Article

Merging Magical Traditions: Sorcery and Witchcraft in Spanish and Portuguese America

Iris Gareis

in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199578160
Published online May 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199578160.013.0024

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Merging Magical Traditions: Sorcery and             Witchcraft in Spanish and Portuguese America

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This article discusses the history of sorcery and witchcraft in Spanish and Portuguese America. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Spanish and Portuguese colonizers and missionaries poured into Central and South America, carrying with them their European ideas on witchcraft. While Europeans introduced their notions of sorcery and witchcraft to the Amerindians, they also adopted some indigenous magical concepts and practices. In the second half of the sixteenth century, when numerous Africans were brought to Spanish and Portuguese America, another notion of witchcraft was added to those of Europeans and Native Americans. In the course of the sixteenth century Amerindians, Africans, and Europeans came into close contact, and eventually some features of their different concepts of witchcraft merged into new, hybrid notions.

Keywords: Spain; Portugal; colonialism; assimilation; witchcraft; Africans; Europeans

Article.  8230 words. 

Subjects: History ; History of the Americas ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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