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Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

Writing Revolution: Republican Politics in Three Cuban Histories

Luis E. Aguilar, Samuel Farber, and Robert Whitney present three complimentary interpretations of Cuba's 1933 Revolution and the social unrest that led to the 1959 Revolution.[1] The authors explore the role of rising mass society, the influence of political and intellectual elites, and the impact of the United States’ intervention in Cuban affairs to shed light on the historical context surrounding Fidel Castro’s rise to power. 
Aguilar, a Cuban journalist and university professor, grounds his analysis in the events of the 1933 Revolution to show how this frustrated attempt at reform led directly to the successful struggle of the 26th of July Movement a quarter century later. Farber, a Cuban political scientist, sees the period between 1933 and 1960 as a time of maturing class consciousness, providing national social movements with the necessary experience to carry out a successful revolution in 1959. Whitney, a Latin American historian, focuses on the transition from oligarchic r…