The Heritage of the Conquistadors: Ruling Classes in Central America from the Conquest to the Sandinistas

The Heritage of the Conquistadors: Ruling Classes in Central America from the Conquest to the Sandinistas

The Heritage of the Conquistadors: Ruling Classes in Central America from the Conquest to the Sandinistas

The Heritage of the Conquistadors: Ruling Classes in Central America from the Conquest to the Sandinistas

Synopsis

In The Heritage of the Conquistadors Samuel Z. Stone demonstrates that the ruling families of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are rooted in a common ancestry. This crossbreeding, so to speak, often confuses the outside world's un-derstanding of such developments as the Salvadoran insurgency, the fall of Somoza, and the rise of the Sandinistas.

Excerpt

Samuel Stone, a Costa Rican citizen with a state doctorate in political sociology from the Sorbonne, is one of Central America's best-known scholars. This book is the culmination of decades of research on the nature of political power in the Central American Isthmus and builds on his prize‐ winning work in Spanish that, when translated, is titled The Dynasty of the Conquerors: the Crisis of Power in Contemporary Costa Rica. in examining the context of the current turmoil in Central America, Dr. Stone laments the marked propensity in all five Central American nations to look toward foreign experts to explain problems of the region and to propose solutions based on North American or Western European concepts. He insists that the individual countries must confront problems with their own solutions, "understanding them in their own context," rather than relying on imported models and interpretations.

With meticulous genealogical research Professor Stone has proved that the ruling classes in Central America have a common familial ancestry, and he traces the current political leaders to the original dynasty of conquerors in the sixteenth century. the Spanish Conquest of Central America resulted in pronounced regional patterns making each of the modern republics different in political economy and culture. Because of their geographical isolation and the attendant fragmented political control, conquering families often developed an arrogant autonomy. the small urban centers became introverted enclaves. By the end of the sixteenth century privileged oligarchies who manipulated the political systems to their own advantage were firmly entrenched. the dynasty of conquerors persisted through family alliances within circumscribed regions and across national . . .

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