Student Research Projects

The Natives

Student Chavon Freeman
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department History
Course Colonial Latin American History


This paper analyzed whether or not the natives were able to resist the cultural change that the Spaniards brought to their society, or whether they were inevitably reshaped according to the ways the Spaniards enforced. The thesis of my paper was , On one hand, the native culture was reshaped by the influence of the Spaniards through a decreased population, an increase in labor, a reconstructed landscape, and a change in religious rituals, while simultaneously were able to resist cultural changes in different ways through revolts, coming together to create a common culture, and combining their religion and the catholic religion to suite their ways. The four main points that were used to show the highlights of this thesis were population, labor, land, and religion. The sources that were used to make the paper reliable or have a factual basis were “A brief account of the Destruction of the Indies” by Bartolome De las Casas and “An Account of the Conquest of Peru” by Pedro Anscho. These works were produced by Spaniards of the time in which I analyze, and they are seen as biased sources because they are not written by actual natives. It is because of the possible rejection of use of these sources that I also cited the works of Clifford Geertz. The only way that I was able to produce this paper was by using the process called Ethnography, an approach by which one is able to analyze a specific action in a society and then is able to develop a general idea of that society and how it is organized. It is with this process that I write to create the true outcomes of the entrance of the Spaniards into the native society. In the end I came to conclude that the Spaniards were never able to completely destroy the native culture because some aspects of the native identity was able to remain.


Phi Alpha Theta Virginia Regional History Conference, Feb 2009, Bridgewater, VA