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El concepto de “paisaje” en lengua castellana: Una hipótesis geográfica de sus equivalencias en la Nueva España de los siglos XVI y XVII

Federico Fernández-Christlieb & Marcelo Ramírez-Ruiz

The concept of landscape was defined during the 16th century in European languages. However, in Spanish, there is no known use of the term before the 18th century. This paper aims to answer questions such as: Why did it take so long for the term to be coined in this language which enjoyed such an unprecedented expansion? Which terms were used in 16th and 17th Century New Spain to denote the observable space and its various representations? Which terms were used in indigenous languages? Although they may seem to fall within the area of philology, in order to answer them it is also necessary to do geography. We investigate three historical-geographical contexts to formulate a hypothesis: the Reconquista (Reconquest by Catholics of Moorish territories) in the Iberian Peninsula, the Holy Roman Empire administrated by the Austrian House of Habsburg, and Mesoamerica, in the process of being conquered by Europeans. Our hypothesis is that the re-signification of existing terms, in Spanish (pago, país, pintura and pueblo), in German (Landschaft) and in the indigenous language of Central Mexico (altepetl) allowed the actors of this history to incorporate fundamental geographic concepts into everyday language without feeling the need to coin new terms.

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