In 1916, Bishop Homer Stuntz made a bold and thought-provoking statement when he referred to Latin America as Moorish America. This intriguing choice of terminology raises numerous questions and opens up a fascinating dialogue about the connections between Latin America and the Moorish civilization. Bishop Stuntz felt so strong about the connection between Latin America and the Moors that he delivered the following words before the U.S. Congress on Monday, February 14th, 1916:
“Spanish America might frankly be called Moorish America. The religion of the Spanish felt the influence of the Moorish overlord, as did his architecture, his estimate of the place of womanhood in the social order, and his contempt for human life.” (Christian Work in Latin America Volume 3 – page 336)
Bishop Stuntz, known for his deep knowledge of history and his passionate advocacy for cultural appreciation, saw parallels between Latin America and the rich heritage of the Moors. Their influence extended far beyond their geographical borders, leaving an indelible mark on various aspects of society, including architecture, science, literature, and art. Bishop Stuntz would constantly refer to the commonality and the Moorish influence on American culture. He is noted as expressing in an article authored by Bishop Stuntz titled South America – Land of Promise the following sentiments:
“Brazil, which is only two days away by streamer from West Africa, is one-third negro, the crudest type of negro on the American hemisphere. There is a strong mark of the Moor upon the Spaniard. The people of Mexico and Cuba might be called Moorish Americans rather than Latin Americans.” (World Outlook – Volume 2 – page 21 (1916))
By associating Latin America with Moorish America, Bishop Stuntz sought to shed light on the shared cultural heritage between these two regions. He recognized that countries such as Spain and Portugal were significantly influenced by Moorish culture during centuries of Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula.
Moreover, Bishop Stuntz’s choice of terminology challenges conventional historical narratives that often overlook or downplay the contributions of non-Western civilizations. By highlighting the connection between Latin America and Moorish culture, he aimed to foster a greater appreciation for diversity in history.
While some may question Bishop Stuntz’s use of this term, it is essential to recognize his intention: to encourage scholars, historians, and individuals alike to explore new perspectives on Latin American history. By delving deeper into this concept of “Moorish America,” we can uncover hidden stories that have been overlooked or disregarded in mainstream historical accounts.
In conclusion, Bishop Homer Stuntz’s characterization of Latin America as Moorish America offers us a compelling lens through which we can view the region’s history. It serves as a reminder that our understanding of cultures is constantly evolving and that there are always new connections waiting to be discovered. Let us embrace this opportunity to dig deeper, challenge assumptions, and gain a richer understanding of the diverse tapestry that is Latin America’s past.