Latin America religion
Approximately 90% of Latin America's population
belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. In practice,
in many places there are mixtures of the original
faiths, such as shamanism and Christianity.
Catholic mission took place in step with the
Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the continent.
The Spanish king formally ruled the Catholic Church
in the Spanish-occupied territories, but the church
quickly developed an independence, gaining its own
courts and large tracts of land. Often there was a
conflict over competencies between the crown and the
The people of the Church appeared as part of the
often harsh colonization in which the Indians were
forced to work for a landowner and forced
Christianity. Early groups or individuals protested
against the abuse; "Are not the Indians then human
beings?", A Dominican monk preached as early as
1511. A Franciscan, Jacobo Daciano ('from Denmark',
d. 1567), demanded that the Indians should be able
to receive the sacraments, ie. considered human
beings. He himself handed them the communion
(communion), but did not win the hearing for his
demand that they also be allowed to become priests.
The Spanish Dominican Bartolomé de las Casas had a
great influence on the more humane "new laws" of
1542 (see leyes nuevas de indias). The Catholic
orders dominated the missionary work, first the
Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinian hermits,
from the 1560's also the Jesuits, who in very closed
mission colonies, reducciones, in Paraguay,
protected the Indians from the colonizers; the
Jesuits were expelled from Latin America in 1767.
When the colonies in the early 1800's became
independent states, the church was temporarily
weakened. The owned land, and church leaders could
therefore be perceived as colonial landowners, who
had to be fought during the independence struggle.
Especially in Mexico, anti-clericalism was fierce.
With the importation of slaves from West Africa
came African cult forms, which helped to form new
forms of mixture in America (see African Americans).
The duality of the church's role in Latin America
is also seen in the second half of the 1900's, when
the church has occasionally been in alliance with
autocratic regimes. Most marked, however, is the
liberation theology, whose practical work for the
poor and oppressed has at times been supported by
the pope, in others criticized. Only Fidel Castro's
communist Cuba among Latin American countries can be
called directly anti-church in recent times; in the
mid-1990's, however, Castro set out for an
approximation, and the pope visited Cuba in 1998. In
the 1900-t. Protestant movements, often of a more
fundamentalist nature, have spread through missions,
especially from the United States.
The Falkland Islands are located in the Atlantic
Ocean, about 80 miles northeast of South America's
southern tip of Cape Horn. The archipelago belongs
to the United Kingdom and consists of two large and
a few hundred small islands totaling 12,173 square
The climate is chilly with an average annual
temperature of six plus degrees and with strong
winds all year round.
About 2 900 people live in the islands (2013).
Nearly two-thirds of these live in the capital
Stanley on the East Falkland island. The language is
English, almost all inhabitants are of British
origin and belong to Christian churches. Compulsory
education is compulsory and free of charge.
The first known land rise on the islands was made
by the British in 1690 and the archipelago was named
after Viscount Falkland, the British naval
treasurer. The islands were then ruled by the
French, Spaniards and Argentines before the British
took control in 1833 and made the archipelago a
Argentina maintained all along that the islands
were actually Argentine and that they were
discovered already during the Portuguese expedition
1520, Ferdinand Magellan, although no land rise was
made. In 1966 negotiations were initiated at the
UN's initiative. These became unsuccessful and in
April 1982 the Argentine military invaded the
Falkland Islands. British forces were sent to the
archipelago and after a few months of fighting with
about a thousand dead - of which three quarters were
Argentines - the British had regained dominion. The
British government set up a "protection zone" of
about 28 miles around the islands, about 4,000
soldiers were stationed there and the inhabitants
were granted full British citizenship.
Argentina did not formally acknowledge that the
fighting had ended, but the loss of war contributed
to the fall of the military regime in 1983. The new
civilian government in Argentina did not give up the
demand to regain the Falkland Islands and wanted to
negotiate this, but Britain refused. 655
Argentinians and 255 British were killed during the
The archipelago's legislative council adopted a
new constitution in 1985, guaranteeing the
islanders' right to self-determination. In the same
year, a new military airport was opened and the
number of stationary soldiers in the islands was
reduced (in 1996 the number was down to about two
In 1989, Argentina's then-President Carlos Saúl
Menem suggested that his country might temporarily
renounce demands for negotiations on Argentine
sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. As a result,
Argentina and the United Kingdom agreed to formally
end all fighting. The following year, full
diplomatic relations were restored. In 1996, the
Argentine government proposed for the first time
shared British-Argentine supremacy over the islands.
The proposal was rejected by Britain and the
islanders, who want the UN Decolonization Committee
to grant islanders the right to self-determination.
The continental shelf around the Falkland Islands
is believed to be rich in oil and in 1994 the
British and Argentinian authorities managed to agree
on how oil exploration and possible extraction
should take place.