Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

pp 1071-1075

María Lionza

  • Lee W. BaileyAffiliated withUniversity of ConnecticutDepartment of Philosophy and Religion, Ithaca College Email author 

La Reina Santa Maria de La Onza (The Queen Saint Mary of the Boar), María Lionza, is a goddess whose worship is very popular in Venezuela and nearby countries. Venezuela was colonized by Spain in 1522, when war and measles greatly weakened the Indigenous population. Slaves were imported from Africa, and relations among all the races over time bred a large class of mestizos, or mixed-bloods. Venezuela won independence from Spain in 1830, exported cocoa and coffee, then a major oil boom began after WWI. But society suffers from corruption, crime, and drug traffic (The truth; World Drug Report). Its state oil-producing company, PDVSA, has a US subsidiary named Citco. With a population of 29 million, Venezuela is ruled by descendants of the Spanish Conquistadors. The patriarchal tradition of South America’s Catholic Church tends to support the conservative men of the upper class, and political conflict long centered around the socialist President Hugo Chávez (1954–2013). The poverty rate i ...

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