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Group of Caribbean Islands comprising Cuba, Republic of, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the last divided into Haiti, Republic of and the Dominican Republic. Prior to contact with the Spanish colonists, the art of the Greater Antilles was relatively unified. However, after colonization traditions soon separated.

Antilles, Lesser, §I: Introduction...

Article

Izumi Shimada

Region in La Leche Valley on the north coast of Peru, which contains numerous archaeological sites. The central part of the valley, over 55 sq. km in area, has been designated the Poma National Archaeological and Ecological Reserve because of the concentration of some 30 major Pre-Columbian cemeteries and mounds nested within dense semi-tropical thorny native forest. The most notable period of local cultural development was the Middle Sicán (see Sicán), c. ad 900–1100, when the Sicán funerary–religious precinct (see fig.), the dominant feature of Batán Grande, was built. Delineated by some dozen monumental adobe pyramids, it covers an area extending c. 1.6 km east–west and 1 km north–south.

The long-term funerary and religious importance of the Poma Reserve is underlined by the limited evidence for widespread or intensive agricultural activity there, despite its abundant fertile alluvium. As the beginning and end of various major canals, Batán Grande controlled the vital local water supplies and thus held political control over the adjacent valleys. Although a Late Sicán shift of settlement away from Batán Grande removed much of this political significance, the site clearly retained its eminence as a key burial and metallurgical centre up to the Spanish conquest. The Spanish name for the area in fact derives from the hundreds of large ...

Article

Huastec  

Beatriz de la Fuente

Region and culture of Mesoamerica, that produced distinctive Pre-Columbian architecture, sculpture, pottery and shell ornaments. From the Middle Pre-Classic period (c. 1000–c. 300 bc) to the Late Post-Classic period (c. ad 1200–1521) the Huastec people occupied the Gulf Coast of Mexico; today they inhabit southern Tamaulipas, northern Veracruz, eastern San Luis Potosí and parts of Querétaro, Hidalgo and Puebla.

Few Huastec buildings survive, and these only partially. Their most common characteristic is a circular floor plan. One of the oldest is in El Ebano in Tamaulipas; it may date from the Middle Pre-Classic period and has a circular floor plan (diam. 57 m), on top of which is a sort of hemispherical cap, 3 m high. The area of the Tamuín River was the most densely populated, and among the best-known sites are Tamtok and Tamuín, both Late Classic (c. ad 600–c. 900...

Article

Duccio Bonavia

Region in South America, centred on Lake Titicaca on Peru’s south-eastern border with Bolivia. It was an important culture area in Pre-Columbian times (see South America, Pre-Columbian, §III), being one of only six areas in the Central Andes large enough to allow important human concentrations. Geographically, it corresponds to the Puno depression of south-eastern Peru and the Bolivian altiplano (a small part of the Andean altiplano that extends as far south as Argentina). Lake Titicaca is endorheic (its waters do not reach the sea) and has a large plateau catchment area, whose rivers all flow into the lake. It has one outlet, the River Desaguadero, which flows into Lake Poopó (also endorheic) in Bolivia. Titicaca, at c. 3809 m above sea-level the highest navigable lake in the world, is surrounded by extensive plains and pastures, which rise gradually to form plateaux (punas) at over 4000 m, until they reach the arid areas at the foot of the snow-capped mountain peaks ...

Article

Amy Buono

[Brasil]

The Viceroyalty of Brazil (c. 1720–1815) refers to a polity that, at its greatest extent, roughly corresponded in geographic area to the modern nation-state of Brazil. Lying on the upper Atlantic coast of South America, it is bounded on the northeast by the Guyanas, to the northwest by the Viceroyalty of New Granada, to the west by the Viceroyalty of Peru, and to the southwest and south by the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Northern Brazil is dominated by the densely forested basin of the Amazon River and its many tributaries, which include the Tapajó and Xingu rivers, which empty into the Atlantic at Marajó Island. The Atlantic forests stretched over 330 million acres of the eastern seaboard at the time of colonization, representing both the region of greatest cultural activity and the initial economic motivation for European engagements with Brazil: the brazilwood trade. The Cerrado, a region of tropical savannas, occupy much of the central and southern interior of Brazil. The arid backlands of Brazil’s northeastern regions form the Sertão. ...

Article

Clara Bargellini

A jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire that covered Mexico, western parts of the United States, and parts of Central America. The political and cultural center of the viceroyalty of New Spain was the former Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, conquered by the Spaniards in 1521. The viceroyalty ended in 1821 with the declaration of the First Mexican Empire.

Basing themselves on the networks of their native subjects, the Europeans, once established, were able to conquer territories as far north as New Mexico and south into Central America before the end of the century. Franciscan, Dominican, and Augustinian missionaries were key for the religious and cultural conquest of the indigenous population (see Missions of New Spain in the 16th century). They established themselves in native towns, as well as in the major Spanish cities, where bishoprics were instituted in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Jesuits, who were to play a major role in the culture of New Spain, arrived in ...

Article

Michael J. Schreffler

A jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in South America that existed from the mid-16th to early 19th century. By the 1600s, its territory extended from Panama southward beyond the cities of Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). The Viceroyalty’s western boundary was the Pacific Ocean, and its jurisdiction reached across the Andes into the rainforests and plains to the east. The geographic limits of the Viceroyalty of Peru were sharply reduced in the 18th century with the Spanish Crown’s establishment of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the northernmost part of South America in 1717, and in the southernmost part, that of Río de la Plata in 1776. By the early 19th century, just prior to the wars of independence and the formation of sovereign nations in South America, the juridical boundaries of the Viceroyalty of Peru corresponded approximately to those of the modern nations of Peru and Chile. Almost none of the territory of the modern nation of Brazil pertained to the Viceroyalty of Peru, as those lands had been granted to the Portuguese Crown through the Treaty of Tordesillas in ...

Article

Ricardo González Marchetti

A jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in South America that lasted from 1776 until 1814. This article discusses the art and architecture of the region from the Spanish conquest in 1516 until the end of the viceregal period.

The Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, founded by the Spanish Crown in 1776 from the southernmost part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, with its capital in Buenos Aires, was intended to foster economic development and reinforce territorial defense against the Portuguese advance, and English and French threats in the region. It comprised the former provinces of Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Paraguay, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Potosí, Charcas, and Cuyo (present day Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia), including small portions of Chile, covered an area of 6000 km in length by 1500 km, and was occupied by different indigenous cultural groups adapted to particular geographical and ecological environments. Except for Alto Perú (Bolivia), the most developed of these areas, both demographically and culturally, was the Argentine highlands, with Andean agro-ceramic cultures (i.e. Casabindos, Cohinocas, Ocloyas, Omahuacas), and the valleys and adjoining canyons (Pulares, Calchaquíes, Diaguitas), whose influence reached the central mountains of Córdoba and San Luis (Comechingones and Sanavirones). The Paraguay and Argentine-Uruguayan coastline was occupied by a Guaraní agricultural society and farmers of Amazonian origin. Nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers, such as the Querandíes, Tehuelches, Onas, and later the Araucanos and Charrúas, mixed with Guaraní groups in present Uruguay, and lived in the region Pampeano-Patagónica. There were other local ethnic groups like the Huarpes in Cuyo and the Lules and Juríes in Tucumán....