Category Archives: Wikipedia

The Encomienda System

For my chosen Wikipedia article, I looked at the article about the encomienda system, specifically about the development of the system and it’s use in the colonization of the Americas. Although at first glance, this article seems fairly well written, a closer look at it reveals a consistent bias running throughout. Very little mention is made of the fact that, although the encomienda system existed prior to Spanish colonization of America, the system (as it was used in the Western Hemisphere) was adapted to model pre-existing native systems of rendering tribute and labor to a conquering force. As such, the article seems designed to make the Spanish out to be terrible people who took advantage of a helpless people – when, in fact, they simply adapted native systems for their own use.

The article also appears to be lacking in sources. There are many places where the only citations are links to other Wikipedia pages. However, the further down the page one reads, the more the article appears to be properly cited, and with reputable sources. It is the first section or two of the article that need some work. If I were to work on developing this article, I would work to ensure that it is both properly cited in it’s entirety, and also less biased in terms of it’s views of the Spanish.


My Wikipedia article is titled “Church Committee,” and as the title suggests, it is a comprehensive overview of the creation of the Church Committee and its purposes. It does not dive deeply into the significance of the Church Committee in Latin American history and society, but it does mention a few Latin American leaders that were targets of alleged assassination attempts, including Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Fidel Castro (Cuba). The article utilizes articles from multiple left-wing news outlets, such as ABC, CNN, and New York Times, as well as Congress proceedings and books. I would improve this source by possibly including more citations, as they are not extensive and there are places where they are needed and are not present. I would also suggest expanding the scope of the sources used by possibly examining conservative sources to balance the overuse of liberal media, which would lend more credibility to the article and also provide more sources to cite.

Wikipedia Article, “History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States”

For the purpose of this week’s blog post, I choose to read and review the Wikipedia article, “History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States”. Before delving into the content and structure of the article, I scrolled through its respective talk page; and found interesting conversations between other Wikipedia users/content editors. In as early as 2007, more than likely prior to the merging of two articles into its current reiteration, Wikipedia users were questioning the breadth of the article’s content range and whether it provided a well-rounded perspective on said History. Interestingly enough, there were concerns with whether or not this article captured the historical presence of differing Hispanic and Latino American groups in the United States. Starting with conversations on who belongs under the Latino/Latin American or Hispanic pan-ethnic terms, Wikipedia users brings to light a critical issue when engaging in conversations about the inclusion and exclusion of certain nationalities and their diasporas under these terms. Considering individuals may operate under differing definitions of said terms there can be unintentional biases in who gets mentioned/covered or highlighted. For example, it could exclude former non-Spanish or Portuguese colonies in Central or South America (i.e. Belize, French Guinea, Guyana, Suriname or Haiti).

I am struggling to articulate a frustration of mine, that repeatedly happens when engaging in any sort of conversation surrounding Latino/Latin Americans/Latinidad or Hispanics; and it is that like in many instances there is hyperfocus on Mexico/Mexican-Americans in relations to the broader relationship between Latinos and the United States. Arguably, it makes sense why it happens often. Mexico and Mexican-Americans intrinsically have a long history with the United States and the lands ceded to it. I would say though that this article leans towards said hyperfocus on Mexico and its diasporas and very little on other community groups. I think this is appropriately reflected in how non-Mexican groups (not looking at the Spanish/Portuguese/British or the US) are mentioned more often towards the bottom of the article in the last two sections. “Incorporation of the Hispanic people” and “Recent Immigration”.

In addition to the expressed concerns of Wikipedia users and my own above, another student in our course mentioned that they noticed that this article is graded as a “start” class page. This implies that Wikipedia recognizes that the page, “History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States”  has various areas of improvement and concerns–mostly dealing with it having “weak” sections, inadequate sources/citations and that it is still generally being developed. If one were to go to the talk page of this article, you would be able to see where Wikipedia users have repeatedly had to modify external links and on one occasion remove an image. When scrolling through each section I would personally say that there are areas that are under-cited and at-times lacking any verifiable sources. Other times, some sections were brief summaries connected to other related Wikipedia articles and in those instances, I am not sure what the guidelines require in terms of adequate citations. 

Lastly, the structure of this article was a bit confusing for me personally and it had mostly to do with whether or not Wikipedians had originally attempted to organize it by chronological occurrences. It seems to me that that is the general structure but that at times additional sub-sections may have been added within said broader sections throwing the organization off. I would recommend Wikipedians return and revise this page to reconfigure a new structure that better ties in all the content. Through said revisions, there is the possibility to address grammar, spelling and citation errors.


I read the Wikipedia article Latin America-US Relations. Overall, it did a pretty decent job of sketching a broad chronological overview of the subject, linking to articles about specific moments from the history of Latin American-US relations. However, it did seem to place more of an emphasis on the US as an agent interacting with Latin America, not the US and Latin America as different actors interacting with each other as equals. Perhaps that is somewhat unavoidable, given that it is covering one country’s interaction with an entire region, making it easier to construct a narrative with a focus on the one country, not the many. This imbalance in focus does not, however, appear to translate into pro-US bias. Overall, the article does try to be evenhanded and not portray the US in a positive or negative light.

The article could be better sourced. There are several different instances of paragraphs where assertions are made without evidence. For instance, the article asserts that “Some modern observers have argued that if World War I had not lessened American enthusiasm for international activity these interventions might have led to the formation of an expanded U.S. colonial empire” (Banana Wars paragraph 2) without any citation of this argument being made in so much as a blog post, much less a reputable work of history (not that good historians would publish such speculation). The citations that are present are pretty decent, though one link is dead and flagged as such. The Further Reading section is fairly large and contains a good amount of good sources.

I understand the difficulties of writing a good overview that fully covers all topics over roughly two and a half centuries of history, but one issue with the article is an incompleteness. The article briefly discusses US involvement in Venezuelan and Chilean independence (without citations), but not the independence of the other countries of Latin America. It covers the Cold War in Latin America but does not go into specifics about intervention in Nicaragua, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, and so on beyond maybe a sentence. These all deserve their own subheading under a “Cold War” section.

The article also has issues with its writing and flow, mainly relating to the incompleteness mention in the previous paragraph. Topics are brought up one after another without apparent connection between them. This is more of a problem in the earlier part of the article than the more recent events. Besides that, the article’s last section, Academic Research, is present without any explanation of its relevance and spends its opening paragraph discussing one historian’s overview of the study of Latin American-US relations. This section sticks out like a sore thumb, serving no apparent purpose and being unincorporated into the larger article.

Overall, the article is a decent enough historical overview, but suffers from an incompleteness, lack of sources in some areas, coherence, and an overemphasis on the US as a historical actor.

History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States

For this week’s blog post assignment I read the article History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States on Wikipedia. Although at first glance it seemed to be a well written article, there were a few instances where problems showed themselves. Although these issues were small and easily fixed, they were still noticeable enough to detract from the article as a whole.


One such problem spot was in the first section of the article, titled “Spanish Expeditions in the South of North America.” The last paragraph, in particular, should have a citation after it talks about an event 80 years prior to John Smith’s rescue by Pocahantas, when “Juan Ortiz told of his similar rescue from execution by an Indian girl.” In the context of the section of the article, which references events in the history of Spanish interactions with the Americas that contradict the idea that England colonized North America first, the information makes sense. However, without a citation, it is unsubstantiated and should either be properly cited or removed.


Another issue I found with the article was that there occasionally seemed to be unnecessary details that didn’t add to the overall idea. For instance, in the section titled “Hispanic and Latino presence in the former British colonies of the United States at the end of the eighteenth century” there is a brief mention of a Spanish lieutenant in the Revolutionary War named Jorge Farragut. Although the information about Farragut is useful and relevant, the next sentence, which mentions his son, is not. Farragut’s son was a flag officer in the American Civil War. Although this is interesting information, it is not relevant to a paragraph that’s main focus is Spanish involvement in the American Revolution. As such, the extra information should be deleted from the article.


Overall, however, the article appeared to be fairly well put together. The information is, for the most part, relevant to the article. The links appear to all be in working order and the images and graphs included enhance the information present. Furthermore, there does not seem to be a particular bias one way or another in the article. All in all, it is very well done.

Wikipedia Analysis

I read the Wikipedia article entitled History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States. I found the article to be interesting and it seemed as if the editors were educated on the topic and knew what they were talking about. Upon further reading and investigation, however, the article appeared more and more flawed. The article’s imperfections are evident by its “start-class” rating for quality that Wikipedia itself has given it. The main criticisms I have with the article is its lack of citations, poor quality sources, and its one-sidedness.

I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that the article is biased, but it definitely is one sided. It is written from a Latin American perspective, and the writers/ editors seem very intent upon proving that early Spanish exploration was superior and predated England’s. There are many examples of this throughout the text. One such example is seen in the article’s Spanish Expeditions section. “From 1528 to 1536, four castaways from a Spanish expedition, including a “black” Moor, journeyed all the way from Florida to the Gulf of California, 267 years before Lewis and Clark embarked on their much more renowned and far less arduous trek” (“History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Dec. 2019, The article does not state why this expedition was so much more difficult than that of Lewis and Clark’s, it simply just states that it was. In the same section, the writers also claim that the Spanish found the majority of the current American States before the British did: “In all, Spaniards probed half of today’s lower 48 states before the first English colonization attempt” (“History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Dec. 2019, However, this sentence is missing a citation, which puts the fact’s credibility into question. Another sentence that struck me as a bit biased states that Spain was the “most important colonial power,” (“History of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 31 Dec. 2019, which is subjective and cannot be proved. These examples begin to show the Spanish-centric attitude that this article possesses. I understand that the article is about Latin America, yet many of the article’s supposed facts lack citations and place Spain in the spotlight.

The other main criticism that I have of this article, which I mentioned a bit previously, is its lack of citations and poor quality sources. In the article’s References section, there are only a total of 26 citations. This to me does not seem to be an adequate amount of citations for an article of this length. There are many instances within the article in which a citation could be, yet there is none. There are frequently many paragraph breaks between one citation to another, which makes me doubt the article’s credibility. The sources for many of the article’s existing citations do not appear to be of a very high caliber. For example, the source for a citation regarding Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno is from Monterey County’s Historical Society webpage. Another site that I attempted to visit led me to a page telling me that the link was not found. I believe that if the article had more citations for its facts and paragraphs, and the sources were of a higher quality, it would be much better and credible article.

Aside from the two main criticisms, I have a couple smaller ones, including the article’s sloppy grammar and the fact that it has a section entitled Recent Immigration, yet it is the article’s smallest section. Throughout the article, I noticed the occasional instance of poor writing and improper grammar. I also believe that the section on recent immigration should be much longer. The present will soon become the past, which is why it is essential to this article.