Religion in Latin America; the Age of Discovery and Conquest (1492-1597)

1076 Words Nov 5th, 2010 5 Pages
Religion played a big role in shaping the values, attitudes, and conduct of the Spanish during the Age of Discovery and Conquest (1492-1579). The colonial church provided control and a standard of conduct and living for the new world. In fact, the colonial church had even more power in Spanish America then it did in Spain. Why this is important though, is because it limited the possibility of rebellion and opposition. As long as the church was in place, there was Spanish order, and as long as there was Spanish order, the colonization process could continue to run smoothly and prosper. Nurtured by the crown, the colonial church thrived. Its main priorities were to convert the Indians, and to theoretically justify the Iberian presence in …show more content…
A main custom that the church bestowed upon all the converted was the practice of monogamous marriage, opposed to polygyny which was common among many of indigenous peoples. Polygyny would eventually fade, but even after two generations of baptized Christian Indians, many would have a public wife in the eyes of the church, as well as other concubines at home.
The colonial church served more purposes then to convert though, the church was the lone major institution of European power in the new world. It was funded both politically and economically by the royal patronage. The royal patronage was given complete control of its income, activities, physical facilities, as well as receiving the taxes of agriculture and livestock. The Spanish monarchs assumed the responsibility of promoting the conversion of the Native Americans, as well as the supervision of churches and the erecting of new ones. All that had to do with the establishment of a church in the new world was directly governed by the royal patronage.
The church was responsible for many other things then the conversion of natives to the Christian faith. When missionaries would conquest to convert Indians, they brought many settlers with them, and also tried to bring the Indians together in order to create a village. Collecting the scattered native

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