Create a 11 page essay paper that discusses Analyzing witchcraft in Pre-colonial and colonial Mexico.
Just like the smallpox and other diseases brought by the Europeans wiped out civilizations, Catholicism eradicated the native religion of Mexico.
Between 1800 and 300 BC, complex cultures flourished in Mexico. Many matured into advanced pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations such as the: Olmec,
Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec, which thrived for nearly 4,000 years before the Europeans landed in Mexico. First the religious practices of these civilizations and the effect of European colonization on the religious practices will examined. The Europeans reaction to the rituals of these cultures need to be looked at. Finally, the persecution of natives practicing witchcraft will be analyzed.
The Olmec culture, especially their religious culture, can only be interpreted by archaeological measures like the Las Limas figures. The Olmec died out before Europeans came to Mexico. Cave art, digs, and other archaeological finds have shown that the Olmec religion had priests and shamans.1 Kings and rulers had to worship or link themselves to Olmec gods to prove their right to the rule.2 One author explains, “much of the art of La Venta appears to have been dedicated to rulers who dressed as gods, or to the gods themselves”.3 Olmec art shows deities like the Feathered Serpent and the Rain Spirit were already in the Mesoamerican pantheon in Olmec times.4 The Olmec believed in multi deities and spirits.
Although the Olmec culture had died out before the European Conquistadors reached Mexico, speculation can be made based upon what is known about what happened to later cultures under colonization. The Catholicism that would sweep across Mexico believed in the Trinity. Anybody worshiping any deity or god other than God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, would be considered a witch, practicing witchcraft. Although the it can not be proven conclusively, there is indications the Olmec might have