Location: Western Hemisphere south of US. (Mexico, Central America, S. America, Caribbean Islands.)
Topography: VERY diverse. Andes Mountains (Vertical Climate), Amazon Rain Forest, Pampas (grasslands), deserts, vast river systems (Amazon)
Mayan (c 300 - 900 Ad) Central America & Southern Mexico; Math, astronomy, calendar, cities, writing systems.
Aztec (1200-1521): Mexico; huge empire, legal system, very warlike, human sacrifice
Inca (1200-1535): Peru; vast gold supply; road system; terracing for agriculture, medicine, engineering, measurement and record keeping.
Columbus 1492 claimed “New World” for Spain.
Spain and Portugal: colonized LA. Conquered natives.
Three “Gs”: Gold Glory, God – Motives of conquistadors (conquerors)
Native Population: 90% died of disease, murder
African Slave Trade: Brought for cheap labor when natives died.
Peninsulares (b. in Europe)
Creoles (sons of peninsulares) – barred from highest positions in government and church. (Criollos)
Meztizo (white + Indian) & Mulatto (w+African) – laborers and townspeople. Few political rights.
African & Native Americans – bottom of social structures, little or no freedom or rights
Viceroys – Representatives of king or queen in Spanish colonies.
Landed aristocracy: wealthy landowners controlled the govt.
Military: supported landowners
Roman Catholic Church: unifying force ; become very wealthy
Peasants: worked on encomiendas (plantations) very poor
Encomienda system – Spanish get grants of land and labor of specific native peoples. (farming or mines)
Reasons: unjust condition of colonial rule, enlightenment ideas, Influence: inspired by freedoms won in American and French Revolutions, Napoleonic wars distract European countries.
Lasting Spanish & Portuguese influences: Language, Religion (RC) class structure, family, “machismo”
Toussaint L’Overture (Haiti): 1791 slave revolt. 1804 1st independent country in LA.
Simon Bolivar (“Gran Columbia”) fought for an independent and unified Latin America. In 1819 organized an army & led a successful revolt against the Spanish. Later named president of Gran Colombia (Present day – Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama)
Jose de San Martin (Peru & Argentina ) Bernardo O’Higgins (Chile) worked together to drive Spanish from Chile in 1818
Miguel Hidalgo & Jose Morelos (Mexico) Priests who led a Indian/Mestizo revolution. They were executed but revolution continued. Mexico gained independence in 1821
Relations with U.S: Geographic and economic closeness;
Monroe Doctrine (West closed to E. Influence),
Roosevelt Corollary US would be police to protect foreign investments.
Good Neighbor Policy – promised to consult with LA before enforcing Monroe Doctrine, several trade agreements (1933)
Organization of American States: peaceful form for solving disputes and settling common problems. 35 countries including US – (Cuba has been excluded) (1948)
Cuba: 1898 Sp. American war US supported revolt against Spain. 1959 – Communist revolution led by Fidel Castro, US trade embargo, Missile crisis, end of USSR means isolation
Growth of Democracy: In recent years democratically elected governments have been replacing military dictatorships
Economic Resources: rich in oil, tin, copper, silver.
Similar to other “Developing” nations
Urbanization (overcrowding, unemployment)
Pollution: air & water, crowded cities, poor sanitation
Single Crop economies
Lack of investment capital
Large foreign debts
Deforestation: Brazil, cutting rainforest for more farmland to pay foreign debt. Threat to world Oxygen supply