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A dictionary definition of "syncretism" goes like this,
"The amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought."
Basically it reveals how different cultures have developed through a mixture of indigenous and colonial influences. Certainly the European thirst for wealth and power spurred Columbus's first voyage. There is a much more detailed explanation in the book. In my copy, the pages are 112-113 and 134-136.