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Latin America

Caudillos, political-military leaders, had a tremendous influence on Latin American history (Luhnow, 2005). During the early 19th century, the cultural phenomenon of the caudillismo appeared in societies undergoing revolution. The origin of caudillismo is a colonial policy of the Spanish regarding the supplementation of small cadres of soldiers with militia who were recruited from the local populace (Narrett, 2002). These forces were recruited to maintain public order. Many of these militiamen still held jobs within the town while meeting for drills and military practices. They received a salary from the Crown, but this was mostly to exemplify military privilege, or fuero militar. This position also made the militiamen exempt from some taxes and work assignments in the communities. Importantly, this position made them exempt from civil or criminal prosecution (Chiaramonte, 2010). As a result, many men sought to attain power in towns and developed personality cults. Charismatic leaders who were able to gain followers armed them, thereby these individuals could call themselves generals. In the Spanish American wars of independence these militias did a large portion of the fighting (Diaz, 2010). Many newly independent states in South American were overthrown by these armed groups. This greatly affected Latin American society, as many of these leaders supported the establishment of the Catholic Church within these independent states furthering the encroachment of the European culture and Europeans in the New World (Bendana, 2002). From the articles reviewed, it is clear that caudillos had a great influence on Latin American culture.


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Latin America. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:22, May 22, 2024, from