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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Sport forms existed in Latin American in the pre-Columbian period. European empires adopted and modified indigenous cultural activities while introducing new sports. Sport development was not homogenous as local conditions and specific colonial and commercial interests shaped sport’s growth. Despite these disparate patterns of development, it is generally true that the rise in nationalism facilitated the diffusion of sport in Latin America, as local associations formed in response to invitations sent by sportsmen from abroad-seeking competitors. Football enjoyed the most expansive growth in South American, while baseball grew in the Caribbean in Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Women’s access to sport has been a persistent issue in Latin America. The racial diversity of the region also has created an ongoing negotiation of racial hierarchies in sport. Sport in Latin American serves as an arena where participants perform citizenship and create understandings of civil rights.

Keywords: sport, colonialization, racial hierarchies, diffusion, Latin America, Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Mayan ballgames, football clubs

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