Updated 4 weeks ago

Modern democracy conquered Latin America before Europe

A group of researchers found the first outlines of a society with the form of the modern democracy in Latin America, jumping to the conclusion its origin is not a European phenomenon and that existed before the invasion of the Spanish empire. The scientists found in Mexico the archaeological remains of a society, which was not governed by absolutist leaders who inherited the power. An article in Science shows that those who wanted to govern had to pass a rite of initiation and that the inhabitants who financed the community with their taxes, could demand results from him.

“El País” reports that the city, built around 1250, is in Tlaxcala and does not resemble most of the Mesoamerican cities that are known and centered on monumental pyramids and squares. In the Tlaxcalan the squares were dispersed by all the districts, without clear center or hierarchy. Archaeologist Lane Fargher believes the town's senate was in a building on the outskirts. There, about 100 people made key decisions from the military ones to the economic ones.

Fargher discovered the genesis of a republic: "Twenty or 25 years ago, no one would have accepted that it was organized this way." To become senators, the candidates underwent tests described by a Spanish priest in the sixteenth century. The aspirants used to be ex war warriors and had to appear naked in a square, where they were even beaten by the crowd. Then they were to remain for up to two years in a temple, where the priests taught them the moral and legal code. This included flagellations and torture to prove that they were fit to be part of the Senate.

The scientists recognize that this society was not a full democracy, but it was governed by a shared or collective power, where the economy was based on internal taxes and anyone could become a leader. Archaeologists point out that public spaces predominated over ostentatious palaces, local production was emphasized to the detriment of imports, and they claimed that the gap between elites and ordinary people was much smaller than in other civilizations of the time. They also recognize that this autarkic and collective system was also driven by the commercial blockade imposed by the Mexica.

Moreover, as an interesting fact, democracy also touched the pirates of the Caribbean region, thety had a democratic organization, they chose or they dismissed their captain and they voted on which course to follow or which boat to attack. They’d form an assembly in which they voted and had the same rights. There was a code of behavior that all pirates signed and where rules and compensation were established in case of being disabled in a combat action.