The Colonial Amazon

Pablo Ibáñez-Bonillo, Rafael Chambouleyron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


The region known as the Amazon represents approximately forty percent of the territory of the South American continent. Today, it spreads
through the territory of eight countries and one European overseas territory. In the colonial period, this vast area, which stretched from the piedmont of the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, was an essential space for European imperial conflict in the Americas. The Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French struggled for the possession of the region from the 16th century onward. However, the history of this vast region begins much earlier. A multiplicity of ethnically and linguistically distinct peoples occupied this territory, and their social, political, and economic arrangements were crucial for European conquest and colonization. Many of these peoples were directly affected by the arrival and settlement of the Europeans, especially by disease and wars. Others integrated into colonial society through religious missions, voluntary settlement, and forced labor. The Indian labor force was crucial for the development of the colonial economy in the Amazon. However, European dominion over this territory was limited to the banks of the main rivers, and most of the Amazonian lands remained indigenous.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History
EditorsWilliam Beezley
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Amazon region
  • Mestizos
  • Africans
  • Indians
  • Europeans
  • 16th to 18th century
  • Frontiers


Dive into the research topics of 'The Colonial Amazon'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this