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Mary, Mother and Warrior

The Virgin in Spain and the Americas

By Linda B. Hall

Publication Year: 2004

A Mother who nurtures, empathizes, and heals . . . a Warrior who defends, empowers, and resists oppression. . . the Virgin Mary plays many roles for the peoples of Spain and Spanish-speaking America. Devotion to the Virgin inspired and sustained medieval and Renaissance Spaniards as they liberated Spain from the Moors and set about the conquest of the New World. Devotion to the Virgin still inspires and sustains millions of believers today throughout the Americas. This wide-ranging and highly readable book explores the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Spain and the Americas from the colonial period to the present. Linda Hall begins the story in Spain and follows it through the conquest and colonization of the New World, with a special focus on Mexico and the Andean highlands in Peru and Bolivia, where Marian devotion became combined with indigenous beliefs and rituals. Moving into the nineteenth century, Hall looks at national cults of the Virgin in Mexico, Bolivia, and Argentina, which were tied to independence movements. In the twentieth century, she examines how Eva Perón linked herself with Mary in the popular imagination; visits contemporary festivals with significant Marian content in Spain, Peru, and Mexico; and considers how Latinos/as in the United States draw on Marian devotion to maintain familial and cultural ties.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Mary, Mother, and Warrior

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

A Note onTranslation and Orthography

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

"In the course of researching and writing this book, I have incurred many debts. The wide-ranging and synthetic nature of the topic has led me into contacts with many scholars in regions and disciplines far removed from my original area of expertise. Further, given the importance of the visual images..."

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chapter one

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pp. 1-16

"I have wanted to write this book for years. During the seven years that I spent in Colombia, 1961-1968, I was fascinated with the enormous reverence for the Virgin Mary that pervaded that country. I was particularly intrigued that this reverence crossed gender lines, with men as fervent as women if not more so. In a country troubled terribly by violence, this feminine vision of..."

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chapter two

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pp. 17-44

"In order to understand the impact of the Virgin Mary in Latin America, it is essential to understand the way in which her cult and image fit into the sacred landscape of Spain, metaphorically and literally. Muslim invasions had pushed well into the north of the peninsula during the late seventh and..."

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chapter three

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pp. 45-80

"It was Isabel's and Fernando's mission of Christianity and conquest that led to the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America, and Columbus carried this intense devotion for Mary across the ocean. In a real sense, his mission was a continuation, both spiritually and spatially, of the Spanish Reconquest of the peninsula. But the discoverer was by no means the only..."

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chapter four

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pp. 81-106

"The cult of Our Lady became firmly established in Latin America during the colonial period, that time between the Discovery and Conquest in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and the wars of independence in Latin America in the early 1800s. At the same time, she became associated and conflated with, as well as changed by and changing, indigenous notions of..."

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chapter five

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pp. 107-136

"Reverence for the Virgin spread rapidly through the proliferation of her images, the almost immediate development of parades and festivals in her honor, the miracles that began to occur in relation to her images and sacred spaces, and even her appearances to indigenous peoples and to the Spanish. The sense of her presence, enhanced with images, rituals, visions..."

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chapter six

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pp. 137-168

"The Virgin Mary came to the Andes with the conquerors. From the Spanish excuses for the massacre of 1532 at Cajamarca-involving the supposed unwillingness of Atahualpa to accept the story of the Virgin birth-to the Virgin's decisive appearance in battles, she soon made her mark on the victories in that region as well. After he and his men took Atahualpa prisoner at..."

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chapter seven

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pp. 169-206

"During the three hundred years of Spanish rule in Latin America, the advocations of Guadalupe in Mexico and of Candelaria, especially Copacabana, in the region of the Andes that would become Bolivia, gained power and reverence. By the time of the independence movements at the beginning of the nineteenth century, both were strong, both were centers for..."

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chapter eight

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pp. 207-242

"Although the devotion toward the Virgin of Luján had been heavily and perhaps rather cynically oriented toward state building, state power, and the deliberate construction of national identity, that did not mean that devotion to the Virgin and a sense of her nurturing goodness did not exist apart from that project. On the contrary, Argentina was a Catholic nation in which..."

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chapter nine

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pp. 243-272

"As the twentieth century has drawn to a close and the twenty-first has begun, Marian devotion continues as strong as ever. Celebrations of the Virgin's majesty are widespread, especially in Spain, Italy, and Latin America but also in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States and among other populations elsewhere in the world. The connection between the celebrations of..."

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chapter ten

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pp. 273-290

"For centuries, as we have discussed, the Virgin Mary has been associated with Spanish Christian imperial projects, in Reconquest Spain, then in the Spanish discovery and conquest of Latin America, and later in combating independence movements in that continent; the leaders of those movements also invoked María. The Virgin has also accompanied Latinos into the United..."

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chapter eleven

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pp. 291-300

"A number of themes emerge, it seems to me, from the discussion above. Perhaps the most important is that the Virgin, throughout the regions and historical times that we have investigated, is a figure of identity and relation. Whether she links migrants to their country of origin, or individuals within..."


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pp. 301-336


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pp. 337-338

Bibliography of Works Cited

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pp. 339-352


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pp. 353-366

E-ISBN-13: 9780292797420
E-ISBN-10: 0292797427
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292706026
Print-ISBN-10: 0292706022

Page Count: 382
Illustrations: 63 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2004

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mary, Blessed Virgin, Saint -- Devotion to -- Latin America -- History.
  • Latin America -- Religious life and customs.
  • Mary, Blessed Virgin, Saint -- Devotion to -- Spain -- History.
  • Spain -- Religious life and customs.
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