Materialities of Nationhood, Land, and Race in Early Republican El Salvador

Author(s): Kathryn E Sampeck

Year: 2018


The idea of "nation" in Latin America invoked discussions of ideal citizens. The colonial metamorphosis from social classification—the casta system--to racial thinking centered on defining places, social and geographic, for and by Afro-Latin Americans. In cases such as Cuba, political efforts aimed to end racism and build "raceless" nations, while others, such as Mexico, enthusiastically embraced indigenous heritage but at the same time elided or even rejected African descent, creating what George Reid Andrews has dubbed "pigmentocracies". This paper illustrates El Salvador’s ideology and rhetoric of nationhood and its eventually dire consequences. Archaeological evidence of 18th, 19th, and 20th-century contexts in western El Salvador pertain to both subtle and obvious forms of the persistence of racism, structural inequalities, and marginalization. This evidence offers a perspective on the firm rejection by political, economic powers of both African and indigenous heritages that culminated in the massacre of 1932 known as "La Matanza."

Cite this Record

Materialities of Nationhood, Land, and Race in Early Republican El Salvador. Kathryn E Sampeck. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441229)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 184