesoamerican nations,

Renaissance "paradise"
Religious veneers

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Unexpected Guests, Columbian Exchange: half the vegetables in today's western diet -- by weight -- grew isolated in the Americas at the time before Columbus's voyages. These included: corn, chiles, tomatoes, pineapples, potatoes, avocado, beans, squash, manioc, and chocolate.

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