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When Worlds Collide

Airs Monday, September 27, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Latin woman sitting.

Credit: Courtesy of Mitch Wilson

Above: Latin woman sitting. "When Worlds Collide" examines how the New World radically transformed the Old World, including the impact of advanced agricultural and textile practices of the indigenous society that existed in Latin America prior to the Spanish “conquest.”

The People

Meet the people who defined Europe and America in the 16th century and set the course for 21st century life in the Americas.

"When Worlds Collide," from filmmaker Carl Byker and hosted by award-winning author and journalist Rubén Martínez, presents a vivid exploration of the first century after the “Old World” encountered the “New World.”

The Timeline

Explore the timeline to compare the great advancements—agriculture, writing, architecture, science, math, government, and exploration—by peoples on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Then trace the course of Spanish conquest and colonization in the New World after 1492.

Written by Martínez and Byker, this 90-minute documentary illuminates the origins of today’s Latino culture through the largely untold story of the Americas after Columbus. The journey begins on the streets of Los Angeles in 2010 and travels to Spain and Latin America, where contact first occurred between Spanish conquistadors and native peoples.

By the time the Spanish arrived, Indigenous civilization had developed a highly sophisticated society, including advanced architectural, agricultural and textile practices that in many ways surpassed those of the invaders. This epic odyssey traces the impact that these and many other “New World” innovations had on the “Old World” during an era almost always described as “the conquest.” In reality, the most important consequence of the era was the radical change that both worlds experienced, resulting in an entirely new “mestizo” or mixed culture, an important part of the heritage of more than 30 million Latinos in the U.S. today.

Preview: When Worlds Collide

"When Worlds Collide" with host Rubén Martínez, travels to Spain and Latin America, where contact first occurred between Spanish conquistadors and native peoples. In this preview clip, Martínez begins a journey through space and time to explore the rise of a new culture that would reshape not just Europe and the Americas in the 16th century, but the United States in the 21st century.

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