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Walker and Peru

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jillyharrington
Words 1127
Pages 5
Walkerdescribes the state of Lima after a devastating earthquake, as well as the tsunami it caused, wrecked havoc in the mid-18th century. In Chapter One, Walker discusses the relationship between tsunamis, earthquakes, and absolutism in Lima after the natural disaster of 1746. Walker examines how the national disaster sparked a debate among Enlightenment idealist about the need to reform the city. These reforms, however, were influenced by reforms imposed by the Bourbon absolutists who encouraged a policy of social uniformity without equality. These reforms seriously weakened not only the situation of the diverse social groups in Peru, but also the power of the Church. The viceroy of Peru, Manso de Velasco imposed reforms in order to reconstruct the city and its inhabitants along new Enlightenment lines.
In the second chapter of the book, Walker focuses on the events of the earthquake. According to Walker, the majority of the people believed it was the wrath of God. The religious segment of society believed that it was the sinful society of Lima which had instigated the disaster. They thought the earthquake was a premonition of future punishments that would follow, and different areas of society were blamed for the catastrophe. As the church preached about the future disasters, the city officials blamed them for the environment of superstition and fear.
In chapter three, Walker discusses the urban political distribution of Lima prior to the earthquake, discussing the racial caste system of each area. It becomes clear that the elite classes in Lima may have held a special status, but they were living in constant fear of the lower classes as well. Following the disaster of the earthquake and the tsunami, the social classes were thrown into upheaval, and there was suddenly more upward mobility open to the once rigorous and heavily defined social…...

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