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date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter presents a general narrative of 500 years of Christian history in Latin America, placing particular emphasis on the most controversial developments and debates. Among them are the “struggle for justice” and questions concerning acculturation and “syncretism” in the sixteenth century; the links between popular piety and Baroque spirituality and their clash, first with Jansenism and then with Bourbon reformism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the challenges of independence, liberalism, and the secular state in the nineteenth century; social Catholicism in the first half of the twentieth century; liberation theology and the growth of Protestantism in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The chapter pays particular attention to the resilience and legacy of early mendicant evangelization in the formation of an often-neglected Christian culture that can be described as both indigenous and genuinely Christian.

Keywords: Latin America, evangelization, acculturation, regalism, church-state relations, liberalism, state formation, secularization, liberation theology, indigenous Christianities

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