Cover

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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

The graciousness of my colleagues, friends, and family in the United States and in Guatemala made this book possible. My colleagues in the history department at the University of Mississippi, along with the fi nancial support of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provided the incentive...

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Introduction: The Crucified Christ of Esquipulas

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pp. 1-16

In January 2001, I traveled to the region of Esquipulas with my good friend Carlos Roca to enjoy the January 15 festivities surrounding the Christ of Esquipulas, now popularly known as the Black Christ.1 As we crested the Sierras and descended into the valley containing Esquipulas, we could see the enormous whitewashed bell towers of the basilica serving as a kind of a lighthouse...

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1. Power and Identity in the Making of Colonial Guatemala

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pp. 17-52

Archbishop Pedro Cortés y Larraz set out in 1768 to discover and understand the nature of his congregation in the colonial captaincy of Guatemala, which stretched from present- day Chiapas through Nicaragua.1 Following a rich tradition of required visits and inspections of local parishes and chapels, Cortés y...

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2. The Liberal State and the Conservative Church

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pp. 53-80

A parish priest, Dr. José Mariano Méndez, published in early 1821 his understanding of the state of affairs of the “political and ecclesiastical state” of the captaincy general of Guatemala and the future Federal Republic of Central America. In upbeat prose, Méndez offered three engaging observations as he compared...

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3. Carrera, the Church, and the Color of the Christ

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pp. 81-100

Mariano Gálvez sounded the warning in 1837: civilization was at stake as the barbarous hordes threatened the reforms and the life that the Liberals had assiduously cultivated: “The extraordinary convocation of the National Assembly never has been more necessary than at the present time. The worries of barbarism...

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4. The Liberal Republic and Religious Competition

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pp. 101-126

In 1871, Justo Rufino Barrios led his troops from western Guatemala to defeat the Conservative forces of President Vicente Cerna, a native of Chiquimula and successor to Rafael Carrera. The repeating rifles of the western forces overwhelmed a numerically superior army and began a new vision for the country...

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5. Revolution, Counterrevolution, and Religion

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pp. 127-152

Salvador Salazar Argue, a restless Salvadoran who rose quickly to prominence among Central American artists, wrote his first novel, on the imaginative qualities of the Crucified Christ of Esquipulas, in 1926.1 Writing under the pen name Salarrué, the young author devised a tale of a colonial friar who, throughout his youth and adulthood, found himself at that terrible crossroads...

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6. The Black Christ of Esquipulas

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pp. 153-160

When Carlos, his son Luis Fernando, and I arrived in Esquipulas on January 14, 2008, to join in the festivities of January 15, we were stunned by the economic growth of the region during the preceding decade. Quality hotels abounded, offering travelers a broad array of comforts, and houses and streets had experienced major renovations. As we made our way...

Notes

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pp. 161-182

Bibliography

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pp. 183-198

Index

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pp. 199-208

Image plates

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