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A Cultural History of Cuba during the U.S. Occupation, 1898–1902$
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Marial Iglesias Utset

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807833988

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877845_iglesias_utset

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The “Decolonization” of Names

The “Decolonization” of Names

National Identity and the Selection of Patriotic Place Names

(p.87) Four The “Decolonization” of Names
A Cultural History of Cuba during the U.S. Occupation, 1898–1902

Marial Iglesias Utset

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows that countries that once were colonial territories still carry with them signs and traces of names from earlier epochs. During the initial years of conquest, the “virgin lands” of Spanish America were relieved of their aboriginal names and rebaptized. Across what became Spain's New World empire, the physical features of the land and places of habitation were renamed to mirror the system of political and religious beliefs of its latest occupants. Just as with colonial censuses, the maps on which these places appear are not and never were innocuous and “objective” descriptions, devoid of ideological and political content and purpose. On the contrary, such cartographic and demographic formulations aided the colonizer's task in several respects.

Keywords:   colonial territories, years of conquest, virgin lands, Spanish America, aboriginal names

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