Autochthonous Christians in Latin America

In Latin America, the term autochthonous Christians does not refer to the totality of Latin Americans who profess a Christian faith; rather, it refers specifically to the Native Americans—that is, the indigenous population evangelized by the Catholic Church within the framework of Spanish colonization. The demographic estimate of this population is problematic due to the permeability of the borders between the indigenous world and the mestizo society. Thus, their respective delineation depends on ethnic, cultural, and social criteria, which are constantly debated in the social sciences. Indigenous cultures are principally located in Mesoamerica (Guatemala and Mexico) and in the central Andes (Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador), with majority populations in Bolivia and Guatemala and minority populations in all other countries of the region.

Beyond the demographic aspect, ...

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