Christianity Comes to the Americas, 1492-1776

Christianity Comes to the Americas, 1492-1776

Christianity Comes to the Americas, 1492-1776

Christianity Comes to the Americas, 1492-1776

Synopsis

In 1492, civilizations entirely unknown to one another dramatically confronted their differences along a line that eventually extended from Nova Scotia to Tierra del Fuego. Over three centuries, the religious, political, and economic pressures of Europe motivated a nearly complete cultural sweep over the entire Western Hemisphere. In Christianity Comes to the Americas, three distinguished historians retell, from the vantage point of the latest historical scholarship, the story that began in late medieval Western Europe and came to a conclusive turning point near the end of the eighteenth century. Stafford Poole brings to life the entire movement of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores, mendicants, and missionaries throughout South and Central America, the Caribbean, Florida, Mexico, and the American Southwest. The accomplishments and anguish of such figures as Bartolome de las Casas, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, Antonio Vieira, and Juan de Zumarraga, among others, take center stage over the exploits of Pizarro, Cortez, Balboa, and Coronado. Robert Choquette tracks the French Catholic missionaries who crisscrossed the American continent, including Jesuit martyrs and Saint Marguerite Bourgeois of the St. Lawrence River Valley. He tells of missionaries shooting rapids and driving dog teams in America's vast hinterland and of Brother Andre performing miracle cures in Montreal's St. Joseph's Oratory. Charles H. Lippy follows the reform movements of Calvin and Luther as they extended to the settlements all along the Atlantic coastline. Lippy's narrative traces the dilemma of Puritan covenant ideology personified in the lives of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams, the vicissitudes of thecolonial Anglican church, and the contributions of Quakers like William Penn, who bridged the ideals of Puritanism and the ideals of the Enlightenment. Christianity Comes to the Americas tells a complex story of grand ambition, gr

Excerpt

When Christopher Columbus set foot on the island he called San Salvador on 12 October 1492, he unalterably changed the course of history for two hemispheres. the mutual impact--ecological, human, religious, economic, and even nutritional--continues to this day. It is undeniable that the religious factor has been influential, even dominant, in the subsequent history of Ibero- America. Conquest, settlement, and missionary endeavors not only advanced together but at times were inseparable, for the missions were a vanguard of empire. Any understanding of Christianity in Ibero-America, therefore, presupposes a knowledge of the nations from which that Christianity came. the mentality, organization, and religion of the two exploring and colonizing Iberian states--Spain and Portugal--sheds light on the great enterprise of the Indies, the impact of which still affects millions of people.

Castile

Spain was the European country most deeply involved in this encounter between two hitherto separate worlds. Since 1492 uncounted numbers of people have used its language, worshiped according to its religion, and lived by its institutions. An understanding of Spanish history and outlook is essential to understanding not only the evangelization of Spanish America but also its contemporary people, society, and institutions.

The determinative factor in the history of mainland Spain, comparable to the frontier in British America, was the reconquista (reconquest) of the peninsula from the long Moorish domination. the Moors, recent and fervent converts to Islam, entered the Visigothic kingdom of Spain in 711 and within seven years almost entirely subjugated it. the reconquista was a centuries-long crusade by the Christians (in this context they did not call themselves Spaniards or Portuguese) to drive out the Moors. By the thirteenth century most of . . .

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