Spanish Colonial America vs. British Colonial America

by B.J. Delas Armas on 6/14/2005 06:46:00 AM 0 comments Print this post

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It's interesting to see how we in the West US come from a Spanish Colonial America whereas the East from a British Colonial America and how those colonial influences are still embodied in our society today. Just think.

LA vs. NY

Tupac vs. Biggie

laid-back and classic vs. quick and fresh

scattered vs. contained

play vs. work

Why am I thinking about this ?

So, my instructor said something interesting in class when she talked about growing up in El Segundo in the tradition dominated by "Spanish Colonial America" rather than a tradition dominated by "British Colonial America" as is all over the East Coast.

We were talking about this in the context of plazas and how it was Spanish (or Native American) tradition after Sunday Mass to go to the plaza with the guys on one side and the girls on another staring at each other while in some kind of line, engaging in flirtatious activity, and how this activity managed to manifest itself onto the time when she was growing up in the 1960s, cruising Sunset Blvd in her car with her chicas staring at males. According to her, we still do it today when we drive and always look at people's faces and body language as to what our next move should be at an intersection.

Apparently this stuff does not happen in NY. Or maybe it does, I don't know.

But regardless (a shout-out to George Lopez), Spanish Colonial America still permeating West Coast culture. Columbus Day --- WTF is that ? We out west don't know. Eventually, I'd like to go deeper into this, especially in regards to the physical planning of the city. (Wow I sound like I'm proposing my dissertation topic)

At the top of my head, the most prominent example of Spanish colonial America being present is that you can still see all the Spanish rooftops on top of the older houses, especially in the California Missions. Some of the architecture is probably out of the Spanish-Native American tradition.

I'm not sure how city planning went in Spain, but I do know it did take a while for LA to industrialize as quickly as NY did. But we did have missions which people would have to walk to --- so immediately we are a walking wandering culture.

NY followed a loosely British model of commerce that you could see by the 1750s. It was a trading port right away. They want to get things done.

I'll knock more examples out later.

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