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London, England
Copyright © 2007 by M.E. Sharpe, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
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80 Business Park Drive, Armonk, New York 10504.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

LaRosa, Michael (Michael J.)

An atlas and survey of Latin American history / Michael J. LaRosa, Germán R. Mejía.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 10: 0-7656-1597-5 (cloth: alk. paper)
ISBN 13: 978-0-7656-1597-8 (cloth: alk. paper)
1. Latin America—History—Maps. 2. Latin America—Historical geography—Maps.
3. Latin America—Maps. I. Mejía P., Germán. II. Title.

G1541.S1.L3 2006
911'.8—dc22 2006051197

Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of

American National Standard for Information Sciences
Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials,
ANSI Z 39.48-1984.

BM (c) 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
To our parents,
Robert and Barbara LaRosa
of Braintree, Massachusetts,
Alfonso Mejía Restrepo and Yolanda Pavony de Mejía
of Bogotá, Colombia


Preface and Acknowledgments .................................... ix 6C. Universities, Science, and Culture ................. 64
6D. The Birth of Public Opinion: The
1. The Land and Its Peoples .................................... 3 Printing Press, Newspapers, and
1A. Primary Geographic Features .......................... 4 Literary Salons .............................................. 66
1B. The Peoples and Nations ................................. 6
1C. Indigenous America Today .............................. 8 7. From Autonomy to Independence .................... 69
7A. Haiti: The Forgotten Revolution ................... 70
2. America Before 1500 ........................................ 11 7B. Mexico and Central America: From the
2A. Theories of Arrival and Paleolithic America ... 12 “Grito de Dolores” to Monarchy .................. 72
2B. Mexico, Central America, and the Antilles 7C. War Among Creoles and Against Spaniards:
Before 1500 ................................................. 14 The Andean Phase ........................................ 74
2C. South America Before 1500 .......................... 16 7D. The Southern Cone Independence Process
and Brazilian Independence .......................... 76
3. Science, Exploration, and Expansion ................ 19
3A. Exploration of the Atlantic and the 8. Latin America in the Nineteenth Century ........ 79
West African Coast ....................................... 20 8A. Mexico and Central America ........................ 80
3B. The Four Voyages of Columbus .................... 22 8B. South America .............................................. 82
3C. America: The Name ..................................... 24 8C. Export-led Economic Growth:
3D. The First Voyages Around the Globe ............. 26 Mid-Century ................................................ 84
8D. Liberal Reforms in Latin America ................. 86
4. The Iberian Conquest of America ..................... 29 8E. The United States Discovers a Continent ....... 88
4A. From Trading Post to Colonies: The 8F. Brazil: Monarchy to the First Republic .......... 90
Creation of the Grand Antilles ...................... 30 8G. The Vestiges of Empire: Cuba,
4B. Toward the Interior: The Aztec Empire Puerto Rico, and the Guyanas ....................... 92
and its Dominion .......................................... 32
4C. Toward the Interior: The Spanish 9. Latin American Economies in the
Territories in North America ......................... 34 Twentieth Century ............................................. 95
4D. Toward the Interior: The Inca Empire 9A. From England to the United States:
and Its Dominion ......................................... 36 North American Investment
4E. Toward the Deep Continental Conquest ........ 38 Through 1929 .............................................. 96
4F. Brazil in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth 9B. Modernization in Transportation and
Centuries ...................................................... 40 Communications .......................................... 98
9C. The Impact of the Great Depression
5. America Under Hapsburg Rule ......................... 43 of 1929 in Latin America ............................ 100
5A. Cities Founded in Hispanic America 9D. Mining and Petroleum ................................ 102
Before 1600 ................................................. 44 9E. Import-Substituting Economic
5B. Hapsburg Territorial and Administrative Development .............................................. 104
Organization ................................................ 46 9F. Production by Nation ................................. 106
5C. Republics of Citizens (Spaniards) 9G. Public Expenditures in Latin America .......... 108
and Indians ................................................... 48 9H. Latin American Trade Blocs ........................ 110
5D. Slave Centers During the Sixteenth 9I. North American Trade Blocs ....................... 112
and Seventeenth Centuries ............................ 50 9J. A Deforestation Estimate ............................ 114
5E. The Spanish Flotilla ...................................... 52
5F. Exploiting Mining Centers ............................ 54 10. Demographics and Population in the
5G. Intra- and Interregional Circulations Twentieth Century ........................................... 117
in the Americas ............................................. 56 10A. The Birth of the Major Metropolitan Areas .. 118
10B. Population Growth ................................... 120
6. America Under Bourbon Rule ........................... 59 10C. Growth of Urban Population .................... 122
6A. The Intendancy System and Other 10D. Migration Patterns from Latin America
Administrative Reforms ................................ 60 to the United States .................................. 124
6B. Non-Iberian European Territories in the 10E. Migration Patterns from Latin America
Caribbean and Central, South, and to Other Countries ................................... 126
North America ............................................. 62 10F. Migration Patterns Within Latin America .. 128
11. Political, Social, and Cultural Issues ............... 131 12. Revolutionary Movements .............................. 149
11A. Indigenismo .............................................. 132 12A. The Mexican Revolution .......................... 150
11B. Populism in Latin America ........................ 134 12B. Bolivia and Guatemala: The Early 1950s .. 152
11C. Armed Forces and Dictatorships ............... 136 12C. Cuba, 1959 .............................................. 154
11D. Collapse of Democracy, Birth 12D. Guerrilla Movements: Che and Colombia . 156
of Debt ..................................................... 138 12E. The Sandinista Revolution and Central
11E. Drug Trafficking and Informal America .................................................... 158
Markets .................................................... 140 12F. New Indigenous Movements: Peru’s
11F. Education Compared by Country ............. 142 Sendero Luminoso, Mexico’s EZLN,
11G. Nobel Laureates and Other and Brazil’s MST ...................................... 160
Significant Persons in Culture
and Science .............................................. 144 Index ...................................................................... 163
11H. Music of Latin America ............................ 146 About the Authors ................................................... 171

Latin America’s complex history is not easy to define, quan- is found at Oxford (University’s) Latin American Eco-
tify, or summarize, but one way to begin the process of nomic History Database, known as OxLAD and found
understanding the region is to study its history as a func- on the Web at We also stud-
tion of physical and human geography. An Atlas and Sur- ied statistics produced by ECLAC, the United Nation’s
vey of Latin American History offers a single-volume Economic Commission for Latin America and the Car-
synthetic portrait of the interactions of physical geography ibbean. Texts that synthesize Latin American history were
and human history over a long time period in the territory especially helpful; a few such works are long out of print
commonly referred to as Latin America. We have adopted while others were published in the past few years. Some
a nineteenth-century French definition of Latin America, of the earlier, classic books include Charles Gibson’s
which means that a territory is “Latin” to the extent that it Spain in America (1966), Stanley and Barbara Stein’s The
was colonized by a country with a mostly Latin-derived Colonial Heritage of Latin America (1970), Dana Gardner
language (for our purposes, Spanish, Portuguese, and Munro’s The Latin American Republics: A History
French). By this definition, then, Haiti is Latin America but (1950), and Helen Miller Bailey and Abraham P. Nasatir’s
nearby Jamaica is not. second edition of Latin America: The Development of
We hope this atlas is useful for students at the under- Its Civilization (1968). The more recent works consulted
graduate and graduate levels as well as teachers who cover include John Charles Chasteen’s Born in Blood and Fire
Latin American history/politics and geography in their (2001) and Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith’s
courses but are not trained experts on the region. As such, second edition of Modern Latin America (1989). Tho-
this atlas helps facilitate an understanding of Latin mas Skidmore’s Brazil: Five Centuries of Change (1999)
America’s history by explaining movement, patterns of has been particularly helpful as a synthesis of Brazil’s
development, and change throughout the region over time. complex history. At the end of each essay, we have cited
In 1967, Curtis A. Wiligus published Historical Atlas a few of the principle sources used to construct both the
of Latin America: Political, Geographic, Economic, Cul- essay and the map. Reflecting the reality of the times,
tural. John and Catherine Lombardi and Lynn Stoner, in many of our sources were found on the Internet and are
1983, published the influential Latin American History: cited with their complete URL.
A Teaching Atlas, a work found on the shelves of nearly We are fortunate to have counted on the coopera-
every teacher of Latin American history and/or geogra- tion of a number of talented individuals, without whom
phy. A paperback version of that book was released in this project would never have been completed. In
1984. Our book is an update of these two important texts Bogotá, Mónica Hernández assisted with research.
and builds on new research, theories, and realities in Latin Liliana Mejía provided technical support and transferred
America’s ever-evolving and increasingly complex history our map designs to the appropriate computer programs.
and culture. A work that has also been of vital importance Lance Ingwersen, in Memphis, assisted with research,
to us in preparing the current text is the 1988 Atlas editing, and technical support. He also reviewed the
histórico-cultural de América by Francisco Morales Padrón, entire manuscript in the final phase and helped with
a Spanish intellectual and professor in Seville. The work Spanish to English translations. Wesley Ingwersen, an
was published in two volumes in Las Palmas de Gran environmental scientist in Gainesville, Florida, wrote
Canaria (Canary Islands). an early draft of the essay “A Deforestation Estimate”
In the work before you, the maps were drawn after and supplied the research for our map of the same title.
the corresponding essays were written; while some in- Professor Tim Watkins, a musicologist at Rhodes Col-
formation will overlap, each map/essay is designed to lege, wrote a first draft of the essay “Music of Latin
provide a complementary textual and visual comprehen- America.” Brian Shaffer, at Rhodes College, provided
sion of a specific topic. The actual map sketches are origi- start-up research funds. At M.E. Sharpe, Debra Soled
nal designs by Liliana Mejía based on outline maps found provided excellent technical advice and Niels Aaboe
at All of worked with us on editorial development of the project.
the maps in this text use the political boundaries of Patricia Kolb, Angela Piliouras, and Nicole Cirino
“present-day” Latin America; this will provide a com- guided the project to publication. The careful
mon point of reference for students using the atlas. Some copyediting of Susanna Sharpe improved this project
of the statistical information used to construct the maps immeasurably.


Primary Geographic Features

atin American geography is nearly impossible to Latin America’s geography. First, moving from the Atlan-
define in one short essay. The vastness and com- tic toward the Pacific Ocean, there are the high eastern
plexity of “Latin America” comprises virtually all plains of Brazil and Guyana; the second division is gener-
of the geographic characteristics found in the world. There ally referred to as vast interior lowlands, which extend
are mountains, far-reaching river systems, deserts, grassy (north–south) from Venezuela to Argentina and conform
plains, high tropical plateaus (called páramos), jungles, about five general geographic subdivisions: the llanos (or
even glaciers. For the purposes of this essay, Latin America grassy plains of Venezuela and Colombia), the Amazon
will be defined as all territory south of the border that flatlands, the Chaco region of eastern Bolivia, the Argen-
separates the United States and Mexico. The Caribbean tine grasslands known as the Pampas, and the Patagonia
islands conquered and colonized by countries with Latin- plateau. This zone is comprised of the important Orinoco,
derivative languages will be included as well; Cuba is de- Amazon, and River Plate river systems and tributaries. Fi-
fined as Latin America, while Aruba is not. Climates vary nally, there are the western highlands, which extend from
from tropical to temperate. The equator bisects South the south of Chile to the north of Mexico and through the
America at Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Brazil, but cli- Antilles. The Andes mountain range forms the spine of the
mactic conditions are a function of many factors, includ- Latin American continent: the mountains begin in south-
ing altitude. Thus, the city of Quito, which sits on the ern Chile, divide in two places in Bolivia, run through Peru
equator at 2,800 meters, is cold and damp while Manaus, and Ecuador, divide again in Colombia, and terminate in
in Brazil (at about the same latitude), sits along the Ama- Venezuela and Colombia at the Caribbean Sea. Mexico is
zon River and has a more tropical climate. characterized by vast deserts in the north, and mountains
Latin America consists of approximately 42 million in the south, west, and central regions of the country.
square kilometers, but much of the Latin American conti- This general outline of Latin American geography hardly
nent is not populated by humans. Latin American geogra- reflects the complexity of individual areas. For example,
phy—rivers, mountains, and jungles—has presented major Peru’s geography alone contains a dry western coast influ-
obstacles and opportunities for the development of hu- enced by the Pacific Ocean Humboldt current, which brings
man civilization. Before the arrival of the European con- cold, moist air to the Peruvian coast. Rising up to the im-
querors, Native Americans lived in relative isolation in mediate east of the coast are the dramatic Andes, with many
diverse areas of Latin America. The nomadic Tupi in South- fertile hamlets, once home to the great Inca civilization. To
east Brazil had little in common with the Aztecs of the the east of the Andes lies a vast tropical jungle. Peruvian
Central Valley of Mexico, or the Caribbean Arawak peoples. geography is no more or less complex than that of other
These distinct civilizations were shaped, to a large degree, nations of Latin America, but the Peruvian case shows that
by the surrounding geographic and climactic factors. Eu- human exigency has tended to overcome and adapt to com-
ropeans, upon arriving in America in 1492, were astounded plex terrain in Peru and in Latin America in general.
by the variety of flora and fauna, and the diverse geogra- The geography of Latin America helps explain the
phy of the American continent. They believed that they history of the region. It is impossible to speak of any
had “discovered” a sort of Utopia that offered refuge from sort of Latin American unification, as geographic reality
the wars, famines, and plagues of Europe. prevents, for all practical purposes, territorial unity. Thus,
Additionally, Latin America offered a vast array of natural the individual personalities and characteristics of the
resources that were of paramount importance to the in- distinct Latin American peoples were shaped by geo-
vading Europeans. Silver and gold could be found in graphic factors, then reshaped by the European conquer-
Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia; sugar adapted easily ors who arrived in the late fifteenth century.
to the climactic conditions of the Northeast of Brazil and
the Caribbean islands; cacao became the principle export BIBLIOGRAPHY
of what would become known as Venezuela. The diverse Clawson, David L. 1997. Latin America and the Caribbean Lands and
agricultural and mineral wealth reflected the wide array of Peoples. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Cunill Grau, Pedro. 1999. “La geohistoria.” In Para una historia de América
climates and geography in the Latin American region. Latina, I. Las estructuras, ed. Marcello Carmagnani, Alicia Hernández
There are three basic structural divisions that help clarify Chávez, Ruggiero Romano. México, DF: FCE y El Colegio de México.

The Peoples and Nations

atin America today is comprised of twenty politi- lands of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Hispaniola (which
cally independent nations, and the people who comprises the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Re-
inhabit the region are as diverse as the geography public). Large concentrations of Native Americans are
that tends to separate them.1 Two-thirds of all Latin found in the highlands of Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia,
Americans live in the three most populous countries, Ecuador, and Paraguay. Significant concentrations of
Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. The political bound- Europeans are found in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, and
aries are somewhat artificial constructs, developed pri- the major metropolitan areas of most other Latin
marily by the Spaniards and Portuguese as a way of American countries.
ordering and controlling vast territories and millions of The role of the Roman Catholic Church has been
people. During the nineteenth century, the newly inde- extraordinary in shaping Latin America’s diverse cul-
pendent nations of Latin America constructed territorial ture: most people still identify themselves, nominally
boundaries that roughly resembled the Spanish- at least, as Catholic, though the growth of evangeli-
Portuguese delineations. The boundaries would reflect cal Protestantism in the region has been remarkable,
the priorities of Europeans in America; thus, the territo- especially in the past twenty years in Chile, Brazil,
rial division of Latin America in the early republic pe- and Central America. Portuguese is spoken by about
riod began with unfortunate consequences for the people. 185 million residents of Brazil, while Spanish is the
For example, Aymara-speaking peoples in the south of dominant language in the rest of Latin America. How-
Peru were divided by a political boundary: those living ever, large percentages of the populations of Peru,
to the north identified themselves as Peruvians, whereas Bolivia, and Guatemala speak Native American lan-
those to the south referred to themselves as Bolivians. guages, including Quechua, Aymara, and Quiché. The
The same occurred with indigenous peoples living along official language of Paraguay is not Spanish but
the borders between Ecuador and Peru, Ecuador and Guaraní.
Colombia, and Mexico and Guatemala. Latin America, it is important to note, is a remark-
Latin Americans are not a singular people, and the able melting pot—more so, perhaps, than the United
distinct cultures and histories of the immense Latin States. Most Latin Americans, culturally and racially, fall
American region defy clear or facile definitions. It is somewhere “in between.” Categories that are normally
impossible to assign a general physiognomic charac- assigned in the United States (black or white, for ex-
terization to “Latin Americans.” The people are de- ample) fail to capture the reality of Latin American
scendents of Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, mestizaje, or race-mixing, over time. The nature of con-
and people of Middle Eastern and Asian origin. The tact and conquest, the number and influence of Native
distribution of these peoples and their descendents var- American communities, and the African presence all in-
ies throughout the region and reflects a dynamic fluence the contour of mestizaje in Latin America and
sociopolitical and economic exchange over a lengthy make it impossible to draw exact definitions when dis-
time period. The largest concentrations of Asians in cussing the Latin American people. Yet, though racially
Latin America are found in Peru (mostly descendents mixed over time and place, social (and racial) segrega-
of Chinese workers who migrated in the nineteenth tion continues to pose historic challenges to Latin Ameri-
century) and Brazil (mostly Japanese in origin, who can citizens and societies.
migrated to Brazil and settled primarily in the city of
São Paulo in the first half of the twentieth century, NOTE
1. We are not counting the countries of Belize, Jamaica, or Guyana,
particularly in the interwar years). People of African Suriname, and French Guiana in our calculation of the number of Latin
descent are concentrated in the Northeast of Brazil American countries. For the Caribbean, we include Haiti, the Dominican
Republic, and Cuba as “Latin American countries.”
(where they were forced to work as slaves during the
sugar plantation boom of the sixteenth and seventeenth BIBLIOGRAPHY
centuries), on the north coast of South America, the Asociación Latinoamericana de Estudios Afroasiáticos (ALADAA). 1983.
northern Pacific coast of South America (including the Asia y África en América Latina. Tunja: Universidad Pedagógica y
Tecnológica de Colombia.
Colombian Chocó, the lowlands of Ecuador, and the Stein, Stanley, and Barbara Stein. 1970. The Colonial Heritage of Latin
northwestern region of Peru), and the Caribbean is- America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Indigenous America Today

o one knows for certain how many Native agenda in key areas of Latin America. First, a new con-
Americans lived in the territory called Latin stitution in Colombia in 1991 declared the nation to
America before the arrival of the Europeans. be “multicultural” and acknowledged the presence of
It is known that tens of millions of natives died as a indigenous persons. This document promised to use
result of European disease, dislocation, excessive state power to protect them. Nineteen ninety-one
work, and de facto enslavement by the Spaniards and marked the first time in Colombian history that any
Portuguese. The colonial structure in Latin America such recognition was offered. Second, in 1992, the
relegated indigenous culture to a secondary plane— Nobel Academy in Oslo awarded the Peace Prize to
in fact, in many places, Native Americans were forced Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Quiché-speaking woman
to adopt the culture, religion, language, and customs who fought to expose the genocide committed in the
of their European masters and were told to forget 1970s and 1980s against native Guatemalans. Two years
about indigenous customs, considered (by Europeans) later, on January 1, 1994, in Mexico, the EZLN
backward at best and barbaric in the most extreme (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) made a dra-
cases. matic entrance onto the world scene by taking several
It was not until the early twentieth century that a towns in the south of Mexico and declaring itself against
clear celebration of indigenous culture took shape in the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
much of Latin America. Indigenismo, as the movement The EZLN is still fighting for the rights of the poor,
came to be known, was most apparent in Mexico, Peru, mostly indigenous people, who live in southern Mexico
and some parts of Brazil. Intellectuals, particularly at in extreme conditions. Recent developments in Ecua-
the conclusion of World War I, decided to look inward dor and Bolivia, where important indigenous resistance
at their own history and culture. The prior model, in has led to the collapse of government in both places,
effect since the conquest, was to assume that all that clearly show that indigenous issues, priorities, and cul-
was “good” culturally (language, religion, law, govern- ture can no longer be ignored by central governments,
ment) originated in Europe. Yet the Latin American love particularly in countries with a strong Native Ameri-
affair with Europe changed as the savagery of World can presence.
War I ground on. After about 1920 it became fashion-
able to celebrate indigenous culture, study native lan-
guages and traditions, and reflect on the importance of Table 1.1
Native Americans as contributors to Latin American Indigenous Latin American Languages
Today, millions of Latin Americans speak Native Language Country Number of Speakers
American languages and live in communities dominated
Quechua Peru, Brazil, Bolivia,
by native customs and traditions. In Peru, Bolivia, Ecua- Argentina, Ecuador,
dor, and Colombia some 8.5 million people speak Colombia 8.5 million
Quechua. In Paraguay, the official language of the re- Guaraní Paraguay 3 million
public is Guaraní, spoken by about 3 million Paraguay- Quiché Guatemala 1.3 million
ans. Quiché is spoken by over a million residents of Náhuatl Mexico 1.3 million
Guatemala, and Náhuatl is spoken by about 1.3 million Otomí Mexico 261,000
Mexicans. Totonaco Mexico 215,000
Still, despite impressive gains in recognition during Miskitu Nicaragua, Honduras 200,000
the twentieth century, Native American communities Jíbaro Ecuador, Peru 50,000
and cultures remain isolated, marginalized, and Cuna Panama 50,000
underappreciated throughout much of Latin America. Emberá Panama, Colombia 40,000
Recently, a number of significant indigenous uprisings Ticuna Peru, Colombia, Brazil 21,000
have taken hold, demonstrating the precarious posi-
tion of millions of citizens within the region. Several Source: Table taken and adapted from Enrique Yepes “Las otras civilizaciones
important events have shaped an indigenous political precolumbinas” at


Theories of Arrival and Paleolithic America

here are fairly clear dates for the arrival to over various centuries. Rivet based his findings on
America of Europeans and Africans. In Octo- similar physiognomic characteristics found among the
ber 1492, the Italian Christopher Colum- peoples and used a linguistic categorization as well,
bus—contracted by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand noting that many similar words could be found be-
and Isabelle—arrived in the Antilles and planted the tween Melanesian and Native American languages.
Spanish flag on American soil. By 1518 the first en- In 1947, the Norwegian anthropologist Thor
slaved sub-Saharan Africans arrived. Their presence Heyerdahl crossed the Pacific Ocean, starting in Peru,
had a dramatic impact on the economy and culture and arrived at the Polynesian Islands. He was thus
of Latin America, especially around the Caribbean able to show the “possibility” that such a voyage took
basin and northeastern Brazil. But scholars are less place; his raft, called the Kon-Tiki, was made of ma-
clear as to when the first Native Americans arrived terials found in Polynesia in the earliest days of
on the American continent, and that important is- Polynesian civilization.
sue has been the subject of a long, sometimes con- Still another such voyage took place in 1970 when
tentious debate. Heyerdahl crossed the Atlantic on a raft made from
According to the U.S. anthropologist Eric Wolf in the papyrus used in ancient Egyptian raft-building.
his classic book Sons of the Shaking Earth, humans The voyage took the anthropologist from Morocco
began arriving to the Americas about 20,000 years to Barbados. Scholars have, in the past, tried to con-
ago, at a time when a Siberian land-bridge existed nect ancient Egyptian society with ancient American,
between what is today the northeast corner of the suggesting that similarities in architectural style (the
Soviet Union and the far western edge of Alaska. The pyramids of Egypt and the pyramids of southern
earliest Americans, then, most likely originated in Mexico and Central America) must have been trans-
Central Asia, or the territory today called Mongolia. mitted from Egypt to America. However, no clear
This “one-place origin” thesis suggests that early connection has ever been proven, and now, most
Americans fanned out north–south and settled scholars understand the American pyramids as
throughout two continents; they were the precursors uniquely shaped by the cultural, religious, and envi-
of the great settled civilizations and nomadic peoples ronmental properties of Mesoamerica.
encountered by the Europeans after 1492. Anthro- Theories abound as to the origins of the first
pologists, archeologists, and biologists have consid- Americans. Yet during the Ice Age, ocean levels were
ered the similarities in physiognomic type between lower. Thus, it is likely that the American and Asian
pure Native Americans and the people who today continents were connected by some type of land-
inhabit Mongolia in Central Asia. But, it seems likely bridge that allowed passage over a ninety-kilometer
that there were successive migratory waves to America distance from Asia to America. Most evidence points
across the Bering Strait, and, given the ethnic, cul- to a gradual, slow, successive migratory process from
tural, and linguistic diversity of the people who would Central Asia to America at what is today the Bering
come to inhabit “America,” it is unlikely that only Strait. Our map shows eight select sites in the Ameri-
one group from Central Asia arrived and populated cas that have yielded evidence of early human habi-
two continents with offspring. tation; we have included an approximate date of
The French anthropologist Paul Rivet posited a human arrival.
“multiple-origin” theory, which suggested that
America was populated with people from many places, BIBLIOGRAPHY
not just Central Asia. He theorized that migratory Bethell, Leslie. 2001. History of Latin America, vol. I. Colonial Latin
America: Pre-Columbian America and the Conquest. Barcelona: Crítica.
waves from Australia, Melanesia, Central Asia, and Wolf, Eric R. 1959. Sons of the Shaking Earth. Chicago: University of
North Alaska (Eskimos) arrived, in the order listed, Chicago Press.

Mexico, Central America, and the Antilles Before 1500

he highly stratified and advanced societies Teotihuacán, the latter representing a great city, and
of Middle America (or Mesoamerica) one of the most important examples of early classical
shocked the Europeans who arrived there Middle American civilization, generally dated between
about 1519. The Spaniards never imagined that a 200–600 C.E.
sophisticated, settled civilization could exist in The Mayan civilization spread throughout the
America, and the cultural clash that began in 1492 Yucatan Peninsula in what is today southern Mexico,
in the Caribbean continued when the Spaniards Guatemala, Belize, and some parts of Honduras and
fought against, and eventually defeated, the mighty El Salvador. There are more than fifty important
Aztec civilization with its capital at Tenochtitlán. But Mayan archeological sites, all of which were inhab-
the Aztecs were not the first people to inhabit the ited during the classical period, about 600–800 C.E.
Central Valley of Mexico; in fact, they were relative Settlements in Guatemala, along the Caribbean coast,
latecomers. Many civilizations developed and col- defined the early period of Mayan history (to about
lapsed in the area of Central Mexico and what is 800 C.E.); the second period, from the ninth century
today Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula. to the arrival of the Europeans, was marked by a shift
Sedentary and semi-sedentary peoples lived on toward the Yucatan Peninsula and away from the coast
the Caribbean islands before 1492, and the largest and interior of Guatemala/southern Mexico. Many
communities were inhabited by Arawak, Taino, and factors might have contributed to the move north,
Siboney. These people lived on the islands of including natural disasters (earthquakes and drought),
Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. The Caribs lived overpopulation, disease, and social conflict. But the
on scattered, smaller islands throughout the Carib- early Mayan civilization, in full force at about the
bean and were considered the most hostile people time of Christ’s birth, was truly remarkable consider-
in the region. One of the best sources for under- ing what remains, architecturally, today: Palenque,
standing the native peoples of the Caribbean is found Tikal, and Copán (found in Mexico, Guatemala, and
in the writing of the sixteenth-century Dominican Honduras, respectively) were centers of great learn-
priest, Father (Fray) Bartolomé de las Casas. In ing and artistic achievement. Mathematics and as-
Historia de las Indias, Las Casas rendered an exten- tronomy were perfected during this time, calendars
sive, surprisingly complimentary ethnographic and were developed, and human figures were carved into
historical account of Caribbean natives. There were friezes on Mayan temples.
probably between 750,000 and one million people The Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America were
living on the Caribbean islands before the arrival of hardly unpopulated, uncultured lands before the ar-
Columbus. Most of them lived on Hispaniola, the rival of the Europeans in the late fifteenth century. A
island that today is home to Haiti and the Domini- vast array of nomadic and settled peoples lived in these
can Republic. territories; the Zapotec, Maya, and Toltec peoples are
About 5,000 B.C.E. the people of Mesoamerica cre- considered early geniuses on both American conti-
ated settled communities and learned to cultivate nents. They developed thriving civilizations, left be-
maíz, or corn. One of the most important groups to hind monumental architecture, and dispelled any
settle in the Central Valley of Mexico, the Toltecs, notion of culture as “arriving” from Europe in 1492.
originated in the northwest (in what is today Arizona
and New Mexico in the United States) and moved BIBLIOGRAPHY
down into the fertile Central Valley in waves. They Bailey, Helen Miller, and Abraham P. Nasatir. 1968. Latin America:
The Development of Its Civilization. 2d ed. Englewood Cliffs:
were great artisans and builders and fierce warriors Prentice Hall.
who conquered sedentary groups that stood in their Fuentes, Carlos. 1992. The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the
New World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
way. The Toltecs (C. 900–1100 C.E.) left impressive Las Casas, Bartolomé de. 1992. A Short Account of the Devastation of
architectural monuments at Tula, Cholula, and the Indies. London: Penguin Books.

South America Before 1500

he great civilizations of South America, spe- portant civilization based on a fertile, high plateau,
cifically the Inca Empire—which ran from or savannah, called Bacatá (today, Bogotá). They also
Bolivia and northern Chile, through Ecuador dominated the land north of Bogotá, and it is esti-
and Peru, to present-day Colombia—were hardly the mated that their civilization had reached a popula-
first important civilizations to inhabit the South tion of just over one million at the time of Spanish
American continent. Ancient Peruvian civilization was conquest in the early sixteenth century. The Muiscas
characterized by extensive coastal and highland com- developed advanced social structures, an elaborate
munities to the north, east, and south of present-day trade network, and organized religious identity. They
Lima. One of the most impressive coastal cities, Chan traded salt from an important mine at nearby
Chan, was home to the Chimus, skilled craftspeople Zipaquirá.
who perfected the art of pottery making. Coastal civi- People belonging to the Arawak linguistic family
lization developed once people learned to grow cot- occupied the eastern plains of Colombia, extending
ton, from which nets could be woven to catch fish. into Venezuela. Carib-speaking peoples lived on the
Water was transported using gourds, and later clay northern coast of South America. Another impres-
pots, and a vast economic exchange developed be- sive civilization established itself around the present-
tween specialized peoples on the coast and the inte- day city of Santa Marta (Colombia); the Tairona are
rior civilizations. Chibcha-speaking peoples whose descendents still live
One of the earliest Peruvian highland civilizations, in and around the Sierra Nevada mountains of Santa
Chavín, existed at an altitude of about 3,000 meters Marta.
(above 10,000 feet) in the eastern Andes and flour- In present-day Paraguay, the Guaraní established
ished from 1000 to 300 B.C.E. In Peru, people living an important civilization and their language is spo-
in the highlands depended on coastal peoples for salt, ken by millions of Paraguayans. The Guaraní settled
pottery, and cotton, while the highlands provided in small communities where they farmed and traded
wool, potatoes, and corn. In the southern area of with Aymara-speaking peoples from Bolivia. Their
Peru, around Lake Titicaca, the primary language relatives, the Tupi-Guaraní, lived in contemporary
group was Aymara; further north, the people spoke Brazil, along the coast. The Tupi were semi-seden-
Quechua. tary peoples who lived off of fish and cultivated man-
By the fifteenth century, Tawantinsuyu, or the ioc root, or cassava.
Inca state, came to dominate much of western South Thus, a vast matrix of indigenous civilizations ex-
America. The camino real represented a network isted throughout South America at the time of the
of roads extending out from and through the city Spanish conquest. The Native Americans produced,
of Cuzco—the capital of the Inca Empire located traded, lived in complex societies, and left behind
in southern Peru. The earliest accounts of the Inca impressive architectural monuments and hand-crafted
Empire are from “The Inca” Garcilaso de la Vega, evidence, all of which shed light on the development
son of a Spaniard and an Inca princess, born in 1539 of important civilizations in South America prior to
in Cuzco. De la Vega, a mestizo, wrote Historia 1500.
general del Perú in 1617, in which he emphasized
the contributions of the Inca civilization, de-em- BIBLIOGRAPHY
Moseley, Michael. 1992. The Incas and Their Ancestors. New York:
phasized the contributions of their forefathers, and Thames and Hudson.
suggested that Andean civilization began with the Rojas Rabiela, Teresa (dir.), and John V. Murra (co-dir.). 1999. Historia
Inca peoples. general de América Latina. Vol. 1, Las sociedades originarias.
Madrid: Editorial Trotta.
In what is today Colombia, the Muisca peoples Safford Frank, and Marco Palacios. 2002. Colombia: Fragmented Land,
(generally referred to as Chibchas) established an im- Divided Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

Exploration of the Atlantic and
the West African Coast

he Italian navigator Christopher Columbus was Commercial interests also motivated the Portu-
not the first European to contemplate and guese. Slaves, gold, ivory, cotton, and spices could
study the Atlantic Ocean. The Italians, Span- be taken from Africa. The Portuguese sailed to Ma-
ish, and Portuguese were the principal sea-faring deira and the Azore islands, and from there to Af-
southern Europeans in the fifteenth century, but the rica in search of riches; with the support of the
Portuguese clearly led the way. papacy, they laid claim to a large portion of West
Technological advances, including Portuguese per- Africa, including Ghana, Benin, Gabon, and Mali.
fection of the astrolabe and compass, greatly assisted Much of the wealth generated was in human cargo:
Portuguese pilots in the fourteenth century. Other In 1441, people from sub-Saharan Africa were
factors facilitated Portugal’s rise as early world sea brought back to Portugal as slaves. At Arguin Bay,
power: first, geography—Portugal’s western bound- Africa, a slave-trading post was set up through which
ary is the Atlantic Ocean; second, the port city of enslaved Africans were transported to Lisbon, the
Lisbon helped the territory referred to by the Romans primary slave port in Europe at this time. Some Af-
as Lusitania emerge as a major sea power; third, com- rican leaders were interested in exchanging slaves
pared to the neighboring kingdoms in Spain, the Por- for European products, such as weapons and horses.
tuguese unified earlier, and expelled the Moors more In 1443, one horse, for example, could be exchanged
efficiently. Thus, by the early fifteenth century, Por- for 25 to 30 African slaves. Though other Europe-
tugal was a strong, independent kingdom under the ans would become involved in the overseas slave
rule of King John the Great (r. 1385–1433) and man- trade after 1441 (including the Dutch, Spanish, Bel-
aged to remain independent from the surrounding gians, British, and French), the Portuguese have the
Spanish kingdoms. King John opened up an early dubious distinction of setting the template, in mod-
entrance into Africa by capturing the port of Ceuta, ern times, for the removal of Africans from their
situated on the African side of Gibraltar. homelands and their enslavement in other parts of
Prince Henry the Navigator (1394–1460), son of the world.
King John, is generally credited with advancing the Christian Europe panicked when Constantinople
Portuguese seaborne empire. Henry’s motivations fell to the forces of Islam in 1453. That event
were religious and commerical; like many devout pushed Europeans to search for a westward sea
Christians of his day, he believed that the best way route to the fabled riches of the East (India); logi-
to definitively beat the Muslim forces and their in- cally, the Portuguese would take the lead in this
fluence was through an “encircling” strategy, venture given the decades of seaborne experience
whereby Christian Europe would engulf Muslim Af- accumulated during the early part of the fifteenth
rica and Constantinople. To accomplish this, the Por- century.
tuguese would sail out into the Atlantic and down
the West African coast. At Sagres, in southwest Por- NOTE
1. Helen Miller Bailey and Abraham P. Nasatir, Latin America: The
tugal, Henry presided over a naval institute where Development of Its Civilization, 2d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall,
he surrounded himself with naval experts and “built 1968), p. 29.
an observatory, made maps and charts, built ships,
trained pilots, and received reports from his cap- BIBLIOGRAPHY
Gibson, Charles. 1966. Spain in America. New York: Harper and Row.
tains who were year by year working farther down Stein, Stanley, and Barbara Stein. 1970. The Colonial Heritage of Latin
the shoulder of Africa.”1 America. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Four Voyages of Columbus

hristopher Columbus, son of a Genovese his crew explored the Caribbean islands of Cuba,
wool merchant, sailed for Spain in 1492 and and Hispaniola. They returned to Spain having left
is credited with “discovering” America. Nei- some crew members behind at Hispaniola and they
ther Italian nor Portuguese merchants/nobility were took some Native Americans with them as evidence
interested in contracting the young, brash navigator that they had, in fact, been somewhere that was un-
who proposed sailing straight out into the Atlantic mistakably not Europe. The second voyage took
to arrive at India. The Portuguese were well on their place immediately after the first. This journey (1493),
way, by 1492, to establishing important trading colo- which comprised seventeen ships, took Columbus
nies along the African coast, which brought great and his crew to the Lesser Antilles, Hispaniola, and
riches to Portuguese merchants and noblemen. By other minor islands in the Caribbean. The third voy-
contrast, the Italians had a well-established trade age, in 1498, took Columbus to the mainland of
network throughout the Mediterranean world. By South America at the Orinoco River, and from there
Columbus’s own calculations, thirty to forty days’ he headed to Santo Domingo, the capital of what is
sailing from the Canary Islands, due west, would put today the Dominican Republic. The final voyage
him in India. Columbus knew the earth was round; lasted from 1502 to 1504 and was fraught with dif-
what he did not know about was the presence of ficulties. Columbus returned to Spain a broken man,
two significant obstacles that would prevent him unsure of his legacy, and confounded by a Carib-
from achieving his objective—the American landmass bean that refused to yield India.
and the Pacific Ocean. Columbus’s own log reveals the real motivation
One reason Spain accepted Columbus’s plan and behind his journey: fortune and fame. The word oro,
financed his voyage involved the luck of timing. In or gold, is used about seventy-five times in the
1492, the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile, unified Admiral’s own writings, and at the time of his death
in the arranged marriage of Ferdinand and Isabelle in 1506, he insisted that he had been to the Far East.
in 1469, finally defeated the forces of Islam at the Others were not so certain, and all the evidence
Battle of Granada. The wars of reconquest—la brought back by Columbus, as well as the trajectories
reconquista—had lasted since the year 711, when of his four voyages, suggested that some other place
the Iberian Peninsula was quickly and dramatically lay between Europe and India. But Columbus’s con-
overrun by Muslims from the north of Africa. With tribution to world history is singular: he was bold
Spain firmly in the hands of the Catholic monarchs and daring, stubborn and superior, and the legacy he
for the first time in 800 years, the king and queen brought to America—the notion that Europeans were
could contemplate a more expansive role for Spain superior beings compared to the Native American
in the world, and so they contracted Columbus in peoples who resided in America—lasted for centuries.
In September 1492, Columbus left the Spanish
mainland and headed for the Canary Islands. From Carpentier, Alejo. 1990. The Harp and the Shadow. San Francisco: Mer-
there, he headed east, and after about a month at cury House.
Gibson, Charles. 1966. Spain in America. New York: Harper Torchbooks.
sea, Rodrigo de Triana sighted land and the island Phillips, William D., and Carla Rhan Phillips. 1992. The Worlds of
encountered was named San Salvador: Columbus and Christopher Columbus. New York: Cambridge University Press.

America: The Name

hat is America, and where does the name globe, which, since Amerigo discovered it, may be called
come from? Who is American? These are Amerigo’s land.”1
questions that seem simple enough to an- A few years before Vespucci’s voyage, and only two
swer, but in reality, the answers are complex and far years after Columbus’s first voyage, a line of demar-
from clear. cation was drawn by the pope that separated Spanish
In contemporary days, many citizens of the United and Portuguese claims in the New World. The Treaty
States of America assume that they are “Americans” of Tordesillas (1494) essentially set the boundaries
and that the word “American” distinguishes them from between Portuguese America and Spanish America.
other peoples of other nations. However, America is Still, though, Spain referred to its overseas New World
both a geographic and cultural term. It has linguistic holdings with Spanish place names: Mexico was New
implications and a long historic significance. Spain, or “Nueva España”; Colombia was the New King-
Geographically speaking, there are two continents dom of Granada or “El Nuevo Reino de Granada.” It
that carry the name America: One is South America, was not until the period of independence that the re-
which refers to all the territory south of Panama, and public names, as we know many of them today, were
the other is North America, comprising three coun- registered—political independence created artificial bor-
tries—Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In be- ders that separated peoples into distinct nations.
tween, there are the seven Central American republics. The term “Latin America” originated in nine-
The residents of any of these countries can call them- teenth-century France: the French, trying to increase
selves Americans; they all are Americans in the sense their world profile, especially after 1848, applied a
that they live on one or two of the American conti- linguistic categorization to America and referred to
nents, or the lands in between. all territories in the Americas with Latin-derivative
In all of the Americas, there are only three coun- languages as “Latin America.” This way their claim
tries named for a specific historic person. Bolivia is to the region (however small in the nineteenth cen-
named for the hero of Latin American independence, tury) would be valid. By the French definition, the
Simón Bolívar. Colombia is named for Cristóbal Colón United States is not part of Latin America, but Bra-
(Spanish for Christopher Columbus), and the United zil is. Belize is not part of Latin America but Colom-
States of America is named after the Italian explorer, bia is. Haiti is also considered part of Latin America.
commercial trader, and mapmaker Amerigo Vespucci. The Spanish, in the twentieth century, devised yet
Most accounts of Vespucci’s voyage are unclear, another way to distinguish the Americas in a manner
though we know he made at least one voyage to the that gave Spain the linguistic advantage: they used
territories that bear his name in the late 1490s or 1502. the term Ibero-América to refer to those countries
Vespucci was a vivid and dedicated letter writer; some where Spanish was the primary language spoken, or
of his letters were published in Florence. In those let- where Spain was the primary colonizing nation.
ters, Vespucci claimed that a “New World” had been While America has many meanings to different
found, at the same time Columbus was still insisting people, all people who live on the two American conti-
that the Caribbean was some sort of eastern shelf of nents and in the seven countries between those conti-
India. Vespucci, of course, was right, and the proper nents are correct in referring to themselves as Americans.
name for the “New World” gradually became America. NOTE
This occurred thanks to a German geographer: the idea 1. Helen Miller Bailey and Abraham P. Nasatir, Latin America: The
Development of Its Civilization, 2d ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice
of naming all of the lands of the “New World” America Hall, 1968), p. 88.
is attributed to Martin Waldseemüller, who added
Vespucci’s letters to a textbook he published in 1507. Gibson, Charles. 1966. Spain in America. New York: Harper Torchbooks.
One source states that the geographer, in explaining Lambert, Jacques. 1967. Latin America: Social Structures and Political
Institutions. Berkeley: University of California Press.
the four parts of the world (Europe, Asia, Africa, and Langley, Lester D. 1989. America and the Americas. Athens: University
the “New World”) wrote, “and the fourth part of the of Georgia Press.

The First Voyages Around the Globe

he Portuguese, with an established record of Spice Islands in the Far East and were pleased with
maritime travel along the African coast dur- maintenance of the status quo.
ing the fifteenth century, would be the first The world, dominated by Portuguese and Span-
European power to arrive at India, land at Brazil, and ish ships, grew much larger—at least in the imagina-
circumnavigate the world. The riches accumulated and tions of Europeans—when in 1513 Vasco Núñez de
experience gained during their century of explora- Balboa saw the Pacific Ocean at Panama. Magellan’s
tion made them the likely contenders to develop a plan, which was put into effect five years after this
trade network that was, for that time, worldwide. “discovery,” involved sailing around the tip of South
With overland trade virtually cut off after 1453, America at the strait later named for him and pro-
the Portuguese were especially motivated and ea- ceeding to India via the Pacific Ocean. Magellan,
ger to reach the Far East by sea. In 1488, killed in the Philippines, never actually made it
Bartolemeu Dias was the first European to make it around the world, but the expedition he directed
around the Cape of Good Hope in a ship, but a continued without him, led by the second in com-
mutiny by his crew ended his voyage earlier than mand, Juan Sebastián del Cano. Cano stopped at the
planned. In 1498, Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese Spice Islands, headed around the Cape of Good
sailor, followed the route established by Dias and Hope, and returned to Spain. The journey took three
arrived at India. He returned to Lisbon with pre- years. According to Charles Gibson, “the Magellan–
cious silks, spices, and other products native to the del Cano expedition demonstrated empirically [the
region. Two years later, in 1500, Pedro Álvares earth’s] approximate size and above all indicated that
Cabral landed at the northeast tip of Brazil. The an enormous expanse of water separated the west-
territory was named for a type of wood found there ern coast of America from the Far East.”1
(brazilwood), which was made into a rich, red dye. In a relatively short period of time, tiny Portugal
Legend has it that Cabral’s fleet was blown off came to dominate trade in much of the world. Tech-
course by fierce winds, but some scholars suggest nological innovation, careful planning, outright
that his off-course jog into the heart of the expand- exploitation, and the perfection of overseas transpor-
ing Spanish overseas empire was actually inten- tation were keys to Portuguese success. But Portuguese
tional. In any event, Cabral claimed the territory dominance of the seas would be short-lived, for the
of Brazil for Portugal, and then left to continue his Spanish, Dutch, French, and English would all partici-
voyage to the Far East. The Portuguese overseas pate in this expanding and profitable venture during
empire, by the earliest days of the sixteenth cen- the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.
tury, extended from Africa to India, through Java,
and onward to China and Japan. NOTE
Not surprisingly, the first voyage around the globe 1. Charles Gibson, Spain in America (New York: Harper and Row,
1966), p. 19.
was undertaken by a Portuguese sailor, Ferdinand
Magellan (Fernando de Magalhães). Magellan,
though, sailed under the Spanish flag and his voyage Burns, E. Bradford. 1970. A History of Brazil. New York: Columbia Uni-
was intended to further Spanish claims in the Far versity Press.
Levine, Robert M. 1997. Brazilian Legacies. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
East. The Portuguese attempted to squelch his voy- Worcester, Donald. 1973. Brazil: From Colony to World Power. New York:
age, as they were deriving enormous profit from the Charles Scribner’s Sons.

From Trading Post to Colonies:
The Creation of the Grand Antilles

olumbus’s voyages led to a new understand- Of course, the Burgos Laws were unenforceable
ing of world geography, the flora and fauna and were not obeyed by Spaniards living in America.
present on earth, and of course, the human The Spaniards’ penchant for legalism is clearly evi-
societies that populated the planet. dent in the 1514 ordinance requiring Spaniards to
The “discovery” of America touched off a debate read a medieval document known as “the require-
in Europe on the nature of the people who lived in ment,” el requirimiento, before engaging in any con-
the New World. Native Americans had never before quest in the Americas. The statement, read to natives
been seen by Europeans, so they were thought—at in Latin, invited the opposing group to lay down their
first—to be related to, perhaps, one of the lost tribes weapons and accept the one true faith (the Catholic
of Israel. In fact, it was not until 1537 that the Ro- faith) and the Spanish monarchy. If they failed to ac-
man Catholic Church, via the papal bull Sublimus quiesce, then Spaniards could wage a “just war”
Deus, promulgated in 1537 by Pope Paul III, officially against them and all resulting death/destruction would
recognized the humanity of Native Americans, deem- be the fault of those who failed to yield to Spanish
ing them fit and equipped, as men, to receive the virtue. Father Bartolomé de las Casas, responding to
Catholic faith (and thus, salvation). the requirement, once said, “I don’t know whether
Unfortunately, the Caribbean became a sort of “test to laugh, or cry.”
case” for construction of a Spanish overseas empire In 1522, Las Casas published a work that is still
and the results were mostly disastrous. Nearly all of in print today, entitled The Devastation of the Indies.
the Native Americans living in the Caribbean died of The book is a graphic, systematic account of Span-
European disease and dislocation during the first forty ish cruelty in the Caribbean. Las Casas published
years of the Spaniards’ arrival in the Caribbean. The widely, during a long career, on native customs and
treatment of Native Americans by Spaniards generated traditions, and his ethnographic work is important
intense debate over the nature of Spanish rule in the in helping contemporary students understand Car-
Americas. Would the church priorities dominate, or ibbean traditions and cultures during the early years
would the priorities of the crown and the men who of the sixteenth century.
conquered on its behalf be followed? In December The Greater Antilles—the large islands of Cuba,
1511, the Dominican Father Antonio de Montesinos Hispaniola (shared by Haiti and the Dominican Re-
addressed this issue with a stinging attack against his public), Puerto Rico, and Jamaica—were fortified
fellow Spaniards for their cruel treatment of Native by Spaniards as they began their conquest of America.
Americans. Montesinos’s denunciation probably influ- When the majority of the Native Americans died,
enced the passing of the so-called “Leyes de Burgos” and as the Spaniards realized that there were no pre-
in 1512–13. The Burgos Laws attempted, for the first cious metals in the Caribbean, they largely aban-
time, to systematically govern the conquest of the doned the area and moved toward the American
Americas. They stipulated that the repartimiento, or mainland.
unsystematic division of Native Americans into Span-
ish-controlled work groups and towns, be outlawed. It BIBLIOGRAPHY
Gutiérrez, Gustavo. 1993. Las Casas: In Search of the Poor of Jesus Christ.
would be replaced with the medieval institution known New York: Orbis.
as the encomienda, which put Spaniards directly in Knight, Franklin W. 1990. The Caribbean. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Uni-
versity Press.
charge of Native Americans but implied and assigned Las Casas, Bartolomé de. 1992. The Devastation of the Indies: A Brief
duty and privilege to each party. Account. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Toward the Interior:
The Aztec Empire and Its Dominion

he conquest of the Aztec Empire was a singu- consider the cultural differences separating Aztecs
lar event in world history, and marked a new and Spaniards in 1519. The Aztecs were a people
beginning for European colonization projects steeped in myth and they adhered rigidly to their
in America. The Spaniards, after twenty-seven years tradition. Their lives centered on interpreting the
of searching, found the fabled city of riches, and both will of the gods and pleasing them, even though
Spanish and American history changed forever with the deities were thought to be somewhat whimsi-
the “discovery” of Tenochtitlán in 1519. The destruc- cal and vindictive. The Spaniards were, in 1519,
tion of the Aztec Empire meant the end of a young, certain of the righteousness of their project, believ-
creative, growing civilization; the massive clash of civi- ing that history and God were on their side. This
lizations from 1519 to 1521 left a legacy that is still had been “demonstrated” by the successful expul-
seen today in the racial/social tensions that mark sion of Muslim forces from Spain in 1492. Aztec
Mexican and Central American societies. skepticism and doubt ran headlong into Spanish
The leader of the expedition into the heart of certainty and confidence.
the Aztec Empire was a man from Medellín, Spain. Disease is another critical factor that helps explain
Hernán Cortés did not want to repeat his father’s the rapid decline of the mighty Aztec Empire. Euro-
destiny—that of a poor farmer in Spain—and his pean diseases took a toll on the Aztecs, and the vast
determination and audacity set the tone for the in- majority of the millions of people who died in the
vasion of Mexico. Moctezuma II, who became Central Valley of Mexico died of measles, smallpox,
leader of the Aztecs in 1502, was a man steeped in and whooping cough—European infirmities to which
tradition, myth, legend, and philosophy. Accord- they lacked natural immunities. Also, the Spaniards
ing to Aztec myth, Quetzalcóatl, the god of com- were assisted in their march from Veracruz to the Aztec
munity—the life-giver in Mesoamerican tradition capital through the forging of linkages with Aztec en-
—would return to Mexico by sea, from the east, emies, most notably at Tlaxcala, on the way to the
signifying the end of an era, that of the Fifth Sun. capital. One person—known to the Aztecs as
He was always depicted as a “fair-skinned” deity, Malintzin, to the Spaniards as Doña Marina, and to
and Moctezuma’s power lay in his ability to predict, contemporary Mexicans as La Malinche—figured
via reading natural portents, the date of prominently in the conquest of Mexico. She was the
Quetzalcóatl’s return. When Spanish ships—“float- translator for Spanish invaders, and bore Cortés’s son.
ing houses” according to Aztec spotters—were seen Mexicans view her as a traitor. More generous ac-
moving from the east toward the coast, Moctezuma’s counts refer to her as victim, but the fact is, her un-
training led to one conclusion: the return of derstanding of Náhuatl and rudimentary Spanish
Quetzalcóatl was at hand. assisted the Spaniards in their march toward
Thus, when the Spaniards arrived to Tenochtitlán, Tenochtitlán in 1519.
Moctezuma welcomed the invaders as long-awaited
guests. “Welcome,” he said, “we have been waiting BIBLIOGRAPHY
for you. This is your home.” Keen, Benjamin. 1971. The Aztec Image in Western Thought. New
Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Rather than focusing on Spanish heroics in the León-Portilla, Miguel. 1962. The Broken Spears. Boston: Beacon Press.
battle for Tenochtitlán, it is more appropriate to Paz, Octavio. 1961. The Labyrinth of Solitude. New York: Grove Press.

Toward the Interior:
The Spanish Territories in North America

ith the fall of Tenochtitlán in 1521, Span- Mexico to establish missions, and this led to the es-
iards moved out over the once mighty tablishment of the city of Santa Fe in 1610.1 Span-
Aztec Empire in all directions. They were iards also settled what is today Baja California,
especially eager to move north of the city, toward the Arizona, and California in search of souls to convert.
principle mine regions of Mexico—Zacatecas and During the late eighteenth century, a series of mis-
Guanajuato. sions was founded from San Diego to San Francisco
Spaniards, motivated by riches, assumed that along the California coast. Santa Barbara, San Juan
other great, settled civilizations existed north of de Capistrano, and San Jose are among the cities that
the Aztec capital. This prompted further explora- originated as missions. The mission system, established
tion in the north, in what is today New Mexico, by the Franciscan Father Junipero Serra, essentially
Arizona, and Texas. Missionaries and miners headed co-opted the land and labor of Native Americans who
north with equal zeal, but the primary city in North lived in the region, forcing the natives into semi-ser-
America at that time, Tenochtitlán (later renamed vitude in support of the economic goals of the mis-
Mexico City), would dominate the entire region sions and priests.
for several centuries. During the early eighteenth century, French in-
Spanish policy in America, formulated during the cursions into Spanish-held territories created ten-
800-year reconquista of Spain, required Native Ameri- sions, and realigned the pace and pattern of
cans to settle under Spanish dominion. The great north- settlement. The French settlements in Louisiana, with
ern desert of Mexico, extending into what is today its capital New Orleans, threatened Spanish settle-
the southwestern United States, was sparsely inhab- ments in east Texas and Mexico, and for this reason,
ited. Spaniards established presidios, or military out- the city of San Antonio was established in 1718.
posts, in addition to Catholic churches. Normally, French and Spanish territorial disputes in the region
exploratory parties moved in, claimed the land, and reached a climax in the mid-eighteenth century. In
wrote reports or surveys of what they had found. These 1762, France ceded Louisiana to Spain via the Treaty
reports, often fanciful, unsystematic, and/or politically of San Ildefonso at the conclusion of the French and
motivated, encouraged others to commit to a journey. Indian War.
Spanish missionaries were usually the first to arrive, Spanish-French tensions in the region would
to begin the difficult work of spreading the faith to change, about a century later, to American-Mexican
people whose worldview was radically different from tensions when the United States, in 1846, invaded
their own. Of course, propagation of the faith had Mexico, taking all of its land north of the Rio Grande.
political and economic consequences, as priests and The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848 and the
friars came into de facto control of the subdued native Gadsden Purchase of 1853 effectively set the present
groups. Jesuit missionaries arrived to Mexico in 1572; border between the United States and Mexico.
disciplined and decisive, they settled in Guanajuato by
1582 and San Luis Potosí ten years later. Motivated by NOTE
a spirit of conversion, education, and enterprise, it is 1. Charles Gibson, Spain in America (New York: Harper Torchbooks,
1966), chapter 9, “The Borderlands.”
not surprising that Jesuits succeeded in areas where
great natural wealth was readily available.
About sixty years after the conquest of González, Juan. 2000. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.
Tenochtitlán, Franciscan missionaries made their way New York: Penguin.
Jackson, Robert H. 1994. Indian Population Decline: The Missions of
to the territory that is today New Mexico in the United Northwest New Spain, 1687–1840. Albuquerque: University of New
States. Father Agustín Rodríguez moved into New Mexico Press.

Toward the Interior: The Inca Empire and Its Dominion

bout ten years after the fall of the Aztec Em- iards knew no limits, especially given the fact that,
pire in Mexico, the Spaniard Francisco according to one source, “It has been estimated that
Pizarro sacked the once mighty Inca Empire the ransom [Atahualpa’s] amounted to about 13,265
in Peru. The Incas had established a significant pounds of gold and 26,000 pounds of silver.” 1
world empire that extended from the northern sec- Pizarro next marched on to Cuzco, where a Span-
tion of Chile to what is today the southernmost ish municipality was set up in 1534; one year later,
point of Colombia. The empire dominated over the city of Lima was founded at the mouth of the
1,500 miles of territory and was held together by a Rimac River on the coast. Low-level rebellions con-
common language (Quechua), an impressive sys- tinued to break out for another forty years until
tem of roads, and a system of taxation and forced 1572, when the Inca Tupac Amaru I was captured
work projects (mita) for the benefit of the state. and killed. After his death, the Spaniards consoli-
The empire, though, was essentially in a state of dated their power in Peru as Tupac Amaru I was
civil war in the early 1530s over the question of the last legitimate heir to the throne of the Inca
dynastic succession, and the Spaniards were able Empire; however, the country would never be com-
to benefit from this situation when they arrived in pletely under Spanish control, and a marked sys-
1532. tem of “apartheid” would emerge in Peru that
Pizarro, an illiterate swineherd, organized his ad- remains to this day: Native Americans live in high-
venture into the heart of the Inca Empire at Panama land villages and communities, generally in infe-
and sailed down the Pacific coast in 1532. He and rior social and economic conditions to those of the
his men, arriving in Peru, climbed for about forty- ruling elites, most of whom are of European de-
five days from the coast to Cajamarca, where they scent. A large number of mestizos (people of mixed
met the Inca ruler, Atahualpa. Atahualpa had just blood) conforms the middle part of this structure
consolidated the empire from his base at Quito and and their economic and social status varies. The
was making his way to Cuzco, having stopped to current president of Peru as of this writing,
set up a capital at Cajamarca, which sat roughly Alejandro Toledo, is a person of mixed ancestry.
halfway between the northern and southern axes His tenure in office has been marked by cruel and
of the Inca dominion. Atahualpa, with about 40,000 derisive comments from Peruvians (and others) con-
soldiers by his side, was “invited” by Pizarro to cerning his heritage, and by extension, questions
accept King Charles V as king and the Christian regarding his fitness to serve as president of the
god as the one true God. When the Inca ruler in- Peruvian Republic.
spected, then tossed the Holy Book to the ground,
the slaughter began. The Inca leader was held cap- NOTE
1. Helen Miller Bailey and Abraham P. Nasatir, Latin America, 2d
tive and was forced to fill two rooms with gold and ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1968), p. 124.
silver as a ransom. He was then killed by strangu-
lation at the main plaza at Cajamarca, having been BIBLIOGRAPHY
Macera, Pablo. 1988. Trabajo de historia. Tomo 1, 2d ed. Lima: G. Herrera
given the opportunity to convert to Christianity Editores.
(and die by strangulation), or remain a pagan and Vargas Llosa, Mario. 1990. “Questions of Conquest.” Harpers, De-
die by burning at the stake. Wachtel, Nathan. 1977. The Vision of the Vanquished. Brighton: Har-
The duplicity, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Span- vester Press.

Toward the Deep Continental Conquest

he three major conquests in Latin America— Present-day Chile was settled after the Spaniards
that of the Caribbean islands, the Aztec Em- had established rule over much of Peru. Pedro de
pire, and the Inca Empire—resulted in an im- Valdivia left, from Cuzco, with orders to settle the
portant process of consolidation for Spanish imperial southern extreme of what would become the massive
ambitions. The Spaniards sought control over the en- Spanish overseas empire. The city of Santiago was
tire South American landmass (save Brazil). After founded in 1540, and later, the city of Concepción—
1532, new Spanish incursions would center on north- established as a frontier post designed to protect the
ern South America, focusing primarily on the Muisca rich, fertile Chilean central valley from hostile
civilization in what is today Colombia. The Spaniards Araucanian Indians. The Araucanians never accepted
would also advance on the Guaraní peoples of Para- Spanish dominance; rather, they fought tirelessly
guay and Brazil, and the Native Americans living in against Spanish incursions into their territories and
the central valley of Chile. are known to this day for their struggle to maintain
The earliest contact and exploration along the an independent, distinct culture separate from Span-
Colombian coast probably occurred in 1499 by ish rule and authority.
Alonso de Ojeda, and two years later by Juan de la The Guaraní of present-day Paraguay (and some
Cosa; however, it was not until about 1510 that sections of Brazil) came under the dominion of the
permanent settlements were established in the Spaniards in the mid-sixteenth century when
Darién region, just west of the Gulf of Urabá. Three Domingo Martínez de Irala set up a fort at Asunción
main expeditions headed into the Colombian main- in 1537. The Guaraní were immediately transformed
land after the conquest of Peru. First, Sebastián de into agricultural laborers, providing food, clothing,
Belalcázar and his forces, entering from Peru, and other forms of tribute to the Spaniards. How-
marched into Pasto and the Cauca Valley in 1535. ever, the Guaraní did manage to preserve many of
In a separate journey, Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada their customs, including their language, which to this
made an eleven-month voyage up the Magdalena day is spoken widely as the official language of Para-
River, arriving at a vast, grassy, fertile, cool savan- guay. The Jesuits, during the seventeenth century,
nah called, by the Muisca who inhabited the re- would come to have a profound impact on the
gion, Bacatá. Another expedition, led by a German, Guaraní, establishing some thirty missions that
Nicolas Federmann, traveled over the eastern plains thrived for many years—until the Jesuits were ex-
from what is today Venezuela and arrived at Bogotá pelled from the Americas in 1767. The Jesuits did
after scaling the eastern cordillera. Thus, the three learn and record the Guaraní language and helped
separate expeditions arrived at the Muisca capital ensure its survival as a written Native American lan-
at about the same time, leading historians Frank guage in South America.
Safford and Marco Palacios to quip that this meet-
ing “must . . . have been quite picturesque.”1 The NOTE
1. Frank Safford and Marco Palacios, Colombia: Fragmented Land,
reality, however, was less than picturesque, as the Divided Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 33.
Muisca peoples were quickly subdued by the Euro-
peans, and their culture was forever changed. The BIBLIOGRAPHY
Europeans exacted tribute in the form of food, Ganson, Barbara. 2003. The Guaraní Under Spanish Rule in the Rio de
la Plata. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
clothing, land, labor, salt, and emeralds from this Loveman, Brian. 1979. Chile: The Legacy of Hispanic Capitalism. New
civilization. York: Oxford University Press.

Brazil in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

he Portuguese colonial project in America dif- vador (Bahia). As many as 4 to 5 million slaves ar-
fered dramatically from that of the Spaniards. rived in Brazil during a slave trade that extended from
First, Portugal could afford, in 1500, to ne- 1538 to the mid-nineteenth century; not only did en-
glect its American colony because its established trade slaved Africans allow Portuguese planters to become
network extended from Africa to Japan. After 1531, fabulously wealthy during the sugar boom, but they
however, when French pirates began exploring off also contributed to the rich cultural development of
the coast of Brazil, the Portuguese decided that the Brazil. Slaves were not granted freedom in Brazil until
time had come to permanently settle and occupy Bra- 1888.
zil. The church presence in Brazil was less signifi- From the northeast quadrant of Brazil, the eco-
cant than in Spanish America, and the enormous nomic activity shifted during the early eighteenth
Brazilian landmass (larger than the United States, century to the southeast segment of the country,
excluding Alaska) made total territorial occupation especially when diamonds and gold were discov-
impossible. ered at an interior state called Minas Gerais. The
To entice Portuguese settlers to Brazil, the crown Brazilian bandeirantes, rugged explorers, were the
developed a semi-feudal, semi-capitalist structure ones responsible for helping open up the interior
called the captaincy system, whereby huge tracts of during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
land were divided into territories. Each territory was The Brazilian sugar economy, though still profit-
about 130 miles wide and extended from the coast able during the eighteenth century, was forced to
into the interior at the imaginary border with Spain. compete with the Caribbean islands, which had a
Thus was established the initial European landhold- natural comparative advantage—proximity to mar-
ing pattern in Brazil. The king would donate the land, ket. Technologically, the Caribbean islands’ sugar-
but the donatário—the man to whom the land was refining process was more efficient than the
granted—had to make the land profitable by encour- Brazilian system.
aging settlement, economic activity, taming the Na- From Minas Gerais, the Brazilian economy shifted,
tive Americans, establishing towns, and so on. Only during the nineteenth century, further south to the
two of the fifteen captaincies succeeded, the most suc- area between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Here,
cessful in the northern state of Pernambuco with its the coffee boom provided enormous wealth for the
capital Recife. “coffee barons,” and the development of infrastruc-
Sugar became the fundamental product sustain- ture to support the coffee economy (railroads, port
ing Brazil in the sixteenth and seventeenth centu- works, insurance companies, and banking) became the
ries. The Portuguese had perfected sugar cultivation basis of twentieth-century industrialization. The Bra-
and processing on the tropical Atlantic islands (the zilian industrial boom, which really began in the
Madeiras) over which they held dominion, and sugar 1960s, occurred around the city of São Paulo at an
cane adapted ideally to the warm, moist tropical cli- impressive pace, and Brazil is today the world’s eighth-
mate of northeast Brazil. The labor problem was or ninth-leading industrial power.
solved via the importation of African slaves. Since
1441, the Portuguese had accumulated ample expe- BIBLIOGRAPHY
Moreno Fraginals, Manuel, ed. 1977. Africa en América Latina. Mexico:
rience in trading Africans from the African coast to Siglo Veintiuno Editores.
Europe. Now, the slave ships would make the Middle Skidmore, Thomas. 1999. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change. New York:
Oxford University Press.
Passage and deposit human cargo at the Brazilian Smith, T. Lynn. 1963. Brazil: People and Institutions. Rev. ed. Baton
Northeast coastal cities of Olinda, Recife, and Sal- Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Cities Founded in Hispanic America Before 1600

rom 1516 to 1700 Spain and the Spanish Em- the great city of Tenochtitlán in 1521, eventually
pire were ruled by the European Hapsburg renaming it Mexico City. Guanajuato, the impor-
monarchy. King Charles I (r. 1516–1556) cre- tant mining center north of Mexico City, was
ated the Spanish Empire, and Charles II, the last founded shortly thereafter in 1554, as the Spaniards
Hapsburg king to rule Spain, died childless in 1700. generally established cities at sites where native com-
The essential infrastructure of Spain’s overseas em- munities were settled and where resources were
pire was set down during Hapsburg rule. abundant. Bogotá (1538), Quito (1534), Trujillo
One central characteristic of Spaniards is their af- (1535), Cuzco (1554), and Potosí (1545) all followed
finity for cities and city life. This tradition dates back this basic premise and pattern of city construction.
to the period when Spain was occupied by the Ro- The cities of what is known today as the Southern
mans, and later by Muslims. Both civilizations im- Cone were founded a few years after the primary
parted the idea of the city as center of civilization, Mexican and Peruvian cities, reflecting, of course,
and the great cities of Spain are architectural and cul- the contour and rhythm of Spanish conquest and
tural monuments that express fundamental elements colonization. Thus, Santiago (Chile) was founded in
of Spanish character. 1541, Asunción (Paraguay) in 1537, and the inte-
During the Spanish reconquista, which lasted from rior cities of Argentina—Mendoza and Córdoba—
about 711 to 1492, Spain was “retaken” from the were founded in 1561 and 1573 respectively.
Muslims gradually, and cities were built and occu- Of course, there were significant differences be-
pied as symbols of Spanish, Catholic primacy. When tween the coastal cities and the cities in the interior.
the Spanish entered America in 1492, their very first The coastal cities, such as Havana, Santo Domingo,
task was to organize, charter, and build cities. “Citi- Cartagena, Veracruz, and Portobelo, were integrated
zens” were those who lived inside the city walls, those into the world economy; slaves entered at Cartagena,
outside were, according to Spanish thinking, literally Veracruz, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador (Bahia).
uncivilized. Spanish cities were uniform in structure Those cities had direct contact with European and
and design, with a central plaza occupied by govern- African trading centers, and the cities—particularly
mental offices, the church and church officials, and Portobelo and Cartagena—transformed from sleepy
the most important (Spanish) citizens of the city. This towns to vibrant metropolitan centers when the ships
pattern is still seen today, and the central plazas of arrived. The interior cities, like Bogotá, Cuzco, and
Mexico City, Lima, Bogotá, Quito, and others still Mendoza, were tied in to local economies and had
reflect this design. far less direct contact with Europe or Africa.
The early Latin American city was a center of cul- It is important to note that, by the time Jamestown
ture, religion, government, education, and Spanish was founded in 1607, or when Plymouth was settled
values. A wave of city construction by Spaniards in in 1620, vibrant, culturally active, and wealthy cities
America occurred from 1492 to about 1570. The in the Caribbean, Mexico, and in South America al-
earliest of these cities were founded in the Carib- ready conformed a dynamic and expanding Spanish
bean, the first being the city of Santo Domingo and Portuguese overseas colonial structure.
(present-day Dominican Republic), founded in 1496; BIBLIOGRAPHY
shortly after that, in 1503, Vera Paz was founded in Hoberman, Louisa Schell, and Susan M. Socolow, eds. 1991. Cities and
what is today Haiti. Trinidad and La Habana (Ha- Society in Colonial Latin America. Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press.
vana) followed in 1514. From the Caribbean, the Morales Padrón, Francisco. 1988. Atlas histórico-cultural de América.
Spaniards moved inland to Mexico and conquered Tomo 1. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Gobierno de Canarias.

Hapsburg Territorial and Administrative Organization

he Hapsburg administrative organization in the over the church in America: high church officials such
Americas was based on a clear division of au- as archbishops and bishops were loyal, by necessity, to
thority and power, centered at the two most the crown (except, of course, in the case of the Jesuits, a
important sites of conquest, Mexico and Peru. These group of priests that would be expelled from America
places, from the earliest days of the conquest, provided in 1767 by the Spanish crown for their excessive loyalty
everything that the Spaniards hoped to find in America: to the pope, their disobedience, and their many success-
plentiful supplies of natural resources (especially silver), ful enterprises in the Americas).
large numbers of Native Americans who could serve as Catholic priests in America were generally either
a work force, fertile land, and a moderate climate. “regulars” or “seculars.” The regular clergy were
In the sixteenth century, the Spaniards organized their members of European orders (they lived via the regla,
colonial possessions in America into two major divisions or rule of the order); they were known as Franciscans,
called viceroyalties (virreinatos)—centers that were sec- Augustinians, Jesuits, Dominicans, and so forth. The
ond in authority only to the king of Spain. The first was regular clergy were more loyal to European orders
called the Virreinato de Nueva España (with its capital than to local American bishops. The secular clergy
at Mexico City), and the second was the Virreinato del (the local parish priest), on the other hand, were loyal
Perú, based at Lima. New Spain covered all of Mexico to the local bishop who distributed salary and ben-
and Central America (north of Panama) and the territo- efits; in reality, regular clergy also depended on local
ries that extended into the southwest section of what is economic structures for survival. Infighting and bick-
today the United States of America. The Viceroyalty of ering were constant in the Catholic Church—between
Peru covered a massive amount of territory, from Panama European and local orders, regular and secular priests,
down to Chile, over to the treaty line of Tordesillas sepa- and between bishops and archbishops.
rating Portuguese territorial claims from those of Spain. The Inquisition came to America and was installed
Venezuela fell under the Audiencia of Santo Domingo. at Lima, Mexico City, and Cartagena; however, it
The audiencia was the second level of political di- never rose to the same level of prominence as its Eu-
vision under the virreinato. Under Hapsburg rule there ropean counterpart. For the most part, Native Ameri-
were ten audiencias, including the Audiencias of Santo cans and African slaves (pagans in need of Christian
Domingo (which governed the Caribbean), Guatemala instruction) were exempt from the Inquisition. Her-
(based at Guatemala City), Mexico City, Nueva etics, Jews, and enemies of politically and ecclesiasti-
Galicia (for the northern Mexican provinces), Santa cally connected Christians in America were sometimes
Fe (Nueva Granada), Quito, Lima, Panama, Charcas dragged before the Inquisition: they could spend years
or decades defending themselves, and they generally
and Chile. The audiencias held broad advisory and
had their property seized as part of the process. In
judicial authority, and they varied in size and power.
the case of Cartagena, a dozen or so individuals were
At a lower level, corregidores presided over munici-
sentenced to death by the Inquisition.
pal councils that oversaw local, mundane, day-to-day
The Latin American Inquisition was a formidable
affairs of individual towns, such as crime prevention,
church bureaucracy that employed a lot of people and
maintaining order, tax collection, and prison upkeep.
maintained surveillance over society to protect good
Contrary to popular belief, church–state relations
Catholics from foreign ideas—ideas that generally ar-
were difficult in the colonies. First, by virtue of the
rived by ship, from Europe.
Patronato Royal (Royal Patronage) of 1501, the Span-
ish kings were given the extraordinary ability to appoint BIBLIOGRAPHY
ecclesiastic authorities in the Indies (the Americas). This Greenleaf, Richard E. 1969. The Mexican Inquisition of the Sixteenth
Century. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
power was handed over as “payback” for the Spanish Splendiani, Ana María. 1997. Cincuenta años de inquisición en el tribunal
monarchy’s loyalty to the church during an 800-year de Cartagena de Indias, 1610–1660. Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano de
Cultura Hispánica.
struggle against the forces of Islam in Spain. By virtue of Zea, Leopoldo. 1957. América en la historia. Madrid: Ed. Revista de
this mandate, the Spanish monarchs held de facto power Occidente.

Republics of Citizens (Spaniards) and Indians

paniards, from the first day they arrived to forced to obey Spanish authorities in America, espe-
the Caribbean, never thought of Native Ameri- cially the designated corregidores de indios (regional
cans as their social or racial equals. In fact, their administrators/overseers). Most importantly perhaps,
policies in the Caribbean and elsewhere throughout natives were forced to pay tribute in exchange for the
the empire tended to accentuate the differences be- crown’s protection. Tribute to Spaniards took essen-
tween themselves and the native residents of America. tially three forms: concierto agrario (work in the
Spaniards who aspired to the historic conception of fields), minería (work in the mines), and obraje (city
the Spanish gentleman—the hidalgo—had no inten- labor in workshops), where essential items for the city
tion of toiling in fields or mines once in America. Such were manufactured such as horseshoes, candles, tex-
work was deemed appropriate only for those they tiles, bricks, and so forth. Via this arrangement, well-
perceived as their social inferiors—Native Americans connected Spaniards became wealthy, the king took
(Indians) or enslaved Africans. 20 percent (in theory, anyway) off the top, natives
Even city construction in the Americas separated were not enslaved (again, in theory), and the system
Spaniards from Indians, and, in fact, the central sec- was functional.
tion of the city could only legally be inhabited by However, great abuse occurred throughout the
Spaniards. Indians lived outside the city, close to the Americas despite the sermons of some progressive
mines or fields where they worked. Indians were for- clerics or the weight of Spanish law. “America” was
bidden from wearing clothing worn by Spaniards, and simply too far away from Spain, and too big, to be
when passing a Spaniard on the street, they were or- carefully administered. Moreover, Spanish officials in
dered to bow down in an appropriate gesture of ser- America were motivated, more often than not, by
vitude and submission. greed, quick profit, and pretense. For most, repre-
Some—but very few—Spaniards complained pub- senting the king in America and treating the natives
licly about the mistreatment of Native Americans: with dignity were second-tier objectives.
Father Antonio de Montesinos, Father Francisco de One place that offers a different model is Paraguay
Vitoria (in Spain), and Father Bartolomé de Las Casas, during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
the so-called Defender of the Indians, all challenged (up to the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767). Jesuit
Spanish treatment of natives in America. Sometimes missions in Paraguay were extraordinarily powerful,
the priests’ motives were self-serving and selective; wealthy, highly stratified, and self-contained economic
for example, Father Las Casas had little to say about and social units. The success of the missions worried
the actual enslavement of Africans in America. But local landowners (who were deprived of a native la-
the criticism of Spanish policies during the early phase bor force) and the crown, which always felt it was
of the conquest resulted in actual legislation: the New being “cheated” by Jesuits who, historically, pledged
Laws of 1542 were promulgated to bring some needed absolute loyalty to the pope in Rome. Mounting ten-
“order” to the process of colonization. These laws sions between church and state, between Spaniards
offered clear protection to Native Americans, defined and Portuguese, and even within the church itself led
as the king’s colonial subjects, but were often ignored to war in Paraguay in the 1750s. After 1767, the mis-
by Spaniards in America who responded to much sions were taken over by civil administrators, result-
Spanish legislation with the phrase obedezco pero no ing in a gradual decline of the Guaraní population at
cumplo (I obey the law—and the king—but I don’t these locations.
comply). Under the New Laws, natives were guaran-
teed protected lands (called resguardos), they were BIBLIOGRAPHY
Carmagnani, Marcello, Alicia Hernández Chávez, and Ruggiero Romano.
offered Catholic religious instruction via regular vis- 1999. Para una historia de América. I. Las estructuras. México, DF:
its from a doctrinero, and Spaniards were legally for- El Colegio de México.
Mörner, Magnus. 1953. The Political and Economic Activity of the Jesu-
bidden from enslaving Native Americans or treating its in the La Plata Region: The Hapsburg Era. Stockholm: Victor
them cruelly. In exchange, Native Americans were Pettersons Bookindustri.

Slave Centers During the Sixteenth and
Seventeenth Centuries

lavery was an accepted practice during the co- sold and distributed throughout the Caribbean from
lonial period in Latin America. In fact, it was Havana; at Cartagena, slaves would be distributed
not until the eighteenth-century European En- throughout northern South America.
lightenment that Western thinkers began reconsider- One of the most important figures in the religious
ing slavery by applying “universal” declarations of the history of Cartagena is the Spanish Jesuit priest Pedro
rights of all men. Simply put, slavery, after 1789, did Claver (1580–1654), elevated to sainthood in 1888
not fit with modern Western political or social phi- by Pope Leon XIII and commonly known as the “slave
losophy. It did, however, make economic sense for to the slaves.” His chief concern was “the defense
plantation owners in the Caribbean, South America, and protection of the poor slaves that arrived from
and the U.S. South to hold slaves. Thus, the institu- Africa to America.”1 Claver never denounced the in-
tion was only gradually dissolved during the nine- stitution of slavery. He did, however, physically em-
teenth century. The largest slave-owning states brace the slaves and treated them with kindness upon
—Brazil, Cuba, and the United States—were the last their arrival to the city of Cartagena.
to end the institution. Brazil did so in 1888, Cuba in From Portobelo, Panama, the slaves crossed the isth-
1878 (after a ten-year bloody conflict), and the United mus to what is today Panama City and began the long
States, via the Thirteenth Amendment to the Consti- journey down the Pacific, arriving at Guayaquil and
tution, in 1865, after a civil war that resulted in about Peru, particularly along the north coast (Trujillo),
620,000 deaths. where slaves worked on sugar and cotton plantations.
In the Spanish Empire, those who benefited from Brazil, the Portuguese colony, became a slave center
African slavery viewed the status of enslaved Africans in the early 1540s. As many as 4 million slaves came
in a totally different light from that of “subjugated” to Brazil during a 320-year period, and the majority
Native Americans. Native Americans were subject to worked during the sixteenth and seventeenth centu-
Spanish law, and there were certain clear rights and ries in the thriving northeastern sugar plantations.
obligations associated with their status. No such rights Salvador (Bahia), Recife (Pernambuco), and Rio de
protected Africans, who were treated as mere chattel Janeiro were important slave centers in Brazil, and
—property. In fact, in some slave centers of the Ameri- Afro-Brazilian culture today thrives in those places
cas, Spaniards justified enslaving Africans by arguing and throughout much of the rest of Brazil. Four hun-
that in America, at least, they were free from pagan dred forty-seven years transpired from the day the
Africa and could enjoy the sacraments of the church first slaves arrived in Lisbon to the ending of the in-
together with some Catholic instruction and Hispanic stitution in Brazil (1888). Slavery thus transformed
acculturation. A clear “social hierarchy” drove the the history and culture of Latin American society and
development of the Spanish and Portuguese overseas continues to do so to this day.
empire, and enslaved Africans were at the bottom of
that hierarchy. They were seen as humans, but cer- NOTE
tainly not equals in relation to their Spanish and Por- 1. From (our translation from
the Spanish).
tuguese masters.
A total of about 9 million Africans were transported
to America, the vast majority destined for the Carib- Conrad, Robert E. 1994. Children of God’s Fire. University Park: Penn
bean basin and Brazil. In the Caribbean, enslaved Af- State Press.
Wade, Peter. 1993. Blackness and Race Mixture: The Dynamics of Ra-
ricans arrived to four central slave markets: Havana, cial Identity in Colombia. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University
Cartagena, Portobelo, and Veracruz. Slaves would be Press.

The Spanish Flotilla

uch of the mineral wealth found in the ginning the return journey to Spain. The return route
Americas made its way back to Europe for the flotilla reunited the ships at Havana from
during the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- Portobelo (via the west coast of South America),
turies. Silver from South America (Peru) moved up Cartagena and Veracruz. Upon arrival at Havana,
the west coast and crossed over Panama to Portobelo, the ships would take on additional supplies, and
where it was reloaded onto ships and moved out depart the Caribbean through the Straits of Florida
through the Caribbean to Spain. Because of the enor- to the open sea. Twice a year the flotilla returned to
mous amount of wealth moving through it, the Car- Spain loaded with silver, and, according to Charles
ibbean became one of the most contested regions of Gibson, between 1550 and 1650, “approximately
the world during the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- two-fifths of the precious metals received in Spain
turies, and, as such, the Spaniards fortified the main constituted direct royal income, derived from the
cities with impressive walls and military forts (which quinto or 20 percent tax on mine yields, and from
still exist today, in varying degrees of disrepair). The other royal taxes.”1
fortified cities—including Veracruz, Cartagena, Ha- Spain became wealthy with the influx of American
vana, Santo Domingo, and San Juan—served a piv- silver and the tight control over its production and
otal function in moving silver and other precious shipping, but there were many problems with Span-
metals from America to Europe. The most intense ish economic development during this time. First, the
period of silver production occurred early in the complete monopoly of American ports held by Spain
colonial period, from about 1550 to 1650. resulted in the ports’ economic stagnation and en-
Essentially, the flotilla was a tightly controlled sys- couraged illicit trade. Second, Spain’s absolute mo-
tem for shipping precious cargo to and from Spain. nopoly over the silver trade made the country
The flota constituted at least fifty ships, some of vulnerable to outsiders (the French, British, and
which were provided exclusively for the defense of Dutch) who wanted a share in the wealth. Finally,
the cargo. Normally, the ships from Spain (carrying and perhaps most important, Spain took in a great
weapons, European manufactured goods, slaves, deal of bullion in the early colonial period, but most
books, and other luxury items from Europe unavail- of it “left” Spain and migrated to the manufacturing
able in the Americas) would arrive to the island of centers of Europe, such as England, Scotland, the
Dominica, and from there the ships would divide Netherlands, and France. The Spaniards’ ability to
into four separate paths. One set of ships would head buy anything they wanted meant that American sil-
to San Juan, the other to Santo Domingo; another ver, flowing through Spain, would finance Northern
group of ships would go to Santiago de Cuba and European industrial development and leave Spain, by
then on to Veracruz, while the final portion of the the eighteenth century, with beautiful architecture and
flotilla would head to Cartagena, then Portobelo. artwork, but little in terms of industry. This reality
From Cartagena, goods would make their way into would come to haunt Spain, particularly during the
what is today the Colombian interior. The products nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
sent to Portobelo would be transported across the
isthmus of Panama, be reloaded on the Pacific side NOTE
of Panama, and move down the west coast of South 1. Charles Gibson, Spain in America (New York: Harper Torchbooks,
1966), p. 103.
America to Peru, with stops at Guayaquil and other
port cities along the way.
The Spanish ships, upon unloading their cargo, Kamen, Henry. 2004. Empire: How Spain Became a World Power. New
would remain in port for about a month before be- York: HarperCollins.

Exploiting Mining Centers

uring the 1970s and early 1980s, prominent and Spaniards in America made significant advances
economic historians and political scientists in mining/smelting technology and procedures.
researched mining and its impact on the Latin Huancavelica, Peru, became the most important mer-
American colonial economy. Peter Bakewell and cury deposit outside of Spain.
Theodore H. Moran studied mining in colonial By 1545, some of the richest silver veins in the
Mexico and contemporary Chile, while other stud- Americas were found in present-day Bolivia in a town
ies have focused on Peruvian and Bolivian mining, called Potosí; by the end of the sixteenth century,
especially the creation and collapse of the city of this city would be one of the most populous in the
Potosí (Bolivia) in the seventeenth century. Americas. La Paz and Oruro were other important
Spaniards, in the earliest days of the conquest and mining centers in Bolivia.
throughout much of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and Colombia’s mining boom centered in the western
eighteenth centuries, were motivated by a mercan- province of Antioquia, where gold deposits were dis-
tilist mentality. They believed, in a strictly covered during the second half of the sixteenth cen-
precapitalist sense, that wealth was finite and mostly tury. Much of the gold in this region was mined in
confined to subsoil mineral holdings. Land, of rivers. The deposits and mining activities produced a
course, was valuable to Spaniards, but it could not steady stream of gold and other minerals—most no-
be “moved” as easily as gold and silver, which was tably emeralds from the central highlands—but the
melted down, shaped into bars, and transported Colombian experience never paralleled the magni-
across the ocean. This was “bullionism,” another tude of the silver booms in Mexico, Peru, and Bo-
term used to describe Spanish economic policy in livia. Colombian economic history is defined by
the early days of the empire. The idea of “creating gradual, moderate growth, rather than the boom–
wealth” through trade and comparative advantage bust cycles characteristic of economies with massive
emerged later in the eighteenth century with the mineral deposits.
thinking of Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, By about 1700, precious metals began to play an
published in 1776. The Spaniards’ belief in the fi- important role in the economy of Brazil. The interior
nite nature of resources affected the pace and rhythm state of Minas Gerais (General Mines) grew in im-
of the conquest, the placement of cities, and the con- portance during the eighteenth century as a center of
struction of walls around cities in the Caribbean ba- diamonds and gold. Economic activity in Brazil gradu-
sin. This network of walled cities served as a defense ally shifted south and southwest to reflect the
against marauding English, French, and Dutch pi- newfound wealth at Minas Gerais. One of the most
rates. beautiful cities in all of the Americas, Ouro Preto
The early mining centers in America were found (Black Gold), located in Minas Gerais, started out as
primarily in Mexico. Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, and a rough-and-tumble mining town. By the late eigh-
Guanajuato produced silver, gold, platinum, iron, and teenth century, Ouro Preto had become an important
copper. Thus, Mexico became one of the most im- American center of baroque culture and architecture.
portant centers of wealth in the Spanish Empire.
Another site of extraordinary mineral wealth was BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bakewell, Peter. 1971. Silver Mining and Society in Colonial Mexico:
found in Peru; the Cerro de Pasco mining region, in Zacatecas, 1546–1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
the mountains west of Lima, produced silver; mer- Lockhart, James. 1968. Spanish Peru: 1532–1560: A Colonial Society.
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
cury was found at Huancavelica. Mercury was a criti- Twinam, Ann. 1982. Miners, Merchants and Farmers in Colonial Co-
cally important product in the silver smelting process, lombia. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Intra- and Interregional Circulations in the Americas

he Spanish overseas empire—with its vast net- rope arrived to the Caribbean cities months before
work of coastal and interior cities—depended the same information arrived to the interior, and
on the wide circulation of commercial activ- this lent an air of sophistication, openness, and cos-
ity: this included locally produced manufactured mopolitanism to the coastal cities.
goods, mineral and other primary products, and Along the Pacific coast, a vast and established trade
goods produced in Europe. Early in the formation network existed between Acapulco (which received
of the Spanish overseas empire, the Caribbean re- the flotilla from Manila, with a wide assortment of
gion served as an axis for the movement of goods; goods from the Far East) and Panama, Guayaquil,
this made perfect sense considering the limitations Trujillo, Callao (Lima), and finally Valparaíso.
on transportation imposed by the Andes Mountains In the interior, several important trade networks
and other geographic barriers in places like Colom- existed, moving products such as wheat, cattle, corn,
bia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and the interior of Peru. minerals, and mules throughout the cities and towns
When contemplating the complex trade networks in the plains and mountainous regions of South
and circulation of products in the Spanish Empire, America. One such network extended westward from
several factors must be considered: First, the Span- the Argentine pampas, north through the interior cit-
ish flotilla hardly supplied all of the goods needed ies of Tucumán and Córdoba, up to Potosí, and on
in the Americas. It arrived only twice a year and sup- through Peru to Callao. Another significant network
plied the goods used by the upper classes—that is, extended southwest from Bogotá to Popayán and Pasto
the Spaniards. Slaves, books, fancy clothing, furni- (in present-day Colombia) down to Quito, Ecuador,
ture, musical instruments, and such were all unloaded and eventually led to the coastal city of Guayaquil.
at the port cities of Havana, Cartagena, Veracruz, From Bogotá northeastward, a trading route extended
and Portobelo. The majority of goods needed in the up to Mérida in Venezuela and onward toward the
Americas were produced in the Americas and circu- coast at Caracas. Along this route, tobacco,
lated around the Caribbean and throughout the pri- aguardiente (cane liquor), cattle, wheat, salt, and other
mary cities of the interior of South America. Second, primary agricultural products were exchanged.
Spaniards used established indigenous trade routes Intra- and interregional trade made up the vast ma-
and networks to advance their own trade interests. jority of trade during the early colonial period in Latin
Thus, what were largely functional for the Aztecs, America. Spaniards tried to control all trade and pro-
or Incas, became trade networks for the Spaniards duction in the Americas, but this proved impossible
in the interior of Mexico or Peru/Bolivia. given the vast distances and difficult terrain in South
Another important consideration when thinking America. Early Spanish policy (before the eighteenth
about internal Latin American trade in the sixteenth century), which only allowed official trade from se-
and seventeenth centuries is the difference between lect American ports (including Acapulco, Cartagena,
and among coastal and interior trade. In the Carib- Callao, Veracruz, Panama, Havana, and Santo
bean, the cities of the coastal network—as expli- Domingo), inadvertently encouraged illicit trade, con-
cated in essay 5A—traded with one another, and traband, and smuggling—characteristics of Latin
they were the first to receive up-to-date informa- America’s economic reality seen to this day.
tion from Europe, the latest gossip, and the most
advanced scholarship. Thus, Cartagena—literally— BIBLIOGRAPHY
faced Europe and North America, but turned its Fisher, John R. 1997. The Economic Aspects of Spanish Imperialism in
America, 1492–1820. Liverpool: University of Liverpool Press.
back on the interior Colombian cities, such as Lane, Kris F. 1998. Pillaging the Empire: Piracy in the Americas, 1500–
Bogotá, Tunja, or Medellín. Knowledge from Eu- 1759. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.

The Intendancy System and Other Administrative Reforms

he ascendance of the Bourbons to the Spanish would (in theory) be free from corrupt practices that
throne—a primary outcome of the War of the defined “business” in the American colonies. Whereas
Spanish Succession (1700–1713)—meant that previous officeholders in the Americas purchased their
the eighteenth century in America would be a century offices and used their position to shake down locals,
of reform. The Bourbons were modern, enlightened the intendant was a modern, salaried employee who
Frenchmen; they had new ideas about running an over- viewed his position as “service to the crown.” This novel
seas empire that created, over a long period of time, concept of office holding emerged, largely, during the
significant change in the colonies. Collectively, the European Enlightenment.
changes are referred to as the Bourbon Reforms. One of the most significant reforms of the Bourbon
The administrative reforms were begun under King kings, especially during the reign of Charles III, involved
Philip V (1700–1746) and continued through the rule changes in economic thinking. The Bourbons realized
of his successors, Ferdinand VI (1746–1759) and that chaneling all trade through one Spanish port
Charles III (1759–1788). The Bourbon kings realized (Cádiz) and five American ports (Havana, Callao,
that America was virtually ungovernable from across Portobelo, Veracruz, Cartagena) stifled trade and en-
the Atlantic, in Spain, and they grew distrustful of couraged piracy. By 1789 all American ports were
American administrators. They felt the colonies opened to Spanish trade, and the flotilla system—which
needed stricter rule, better, more modern adminis- was costly to operate, cumbersome, and inefficient—
trative structuring, and more enlightened, less mo- was eliminated during this time period.
nopolistic economic policies. The Bourbon kings Other manifestations of reform involved replac-
feared they were not collecting their “fair share” of ing criollos (creoles) with peninsulares (Spaniards) in
American revenues (or royal quinto—20 percent) and senior military posts and on the town councils, or
understood that tremendous graft, corruption, smug- cabildos. These reforms accentuated the differences
gling, and fraud defined economic relations in between American-born Hispanics (whites) and Span-
America. Though they understood they could never iards, and created tensions between the two groups.
stop all fraud, they implemented policies designed to Those tensions eventually erupted in independence
curtail it. movements during the early nineteenth century. Be-
First, the Bourbons broke down the massive, some- fore independence, though, a series of significant re-
what illogical structure of a two-kingdom administra- bellions in Colombia (Comuneros, 1780) and Peru
tive system in America. They created two new (Tupac Amaru, 1781–1783) foreshadowed the future.
viceroyalties: one for New Granada in 1717 (based in Both rebellions demonstrated the peoples’ aversion
Bogotá), which would have jurisdiction over Venezu- to the new, “efficient” reforms that translated into
ela, Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador, and the other, in higher taxes for the people, more efficient collection
1776 for La Plata (based in Buenos Aires), which would of tribute, and less ability to “negotiate” with incor-
have jurisdiction over Argentina, Paraguay, what is to- ruptible intendants.
day Uruguay, and Bolivia. The reforms meant more The administrative, economic, and political changes
administrators, and the Bourbons preferred that im- ushered in during the eighteenth century created wide-
portant posts be staffed by “trustworthy” Europeans spread discontent in the Americas—at all levels and
rather than “dishonest” creoles (persons of Spanish among all classes—and led many creoles to ask a
descent born in the New World). One such adminis- simple question by the late eighteenth century: Could
trator was the intendant, the primary figure at the head we not handle our own administrative, political, and
of a new intendancy system. The intendancy was French economic affairs without the “help” of the Spaniards?
in concept, and the intendant held wide administra- BIBLIOGRAPHY
tive and fiscal powers; this person worked to curb cor- Andrien, Kenneth J., and Lyman L. Johnson, eds. 1994. The Political
ruption, encourage trade and industry, and facilitate Economy of Spanish America in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1850.
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
the honest collection of taxes and other royal revenues. Lynch, John L. 1989. Bourbon Spain, 1700–1808. Oxford: Basil
The intendant would be sent over from Spain, and thus Blackwell.

Non-Iberian European Territories in the
Caribbean and Central, South, and North America

pain and Portugal, the two most important colo- east coast of North America and in Europe, and they
nizers in what is today Latin America, were not provided huge profit margins to the European coun-
alone in their pursuits of profit and colonies. tries and companies that organized the sugar trade.
Other European powers, including France, Denmark, A blessing and a curse, sugar left the Caribbean
Holland, and England, all managed to hold colonies dur- economies dependent on one or two agricultural
ing the height of Spanish/Portuguese power and domi- products and created an ugly social structure in
nation. Important centers of non-Iberian power exist which wealthy Europeans and their administrators
today in what is considered “Latin American” territory. lived in regal tropical splendor on the same islands
Before independence, Belize (called British Hon- where the other people, mostly African slaves, barely
duras) belonged to the British, as did Jamaica, survived.
Trinidad, and Tobago. The small islands of Martinique Florida and New Orleans belonged to the econo-
and Guadeloupe were taken by the French, as was mies and culture of the Caribbean basin. San Agustín
Haiti (in 1679); Haiti remained a French possession (Florida) was settled in 1565 by the Spaniards, and
until the bloody independence revolution of the late the site is distinguished as the earliest city of continu-
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Dutch ous settlement in the present-day United States. Spain
colonized some of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, held Florida, as well as territory north of Mexico City
including Aruba, Curaçao, and Suriname. Guyana was and into Texas, up through present-day Arizona, New
colonized by the British, and French Guiana still be- Mexico, California, Utah, and Colorado. The area
longs to the French. For many years, the British colo- between Florida and Texas was controlled by the
nized the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua—the so-called French until the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), at
Mosquito Coast—and still, today, the region’s cul- which point all of Louisiana became Spanish terri-
ture is more closely associated with the Caribbean tory. In 1800, though, Spain ceded the Louisiana Ter-
basin than the interior Hispanic cities of Managua, ritory to France, and France sold it to the United States
León, and Granada. in 1803 as the Louisiana Purchase. With the Louisi-
Though Spain attempted to control the entire Car- ana Purchase, incursions into Florida (by the United
ibbean basin, it simply could not—the area was too States) became commonplace; the interior of Florida
large. There were too many islands and tremendous had long been a sort of colony for runaway slaves
fortunes to be made via sugar production. So, during from plantations of the U.S. South—escaped slaves
the late sixteenth and especially the seventeenth cen- intermingled with native Floridians and were referred
tury, the Dutch, British, and French moved in, and to as “Seminoles,” which is probably an attempted
the legendary English pirates of the day, Francis Drake, English pronunciation of the Spanish word cimarrón,
John Hawkins, and Henry Morgan, “all became referring to runaway slaves. By 1819, Florida was
knights of the English realm.”1 “sold” by Spain to the United States, but only after
As the demand for sugar grew and as profits from war was waged in the territory by Andrew Jackson.
its cultivation increased, the Caribbean became a cen- Jackson would become president of the United States
ter of contention. It was already the primary “path- in 1828.
way” for the shipment of gold and silver to Spain,
yet sugar became almost as profitable as gold during NOTE
the seventeenth century. Thus, the English took con- 1. Thomas E. Skidmore and Peter H. Smith, Modern Latin America,
2d ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 280.
trol of Jamaica in 1655 (and held it until 1962), and
the French took a number of islands, as did the
Dutch. These islands were characterized by slave BIBLIOGRAPHY
Liss, Peggy K. 1982. Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revo-
labor, easy transportation to sugar markets on the lution, 1713–1826. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Universities, Science, and Culture

atin American intellectual life developed over arrived in America, despite the best efforts of the
a long period of time, and was shaped, almost church to keep it out. Botany was studied in America,
exclusively, by European trends, traditions, and and given the comparative advantage held by the New
intellectual currents. The Roman Catholic Church, World in terms of diversity of tropical plants and veg-
during much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centu- etation, it was only natural that plant life would be
ries, was the principle arbiter of academic life in the studied scientifically and systematically. José Celestino
colonies. The early church adopted a mentality that Mutis, a Spanish physician, spent twenty-five years
can only be described as “under siege,” especially in in Bogotá studying, organizing, and categorizing plant
the period after the Council of Trent in the mid-six- life in what is today Colombia. The founding of the
teenth century. Thus, the church’s central academic astronomical observatory in Bogotá (which stands
and cultural mission for the overseas colonies involved today on the grounds of the presidential palace in the
keeping foreign (i.e., non-Catholic) ideas out of the Colombian capital city) occurred in 1802, as Colom-
colonies. The Inquisition was designated as the insti- bians and others began looking to the heavens for
tution responsible for maintaining intellectual unifor- scientific, rather than religious, explanations of natu-
mity and purity. ral phenomena such as comets, meteorites, and
However, by the mid-sixteenth century, the first eclipses.
university opened in the Americas, the Universidad The most important late eighteenth, early nine-
de San Marcos, in Lima. San Marcos, which predates teenth-century explorer, geographer, and scientist to
Harvard College by about one hundred years, still visit America was Alexander von Humboldt. His stay
operates today as Peru’s premier public institution of in America lasted five years, from 1799 to 1804, and
higher learning. The pontifical Universidad de Mexico his maps, visits, lectures, and teachings were embraced
opened in 1553, and the Universidad de San Carlos by people throughout Latin America. His work had
(Guatemala City) opened about a century later, in wide political implications: Humboldt suggested, in
1676. These three universities educated the creole elite his writings published as Voyage to the Equinoctial
in America. Indian children, mestizos, and women Regions of the New Continent, that Latin America
were not invited to attend schools or universities. was grossly mismanaged, overtaxed, burdened by
Students at these traditional universities were re- outmoded political and economic structures, and in
warded for the degree to which they could recite ap- need of widespread political and social change. For
proved texts, teachings, and lectures. Independent, the creole elite—growing increasingly dissatisfied with
critical thinking was discouraged, and scientific in- Spanish rule in the late eighteenth century—this was
vestigation was considered subversive and dangerous. exactly the sort of encouragement needed. Of course,
Intellectual pursuit was purely scholastic. Students it is a stretch to suggest that von Humboldt’s writings
memorized, and via summaries written in embellished led to the Latin American independence movements,
language and rhetorical devices, gained academic but clearly, his work and the scientific thinking emerg-
standing. They were educated to the extent that they ing in Latin American universities suggested new pos-
could digest (almost literally) and debate previously sibilities for major change in the not-too-distant
published texts of grammar, theology, history, and lan- future.
guages—especially Latin and Greek. Discovery of new
knowledge was not the goal of the early Latin Ameri- BIBLIOGRAPHY
Lanning, John Tate. 1956. The Eighteenth Century Enlightenment in the
can university. University of San Carlos de Guatemala. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univer-
The situation changed by the eighteenth century, sity Press.
Nieto Olarte, Mauricio. 2000. Remedios para el Imperio: Historia natu-
when the Enlightenment hit Europe and the new re- ral y la apropiación del nuevo mundo. Bogotá: Instituto Colombiano
search conducted at the great European universities de Antropología e Historia.

The Birth of Public Opinion:
The Printing Press, Newspapers, and Literary Salons

uring much of the sixteenth century, books cisco José de Caldas, an American intellectual and
were sent to the colonies from Spain and Por- scientist, was executed by royalist forces—as were
tugal. The printing press arrived in Mexico first, many of the contributors to the Seminario.
and later in Peru, but printing of books in America was After the independence period, newspapers, maga-
strictly limited to works deemed “pleasing” to Spanish zines, and intellectual salons began to play important
royal and church authorities. One seventeenth-century roles in constructing national identity and culture
woman who ran afoul of the church, the Mexican Sister throughout Latin America. Scientific expeditions grew
(Sor) Juana Inés de la Cruz, is considered today an im- in prominence in the new republics because the very
portant baroque poet, perhaps one of the greatest in the creoles who had fought for the liberation of Latin
world. Her poetry and writing were learned, daring, America did not know exactly what they had liber-
and political. She criticized Hispanic hypocrisy regard- ated. Just as Lewis and Clark in the United States trav-
ing gender relations and wondered why women were eled to the northwest corner of the Louisiana Territory
punished for prostitution while men were congratulated on an expedition of discovery for President Jefferson,
(or envied) for their sexual lasciviousness. Mexican scientific and literary clubs were established to pro-
church authorities turned against her when she criti- mote, encourage, finance, and publish the scientific,
cized a prominent Portuguese theologian, Father Anto- geographic, and naturalist expeditions of learned men
nio Vieira: Sor Juana was forced to give up her library in the Americas.
(about 5,000 books) and take care of the sick during the The lofty ideas of the Enlightenment, newspaper
epidemics of the early 1690s. She died in 1695. publication, and scientific journals hardly reached
The Enlightenment arrived in Latin America about the majority of citizens in Latin America, before or
100 years after the death of Sor Juana. The church after independence. Public opinion in Latin America
tried to suppress the Enlightenment, but had to grudg- was the opinion of a select group of educated men
ingly accept the fact that, though they might be able from prominent creole families. The concept of pub-
to control publication of some books, man’s mind lic education did not exist at the time of indepen-
was free and the Enlightenment offered a totally new dence and would arrive later in the century to much
way of viewing the world. The post-Enlightenment of Latin America. Hierarchical thinking and action,
world stressed scientific research over outdated church which left an indelible stamp on Latin American so-
theories; John Locke wrote of popular sovereignty, ciety, suggested that only the “better” classes should
which, as a concept, clearly undermined the author- be educated, and that the poor (Native Americans,
ity of the monarchy and church; Voltaire brazenly enslaved Africans, most mestizos) should work for
criticized the authority of the Roman Catholic Church the elites. Circulation of newspapers and journals
with the phrase Écrasez l’infâme, or destroy the infa- was limited to a very small number of citizens, but
mous one (the church).1 those were the citizens who made critical decisions
Newspapers appeared late in Latin America due to in society—the decisions that the rest of society had
a scarcity of paper in the colonies, but during the late to live with.
eighteenth, and especially early nineteenth centuries,
newspapers, literary societies, and libraries were or- NOTE
1. Carlos Fuentes, The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain in the
ganized in the Americas. Newspapers and scientific New World (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992), p. 241.
journals produced in America were seen as danger-
ous, particularly by royal officials who feared change, BIBLIOGRAPHY
openness, and dialogue. Thus, Seminario del Nuevo Del Castillo Senn, Lina María. 2005. “Science and Scientists.” In Iberia and
the Americas, ed. J. Michael Francis. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio.
Reino de Granada, a weekly scientific journal, lasted Lynch, John. 1965. Origins of the Latin American Revolutions, 1808–
for only four years (1808–1811). The editor, Fran- 1826. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Haiti: The Forgotten Revolution

he events of 1789 really did change the West- black republic in the world. But the Haitian situa-
ern world. The French Revolution of that year tion frightened property owners, church officials,
collapsed the French monarchy, brought down monarchists, and creole elites—just about everyone
the power of the Roman Catholic Church in France, in power throughout the Americas due to its inten-
and reordered the agrarian structure of the country. sity, level of violence, and the extent to which it
That same year the Universal Declaration of the Rights changed Haitian society. Latin American creoles (i.e.,
of Man was promulgated in Paris: the concept of American-born whites), had watched, with great
liberté, egalité, and fraternité became a hallmark of enthusiasm, the American Revolution for indepen-
Western political and philosophic thought. dence in the thirteen English colonies, and, later,
Haiti, the western part of the island of Hispaniola, the French Revolution. These two revolutions sug-
was taken by the French in 1679 and proved to be an gested that they too might one day extract them-
extraordinarily successful sugar-producing region for selves from royal rule and govern their own affairs
more than a hundred years. The work force consisted in a republican form of government. But two years
of enslaved Africans, and France grew rich, thanks— after the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man,
in good measure—to the overseas sugar economy. the violent situation in Haiti and the potential re-
When the Universal Declaration was announced, the verberations in the region caused excited creoles to
people in Haiti (a French colony, after all) assumed pause. For what if, in their own countries—say in
that the Declaration referred to them. And while the Mexico, Peru, or Guatemala—poor, de facto en-
French philosophes might have intended it to be that slaved Native Americans and/or enslaved Africans
way, the French planter elite had no intention of giv- reacted with the same verve, efficiency, and deter-
ing up their labor force, or their way of life. mination as the slaves of Haiti? What if a revolution
Understanding clearly the contradiction of the Uni- for independence, once initiated in Latin America,
versal Declaration, the self-educated slave Toussaint grew out of control, as it had in Haiti? Would the
l’Ouverture organized and fought in a massive slave overworked, landless poor in Latin America distin-
rebellion in Haiti that dramatically changed the his- guish between Spaniards and creoles? These were
tory of that land. The Haitian Revolution, begun by important questions, and, not surprisingly, the ac-
l’Ouverture and concluded by one of his lieutenants, tual fighting to achieve independence from Spain in
Jean-Jacques Dessalines, lasted for about thirteen years Latin America would not begin until about twenty
and resulted in death or exile for the entire planter years after the start of the Haitian Revolution. Many
aristocracy and its supporters. In 1822, Haiti annexed factors contributed to this delay, but everyone who
the Dominican Republic, an arrangement that lasted held power, land, and slaves in Latin America un-
until 1844. Haitian-Dominican relations have been derstood what had happened in Haiti beginning in
strained ever since. In 1937, thousands of Haitian 1791. This reality dampened the revolutionary im-
agricultural workers were killed by Rafael Trujillo, pulse among the Latin American creoles generated
the murderous dictator of the neighboring Domini- during the summer of 1789.
can Republic.
The Haitian Revolution provides some important BIBLIOGRAPHY
lessons and “firsts” for Latin American history. It James, C.L.R. 1989. The Black Jacobins. 2d ed. New York: Random
was the first successful independence revolution in Williams, Eric. 1970. From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Car-
the region, and Haiti became the first independent ibbean, 1492–1969. New York: Random House.

Mexico and Central America: From the
“Grito de Dolores” to Monarchy

orld events outside of Latin America dic- de Dolores,” (the “Shout of Dolores”), which con-
tated the terms, to some degree, of Latin cluded with “long live the Virgin of Guadalupe, death
America’s independence struggles. First, the to the Spaniards!”
American Revolution against Great Britain proved that Hidalgo’s cry of independence unleashed pent-up
thirteen small colonies in North America could sepa- anger, and thousands were killed in this early ram-
rate from one of the world’s preeminent European pow- page. Hidalgo himself was sent before a Spanish firing
ers. Later, in 1789, the French Revolution changed the squad in 1811, and the movement he began was taken
political, social, and economic trajectory of the world’s up by another priest, Father José María Morelos.
leading power (France) during the eighteenth century. Morelos was captured and executed in 1815. The
The Haitian Revolution of the late eighteenth and early Mexican Vicente Guerrero held out with a small group
nineteenth century was significant in shaping the Latin of rebels, but overseas events would dictate the con-
American independence movements, as was the Na- tour of Mexican independence. A “liberal” revolution
poleonic invasion of Iberia in 1807–1808. Charles IV in Spain, which cut into the power of the Roman
abdicated in favor of his son Ferdinand VII; both fa- Catholic Church, created a situation in Mexico
ther and son were abducted by Napoleon, who placed whereby Mexican conservatives favored “indepen-
his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. In America, dence” from Spain rather than acceptance of the 1812
the creole elite asked simple, but profoundly signifi- liberal Spanish constitution. The restored King
cant, questions: The legitimate king is gone, so does Ferdinand VII reluctantly accepted this constitution
this mean we are free? What, precisely, connects us to after a series of military uprisings in 1820 created sig-
the crown, if the king has been forced to abdicate? nificant disorder in Spain. Meanwhile, in Mexico,
The wars for independence in Latin America be- Agustín de Iturbide managed to negotiate a truce with
gan in the early nineteenth century; the Mexican phase the rebels (led by Guerrero) and establish an agree-
started in mid-September 1810 in the small town of ment known as the Plan de Iguala of 1821. Under this
Dolores, where great tension arose between the rul- agreement, Mexico would become a constitutional em-
ing Spanish/creole elite and the poor. A terrible pire and the church would maintain all of its power,
drought in 1807–1808 had caused widespread fam- privilege, and property. Clearly, Mexico had gained
ine, and instead of releasing grain to the people, Span- independence from Spain, but in 1822, Iturbide was
ish merchants decided to hold food in storage, crowned Iturbide I, emperor of Mexico. One year later,
speculating that the drought (and shortage) would he was overthrown. Mexicans had not sacrificed and
drive up prices and profits. This, and other forms of struggled, with blood and property, for twelve years
abuse against the poor, raised the indignation of the simply to trade one empire for another. The kingdom
early leader of Mexican independence, a parish priest of Guatemala annexed itself to Mexico in 1822, but
in Dolores, Guanajuato named Miguel Hidalgo y Iturbide’s abdication in March 1823 resulted in Cen-
Costilla. Hidalgo was more interested in politics, read- tral American independence. On July 1, 1823, the
ing, and lecturing than the day-to-day routine of the United Provinces of Central America was established.
priesthood. He was fed up with the treatment of the
poor indigenous people and could no longer tolerate BIBLIOGRAPHY
the conditions of enslavement in which most of them Anna, Timothy. 1983. Spain and the Loss of America. Lincoln: Univer-
sity of Nebraska Press.
were held by their lighter-skinned overseers. Thus, ———. 1998. Forging Mexico, 1821–1835. Lincoln: University of Ne-
on September 16, 1810, he issued the famous “Grito braska Press.

War Among Creoles and Against Spaniards:
The Andean Phase

t the beginning of 1810, about nine months tance in Ecuador was finally brought under control
before the “Grito de Dolores” in Mexico, ten- at the Battle of Pichincha (1822), a victory for the
sions began mounting in northern South grand field marshal of Ayacucho, the Venezuelan An-
America, as the question of monarchical legitimacy tonio José de Sucre.
in the “absence” of the Spanish king loomed large. The final battle for independence, in 1824, oc-
In Caracas, a group of wealthy creoles decided to curred in Ayacucho, Peru. Peru proved to be a strong-
depose the Spanish captain-general and form a junta, hold of royalist sentiment and, generally, Latin
which would rule in the name of Ferdinand VII, the American independence dates from January 1826,
legitimate Spanish monarch. The man who emerged when royalist forces surrendered the important port
as leader of this group, Simón Bolívar—one of the of Callao (Lima)—thus ending organized Spanish re-
wealthiest men in the Americas—would play a deci- sistance in the Americas.
sive role in the process of liberating northern South But as soon as the fighting ended with Spain, fight-
America from Spanish control. Bolívar had spent time ing began anew over how to organize and govern
in Europe during the post–French Revolution period “America.” Bolívar’s dream of a “Gran Colombia”
and watched Napoleon crown himself emperor in quickly collapsed when Venezuela and Ecuador
Notre Dame Cathedral. Bolívar had decided, even pulled out of the federation in 1830. Latin Ameri-
before Napoleon rolled over the Iberian Peninsula, cans, particularly in the mountainous regions of Ec-
that Latin Americans should be allowed to choose their uador, Colombia, and Venezuela, were closely linked
own political destiny. In 1811, when Venezuela de- to regional culture, and the idea of a grand federa-
clared itself independent, Spanish troops arrived to tion could not coexist with their strong attachment
crush the American rebellion. Bolívar organized an to local affairs. The complex geography of the re-
army of slaves, who were promised freedom and land gion compounded this problem and made Bolívar’s
at the conclusion of the independence struggle, and dream an impractical impossibility. In 1830, he was
llaneros, tough mestizo cowboys who lived on the driven out of Bogotá—the capital of the federation
Venezuelan plains, or llanos; Bolívar liked to refer to he helped found some eleven years earlier. He
the llaneros as los niños malvados—the bad boys. marched off toward Santa Marta (Colombia) where
A brilliant military strategist, politician, philoso- he died, defeated and depressed, on December 17 at
pher, and one of the premier thinkers of his day, the age of forty-seven. His final words illustrate his
Bolívar achieved numerous military victories against mood: ¿cómo saldré yo de este laberinto? (how will I
royalist forces. When he united with José Antonio ever get out of this labyrinth?), as does an oft-
Páez, the Venezuelan leader of the llanos, the military repeated phrase, uttered by Bolívar during his final
campaign moved forward with great success. By 1819, days: he offered a haunting prediction for the for-
Bolívar’s forces controlled Venezuela, and—after the tunes of Latin America when he said, “America is
Battle of Boyacá on August 7, 1819—they controlled ungovernable: those who have served the revolution
much of what is today Colombia. Fearing disorder, have plowed the sea.”
disunity, and chaos in the absence of Spanish author-
ity, Bolívar, in late 1819, created Gran Colombia, a BIBLIOGRAPHY
federation of three states: Venezuela, Colombia, and García Márquez, Gabriel. 1990. The General in His Labyrinth. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf.
Ecuador. The constitution for this organization was Munro, Dana Gardner. 1942. The Latin American Republics: A History.
declared at Cúcuta in May 1821. Next, Spanish resis- New York: D. Appleton-Century.

The Southern Cone Independence Process and
Brazilian Independence

he Southern Cone countries (Argentina, Chile, defeated by 1815, João VI returned to Portugal, leav-
and Paraguay) gained their independence dur- ing his son Pedro I behind as crown prince regent. As
ing a sweeping, dramatic campaign led by the Brazil grew wealthy and powerful, the Portuguese
Argentine General José de San Martín.1 Cortes (an early version of Parliament) attempted to
In 1817, a year after the congress at Buenos Aires return Brazil to its former colonial status. Pedro re-
declared independence, San Martín organized a group sponded to calls by his father for his return to Portu-
of about 5,000 soldiers at the western city of gal with a simple declaration of independence in 1822:
Mendoza. The force crossed the Andes, swept down Eu fico, or I’m staying here! Essentially, Brazil was
into Santiago, surprising the Spaniards, and won a independent, though some fighting broke out in the
rapid independence for Chile. This striking military northeast of the country in opposition to Pedro.
victory was important for morale in the Americas, as The contrasts between Spanish-American and Por-
it demonstrated that Americans could act decisively, tuguese-American independence movements could
dramatically, with skill and precision—and defeat the not have been sharper. Spanish America was devas-
Spaniards. With Buenos Aires and Santiago in the tated during about sixteen years of warfare and dis-
hands of the rebels, the Southern Cone of Latin location. Mining centers collapsed, agriculture lagged,
America was all but independent. San Martín, after and trade was interrupted. Men on horseback—the
liberating Chile, marched north to Lima and declared caudillos—would come to play a critically important
independence there in 1821, although Peru would not role throughout Spanish America in the immediate
be completely independent until the port city of Callao aftermath of independence; they would serve as lead-
was taken from the Spaniards, in 1826. Historians ers during the transition from monarchy to republic.
date the end of the independence wars as either 1826 In Brazil, the rule of Pedro I, and his son, Pedro II,
or 1824 (the Battle of Ayacucho in Peru); both dates assured a smooth monarchical legitimacy combined
demonstrate the strength of Peruvian opposition to with constitutional input and procedure. The nine-
independence. teenth century in Brazil is characterized by slavery,
From Peru, San Martín marched north to coffee, political continuity, and stability. Hispanic
Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he held a famous meet- America’s nineteenth century can be described as cha-
ing with Simón Bolívar. No one really knows what otic in many places—especially Mexico, Colombia,
happened at the meeting, except that San Martín quit and Central America; there, caudillos ruled in an ar-
the revolutionary struggle, gave up all his titles, and bitrary fashion, civil wars broke out with great fre-
left for Europe. He was never to return to America. quency, and foreigners invaded, appropriating land
The Brazilian story is quite different in that Brazil- and resources.
ian “independence” occurred with minimal blood-
shed. But, similar to the other independence processes NOTE
1. Uruguay was created in 1828 by a treaty between Brazil and
in the Americas, the Brazilian phase was largely shaped Argentina and with the support of the British. It was designed as a sort of
by European events. In 1807, when Napoleon took buffer zone between the two South American powers. Paraguay dates its
over Portugal, and later Spain, the entire royal court independence as May 1811, when it proclaimed independence from Spain.

at Lisbon boarded a fleet of ships and fled to Rio de

Janeiro. The Portuguese monarch, João VI, opened Barman, Roderick J. 1988. Brazil: The Forging of a Nation, 1798–1852.
up Brazilian trade (which benefited the British) and Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Costa, Emília Viotti da. 1985. The Brazilian Empire. Chicago: Univer-
the court established a thriving culture in the Ameri- sity of Chicago Press.
can tropics at Rio de Janeiro. But, with Napoleon Macaulay, Neill. 1986. Dom Pedro. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.


08LaRosaChap8.pmd 79 9/7/2006, 10:04 AM

Mexico and Central America

he period immediately following independence party or ideology, and he switched positions when it
in Hispanic America was a time of turmoil and was convenient to do so. But the “charm” of his leader-
disunity: it was a period defined largely by ship wore off by 1846, when the young, restless United
caudillo rule throughout the region. The rise of States invaded for the express purpose of expanding its
caudillos was a logical response to the disorder, de- territorial borders. The U.S. forces occupied Mexico City
struction, and collapse of rule during and after inde- and, via the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), the
pendence. Much has been made of the caudillo in United States officially took control of the territory
academic and nonacademic literature, for his fiery, char- known today as the states of Arizona, New Mexico,
ismatic personality has, since the early nineteenth cen- Texas, Utah, California, and Colorado.
tury, captured the imaginations of social scientists and Incredibly, Santa Anna managed to influence politi-
novelists alike. cal affairs in Mexico through 1855, when he was finally
Caudillos in Latin America were men on horseback. ousted from power and forced into exile. An important
They were often products of the disbanded Latin era had passed in Mexico, but not without great loss to
American militaries (which, in some places, never re- the Mexican nation and psyche.
ally disbanded). They had authority and charisma and In Guatemala, Rafael Carrera was a leader of critical
understood that independence, while offering great importance in the period immediately after indepen-
change in Latin America, did not fundamentally dence. He ruled from the early 1840s until his death in
change the prevailing social structure or ingrained 1865. Carrera governed as caudillo, and later dictator,
sense of hierarchy in the region. The caudillo held on behalf of the indigenous peoples of his country (he
authority by mere virtue of the fact that he com- himself was indigenous). He was a conservative who
manded large armies of men who were dislocated and enjoyed strong backing and support of the Roman
unemployed in the period after independence. The Catholic Church. Carrera’s tenure is one of few ex-
caudillo was the patron, and the armies were his cli- amples in Latin America in which an indigenous person
ents. Each understood his role in the system, and the has held power, and his policies created a period of rela-
caudillo army with the most men (i.e., the army that tive peace and stability in Guatemala. Carrera’s death
could distribute the most patronage) usually held the in 1865 resulted in tension and turbulence. Liberal-con-
most power. In the absence of clear laws, governmen- servative infighting defined Guatemalan politics until
tal structures, or external authority, the caudillo filled Justo Rufino Barrios rose to power and ruled until 1885.
a central—and functional—role in early nineteenth- He firmly established the Liberal Party in the Guatema-
century Latin American history. lan power structure, even though “rule” in Guatemala
However, caudillismo created problems as well. The was little more than dictatorship designed to completely
case of Mexico is a prime example of how the arbitrary lock out opposing parties and ideas. The concept of “de-
rule and mismanagement of self-aggrandized caudillos mocracy” never took hold in Latin America in the nine-
resulted in grave problems, including foreign interven- teenth century—it eluded Guatemala for most of the
tion and the loss of about half of the country’s territory twentieth century as well. The legacy of caudillo rule
by 1848. Antonio López de Santa Anna was the epoch’s flourished in Guatemala (because it generally benefited
primary example of a caudillo. He was less interested in outside economic interests) and laid the foundation for
ruling Mexico and far more motivated by conquest, lead- the country’s political tragedies during the twentieth
ing men into battle, and making, or unmaking, govern- century.
ments. He even, at one point, took down his own
government! Santa Anna was certainly colorful: after BIBLIOGRAPHY
losing a leg in the so-called “Pastry War” (1838) against Handy, Jim. 1984. Gift of the Devil: A History of Guatemala. Boston:
French forces, he had the leg exhumed, ceremoniously South End Press.
Lynch, John. 1992. Caudillos in Spanish America, 1800–1850. New York:
paraded through the streets, and reburied with full mili- Oxford University Press.
tary honors. He was not wedded to any one political Roa Bastos, Augusto Antonio. 1987. Yo el supremo. Madrid: Cátedra.

South America

rbitrary caudillo rule was not confined to He was also able to “buy off ” competing caudillos in
Mexico and Central America during the first the interior, and in so doing, he won their loyalty.
half of the nineteenth century. The South Ameri- Rosas’s authoritarian and aggressive policies led him
can continent counted its share of caudillos, and they to invade tiny Uruguay, a move that upset British mer-
proved to be just as versatile, colorful, and dictatorial chants, the French, and Rosas’s detractors at home.
as their northern counterparts. Caudillos could be iden- Eventually, in 1852, the dictator’s forces were defeated,
tified in almost every region of Latin America after in- and he fled into exile in England.
dependence, but the focus in this essay will be on three Venezuela’s Antonio Guzmán Blanco defined politics
leaders: Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia in Paraguay, Juan and society in that country during the latter half of the
Manuel de Rosas in Argentina, and Antonio Guzmán nineteenth century. A liberal leader, he established him-
Blanco in Venezuela. self as an absolute dictator and enjoyed hearing himself
Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia ruled Paraguay from referred to as “The Illustrious American, Regenerator
about 1814 until his death in 1840 as “El Supremo” or of Venezuela.” Concerned with issues of trade, infra-
the Supreme One—his self-imposed title. He decided structure development, and restricting the power of the
that tiny Paraguay would benefit from near-total isola- Roman Catholic Church, Guzmán Blanco’s policies were
tion from the complex and cumbersome outside world, very much in line with those of other Latin American
and he managed, surprisingly, to seal off the country liberal leaders of the time. His rule lasted until the late
from the outside world for about twenty-five years. 1880s, when a series of political mistakes cost him the
This odd form of rule resulted in relative peace and loyalty of his supporters.
stability in Paraguay, when compared, for example, to One feature common to all caudillos in nineteenth-
neighboring Argentina during the same time period. century Latin America was a complete lack of demo-
But the costs were high. No one was ever allowed to cratic procedure, or even the pretense of democratic
offer advice to the Supreme One, the church was com- practice. The 300-year colonial model of hierarchy,
pletely under his authority, and the period is generally power from above, and adherence to authority left a
characterized as “bizarre” or “gloomy” in scholarly lit- lasting legacy in Latin America. Politically, the nine-
erature. teenth century in Latin America is seen, by many, as a
Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires, sort of transition century: society could not switch
emerged as the undisputed leader in Argentina after seamlessly from monarchical colonial rule to electoral
about 1829. Rosas was a tyrant and ruled on behalf of democracy. Even today, more than a century later, true
the “Federalists,” or Federales—those Argentines, gen- democracy still eludes much of Latin America, for it is
erally from the interior, who wished to organize a loose based not just on “electoralism” but on an adherence
confederation of semi-autonomous states. The opposi- to the principles of meaningful social and economic
tion party, the Unitarians or “Unitarios,” called for a justice.
strong central government radiating out from Buenos
Aires that would be run by the aristocracy. Rosas’ rule, Burns, E. Bradford. 1980. The Poverty of Progress: Latin America in the
to the complete exclusion of Unitarians, was brutal, Nineteenth Century. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
and his authority even extended over the Roman Catho- Lynch, John. 2001. Argentine Caudillo: Juan Manuel de Rosas.
Wilmington, DE: SR Books.
lic Church. He promised to maintain order and counted Sarmiento, D.F. n.d. Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the
on the support of the common people in the interior. Tyrants; Or, Civilization and Barbarism. New York: Hafner.

Export-led Economic Growth: Mid-Century

istorian E. Bradford Burns’s 1980 book, The Pov- growth of an urban metropolis. São Paulo became the
erty of Progress, suggests that “progress” (as de- most dynamic city in the country, replacing the eighteenth-
fined in European and North American terms) century dominance of the city of Ouro Preto in Minas
actually led to growing “poverty” in Latin America. Burns Gerais and the seventeenth- and sixteenth-century north-
studied the entire Latin American region to formulate his eastern dominance of Salvador, Bahia, and Recife,
thesis but focused special attention on the cases of Argen- Pernambuco. In 1885, only 6,000 individuals migrated
tina, Brazil, and Mexico. Nineteenth-century Latin Ameri- to São Paulo; two years later, that number rose to 32,000,
can political leaders, impressed with European political and and by 1888, 90,000 arrived to São Paulo via the port of
economic ideology, embraced policies that upheld colonial Santos. The inflow of Europeans continued, most of
patterns—that is, Latin Americans exported “raw” goods whom arrived from Southern and Eastern Europe, reach-
and imported “finished industrial” goods from Europe. ing a level of about 100,000 to 150,000 during the first
Burns defined this as “dependency.” Dependent economic years of the twentieth century. As was the case of the
growth allowed industrial nations to become wealthy, while United States and Argentina, immigration from Europe
the countries that only produced primary products were declined dramatically with the onset of World War I.
characterized by sporadic, uneven economic development. Mexico achieved phenomenal growth during a period
In Argentina, during a twenty-year period that started known as the Porfiriato, the thirty-five-year rule of Porfirio
roughly in 1853 (a year after the fall of the caudillo- Díaz. Díaz’s rule, from about 1876 to 1911, represented
dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas), overall exports grew by the height of export-led growth in that country. Exports
700 percent. From 1876 to 1900, wheat exports grew from from 1877 to 1900 increased by 400 percent, but the
21 tons to 2,250,000 tons. A number of interrelated fac- newfound expansion in export trade did not mean that all
tors help explain this phenomenal growth. First, there was Mexicans enjoyed a higher standard of living. In fact, about
enormous demand for Latin American agricultural prod- 96 percent of the communal villages in Mexico (the ejidos)
ucts in far-off industrializing countries, especially after the lost title to their land during this time period. Land specu-
repeal of the British Corn Laws in the late 1840s. Second, lators and surveyors, working in tandem with the Díaz
political change in Argentina led to a renewed focus on the government, cheated poor, indigenous persons out of their
export economy and the subsequent growth of the port communally held lands. In his book, Professor Burns ex-
city of Buenos Aires as the commercial, transportation, and plains how “progress” meant poverty for the majority of
manufacturing center of the nation. Third, the opening up Mexicans: the price of land increased dramatically, peas-
of wide expanses of grasslands, known as the pampas, for ants were pushed off their lands, the price of basic staples
agricultural use and cattle raising was fundamental to the increased (in the case of corn, the price quadrupled from
expansion of export-led growth. Finally, a steep decline in 1899 to 1908), and wages on the large haciendas were
freight rates during the second half of the nineteenth cen- paid in the form of “coupons” at the company store.2
tury enhanced profit margins for those involved in export- Export-led economic growth in Latin America cre-
ing primary products out of Buenos Aires. But wealth was ated tensions and contradictions in the region and exac-
not evenly distributed in Argentina during this time pe- erbated established patterns of inequality. In most cases,
riod, and the economy moved through many boom–bust a small percentage of the population (generally lighter-
cycles, which hampered long-term development and led skinned people of European descent) came to control
to political and social strife. vast fortunes, while the majority of the citizens saw rela-
In Brazil, the nineteenth century is associated with the tively little personal benefit from the export-led model.
production of coffee and the expansion of the coffee trade.
From 1833 to 1889 (the year the Brazilian Republic was NOTES
1. Roberto Cortés Conde, “Export-led Growth in Latin America:
born), exports grew by over 600 percent. The dynamic sec- 1870–1930,” Journal of Latin American Studies 24 (1992): 173.
tor of the Brazilian economy had moved, by the nineteenth 2. E. Bradford Burns, The Poverty of Progress (Los Angeles: Uni-
century, to the southeastern quadrant of the country. Ac- versity of California Press, 1980), pp. 144–145.
cording to one authority on Latin American economic de- BIBLIOGRAPHY
velopment, “coffee exports grew from a mere 480,000 bags Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. 2002. Latin America: A Con-
in 1830 to 3,827,000 in 1870/1 and 14,760,000 in 1901.”1 cise Interpretive History. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice
The growth of the export economy in Brazil is directly Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. 2004. A History of Latin America.
related to European immigration and the concurrent 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Liberal Reforms in Latin America

vents abroad have had an important effect on the the country. His views further divided society, but in
political and economic history of Latin America. The Argentina, enormous tensions already existed between
repeal of the “Corn Laws” presented a new op- modernity and backwardness, between civilization and
portunity for Latin Americans, generated significant lib- barbarism. These dichotomies were similar to the lib-
eral reforms, and signaled the end of arbitrary, often eral-conservative divide that tore apart Mexico during
tyrannical, rule by caudillo in many areas of Latin America. the same time period.
Reformers in Latin America who attached themselves In Colombia, liberal reform is most closely tied to
to liberal political and economic programs generally did the policies of General Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera,
so in the name of “progress,” or the civilizing paradigms president from 1846 to 1849. He worked to improve
found in the cities of foreign (especially European) capi- infrastructure in the country by constructing roads and
tals. The reformers also believed in the export model of introducing steam navigation on the Magdalena River,
economic development. Mid-nineteenth-century liber- which flows to the north and empties into the Carib-
als in Latin America espoused a mixture of policies that bean Sea. Like many liberals of his day, Mosquera ran
included freer trade and commerce, lowering tariffs, into trouble with the traditional elites and the church;
fighting against the power and influence of the church, these conflicts led inexorably toward civil war. The
and divorcing the church from education policy. church fought against all reforms during this time pe-
Part of the liberal reformers’ plan was to “shed” the riod, and those working to build modern nations in nine-
colonial past, which meant curbing the power of the teenth-century Latin America were often times cast as
institutions associated with the colonial period. The mili- “heretics,” or worse. The Colombian civil wars came to
tary and church were singled out for “reform.” The mili- a halt in 1886 with the passage of a new constitution
tary fuero, or special exemption from civil law, was and a conservative victory under the rule of Rafael
eliminated via the Juárez Law in Mexico in 1855. Other Núñez. Núñez preferred to live in his hometown, the
laws from this period stopped the church from holding northern coastal city of Cartagena, some 1,000 kilome-
land outside of the buildings used to administer the sac- ters from the capital. He also chose to make peace with
raments of the Mass; additionally, the church was pre- the church via the signing, in 1887, of a “concordat,” a
vented from charging fees for sacraments. These laws, treaty between the Holy See and the Colombian nation.
the so-called Reform Laws, represented an epic struggle That treaty effectively tied the Colombian state to the
between the civil president (Benito Juárez, in this case), Roman Catholic Church, and conservative rule lasted
and the Roman Catholic Church hierachy. The ensuing for close to forty-five years until the liberals assumed
civil war, the War of the Reform, claimed the lives of power via the electoral process in 1930.
tens of thousands of Mexicans and pitted the moderniz- The nineteenth century concluded, in Colombia, with
ing liberal state against the more conservative elements a civil war between Liberals and Conservatives: the War
of society and the Roman Catholic Church. of a Thousand Days lasted from 1899 until 1902 and
Argentina, particularly under the rule of Domingo F. claimed about 70,000 lives. The mid-nineteenth-century
Sarmiento (1868–1874), moved away from caudillo rule tensions between church and state, tradition and mo-
(personified by Juan Manuel de Rosas, who ruled from dernity, city and countryside, and export-led economic
1829 to 1852) toward rule by an educated elite based in development and reliance on the “great estates” contin-
the city of Buenos Aires. Sarmiento was deeply distrust- ued as themes well into the twentieth century through-
ful of rural peoples and practices, and viewed civiliza- out much of Latin America.
tion and progress as residing in the city. He wrote an
important work in 1845, Civilization and Barbarism, BIBLIOGRAPHY
where he criticized his political opponents, advocated Burns, E. Bradford. 1980. The Poverty of Progress: Latin America in the
increased trade with Europe, and pushed for educational Nineteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Bushnell, David. 1992. The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in
reforms—based on his elitist model. Sarmiento and oth- Spite of Itself. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
ers stressed European immigration as a way to “improve” Fuentes, Carlos. 1992. The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the
the racial stock of the people living in the hinterland of New World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

The United States Discovers a Continent

he U.S. government’s concern with the viability sion of 1893–1894. The U.S. economy appeared unable
of the Latin American republics dates back to to absorb the productive capacity of U.S. industry, prompt-
about 1823, when the famous Monroe Doctrine ing economists to advise a search for new markets abroad.
was pronounced during the presidency of James Mon- This advice came while military officials, politicians, and
roe. The doctrine stated that the United States would look statesmen were still debating the work of Alfred T. Mahan,
with displeasure upon any attempts by European powers the naval captain who had published, in 1890, The Influ-
to reconquer, or in any way interfere with, the sovereignty ence of Sea Power on History. Captain Mahan, in a sweep-
and independence of the newly liberated Latin American ing historical analysis of the creation of world military
republics. Albeit unenforceable, the doctrine was directed powers, advised the formation of a powerful “two-ocean”
mainly at the British and French and demonstrated the navy in the United States. Mahan’s work implied a need
degree to which the United States viewed Latin America for foreign bases in the Caribbean and Pacific, an inter-
as part of its special sphere of influence. oceanic canal, and massive government expenditures on
The first major event of the nineteenth century shipbuilding. All of this came to fruition within thirteen
whereby the United States’ “discovery” of Latin America years of the publication of Mahan’s book.
manifested itself was the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846, The character of the United States changed dramati-
the so-called “Mexican-American War.” The war cally in 1898, when the young republic became an im-
amounted to little more than a land grab and an attempt perialist power, taking possessions from Spain in what
by U.S. southerners to extend slavery into the former came to be called the Spanish-American War. The war
Mexican territories. It ended with the Treaty of Guada- lasted only a few months, and Spain, through the Treaty
lupe Hidalgo (1848), wherein Mexico ceded about one- of Paris (1898), ceded possession of its Caribbean terri-
half of its national territory to the United States. The tories as well as Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific.
Mexican-American War is frequently cited today as a The war put the United States in de facto control of
prime example of Manifest Destiny (the belief that U.S. Cuba and Puerto Rico, as the interest, and influence, of
domination of Latin America is part of God’s divine plan), the United States in the region expanded. The Platt
and it damaged relations between the United States and Amendment of 1901 ensured a strong United States pres-
Latin America for the remainder of the century. ence in Cuba, and two years later, a U.S.-supported in-
Shortly after this war, two bizarre episodes gave fur- dependence movement in the Province of Panama
ther credence to U.S. interest in Latin America. First, in (previously controlled by Colombia) demonstrated the
1854, the Ostend Manifesto, through which the United country’s intention to construct an interoceanic canal—
States sought to “purchase” Cuba from Spain for 120 on its terms and with its military protecting the canal
million dollars, was drafted. If Spain refused to sell, the zone. In fact, a ten-mile-wide strip of Panama became a
United States would invade and take control of the is- virtual U.S. colony within a sovereign nation, an arrange-
land. Ultimately, this manifesto was never realized. Sec- ment that lasted from the birth of the Panamanian re-
ond, two years later, there was the William Walker affair. public (November 1903) until December 31, 1999.
Walker, a Tennessean filibuster, had himself elected presi- Finally, in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt ex-
dent of Nicaragua in 1856. He reinstituted slavery and pressed his intentions in Latin America via his “Roosevelt
made English the official language of that country, but Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine”; he stated that the
his venture was to be short-lived; Walker was eventually United States would intervene militarily wherever it saw
captured and executed in Honduras. fit in Latin America in order to ensure the safety of Ameri-
A longer-lasting, closer focus on Latin America by the can lives and/or property. This sweeping “doctrine of in-
United States would occur after the conclusion of the U.S. tervention” would have profound effects on U.S.–Latin
Civil War. With the ending of slavery and the dominance American relations up through the Franklin Delano
of the northern industrial model, the United States began Roosevelt administration of the early 1930s.
rapidly to modernize: this meant the growth of urban
centers (especially in the north), the expansion of trans- LaRosa, Michael, and Frank O. Mora, eds. 1999. Neighborly Adversar-
portation networks, and a growing need for primary ies: Readings in U.S.–Latin American Relations. Lanham, MD:
products—some of which were in scarce supply within Rowman & Littlefield.
Black, George. 1988. The Good Neighbor: How the United States Wrote
the United States. Economists questioned the pace of U.S. the History of Central America and the Caribbean. New York: Pan-
industrialization, particularly after the economic depres- theon Books.

Brazil: Monarchy to the First Republic

razil’s history took a different path from that of His- its more powerful neighbors. The war, which lasted six
panic America (Spanish-speaking Latin America), years, was a disaster for Brazil (and of course Paraguay,
particularly in the nineteenth century. The Napole- which lost nearly all of its adult male population). The
onic invasion of Iberia in 1807–1808 forced the Portu- conflict clearly challenged Dom Pedro’s authority and
guese monarchy, the Braganzas, to flee to Rio de Janeiro, leadership, and began a process of “introspection” that
where they established the continuation of the Portuguese led—eventually—to the overthrow of Dom Pedro and
monarchy. Thus, while Hispanic America was convulsed the birth of the republic in 1889.
in an epic, sixteen-year independence struggle that cost the The second half of the nineteenth century in Brazil has
lives of hundreds of thousands, relative order, preserva- been characterized using three terms: slavery, coffee, and
tion of tradition, and monarchical continuity prevailed in monarchy. Brazil holds the dubious distinction of being
Brazil. Though tensions existed, especially as exerted by the last country in the Western Hemisphere to eliminate
the Portuguese crown, which felt compelled to try and pull slavery, in 1888. Joaquim Nabuco was Brazil’s most out-
Brazil back into the former colonial structure, the Brazil- spoken critic of slavery and worked tirelessly to abolish
ian process proceeded free from the all-consuming chaos the institution from Brazilian soil. Unlike other societies
that defined Hispanic-American independence. in the Americas that abolished slavery only after bloody
The first ten years after independence were difficult, conflict (the United States or Cuba), Brazil’s article of
but Pedro I (having established himself as constitutional abolition (the Golden Law of May 13, 1888) was pro-
monarch) managed to maintain the territorial unity of mulgated without incident. The overseas slave trade ended
Brazil despite many separatist rebellions. By 1831, he in 1830, but slaves continued to arrive in Brazil as late as
decided to return to Portugal, and he died in 1834. Pedro 1852; thus, the price of slaves skyrocketed as the avail-
I left his son, Pedro II, to rule over Brazil. In 1840, at ability declined, and their average age rose markedly. Bra-
the age of fourteen, Pedro II took on the title Dom Pedro zilians adopted a more pragmatic approach to ending
II and began what would be a forty-nine-year reign. The slavery. Simply put, it was no longer profitable or viable;
period between the abdication of Pedro I and Dom Pedro it was interfering with Brazilian’s self-perception as a
II’s oath of July 23, 1840 (where he agreed to uphold modern, progressive society organized around the con-
the constitution as constitutional monarch) is known as cept of positivism—“order and progress.”1 Many ex-slaves
the Regency. This nine-year period was characterized lived on the margins of society in escaped slave commu-
by relative stability. The Brazilian Regency lacked the nities known in Brazil as quilombos.
disorder, caudillo armies, and civil wars that defined the The end of slavery meant a dramatic increase in the
turbulent histories of Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina number of Europeans willing to migrate to Brazil; they
during the same period. would work in the expanding and profitable coffee
Dom Pedro II was an able ruler who led Brazil as a economy based in the southeastern region of the coun-
constitutional monarch with “moderating” powers. Essen- try, surrounding the city of São Paulo and the port of
tially, he could override the legislature as he saw fit. Still, Santos. One year after the abolition of slavery, the Bra-
Pedro II was Brazilian—he was born and raised in Brazil— zilian Republic was born, for slavery and monarchy were
and fleeing to Portugal was not a viable option for him; he connected in the minds of the people as representative
had to try to achieve balance at home. Pedro II was edu- of the “past”; a free society under constitutional rule
cated in the liberal, enlightened tradition of the period and represented a move toward modernity.
established the important precedence of working to solve
problems rather than resorting to conflict. Given the enor- NOTE
mity of the Brazilian landmass, this proved to be an impor- 1. The words Ordem e Progresso (Order and Progress) are embla-
tant legacy, or characteristic, of the “Brazilian way.” zoned on the Brazilian flag.
There were some notable exceptions to this portrait
of a peaceful, moderate Brazilian state. From 1865 to BIBLIOGRAPHY
1870, Brazil joined with Argentina and Uruguay in the Levine, Robert M., and John J. Crocitti, eds. 1999. The Brazil Reader.
Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
War of the Triple Alliance against tiny Paraguay, which Worcester, Donald E. 1973. Brazil: From Colony to World Power. New
had developed independently and refused to trade with York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

The Vestiges of Empire: Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Guyanas

he independence movements in the early part of United States of America. This complex and contradic-
the nineteenth century did not provide freedom tory situation deeply affects Puerto Rican culture and iden-
and independence for all Latin Americans. In fact, tity; residents of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United
millions of people still lived under colonial rule. The Latin States, but not “full” citizens, as they do not enjoy all of
American independence struggles can be thought of as four the rights and privileges that U.S. citizenship brings.
essentially independent phenomena: First, the Mexican Other areas that form part of geographic South America
struggle involving what we today call Mexico and north- include Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana (or Cay-
ern Central America. That struggle was led, at the begin- enne) on the north-northwest section of the continent.
ning, by the Catholic priests Father Miguel Hidalgo and The independent nation of Guyana was colonized by the
Father José María Morelos. Second, Simón Bolívar’s cam- British and gained independence in 1966. The official
paigns helped liberate much of northern South America. language is English, and the economy is dominated by
Third, the so-called Southern Cone countries (Argentina, the export of agricultural and mineral products. Neigh-
Paraguay, and Chile) were liberated by the Argentine gen- boring Suriname, to the east of Guyana, was colonized
eral José de San Martín. Fourth was Brazil’s distinct path by the Netherlands and only gained independence in 1975.
to independence, which occurred via the establishment of Suriname exports mineral and agricultural products pri-
a sustained, relatively peaceful constitutional monarchy. marily to the Netherlands, the United States, and the
While independence struggles raged in most coun- United Kingdom. French Guiana is still a colonial terri-
tries within the region, political independence eluded tory of France. This territory was settled by the French in
the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean— 1604 and was part of a larger French presence in the
they remained part of a greatly reduced Spanish overseas Americas that included, at one time, all of Louisiana, parts
empire after 1826. (Other Spanish possessions during of Canada, Haiti, and other islands in the Caribbean. The
the nineteenth century included Guam and the Philip- French planted sugar cane and profited from colonial
pine Islands in the South Pacific.) structures and the institution of slavery. France used French
Despite efforts by the United States to purchase the Guiana as a penal colony for 100 years from 1850 to
island of Cuba in the mid-nineteenth century, and the about 1950, and after World War II, Guiana became an
United States’ growing interest in the Caribbean basin as “overseas department of France,” similar to the political
expressed through the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, Cuba status of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
and Puerto Rico remained Spanish colonial possessions When scholars define Latin America, they sometimes
until 1898. A disturbing contradiction developed after use a linguistic categorization; that is, they consider as “Latin
about 1865 (the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War), when America” those independent nations that were colonized
U.S. business interests on the island of Cuba eclipsed Span- by countries with Latin-derived languages. Brazil and
ish commerce with the island. Cuba “belonged” to Spain, Mexico are part of Latin America: Jamaica is not. Guyana,
but for reasons mostly related to geography, the island Suriname, and French Guiana, technically, are not defined
was increasingly connected to and controlled by capital- as “Latin America”; however these societies, along with
ists living in the United States. The Cuban patriot and in- Cuba and Puerto Rico, have been shaped by long periods
tellectual José Martí frequently wrote about this of colonialism, exploitative labor systems, dependence on
contradiction until his death of the hands of Spanish mili- plantation-style agriculture, and massive profit outflows
tary forces in 1895. to other areas of the world—generally Europe. In most of
Puerto Rico and Cuba were “liberated” from Spain by the Caribbean today, true independence (political, social,
the United States in 1898; Puerto Rico never gained com- and economic) eludes the vast majority of the citizens, and
plete independence and Cuba’s path to independence was the variety of political structures present in that region is a
complicated. Cuba remained under U.S. tutelage until clear reflection of the long-lasting, damning consequences
about 1934—the year the Platt Amendment was abro- of centuries of colonial rule.
gated. Fidel Castro’s rise to power in the late 1950s is
directly related to the island’s colonial tradition, dating BIBLIOGRAPHY
Knight, Franklin W. 1990. The Caribbean. 2d ed. New York: Oxford Uni-
back to the earliest days of Spanish conquest. Puerto Rico, versity Press.
a protectorate of the United States, exists as neither com- United States. Central Intelligence Agency. 2004. The World Factbook.
pletely independent nor completely integrated with the Available at

From England to the United States:
North American Investment Through 1929

oreign investment in Latin America became much Conference, Secretary of State James Blaine called for a
more significant with the repeal of the British Corn dramatic increase in “hemispheric” trade and helped refo-
Laws in 1846. British capitalists in the north wrestled cus policy makers away from the conventional view of Latin
concessions from the agrarian south, which collapsed pro- America as a military or defense “problem.” Next, the eco-
tectionist tariffs on foodstuffs and allowed Latin Ameri- nomic depression of 1893–94 was, in real terms, worse
can wheat, corn, and flour to flow to Europe. Expanding than the 1929 depression would be and caused economists
markets in Europe, fueled by the Industrial Revolution and in the United States to think critically about expanding
the newfound belief in classical economics and compara- markets and investment abroad as a way of selling off the
tive advantage, meant a growing focus on Latin American excess production of U.S. factories. The U.S. market seemed
agricultural production and infrastructural development. “saturated” in the early 1890s, and the prevailing view
Thus, by about mid-century, an emphasis on political stressed the need to open new markets abroad.
stability and support of the export sector of the economy After about 1900, the dynamic of investment changed
(or the liberal triumph) dictated the economic mood in dramatically. With the United States taking on empire sta-
much of Latin America. Latin Americans wanted to take tus following the conclusion of the Spanish-American War
full advantage of the European appetite for their primary in 1898 (whereby the United States came to dominate
products, and new investment in mines, railroads, port Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam—the final
facilities, and cities was part of the mid-nineteenth-century vestiges of the once powerful Spanish Empire in America),
push toward modernity. Much of the investment, of U.S. economic commitment to the region increased dra-
course, would come from Europe (primarily Great Brit- matically. At the turn of the century, the United States
ain), and this pattern would remain intact until the start invested heavily in Cuba and Mexico, and by the eve of
of World War I. World War I, total foreign investment in Latin America
The prevailing philosophy at this time in Europe and could be summed up as follows: Great Britain, 5 billion
Latin America was positivism—the idea that societies dollars; France, $1.7 billion; the United States, $1.6 bil-
moved through different stages of development at differ- lion; and Germany, a little more than one billion dollars.
ent times and that predictable “scientific” patterns dictated World War I changed the flow of the world economy:
this process of development and modernization. “Order Europe was devastated and the United States became the
and progress” were the central concepts of positivism: or- safest place on the planet for investment capital. U.S. banks
der, for a Latin American positivist, came to mean the ab- were bursting with investment dollars and were willing to
sence of revolutionary struggles, while progress meant the loan out the money at generous rates. From 1926 to 1928,
importation of all things European—machinery, products, about one billion dollars in loans flowed to Latin America,
philosophy, educational structures, fashion, and architec- and on the eve of the Wall Street stock market crash of
ture. Investment from Europe stimulated the Latin Ameri- 1929, 40 percent of all U.S. foreign investment was going
can positivists and provided a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy to Latin America.
for Latin American elites who uncritically accepted Euro- President William Taft (1909–1912) spoke of “dollar
pean advice, expertise, and investment. diplomacy,” which meant that the power of Wall Street
Thus, between 1870 and 1919 (shortly after the con- investment firms would be used—rather than the military—
clusion of World War I), foreign investment in Latin to reshape “small” countries in Central America and the
America amounted to about 10 billion dollars. The vast Caribbean. The central goal of this diplomacy, though,
majority of this investment came from Great Britain, involved protection of U.S. investments in those countries.
but Germany and France were also significant investors. Some have referred to this period as a time of neocolonial-
The British invested most heavily in Argentina (railroads ism—using the power of investment to create colonial-like
and port works) and Brazil during this period. In fact, ties without actually ruling the countries in question.
in 1889, one-half of Great Britain’s total foreign invest-
ment went to one country—Argentina, which at that time BIBLIOGRAPHY
surpassed India in terms of overseas British investment. Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. 2002. Latin America: A Concise
U.S. investment in the region developed gradually, es- Interpretive History. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise His-
pecially after the conclusion of World War I. Two signifi- tory of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton.
cant events in the early 1890s focused U.S. attention on Winn, Peter. 1999. Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and
overseas markets: First, in 1890 at the Inter-American the Caribbean. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Modernization in Transportation and Communications

ransportation and communication have posed ma- vast, grassy plains (the pampas) for cattle grazing and
jor challenges throughout Latin American history. the expansion of trade in hides, tallow, beef, and wheat.
The earliest chroniclers and conquistadors com- The railroads that were built constituted a “hub-and-
mented on the difficulties of geography, of imposing spoke” system, radiating out from the hub (Buenos Aires)
mountain ranges, vast deserts, and complex rivers. The into the pampas. The railroads were not designed to
European version of the conquest of America usually facilitate national development or integration—the sys-
alludes to European man conquering both the natural tem was designed to move products from the pampas to
environment and the human societies that flourished in the port for exportation to Europe.
the Americas. With the development of the refrigerated steamship
However, the Spaniards were never completely able in 1876, frozen/fresh beef, rather than salted beef, could
to dominate the complexity of Latin America’s geogra- be shipped to Europe, which helped expand commerce
phy. Their primary objectives centered on removing the between Buenos Aires and the northern industrial cities
silver at Potosí (in modern-day Bolivia) and Zacatecas of Great Britain. Just a quarter of a century later, almost
(in Mexico). They developed new techniques for smelt- 300 of these ships were running routes between Argen-
ing silver and created a convoy system, the flotilla, to tina and Britain alone.
transport mined silver and gold bullion back to Europe. Steam-powered riverboats, the telegraph, and barbed
This voyage was far from easy; the logistics involved wire all helped “tame” the Argentine pampas, and sup-
many stops, overland transfers of cargo, dangers associ- ported the export economy in Argentina and elsewhere
ated with trolling pirates in the Caribbean, hurricanes, in Latin America. In Mexico, railroad development pro-
and a myriad of potential misfortunes. ceeded much like it had in Argentina, with foreigners
But, Spain’s dominance of the Caribbean and trans- investing in railroads, port facilities, and telegraph lines.
Atlantic trade from the Americas was relatively short- During the thirty-four-year period from 1876 to 1910,
lived. Other European powers—especially the English, the Mexican railroad system grew from 400 miles of
Dutch, and French—would come to play a significant track to 15,000 miles. According to E. Bradford Burns,
role in commerce and trade. The conclusion of Spain’s exports expanded eight-and-a-half times during this same
colonial rule (by the early part of the nineteenth cen- time period.1
tury) meant changes in trade patterns and an increased Electrification of cities and the development of street-
reliance on Northern European priorities and technol- cars in the primary cities of Buenos Aires, Mexico City,
ogy. With the recovery of mining and agriculture in the and Bogotá were important projects in the moderniza-
period after independence (by the early 1830s), British tion of Latin America. Unfortunately, by the end of the
investment flowed to Latin America—particularly Ar- nineteenth century, despite the arrival of “modernity”—
gentina, Chile, and later Brazil. The British were con- defined by miles of railroad track and the construction
cerned with moving agricultural and mineral products of telegraph systems—(including a trans-Atlantic line laid
from the Latin American interior to the ports, and from in 1874, connecting Brazil to Europe), a vast chasm still
there, to Britain. The British desperately needed wheat, separated the Latin American city from the interior. Mod-
corn, tallow, minerals, cotton, and wool to support their ernization in terms of transportation and communica-
burgeoning industrialization in the primary northern tion only affected a small number of people in the cities
industrial cities of Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, and who were directly connected to the export economy.
Liverpool. The projects were not designed to unite the individual
In 1852, British-financed railroads were operational countries of Latin America or develop the region. They
in Chile, and began operation in Brazil just two years created, borrowing a phrase from the economic histo-
later, in 1854. The first tracks were laid in Argentina in rian John Coatsworth, a pattern of “growth against de-
1857, and by 1915 more than 22,000 miles of railroad velopment” throughout Latin America.
track could be counted in that country (financed almost
exclusively by Britain—a figure that compared favor- 1. E. Bradford Burns, The Poverty of Progress (Los Angeles: Uni-
ably with per capita railroad construction in the United versity of California Press, 1980), p. 136.
States of the same time period). In Argentina, General
Julio Roca’s “Campaign of the Desert” (1878–1879) Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise His-
pushed Native Americans off their land, opening up the tory of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton.

The Impact of the Great Depression of 1929 in Latin America

he Great Depression, beginning with the U.S. years later. The situation was equally grim in Cuba, where
stock market collapse of October 1929, had a the price of sugar declined by about 60 percent, and ac-
profound influence on Latin American economies, cording to Louis A. Pérez, Jr., “The value of tobacco, the
politics, and societies. The effects differed from region to island’s second largest export, declined from $43 million
region, but all areas were affected to some degree. The in 1929 to $13 million in 1933.”1
economies that exported, to the United States and Europe, The world economy recovered slowly, spurred on by the
one or two primary products—such as El Salvador, Cuba, onset of war in Europe. But the Great Depression dramati-
and Honduras—suffered the most. Simply stated, products cally, and permanently, altered the terms of trade between
from these countries—sugar, bananas, tropical fruits, and the Latin American economies and the economies of the
coffee—were not “staples” and were considered luxury “developed world.” The prices for primary commodities
goods at the time. The depression, which led to a staggering from Latin America never recovered their pre-1929 levels
33–40 percent unemployment rate in the United States, in real terms. Compounding this reality was a concerted
meant that U.S. consumers could no longer afford to buy effort by the United States to convince Latin American na-
Latin American goods. tions to hold down the prices for the scarce commodities
By 1929, the extent of primary export economic growth deemed “critical” to the war effort: these products included
in Latin America was astounding: Seventy-one percent of Venezuelan and Mexican oil, Brazilian quartz, Chilean cop-
the Brazilian economy depended on coffee exportation, per and nitrates, and Bolivian tin.
while Chile’s economy was linked primarily to the export Some countries were able to recover relatively quickly
of copper and nitrates (84 percent). Venezuela’s petroleum from the Great Depression; those with the most diversified
export sector accounted for 76 percent of its exports, and economies tended to pull out of the economic crisis during,
Bolivian tin constituted 73 percent of its economy. and immediately after, the war. But countries such as Hon-
During the first thirty years of the twentieth century, for- duras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Uruguay, Paraguay, and
eign investment flowed toward the export sectors of the Panama—small countries with only one or two primary
Latin American economies, and large agro-businesses—such exports and no significant industrial structure at the time—
as the United Fruit Company—operated as virtual enclave had a much more difficult time recovering.
economies in Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Co- There was, however, a silver lining to the economic cri-
lombia. About 70 percent of all Latin American trade in- sis of the 1930s in Latin America. The Latin American na-
volved four outside trading partners: the United States, the tions learned about the dangers of relying on one or two
United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The emphasis on primary products destined for two or three nations. This
overseas trade and discouragement of local and intraregional realization fostered the development of import-substitution
trade left Latin American societies largely at the mercy of industrialization as a model for economic development. Latin
powerful industrial nations. The dramatic decline of the American leaders began to believe that “industry” was the
terms of trade after 1929 spelled disaster for many econo- key to economic stability and long-term growth for the re-
mies in the region. In the four years immediately following gion. The challenge, then, during the period after World
the Great Depression, from 1929 to 1932, the volume of War II, would be to finance, develop, and sustain national
trade in Latin America declined by about 65 percent. industries that could compete with imports from the indus-
The immediate effects on individual countries within trialized countries such as the United States and Western
Latin America can be measured in the specific decline (in Europe. This project would shape the political and, to some
dollars) of export revenues. For example, in Argentina, degree, social agenda in Latin America for about a thirty-
exports of beef and grains (primarily) declined from 1.57 five-year period after 1945.
billion dollars in 1929 to 561 million dollars in 1932. In
Cuba, foreign trade in 1932 represented a mere 10 per- NOTE
1. Louis A. Pérez, Jr., Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution, 2d
cent of pre-1929 levels. Uruguay witnessed an 80 percent ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 253.
decline during the same period. In Brazil, exports plum-
meted from 446 million dollars in 1929 to 181 million in BIBLIOGRAPHY
1932. Brazil’s poor economic performance was directly Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. 2002. Latin America: A Concise
related to the dramatic decline in the price of coffee. Since Interpretive History. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lee, C.H. 1969. “The Effects of the Depression on Primary Producing
few people in the industrial West could afford coffee after Countries.” Journal of Contemporary History 4, no. 4 (October).
1929, the price fell from 22.5 cents per pound in 1929 to Skidmore, Thomas E., and Peter H. Smith. 2005. Modern Latin America.
about 8 cents per pound on the international market two 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Mining and Petroleum

atin America is rich in mineral wealth—the Euro- world wars. Bolivian tin, Brazilian quartz (for radio
pean conquerors noticed this reality almost as transmission), and Chilean copper were critically im-
soon as they set foot on the continent. Driven by portant wartime products: in the early 1950s, Bolivia
a mercantilist mentality in the early days of the con- accounted for about 20 percent of the world’s tin pro-
quest, Spaniards settled in centers where minerals were duction while Chile produced 18 percent of the world’s
easily extracted, which meant a focus on Mexico, Peru, copper. Mexico and Peru held deposits of zinc and lead.
and Bolivia. As late as 1998, Latin America produced significant
In the seventeenth century, new areas of mining be- amounts of important mineral products in terms of
came important in Latin America. The southwestern overall global output, including silver (40 percent),
area of what is today Colombia held significant gold copper (39 percent), bauxite (28 percent), and tin (25
deposits, and miners moved out from the city of percent).
Popayán to exploit gold in the western Chocó, and later, Petroleum resources became a major concern for the
in and around the northwestern city of Medellín. Minas industrial West, especially after the 1973 oil embargo.
Gerais (or General Mines) became an important gold, The United States and other industrial countries began
diamond, and mineral base in Brazil: the development looking for reliable sources of crude oil and focused, in
of mining in Minas Gerais represented an important a more determined fashion, on Latin America. In the
historic shift away from an economy dominated by mid-1950s, Venezuela alone accounted for about 82 per-
northeastern sugar barons. cent of the entire Latin American region’s petroleum
Throughout Latin America, especially in the eighteenth and natural gas production; Mexico lagged significantly
century, plantations or “estates” developed near major behind at about 9 percent. By the mid-1990s, Venezuela
mining regions as a way to provide goods and services to was producing about 4.5 percent of the world’s crude
the mining centers. François Chevalier’s research on the oil, with Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador trail-
great estates of Mexico clarified this process; estates in ing in descending order of production. Estimated oil
Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Bolivia developed in tandem reserves in Venezuela are greater than any other area in
with the mining sector as well. Mining centers needed the Americas; Mexico has the second largest reserves in
human labor, food, clothing, and animal labor—all of the region. Politics have been dramatically altered by oil
which could be found at the large estates. reserves in Latin America: President Lázaro Cárdenas’s
The length and savagery of the wars for independence decision to nationalize Mexican oil reserves in 1938 sent
during the nineteenth century had a deleterious effect a clear message to the industrial nations of “the north,”
on mining throughout Hispanic America. Mines, espe- and current political tensions and U.S. policies in Ecua-
cially in Mexico and Peru, were abandoned, sabotaged, dor, Colombia, and Venezuela are shaped to some de-
or flooded, and mining revenues declined sharply dur- gree by oil reserves and the “politics of oil.”
ing, and immediately after, independence. Shortly after
independence had been won from Spain, mining activ- BIBLIOGRAPHY
ity slowly recovered. Campodónica, Humberto. 2004. “Reformas e inversión en la industría de
Industrialization in the latter half of the nineteenth hidrocarburos de América Latina.” United Nations, CEPAL (Comisión
Económica para América Latina y el Caribe), SERIE #78: Recursos
century, and the relationship between industrial devel- naturales e infraestructura, October.
opment and petroleum, meant new opportunities for Franko, Patrice M. 1999. The Economic Puzzle of Latin American Devel-
Latin American economies. Areas with vast petroleum opment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
United Nations. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Car-
reserves, mainly Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and Ec- ibbean (ECLAC). 1957. Economic Survey of Latin America: 1955.
uador, experienced economic booms. Scarce mineral New York: United Nations.
reserves of tin, copper, zinc, nickel, and quartz in the ———. 1957. Economic Survey of Latin America: 1956. New York:
United Nations.
United States gave some Latin American countries bar- Winn, Peter. 1999. Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and
gaining power, especially in the period between the the Caribbean. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Import-Substituting Economic Development

conomic policies adopted in Latin America at the “center.” According to Prebisch, the industrial
changed significantly after the Great Depression center grew at the expense of the periphery, resulting in
of 1929. The rapidly declining fortunes of essen- a dramatic imbalance and “declining terms of trade” for
tially mono-crop Latin American economies led to new Latin America, as industrial goods gained value against
ways of thinking about the economy and to the creation primary products. In a dramatically unequal world of
of new policy options designed to modernize Latin industrial versus nonindustrial nations, classic economic
American economies and break them out of endemic, models based on “comparative advantage” were anti-
polarizing boom–bust cycles. quated at best and destructive at worst. Rapid industri-
Latin American economic planners, increasingly skep- alization was the prescription of Mr. Prebisch; his
tical of the sanctity of classical economic theory (and leadership and scholarship gained him the chairmanship
taking significant cues from John Maynard Keynes) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin
came to realize that they would forever be subject to America and the Caribbean, which was created in 1948.
the vagaries of the international economic system as In terms of output, ISI was successful in Latin America,
“price takers” if their economies remained essentially but only in the largest markets (Argentina, Brazil, and
agricultural, mono-crop, and nonindustrial. Thus, Latin Mexico). Between 1950 and 1970, gross domestic prod-
Americans began to speak of import-substitution indus- uct (GDP) in the region tripled. In fact, the growth rates
trialization during this time period as a way to break the in Latin America during this period exceeded those of
traditional cycles of instability, poverty, and under- other more industrialized nations. However, it is impor-
development. tant to note that there were negative consequences asso-
By the conclusion of World War II, import-substitut- ciated with ISI. In most Latin American countries, ISI
ing industrialization, or ISI, had become the “norm” for led to incomplete industrial growth and lowered pro-
countries across the region. The basic premise of ISI duction efficiency. While the production of finished in-
centered on decreasing Latin American dependence on dustrial goods (textiles) grew significantly, Latin
the world economy by encouraging rapid industrial American countries (with the exception of Brazil and
growth through heavy state involvement in economic Mexico) never developed the ability to produce inter-
development. By “artificially” stimulating the growth mediate capital goods (steel) used in the manufacture of
of industry within the region via policy (including high finished goods. Likewise, in the long run, the protec-
tariffs and quotas, limiting imports, and by providing tionist policies adopted and enacted in Latin America
state subsidies, tax breaks, and targeted lending), ISI was during this time hurt Latin American industries’ ability
designed to nurture the growth and development of to compete in the international arena. Growth and ac-
domestic companies. Through import-substituting indus- cumulation of wealth through ISI was concentrated in
trialization, Latin America would attempt to manufac- the large metropolitan areas of the most populous Latin
ture the industrial goods that had previously been American countries. Rural areas and primarily agrarian
imported from abroad. nations were left out of the “progress” attributed to ISI.
Raúl Prebisch, an Argentine economist, played a cen- Furthermore, ISI exacerbated unequal distribution of
tral role in the development of post–World War II eco- wealth by further concentrating wealth and power in
nomic policy in Latin America and the developing world. the hands of industrial elites.
His Economic Development of Latin America and Its
Principal Problem (1949) became an influential text that Franko, Patrice M. 1999. The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Devel-
helped explain why Latin American economies remained opment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
underdeveloped (at the “periphery,” as he referred to Skidmore, Thomas E. 1997. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change. New York:
Oxford University Press.
them) while the developed economies of the Northern Skidmore, Thomas E., and Peter H. Smith. 2005. Modern Latin America.
Hemisphere (Europe and the United States/Canada) were 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Production by Nation

t the conclusion of World War II, Latin Americans, tionalized foreign oil properties in Mexico. Petroleum pro-
having provided much assistance to the Allies’ cause, duction, automobile manufacturing, and other heavy in-
expected grants and loans to flow to the region from dustry allowed the Mexican economy to post impressive
the United States. After all, Latin Americans had partici- gains: during a twenty-year period, from 1960 to 1980,
pated in the war effort (Brazilians died in Italy alongside the GDP grew from $US31.5 billion to 107 billion, repre-
Allied soldiers, and Mexican pilots flew missions in the senting a 340 percent increase.
South Pacific), and they had sold basic commodities to the In Argentina, GDP climbed from $US27.9 billion to 53.6
United States at below-market prices. Yet, despite these billion during a twenty-year period, 1960–1980, despite po-
efforts, U.S. priorities lay in “re-building the destroyed litical tensions, military intervention, and cyclical economic
European economies via the Marshall Plan.”1 Using the instability. The Argentine economy relied heavily on the beef
theories and rhetoric of import-substituting industrializa- industry; however, petroleum and manufacturing of light
tion (discussed in the previous section), and emerging na- and durable factory goods were significant components.
tionalism, Latin Americans pursued internal industrial Copper production and exports contributed to the
development, especially in those areas with large popula- growth of the Chilean economy. By 1972, copper repre-
tions, abundant natural resources, and a stable labor force. sented 10 percent of Chile’s GDP and 70 percent of total
This meant that Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico would lead exports. At present the Chilean economy is much more di-
industrial production. Those three economies made up ap- versified, and thanks to changing tastes in Europe and the
proximately 80 percent of all Latin American industrial United States, along with significant advances in transpor-
output by the early 1960s. Latin American countries also tation, Chilean fresh fruit competes with American-grown
began to restructure commercial networks and placed a fruit in the U.S. economy. The Chilean wine industry has
new emphasis on trade with Europe and Asia in the mid- grown dramatically in the past twenty years, and Chilean
twentieth century. wines can be purchased almost anywhere in the United States
Reflecting the new nationalism of the postwar period, and throughout Latin America. The Argentine wine indus-
together with the push for industrialization (1950–1970), try (based at the city of Mendoza) is now making impres-
manufacturers’ share of GDP for the entire region grew sive inroads in a Latin American industry once dominated
from 20 percent to 26 percent while overall GDP from almost exclusively by Chileans.
agriculture shrank from 24.6 percent to 15.4 percent dur- In considering production by nations after 1945, a criti-
ing the same period. cal component of Latin Americans’ drive to industrialize
Brazil’s industrial sector grew aggressively during this centered on their desire to achieve “status” in the club of
time and continued to grow during a period known sim- industrial nations. Latin American sensibilities were offended
ply as “the miracle.” Under strict military rule after 1964, when, after World War II, the United States prioritized re-
and with centralized planning of the economy, manufac- building Europe rather than rewarding Latin American co-
turing became an obsession of the Brazilian military rul- operation and solidarity during the war effort. Postwar
ers, and impressive gains were realized. Industrial exports political leaders in Latin America recognized that industri-
constituted 3 percent of the economy in 1960, but 30 per- alized nations had more bargaining power in the newly com-
cent by 1974. Brazilian economic growth reached levels petitive, postwar industrial world.
of 10 percent per year, and Brazilian factories were pro-
ducing automobiles, steel, and other “heavy” manufactured NOTES
goods.2 1. E. Bradford Burns and Julie A. Charlip, Latin America: A Con-
Mexican industrialization benefited from close prox- cise Interpretive History, 7th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall,
2002), p. 237.
imity to the United States. Additionally, Mexico counted 2. Ibid. p. 292.
on a large internal market and an educated, organized in- 3. Patrice M. Franko, The Puzzle of Latin American Economic De-
dustrial work force. The Mexican automobile industry velopment (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), p. 71.
produced about 50,000 cars in 1960. Ten years later,
193,000 cars were assembled in Mexico.3 The growth of BIBLIOGRAPHY
Economic and Social Progress in Latin America: Annual Report. 1972.
the automobile industry positively affected other indus- Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
trial sectors of the economy, including rubber and glass ———. 1980–1981. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
manufacturers and, of course, the oil industry. The Mexi- United Nations. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
can oil industry (or PEMEX) was born shortly after 1938, (ECLAC). ECLAC Department of Economics and Social Affairs. 1965.
Economic Survey of Latin America: 1963. New York: United Nations.
the year when the populist President Lázaro Cárdenas na-

Public Expenditures in Latin America

he rapid reemergence of traditional trade patterns emphasis on public expenditures, health, and education
between the United States and Latin America after for the people of Cuba—represented a new stage in the
the conclusion of World War II—whereby the region’s commitment to public spending. Fueled with credit
United States sought to continue supplying Latin America from the United States under the Alliance for Progress, Latin
with manufactured goods in exchange for primary min- American governments continued to increase their spend-
eral and agricultural products—fueled a backlash of na- ing on social programs during the 1960s. Yet, by 1965,
tionalism in the region. Cuba was spending more than nine times as much as Mexico
Latin American countries received very little (from the on healthcare coverage per person. More students were
United States) in return for their support during the war; enrolled in school than ever before, and a house was pro-
they got advice on eliminating communists from their vided to every family with an affordable rent. In Venezu-
societies, limited military aid, and outdated military tech- ela, between 1958 and 1971, per capita spending on
nology/hardware. But the new nationalism in Latin education grew more than 400 percent: while this figure
America—sparked in good measure by changing social might be related to increased revenues from the petroleum
realities, including the rapid growth of cities—necessi- industry, public spending on social programs was prima-
tated a focus on public programs to support health, edu- rily seen as an effective countermeasure to revolutionary
cation, and basic sanitation infrastructure in the cities. programs—especially those unfolding in nearby Cuba.
Public spending on the military consumed a large part of Public expenditures for health and education faltered
Latin American budgets during this time, reflecting the in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as Latin American
historic importance of the military in the overall power economies began to experience balance-of-payment dif-
balance in most nations of the region. ficulties. But in these Cold War years, Latin American
Between 1945 and 1954, public expenditures grew leaders were strongly encouraged to increase spending
across Latin America in tandem with economic growth af- on already-bloated military budgets. Brazil, in 1968,
ter the war, as manufacturers tried to keep pace with pent- spent about 7 percent of GDP on education—the low-
up postwar demand. Nine percent of the Mexican GDP est percentage in Latin America. The 1980s, known as
was dedicated to public expenditures in 1954; the figure the “lost decade,” witnessed further declines in social
was 19 percent in Argentina. Venezuela, Chile, and Brazil spending, as public debt and economic stagnation
ranked behind Argentina with 18, 17, and 10 percent, re- gripped the region. By the mid-1990s, it is estimated
spectively. Guatemala was the only country in which pub- that Latin American governments spent about 25 bil-
lic expenditures decreased as a percentage of GDP during lion dollars on their militaries, representing 1.3 percent
this period. To break down the numbers further, in Argen- of GDP for the entire region and a little less than 10
tina, spending on health represented 5 percent of GDP for percent of total government spending.
1946, 1950, and 1954, while the education budget re- Latin American societies today are still seeking a more
mained virtually unchanged as well, at 17, 18, and 16 per- balanced equation between social and military spend-
cent of GDP, respectively. The military budget declined ing; frequent protests, marches, and work stoppages by
from 37 to 23 percent during the nine-year period. This teachers and health professionals demonstrate the on-
decrease in military spending reflects the populist program going, daily struggle to balance investment in health and
of Juan Perón, who insisted on social spending as a way to human capital versus investment in defense.
connect “Peronisimo” to the common people. In Brazil,
military spending declined from 37 percent in 1946 to 33 Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. 2002. Latin America: A Concise
percent in 1954, the year that the populist leader Getúlio Interpretive History. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Vargas committed suicide in the presidential palace. The Economic and Social Progress in Latin America: Annual Report, 1972. 1972.
Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.
case of Costa Rica stands in sharp contrast to those of Bra- Farley, Rawle. 1972. The Economics of Latin America: Development Prob-
zil and Argentina: the Costa Rican numbers are reversed, lems in Perspective. New York: Harper and Rowe.
reflecting much more emphasis on education (37, 35, and Lahera, Eugenio, and Marcelo Ortúzar. 1998. “Military Expenditure and
Development in Latin America.” ECLAC Division of Statistics and Eco-
34 percent of GDP respectively) and less on defense (14, nomic Projections, CEPAL Review, no. 65 (August).
10, and 12 percent of GDP during this period). Costa Rica Pérez, Louis A., Jr. 1995. Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution. New
outlawed its military and has depended on a national po- York: Oxford University Press.
United Nations. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Car-
lice force to maintain order. ibbean (ECLAC). 1957. Economic Survey of Latin America. New York:
The Cuban Revolution of 1959—which placed a new United Nations.

Latin American Trade Blocs

rading partnerships designed to link comparative had been established as a sort of successor to the Andean
advantages among and between smaller economies Group. It functioned primarily as a customs union
in Latin America have met with varying degrees of whereby common external tariffs were established among
success over the years. the member nations. An official common market, defined
The Central American nations, with relatively similar as the unimpeded circulation of goods, services, peoples,
export patterns and products, developed a political struc- and capital, was the next goal. The total Andean Com-
ture in 1951 known as the Organization of Central Ameri- munity includes more than 120 million people and has a
can States. This structure formed the basis for the General combined GDP of 260 billion dollars. True economic in-
Treaty on Central American Economic Integration, better tegration has proven difficult due to geographic con-
known as the CACM, or Central American Common Mar- straints and political crises in all of the Andean countries
ket. During the early 1960s, the CACM was extremely during the 1990s. The 1991 war between Ecuador and
effective as a means of stimulating trade and growth in the Peru, and current border tensions between Venezuela and
region. For example, intraregional exports as a percentage Colombia, have hardly facilitated trade negotiations. To
of total exports grew from 7 to 26 percent from 1960 to hasten efforts at integration, Washington has signed Free
1970, but declined to 14.7 percent by 1985. Growth rates Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Peru (December 2005) and
were uneven, with El Salvador deriving the greatest ben- Colombia (February 2006).
efits and Honduras registering a negative balance of pay- MERCOSUR is a trading bloc established on January
ments, particularly in the mid-1960s. Dramatic differences 1, 1995, between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uru-
in population density–to–landmass ratios between El Sal- guay. The push for economic integration in the Southern
vador (with 400 people per square mile in the 1960s) and Cone began in 1986, when Presidents José Sarney of Bra-
neighboring Honduras (55 per square mile) resulted in zil and Raúl Alfonsín of Argentina recognized that ben-
strained relations between the two countries. Political in- efits would accrue to their societies through regional trade
stability after the Soccer War1 hindered the growth of the agreements and reduced tariffs. From 1990 to 1996,
CACM; this, combined with mistrust generated by the con- intraregional trade grew from 4 billion dollars to 16.7 bil-
flict, political turbulence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and lion. MERCOSUR has operated as an actual common mar-
Nicaragua, the 1979 Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, ket. Economic crises in Brazil (1999) and Argentina (late
and U.S. intervention during the Reagan years, contrib- 2000) negatively affected growth rates among MERCOSUR
uted to the stagnation and decline of the CACM from 1969 nations. Chile, reflecting historic isolation from its Latin
through the late 1980s. The real challenge for CACM, and American neighbors, chose not to participate in
Central American economies in general, involved the pas- MERCOSUR and instead decided to negotiate, in 2003,
sage of NAFTA in 1993, which shifted trade patterns along an FTA directly with the United States.
an axis between the three giant North American econo- Other Latin American trading blocs include the
mies. After intense debate and lobbying in both Central CARICOM, or the Caribbean Common Market, consist-
America and the United States—and with strong support ing of many of the small states in and around the Carib-
from U.S. manufacturing sectors and fierce opposition from bean basin.
U.S. sugar producers—the Central American Free Trade
Agreement, or CAFTA-DR, passed the U.S. House of Rep- NOTE
resentatives by a vote of 217 to 215 in July 2005, having 1. Following the June 1969 World Cup playoffs between El Salva-
already passed the U.S. Senate. dor and Honduras, the so-called Soccer War erupted. The conflict lasted
four days and resulted in 3,000 deaths.
The Andean countries—defined as Bolivia, Colombia,
Peru, Venezuela, and Ecuador—set the stage for the
gradual emergence of a common market among the five “Central American Common Market.” 1995. Library of Congress, Fed-
nations; the goal was to create greater employment lev- eral Research Division, Area Handbook Series. Honduras, Appendix
els and enhanced standards of living for the nations’ citi- B. Available at
zens. The 1969 Cartagena Agreement, signed in May Accessed on November 14, 2004.
Krueger, Anne O. 1999. “Are Preferential Trading Agreements Trade-
1969, set up the Andean Group. During the 1990s, inte- Liberalizing or Protectionist?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 13,
gration pressures increased within the region largely in no. 4 (Autumn): 105–124.
response to NAFTA and to the Washington Consensus, Woodward, Ralph Lee, Jr. 1999. Central America: A Nation Divided. 3d
which pushed Latin American economies to promote free ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
The World Bank, Data and Statistics. 2000. “Regional Trade Blocs.” World
trade, open markets, and appropriate integration strate- Development Indicators 2000, Table 6.5. Available at www
gies while at the same time reducing tariffs and ending Accessed on November
protectionist policies. By 1996, the Andean Community 16, 2004.

North American Trade Blocs

ver the past two decades, economists and politi- NAFTA was supposed to help keep low-wage laborers
cians have debated “globalization,” which can es- in Mexico by increasing opportunities for them in their
sentially be defined as the increasing ease of move- home country, especially along the 2,000-mile border sepa-
ment of people, goods, and services throughout the world. rating the United States from Mexico. Maquiladoras, as-
Technological advances in air freight shipping and increased sembly plants primarily employing women, have grown
disparities in labor costs between the northern “industrial” up along the U.S.-Mexican border in record numbers over
powers and the underdeveloped “third world” have the past twenty years. The plant owners benefit from low
prompted countries to look outside of their political bor- labor costs (about 9 dollars a day) and minimal import
ders for a comparative advantage. The United States, tariffs to the United States. Women who migrate from the
Canada, and Mexico viewed their comparative advantage Central Valley of Mexico or southern regions can double
in terms of previously established trading patterns, highly their earning capacity by working in these assembly plants.
developed infrastructure networks (which facilitated trade However, most face hidden costs such as increased crime
and transportation), and the enormous quantity of goods rates, housing shortages, pollution, and a lack of clean
and services moving across the North American continent drinking water.
each year; in 2004, it is estimated that one-third of all As a response to the implementation of NAFTA on Janu-
foreign trade out of the United States was negotiated with ary 1, 1994, a rebel group, the EZLN (Zapatista National
just two countries—Canada and Mexico. Liberation Army), formed in San Cristóbal de las Casas,
The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, Chiapas, to declare itself in open conflict with the Mexi-
traces its origins to the U.S.–Canada Free Trade Agreement, can government of Ernesto Zedillo. This group vowed to
which was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1987 and take its struggle to all regions of the country. The EZLN,
implemented on January 1, 1989. The premise of this agree- or “Zapatistas,” took their name from Emiliano Zapata,
ment was that lowering, or eliminating, external tariffs be- the revolutionary hero who fought to help the poor gain
tween Canada and the United States would help increase access to land. The Zapatistas have questioned the degree
trade flows and employment in both countries. Given simi- to which NAFTA will help poor, landless tenant farmers
larities in wage structures, levels of education, and political/ in the south of Mexico—people without formal education
cultural traditions, the move to free trade between the two or access to land, credit, and health care.
nations did not dramatically alter existing trade patterns. While the need for radical structural reforms brought
Adding Mexico to a North American free trade sce- to light by the Zapatistas has not been fully addressed,
nario had obvious implications for all three countries. Three NAFTA has helped increase trade volume dramatically be-
groups in particular, two of them from the United States, tween the United States, Canada, and Mexico. From 1994
were opposed to NAFTA from its inception. Labor unions to 2000, trade grew from 109 billion dollars to 622 bil-
saw the agreement as a potential drag on wages paid to lion. Total trade between the United States and Mexico
U.S. workers, given the close proximity of lower-wage during that same time period grew from 100 billion dol-
Mexican labor on the other side of the U.S.-Mexican bor- lars to 230 billion, and the average annual growth of Mexi-
der. Environmentalists were concerned about limited en- can exports to the United States increased from 10 percent
vironmental protections in Mexico, lax enforcement of (1989–1994) to 16 percent in the post-NAFTA years
those standards, and the “migration” of air and water tox- (1994–2001). NAFTA has increased U.S. interest in
ins across borders. Mexican farmers complained about Mexico, as seen through direct foreign investment in that
heavy U.S. government subsidies paid to farmers in the country, which shifted upward from 18 billion to 52 bil-
form of reduced prices for water and tax breaks. The aver- lion dollars between 1994 and 2001. In January 2004,
age farmer in the United States, in 2004, received a 16,000 Chile was added to the North American trade structure as
dollar subsidy. the push for regional trade alliances continued. However,
The Clinton administration lobbied in support of a hemisphere-wide free trade agreement (Free Trade Agree-
NAFTA in the U.S. Senate, and the agreement was passed ment of the Americas, or FTAA) seems unlikely to pass
in the fall of 1993. The 1992 independent presidential given the opposition of the MERCOSUR countries (led by
candidate Ross Perot had opposed the treaty, arguing in Brazil) to such an arrangement.
televised presidential debates that a “giant sucking sound”
would signal the transfer of millions of high-paying U.S.
jobs to Mexico. Other critics included conservative com- BIBLIOGRAPHY
mentator and candidate Pat Buchanan, who worried that Fuentes, Carlos. 1997. A New Time for Mexico. Los Angeles: University
of California Press.
undocumented Mexican laborers would migrate north The World Bank, Data and Statistics. 2000. “Regional Trade Blocs.” World
without bothering to regularize their immigration status Development Indicators 2000, Table 6.5. Available at www.worldbank
once in the United States. .org. Accessed November 13, 2004.

A Deforestation Estimate

atin America is covered with significant tropical for- that figure represents deforestation of an area roughly
ests, which are some of the most biodiverse and pro- the size of Mississippi and Louisiana combined.
ductive ecosystems on Earth. Subtropical and tem- The factors contributing to deforestation are com-
perate forests are found in the northern and southern- plex and have varied across Latin America and over time.
most latitudes. South America alone contains more tropical Conversion of forest land to large-scale agriculture is
forest area (620,514 hectares, most of which lies in the currently the predominant cause of deforestation in Latin
Amazon basin) than any other continent. Depending on America. Cutting forests for timber and fuelwood, slash-
factors such as precipitation and altitude, tropical forests and-burn small-scale agriculture, mining, and industrial
may be dry, humid, wet, rain, or cloud forests. Forest cover development are other leading contributors to forest loss.
in Latin America is unequally distributed among regions Pressures on forests are related both to practical factors
and even more so among nations: 50 percent of the land such as proximity to developed land, and intangibles
area in South America is forested versus 30 percent in like international market demand for forest products.
Central America and Mexico; 64 percent of Brazil is for- Deforestation is not an irreversible process, as forests
ested versus only 3 percent of Haiti. Current forest cover- may return through human aid or as a result of natural
age is a result of the natural distribution of forests, and succession. However, land is often reforested in the form
net cumulative deforestation and reforestation. of monotypic plantations, which require maintenance and
Deforestation is the human-driven process of replac- do not harbor the diversity present in older forests.
ing forest ecosystems with nonforested land covers. Trees Placing forest land in preserves and national parks is
are the essential unit of forests, but forests are habitats one measure being taken to protect forests. Some coun-
for diverse flora and fauna—from soil micro-organisms tries have protected a significant portion of their remain-
to insects and large predators. In Latin America and the ing forest area: Venezuela (66 percent), Costa Rica (36
Caribbean, forests are also home to over 70 million percent), Panama (35 percent), and Guatemala (35 per-
people. Forests provide both direct and indirect benefits cent). Yet cordoning off forests often displaces those hu-
to the human population in the form of goods like lum- man communities living within or on the edges of forests
ber and fuelwood, and ecosystem services including soil- and depend on forest goods. Additionally, forest frag-
water cycle maintenance and climate regulation. mentation occurs when protected areas are isolated. Pro-
Deforestation results in the loss of most, to nearly all, of moting commensurate relationships between human
the biodiversity and associated ecosystem goods and ser- communities and forests through the selective harvest
vices. The impacts of deforestation are not limited to of timber, fruits, nuts, and fibers is an emerging conser-
the cut or burned area, as indirect effects are caused by vation initiative in Latin America.
the fragmentation of forest, which may have deleteri- Valuation of forests using traditional economics—
ous consequences for remaining patches, expediting spe- whether based on the potential income of wood prod-
cies extinction by isolating subpopulations. ucts or the profits that can be derived from the land
Forests help dampen the effects of natural disasters. after it is cleared—does not reflect all the ecosystem ser-
The loss of forest contributed to the severity and frequency vices forests currently provide or the goods they could
of mudslides and floods that devastated Honduras and provide should markets evolve for them. High rates of
Nicaragua during Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and wreaked deforestation will likely continue until the accepted value
havoc on Haiti when Hurricane Jeanne struck in 2004. of a forest in a sustainable condition is greater than the
Net loss of tropical forest in Latin America was ap- value of alternative land uses or its products.
proximately 4.5 percent from 1980 to 1990. The rate
of deforestation is perhaps the most important statistic BIBLIOGRAPHY
for policy concerns. Nearly 12 percent of forests were Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2002.
Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000. Main Report. FAO For-
lost in Central America and Mexico between 1990 and estry Paper 140. Rome.
2000, with notable rates of 37 percent and 26 percent Harrison, Paul, and Fred Pearce. 2000. AAAS Atlas of Population and the
loss of forest during the same period in El Salvador Environment. Berkeley: University of California Press/American As-
sociation for the Advancement of Science.
and Nicaragua. Though Brazil’s 1990–2000 deforesta- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. “Ecosystems and Human Well-
tion rate (4.1 percent) was below the regional average, Being: Synthesis Report.” Washington, DC: Island Press.

The Birth of the Major Metropolitan Areas

atin America contains a number of mega cities with Lima, the capital of Peru and a city with about 8.6 mil-
populations of well over 8 million: Buenos Aires, lion residents today, grew dramatically during the early
Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Bogotá, Mexico City, and part of the twentieth century. In 1920, Lima’s population
Lima are among the largest cities in the Americas today, was about a quarter of a million. By 1931, the population
but their initial growth began in the late nineteenth century. had grown 68 percent, to 376,000. Growing demand for
The growth of cities in Latin America corresponded to products from Peruvian mines stimulated the growth of
fundamental trends of modernization, immigration from the capital city, with its nearby port of Callao. However, it
abroad, and liberal elite preference for cities over the ru- was migration from the highlands to Lima that accounted
ral sector. One of the fastest growing cities in Latin America for the majority of the population growth. Today, about
at the end of the nineteenth century was Buenos Aires, the 40 percent of Peru’s population resides in Lima; it is the
capital of Argentina. It is no surprise that this city grew dominant city in terms of culture, education, transporta-
quickly, given its close proximity to the ocean and its at- tion, and political-economic power.
traction as a port of entrance for European laborers. Addi- Bogotá, home to some 7.6 million people, is the largest
tionally, Argentina, during the mid-nineteenth century, city in Colombia, although other important cities—Medellín,
developed under the vision of intellectuals/political lead- Cali, and Barranquilla—each have more than a million resi-
ers such as Domingo F. Sarmiento, who viewed the “inte- dents. Political and economic power radiates from the capi-
rior” as hopelessly backward and uncivilized. He extolled tal, which is one of the few Latin American capital cities
the virtues of the city in terms of its modernizing, civiliz- located far away from the ocean. Bogotá sits 1,000 kilome-
ing influence on society. His book, Civilization and Bar- ters from the Caribbean Sea at an elevation of 2,600 meters,
barism (1852), offered a clear plan of development for making it an unlikely capital city. But, Bogotá’s agricultural
Argentina, which stressed the city over the countryside, and industrial development created a vast network of trade
and white Europeans over Native Americans and Afro- and production through the interior of Colombia, linking
Argentines. The population growth figures for Buenos Aires the country with Ecuador and Venezuela. Trade was facili-
were dramatic: approximately 250,000 people lived in the tated by way of the mighty Magdalena River, which con-
city in 1860. Just thirty years later the population had nected the northern coastal cities with the interior. The birth
doubled. Argentina’s urban growth proceeded at an as- of aviation in the early twentieth century also contributed
tounding rate, and by 1914, 53 percent of the country’s significantly to Bogotá’s growth.
population resided in urban areas. Mexico City, the largest city in the Americas and per-
Rio de Janeiro, the capital of Brazil when the republic haps the second largest in the world, holds a population
was born in 1889, grew exponentially in November 1807 of about 22 million. Other important cities in Mexico in-
when “the entire [Portuguese] court and more than ten clude Monterrey in the north, Guadalajara to the west,
thousand courtiers and hangers-on set sail” for Rio, flee- and Tijuana in the northwest. About one-fifth of Mexico’s
ing Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula.1 They population resides in the capital city, one of the world’s
arrived in Rio, making it the first city in America to re- most important cultural and intellectual centers. The most
ceive European royalty. With the abolition of slavery in significant growth of the city occurred in the latter half of
1888, Brazil became a preferred destination in the Ameri- the twentieth century; in 1900, the population of Mexico
cas for Southern and Eastern European immigrants. The City was about 500,000. The rapid expansion of Mexico
city of São Paulo, currently the second largest city in Latin City is related to the country’s economic development in
America, traces its growth to coffee production in and the period after World War II, the widening of the manu-
around the Paraíba River valley, which increased steadily facturing sector, the success of the oil industry, and the
during the mid-nineteenth century. Italians in particular country’s proximity to U.S. markets.
came to the area around São Paulo to harvest coffee, and
many owned small plots of land. By the middle of the twen- NOTES
tieth century, São Paulo had become the industrial engine 1. Thomas E. Skidmore, Brazil: Five Centuries of Change (New
York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 35.
of Brazil, and the area between Rio de Janeiro and São 2. John Charles Chasteen, Born in Blood and Fire (New York: W.W.
Paulo is now one of the most dynamic industrial regions Norton, 2001), p. 187.
of the world. São Paulo’s population grew to about a quar-
ter of a million by 1900, which put it roughly on par with BIBLIOGRAPHY
the populations of Montevideo, Santiago, and Havana at Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise His-
tory of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton.
the same time period.2 Ten years later, São Paulo’s popula- Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. 2004. A History of Latin America.
tion had increased to half a million. 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Population Growth

n 2005, the Latin American population reached 551 the United Nations—have worked to promote aware-
million. Within the region, Brazil, Mexico, Colom- ness of “family planning.” Culturally, more opportuni-
bia, and Argentina are the most populous countries. ties for women outside the home, greater access to
Social scientists and politicians have long been concerned education for both men and women, and diminishing
with rapid population expansion in the Latin American taboos concerning the use of contraception have trans-
region. Moreover, the uneven nature of development lated into rapidly declining birthrates over the past fifty
has led many others to worry about social tensions and years. Thus, since the mid-twentieth century, popula-
unrest resulting from population growth. Natural re- tion growth rates have declined markedly in the region.
sources such as water and fuels do not reach all citizens Between the years 2000 and 2005, the total growth rate
in Latin American countries: In Brazil, some 20 percent for Latin America was 15 percent, or just under 3 per-
live in abject poverty. In Venezuela, 75 percent of the cent per year, as compared to the period 1950–1955,
population lives at or below the poverty level. Both of when growth rates averaged over 5 percent per year (27
these countries are rich in natural resources and indus- percent during the entire period).
try (Brazil is the tenth largest industrial nation in the There have been significant instances of severe popula-
world), yet the people are poor. tion declines in Latin American history during the twenti-
During the twentieth century, the population of Latin eth century: War, famine and disease, and forced migration
America grew at a rapid rate. In general terms, popula- have all had deleterious effects on populations. The Mexi-
tion growth has been a function of “modernization.” can Revolution (1910–c. 1920) claimed the lives of ap-
Improved quality of and access to health care has led to proximately 1.5 million citizens out of a total population
declines in the death rate and infant mortality; this, along of 14 million. In El Salvador, “La Matanza” (The Massa-
with scientific breakthroughs in treating yellow fever, cre) of 1932 resulted in some 30,000 deaths, representing
malaria, and other tropical diseases, as well as relatively about 2 percent of the Salvadoran population. American
steady birthrates, has positively affected population anthropologist Nancy Scheper-Hughes estimates that ap-
growth rates in Latin America. More efficient agricul- proximately one million children under the age of five die
tural techniques mean that less land is needed to feed each year in Brazil due to hunger, poverty, and disease.
more people. Cultural factors, such as the influence of a The conflicts of the 1980s in Central America (especially
strong Roman Catholic Church (which officially discour- El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua) and, more recently,
aged any form of artificial birth control or scientific con- in Colombia, have negatively affected overall population
traception when it became available in the 1960s), also growth rates in those countries.
contributed to population increase. In 1968, in the pa- Yet even with declining birthrates and the slowing of
pal encyclical entitled Humane Vitae, or On Human population growth rates, the estimated total population of
Life—which staunchly defended the church’s traditional Latin America in 2050 will be close to 800 million citi-
opposition to artificial birth control in the age of “the zens, making it one of the most populous regions of the
pill”—the church’s position was reaffirmed. world. How the major cities, fragile democracies, and over-
Despite the general trend of population growth in taxed environment will support these people looms as the
the region, the rate of that growth is slowing due to major challenge for Latin American society in the not-too-
various factors. The easy availability of artificial birth distant future.
control in urban areas of Latin America, combined with
more intensified use of land for farming, the mechani- BIBLIOGRAPHY
zation of farming, and constant migratory streams from Brea, Jorge A. 2003. “Population Dynamics in Latin America.” Popula-
the countryside to the city—especially in the period af- tion Reference Bureau, Population Bulletin 58, no. 1 (March). Avail-
able at Accessed on December 6, 2004.
ter World War II—have all led to lower birthrates in the Scheper-Hughes, Nancy. 1992. Death Without Weeping: The Violence of
region. Families no longer depend on having a large Everyday Life in Brazil. Los Angeles: University of California.
number of children to sustain an agriculturally based United Nations. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Car-
ibbean (ECLAC). 2002. Demographic Bulletin no. 69, Centro
existence. Latin American governments—in conjunction Latinoamericano de Demografía (CELADE). Available at
with traditional allies in Europe, the United States, and

Growth of Urban Population

atin America is predominantly urban, but this has people to cities: In Central America, brutal civil wars in
not always been the case. In fact, up until the pe- Guatemala and El Salvador, and the violence leading to a
riod after World War II, the vast majority of Latin Nicaraguan revolution in 1979 (and subsequent U.S.-
Americans lived in rural settings. backed counterrevolution), contributed to urbanization in
Many factors contributed to urbanization in Latin those countries. The Colombian insurgency, in effect since
America, but the general trend toward industrialization the early 1960s, has forced people to move from the coun-
and the movement of jobs away from rural areas during tryside to safer locations in cities. Likewise, rapid, un-
the early/mid-twentieth century certainly stands out as planned industrialization in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and
one of the most important explanatory factors. Increas- other countries has pulled people toward urban centers in
ing foreign investment in mining, agriculture, and indus- search of work and better living conditions.
try fostered a need for infrastructural development, which Latin America is the world’s most urban region with
led to the rapid growth of the construction industry in more than 75 percent of the total population living in cit-
urban centers. Latin Americans began moving to the city ies or towns, according to statistics from 2000. Massive
out of necessity, to find employment. Simultaneously (as urbanization during the latter half of the twentieth cen-
part of the process of industrialization), the introduction tury has been called “hyperurbanization,” and six of the
of technology (e.g., farm equipment) reduced the need for world’s most populous cities are in Latin America, with
rural labor and pushed people off the land at unprecedented populations ranging from 7 to over 20 million.
rates; it also helped drive up the price of land and contrib- Yet urbanization has not necessarily translated into jobs
uted to the intensification of rural conflict: In some places, for everyone seeking work and a better way of life in the
like Colombia, contemporary social conflict dates to this city. In fact, rural-urban migration has culminated in an
period. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru all moved through all too familiar pattern in Latin America, where wealthy
phases of significant conflict as “modernization” en- elites occupy certain sections of the city surrounded by
croached and forced people toward the cities. the urban poor who live in favelas, tubúrgios, or pueblos
Rural residents of Latin America migrated to cities in jovenes—all euphemisms for urban slums defined by in-
three waves during the twentieth century: first, in the pe- adequate housing/infrastructure and limited opportunities
riod before the economic crash of 1929, then in the pe- for decent work or advancement through education. Mil-
riod after World War II, and again, in the 1970s and 1980s. lions of residents of Mexico City, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro,
From 1919 to 1931, approximately 65,000 people moved Bogotá, and Lima live in conditions that could be described
from the countryside to the Peruvian capital city, Lima. as inhuman. Rural-urban migratory patterns, conditioned
Forty percent of Lima’s population was rural in origin in by social, political, and economic realities, combined with
1931. technological change and outside investment, have shaped
After World War II, political processes had become the modern Latin American city. The mega cities of Latin
shaped by rural-urban migration trends in Latin America. America—dynamic centers of culture and opportunity for
“Populist” political candidates emerged throughout the re- some—have not afforded economic, cultural, or educa-
gion to ease the transition, provide rhetorical support for tional advancement for the majority. The greatest chal-
the “urban masses,” and negotiate a safe middle way be- lenge for the next generation of Latin American leaders
tween the fears of wealthy urban elites (who viewed people will be to address this growing disparity with meaningful,
from the countryside with fear and suspicion) and the as- creative, and transformative policies.
pirations of recently arrived residents who had to struggle
to find work and decent shelter in the city. Political leaders BIBLIOGRAPHY
such as Getúlio Vargas of Brazil, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Arguedas, José María. 1988. Yawar Fiesta. 9th ed. Lima: Editorial
Torre of Peru, Lázaro Cárdenas of Mexico, Jorge Eliécer Horizonte.
Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. 2004. A History of Latin America.
Gaitán of Colombia, and Juan and Evita Perón of Argen- 7th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
tina all responded to the new urban environment and in- Levine, Robert M. 1997. Brazilian Legacies. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
corporated the recently arrived, lower-class Latin Stein, Steve. 1980. Populism in Peru: The Emergence of the Masses and
Americans into an urban political platform that promised the Politics of Social Control. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
United Nations. Secretariat, Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
better jobs, educational opportunities, and housing. 2004. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2003 Revision, Data Tables
From the mid-1970s to the present, a combination of and Highlights. UN Population Division. March. Available at
political, social, and economic factors has once again driven

Migration Patterns from Latin America to the United States

he United States has long benefited from Latin tions have been integral in shaping New York’s rich cul-
American migratory patterns, historically a func- tural matrix. Cubans helped develop Ybor City (Tampa,
tion of politics, economics, and geographic consid- Florida), and worked primarily in that city’s thriving ci-
erations. However, it was not until the 1960s that the num- gar-manufacturing economy during the early part of the
ber of immigrants from Latin America began to rise sharply twentieth century. Cuban migration to Miami increased
and steadily. Latin Americans now make up the dominant sharply after the 1959 Cuban Revolution, and Cubans’
immigrant group entering the United States. presence has been intricately connected to the economic,
It is estimated, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, that cultural, and political development of Miami ever since.
35 million residents of the United States originated from Many Cubans also migrated to the New York area, settling
Latin America. A decade before, in 1990, data showed 22 —most notably—in Union City, New Jersey.
million Latin Americans residing in the United States. This More recently, Colombians have comprised an impor-
means that from 1990 to 2000 alone, the Latin American tant migratory group, settling in New York City (Queens)
presence in the United States increased 57.9 percent. Addi- and South Florida, with growing populations in Los Ange-
tionally, the 2000 Census estimated that there were between les and Atlanta. Many Colombians have fled the social and
8 and 9 million undocumented Latin Americans living with- political violence of their homeland, and many commute
out citizenship in the United States. regularly between Miami and Bogotá.
By 2003, people of Latin American origin comprised It is estimated that some 500,000 Salvadorans presently
over half (53.3 percent) of the total foreign-born popula- live in the United States. El Salvador was devastated by
tion living in the United States. Of this total, 30 percent societal unrest and a subsequent civil war during the 1970s
originated from Mexico, 10 percent from the Caribbean, and 1980s; that war ended in a peace treaty in 1992. Dur-
7 percent from Central America, and 6 percent from South ing and after the war, many Salvadorans migrated to the
America. Washington, DC area, and to Los Angeles, New York, and
People of Mexican origin, whose patterns of migra- San Francisco.
tion have resulted from an inextricable historical link with Guatemalans migrated to the United States in the latter
the United States, represent the largest group of immi- half of the twentieth century, a direct result of their
grants from Latin America. In 1848, Mexican migratory country’s thirty-five-year civil war (1961–1996). Hondu-
patterns to the United States underwent a dramatic change rans have established a large and thriving metropolitan
when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shifted the Mexi- community in New Orleans, Louisiana.
can border southward. Some Mexicans stayed in towns Brazilians have moved to Los Angeles, South Florida,
and cities that had formerly belonged to Mexico, most Boston, and New York. According to the 2000 U.S. Cen-
notably San Antonio, Texas. Others migrated back to their sus, there were 200,000 persons of Brazilian origin in the
homes in what used to be northern Mexico (currently country. That figure has certainly grown (possibly to
known as the southwest United States). Between 1900 600,000), with established communities in South Florida
and 1930, surrounding the Mexican Revolution (1910– and New York City. The 2000 U.S. Census reported
1920), the United States witnessed another large influx 420,000 foreign-born Haitians living in the United States.
of Mexicans to the Southwest region when an estimated Political and economic crises in Haiti have led to wide-
one million Mexicans headed north, fleeing poverty and scale emigration from Haiti, and most of the Haitians in
political turmoil. Since the 1990s, the lure of economic the United States live in four states: Florida, New York,
opportunity has enticed millions of Mexicans to migrate Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
northward once more, this time beyond the traditional
gateways of Texas, California, and the Southwest. While BIBLIOGRAPHY
the largest populations of Mexican immigrants remain in González, Juan. 2000. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America.
New York: Viking Penguin.
California and Texas, the fastest growing populations are Grieco, Elizabeth. 2003. A New Century: Immigration and the US (online).
now to be found in the southeastern United States in Ala- Retrieved from the Migration Policy Institute, Migration Informa-
bama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, tion Source Web site:
South Carolina, and Tennessee. Guzmán, Betsy. 2001 U.S. Census Bureau, “The Hispanic Population:
Census 2000 Brief” (May). Available at
Two Caribbean islands (Puerto Rico and Cuba) have www/cen2000/briefs.html.
sent significant numbers of people to the U.S. mainland. Lowell, Lindsay, and Roberto Suro. 2002. How Many Undocumented:
In 1898 the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish- The Numbers Behind the U.S.–Mexico Migration Talks (online). Re-
American War, and, via the Treaty of Paris of 1898, Spain trieved October 5, 2004, from the Pew Hispanic Center Web site:
ceded its Caribbean holdings, including Puerto Rico and
Martin, Philip, and Elizabeth Midgley. 2003. Immigration: Shaping and
Cuba. Puerto Ricans, who hold U.S. citizenship, established Reshaping America (online). Retrieved from the Population Refer-
a strong presence in New York City and their contribu- ence Bureau Web site:

Migration Patterns from Latin America to Other Countries

atin America has the highest emigration rate in the which faced a severe economic downturn beginning in
world. People leave Latin America destined to all 2000, has also witnessed dramatic emigration. More than
parts of the world in search of greater employment 255,000 Argentineans have left the country in the past
opportunities and higher wages. They tend to migrate to five years.
industrialized, wealthy, first world countries and regions. Emigrants from Latin America have often preferred mi-
As such, the vast majority of Latin American migrants gravi- gration to Southern European countries for obvious rea-
tate toward the United States, Western Europe, and in Asia, sons involving language, culture, and heritage. As the
Japan. population of Europe ages and as population growth rates
From 2000 to 2004, there was a dramatic increase in in Europe remain flat, there will be a growing need for
the number of Latin Americans migrating to Europe due workers to help Spaniards and Italians care for their eld-
to economic and political crises back home (particularly erly, staff hospitals, and work in the service sector of the
in Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina). Amnesty and regu- economy. Because of this, and as the United States adopts
larization programs, especially in Spain, further encour- more stringent immigration policies, increasing numbers
aged migration from Latin America. According to the of Latin Americans will seek the former colonizing
Spanish Ministry of the Interior, in 2003 approximately nations—and other European nations that have sent im-
174,000 Ecuadorians lived within the borders of Spain; migrants to Latin America—as points of entry into Euro-
in the same year, sources that attempt to count the num- pean society.
ber of undocumented Ecuadorians estimated the popula- Recent research on migration trends and patterns fo-
tion to be just under 400,000. Colombians are the second cuses on the effects of immigration in both the host and
most populous Latin American national group in Spain, sending country; Latin Americans remain connected to
with an estimated population of about 160,000 in 2001. their place of origin and support relatives and friends back
By 2003, that number might have grown to a quarter of a home, as evidenced through remittance payments. Remit-
million, according to the Spanish National Institute of tances constitute an integral part of the migratory pro-
Statistics. Italy counted approximately 76,000 Latin cess. Approximately 35 billion dollars were remitted to
Americans within its borders (2000), with Peruvians mak- Latin American countries in 2003 from outside the region
ing up the majority (29,600). Brazilians comprised the (30 billion dollars alone originated from the United States).
second largest Latin American group in Italy, with a popu- For example, in 2003, Mexicans living outside of Mexico
lation of 19,200. In Switzerland, 21,000 Latin Ameri- remitted 13.2 billion dollars, which represented the third
cans were officially counted in 2000, most of them coming largest component of GDP in that country, after petro-
from Brazil (7,582), Chile (3,890), Peru (2,621), and leum and tourism. Approximately 2 billion dollars were
Colombia (2,481). Latin American migration to Switzer- sent to Latin America from Europe in the form of remit-
land increased by 350 percent in the final decade of the tances in 2003: one billion dollars originated from Spain
twentieth century. and the other one billion dollars from the rest of Europe.
Unfortunately, many Latin American women who mi- Colombians, Ecuadorians, and Dominicans are the three
grate to Europe end up working in the sex industry. It is largest groups of remittance payers from Spain to their
estimated that as many as 60,000 Dominican women and home countries.
75,000 Brazilian women are sex workers. Of the 13,000
known foreign sex workers in Spain (in 2000) more than Capdevila, Gustavo. 2000. “Population: Latin American Migration to
half were from Latin America. Europe Expected to Grow.” Inter-Press Service (June 15). Global In-
Economic crises in the Southern Cone countries, to- formation Network, Lexis Nexis.
gether with the post-9/11 atmosphere in the United States, Clark, Ximena, Timothy J. Hatton, and Jeffrey G. Williamson. 2004.
“What Explains Emigration Out of Latin America?” Australian Na-
have had profound effects on the migratory patterns from tional University (May). Available at
Latin America. By the end of 2000, it is estimated that people/info/hatton/wdmay2004.pdf.
approximately 250,000 Brazilians lived in Japan; in 2001 Eakin, Marshall. 1998. Brazil: The Once and Future Country. New York:
alone, about 30,000 Brazilians moved there. This migra- St. Martin’s Griffin.
Kashiwazaki, Chikako. 2002. “Japan: From Immigration Control to Im-
tion mirrors an important Japanese presence in Brazil, migration Policy?” Migration Information Source (August). Avail-
which began in the early part of the twentieth century and able at
increased dramatically during the interwar years, when a Pellegrino, Adela. 2004. “Migration from Latin America to Europe: Trends
quarter of a million Japanese moved to Brazil, creating and Policy Challenges.” International Organization for Migration
Policy Research Series, no. 16 (May). New York: UN Publications.
there the largest concentration of Japanese outside of Ja- Pérez, Nieves Ortega. 2003. “Spain: Forging an Immigration Policy.”
pan. Peruvians make up the second largest Latin American Migration Information Source (February). Available at http://migra-
group in Japan, numbering 46,000 in 2000. Argentina, tion

Migration Patterns Within Latin America

atin American migration within the continent has grant population in every Central American country. Eighty
received relatively little attention from scholars in percent of all immigrants in Costa Rica are from Latin America,
the United States. Researchers tend to focus on mi- and with a total population of about 3.8 million citizens in
gratory patterns between specific Latin American nations 2000, Costa Rica counted 8 percent of its total population as
and the United States or Canada. However, inter-Ameri- foreign-born. Of those, about 300,000 came from one coun-
can immigration is an important segment of the overall try, neighboring Nicaragua. Most of the Nicaraguans in Costa
immigration world matrix, and migration patterns across Rica are lower-middle-class or lower-class agriculture work-
Latin America reflect the changing dynamic and interplay ers who have fled their country’s political and economic in-
of economic and political factors within the region. stability; during the 1980s, Nicaraguans faced a left-leaning
Migration within Latin America reached its peak dur- revolution, aggressively challenged by the United States, es-
ing the 1970s and 1980s and has primarily been, during pecially during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–1988).
the past thirty years, a function of economic conditions The 1990s witnessed economic and political instability, as Nica-
and political change. Venezuela’s “oil boom” during the raguans attempted to reconcile the revolutionary period with
1970s prompted migrations from middle- and lower- more neoliberal market approaches under the leadership of
middle-sector Colombians; they joined Chileans who fled President Violeta Chamorro, elected in 1990.
to Venezuela from Chile with the onset of the Pinochet While migration within the region has declined signifi-
regime (1973–1990). Thirty years later, the Colombian cantly over the past half-century (especially during the 1990s)
presence can still be felt in Venezuela. This group com- as Latin Americans have preferred the higher-wage regions
prised more than 60 percent of the Latin American immi- of the United States, Canada, and Europe, intraregional mi-
grant population of Venezuela as of 2001. gration remains important in Latin America. Many factors—
During much of the twentieth century, Argentina was an geographic proximity, familiarity with language and culture,
important point of attraction for Latin Americans. By 2001, and familiarity with legal codes and traditions—influence and
Paraguayans made up 32 percent of Argentina’s 1 million encourage migration within the region. People often move
immigrants from within the region. During the same year it to places where relatives and friends live to help ease the
is estimated that there were 233,000 Bolivians living in Ar- burden of transitioning from one society to another. Eco-
gentina. A significant difference in wealth and earning power nomic factors also help explain migration within the region.
between Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia and the geographic Remittance payments demonstrate the significant inequali-
proximity of the countries helps explain these migratory ties between Latin American countries and suggest that people
patterns. With the economic crisis of 2000, Argentina be- do in fact seek, in a logical manner, better economic oppor-
came less attractive as a point of immigration for residents tunities on the Latin American continent—particularly when
of the region; however, the relative strength of Argentine such opportunities are to be found on the other side of a
industrial capacity means that it will continue to attract im- political border. According to the Inter-American Bank, in
migrants from surrounding countries. 2002 there were approximately 1.5 billion dollars in total
Other factors “pushing” Latin Americans out of their remittances sent by Latin Americans to other Latin Ameri-
own countries include the growth of urban centers. Dur- cans within the region.
ing the past fifty years, rural options in many countries
have dissipated due to falling prices for agricultural goods BIBLIOGRAPHY
and the growing concentration of landholding. Those Latin Clark, Ximena, Timothy J. Hatton, and Jeffrey G. Williamson. 2004.
“What Explains Emigration Out of Latin America?” Australian Na-
Americans whose options are limited in the rural and ur- tional University (May). Available at
ban sectors will often make the decision to migrate to neigh- people/info/hatton/wdmay2004.pdf.
boring countries in search of work and a higher standard Martínez Pizarro, Jorge. 2002. “Uso de los datos censales para un análisis
of living. Migrants within the region often consider mi- comparativo de la migración internacional en Centroamérica.”
Comisión Económica para América Latina y El Caribe (CEPAL
gration as a “temporary” necessity; they can travel over- [ECLAC]), with El Centro Latinoamericano y Caribeño de Demografía
land, and they can return to their country of origin with (CELADE), División de Población. Organización Internacional para
relative ease. These temporary migrations are not without Las Migraciones (OIM), Serie Población y Desarollo. Publication of
drawbacks however, as constant and continual movement the United Nations (December). Available at
The State of the Nation Project. 2001. “A Binational Study: The State of
into, and out of, regions negatively affects the ability of Migration Flows Between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. An Analysis of
migrants to fully integrate into the new society. the Economic and Social Implications for Both Countries.” Interna-
Approximately 5 million Central Americans (or 14 per- tional Organization for Migration (IOM), Studies and Reports (De-
cent of the Central American population) live outside of the cember). Available at
González Alvarado, Ivan, and Hilda Sánchez. 2002. “Migration in Latin
country in which they were born; however, large numbers of America and the Caribbean: A View from the ICFTU/ORIT.” Inter-
these immigrants still reside within the region. Immigrants from national Labour Organization. Available at
Latin America comprise at least 15 percent of the total immi- english/dialogue/actrav/publ/129/19.pdf.



ndigenismo (or “Indian-ness”) emerged as a cultural Orozco depicted this new interpretation on public walls,
movement during the twentieth century in Latin public buildings, and other places in an attempt to “re-
America. The movement parallels “nationalism” and educate” the people.
represented a repudiation of past attempts to identify the Brazilians, too, were deeply affected by the changes
Latin American nation with all that was European. Nine- sweeping the world in the wake of World War I. In São
teenth-century intellectuals stressed their “European-ness” Paulo in 1922, a “Modern Art Week” celebrated the tra-
and downplayed the histories of native peoples, enslaved ditions, culture, and history of the Brazilian nation. The
Africans, and other “lesser” peoples, as they described Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was present to-
them. In contrast to the well-known Argentine intellec- gether with the intellectual Oswaldo de Andrade; they
tual Domingo F. Sarmiento, late-nineteenth-century both emerged as towering figures in Brazilian twentieth-
modernist writers, such as the Cuban patriot and intel- century intellectual life. Shortly thereafter (1933), the
lectual José Martí and the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre published his work
began to think of Latin America as a separate territorial Casa grande e senzala (translated to English as The Mas-
entity, and envisioned it free of European (or North ters and the Slaves); Freyre’s work shocked many, as he
American) designs. Their work represented an impor- emphatically stated that Brazilians should be proud of
tant point of transition between nineteenth-century their racial make-up, acknowledge the multifaceted con-
writers and the nationalist writers and thinkers who com- tributions of Brazilians of African descent, and stop pre-
prised the indigenista movement after World War I. tending that they were exclusively of European origin.
World War I dramatically altered Latin America’s rela- In Peru, important writers like Ciro Alegría and José
tionship, and love affair, with Europe. The savagery of María Arguedas focused on the “Indian question.”
the war was not lost on anyone, and Latin Americans, Alegría’s most important work, El mundo es ancho y
due to trade restrictions and other causes directly associ- ajeno (Broad and Alien Is the World), describes the his-
ated with the war, turned inward and looked more closely toric and endemic exploitation of native Peruvians by
at their own history, culture, and citizenry. Out of this cruel landlords; Arguedas was critical of indigenista writ-
spirit of introspection emerged a renewed respect for the ers and suggested that many of them were actually mere
contributions of indigenous persons, persons of color, and middle-class outsiders who could never truly understand
other marginalized, non-European peoples of Latin Indian exploitation because they had never lived it. He
America. The Mexican intellectual and education minis- published Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers) in 1958, and
ter in the early 1920s, José Vasconcelos, laid out the con- he wrote in both Quechua, a Peruvian native language,
tours of Latin American indigenismo in his book La raza and Spanish.
cósmica (The Cosmic Race). That book defined Mexi- The indigenismo movement in Latin America is more
cans (and Latin Americans) as special people who inher- than one universally accepted cultural or intellectual
ited the best characteristics of European settlers, Native movement. It was a series of developments, in various
Americans, and Africans. Latin Americans should, he ar- nations of Latin America, helping to shape Latin
gued, show pride in their rich, complex racial and cul- America’s history, culture, and “place” in the world.
tural make-up.
Postrevolutionary Mexico became the place where BIBLIOGRAPHY
Deeds, Susan M., Michael C. Meyer, and William L. Sherman. 2003. The
indigenismo flourished. Radical reinterpretations of Course of Mexican History. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
Mexican history and culture put native societies on an Delpar, Helen. 1995. The Enormous Vogue of Things Mexican: Cultural
elevated plane and assigned to the Europeans the un- Relations Between the United States and Mexico, 1920–1935.
Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
flattering role of conqueror and invader. The muralists Vasconcelos, José. 1979. The Cosmic Race: A Bilingual Edition. Los
Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Angeles: California State University Press.

Populism in Latin America

he growth and appeal of populism in Latin from 1950 to 1954, was referred to as pai do povo, or “fa-
America resulted directly from the harsh social ther of the people.” Vargas exerted strict control over the
and economic realities of the 1930s, rural-urban economic and political structure of Brazilian society. He was
migratory patterns, and the expansion of cities in the re- a masterful politician, and even though his regime became
gion. Populism marked a new way to conduct politics in much more dictatorial from 1937 to 1945 (during what is
Latin America. known as the “Estado Novo”), Vargas remained popular in
In general, populist leaders held four common charac- the eyes of the Brazilian people because of his unassuming
teristics: they were extraordinarily charismatic individuals charm, his self-deprecating sense of humor, and his comfort
with excellent oratory skills; they maintained authority via and ease in the presence of ordinary Brazilian citizens.
a clear understanding of the patron–client networks that Mexico’s Lázaro Cárdenas ruled from 1934 to 1940.
governed society; they used historic norms of social hier- Unlike Mexican politicians who governed before him,
archy to their advantage; and they acted as social inter- Cárdenas listened more than he spoke, and he distributed
locutors, preventing armed revolution while insisting on about 49 million acres of land for communal use, called
social reforms from the traditional elites. Populism in Latin ejidos, to the Indian communities. Like Perón, Cárdenas
America was a creative, organic solution to pressing and worked to strengthen organized labor movements, which
mounting economic, social, and political troubles on the won him favor with the working class and strengthened
continent: In four places—Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and his authority in Mexico. When the working class became
Peru—populist leaders had immense influence in charting militant and the petroleum workers organized a strike in
national politics and transitioning societies through diffi- 1936, Cárdenas nationalized all foreign-owned oil inter-
cult times. In Colombia, populism was less successful for ests and created the state-run oil company, PEMEX. By
the charismatic populist leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán was 1938, the petroleum industry was nationalized—to the sum
assassinated on April 9, 1948—a date that changed the of 24 million dollars paid to British and American oil pro-
course of Colombian history. ducers—thus demonstrating the degree to which populism
Populism in Argentina is associated with two figures, could create national cohesion.
Juan Domingo Perón and his wife, Eva “Evita” Duarte In Peru, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre is associated with
Perón. Perón’s first presidential period lasted from 1946 that country’s populist movement. Haya founded the po-
to 1955 amid the rapid growth of unions and an expand- litical party known as APRA (or the Populist Alliance for
ing, increasingly radical working class. Perón presented the American Revolution) in the late 1920s. An electrify-
himself publicly as “protector” of workers and the ing speaker, Haya de la Torre challenged the elites to dis-
underclass, and he was clearly connected with the urban tribute resources to the popular classes. He called for
working class in Buenos Aires, the capital city. Evita, an nationalization of key sectors of the economy and criti-
elegant actress with working-class roots, spent a good deal cized the damaging effects of unchecked foreign invest-
of time doling out charity to the underprivileged—the ment in Peru. Though Haya de la Torre never arrived to
descamisados, or (literally) the “shirtless ones.” She was the office of the presidency in Peru, he significantly im-
able to cement a strong alliance between the poor, the pacted Peruvian politics for generations; the first APRA
urban working class, and the middle class, all of whom candidate to win the presidency was Alan García, in the
identified with the movement known as Peronism. The mid-1980s.
Peróns were intensely nationalistic, and they sought to Populists helped change Latin American politics and
steer a “third way” in terms of economic policy, which society in the twentieth century; they challenged traditional
took the country on a course somewhere between social- elites to distribute resources more justly, while defending
ism and unfettered, unregulated capitalism. Eva died in the popular classes against the more extreme effects of
1952 of ovarian cancer, and by 1955 the military moved unregulated capitalist expansion. Populists had to walk a
in to remove Juan Perón after his economic plan faltered narrow path. They had to build on nationalist sentiments
significantly. by committing to reforms, while at the same time steering
Latin American populism was a form of social control clear from those in society who called for more dramatic
whereby a charismatic leader would control the state and change via the revolutionary option.
distribute patronage to the people yet avoid a major reor-
dering of society via the revolutionary process. Populists BIBLIOGRAPHY
rejected the idea of class conflict and preferred to refer to Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise His-
the nation as a sort of national family—the populist leaders tory of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton.
Skidmore, Thomas E. 1999. Brazil: Five Centuries of Change. New York:
were, of course, the father figure, or in the case of Eva Perón, Oxford University Press.
the nation’s mother. In fact, Brazil’s populist leader, Getúlio Stein, Steve. 1980. Populism in Peru: The Emergence of the Masses and
Vargas, who ruled that country from 1930 to 1945 and again the Politics of Social Control. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Armed Forces and Dictatorships

he military in Latin America has played a pivotal role of power broker: militaries move into power, ostensi-
role in societal structure and became especially sig- bly to protect and save the fatherland from inept civilian
nificant in the early nineteenth century, with the rulers. This was the case in 1929 with the onset of the
onset of the independence movements. Military leaders worldwide economic depression, which had devastating
directed long campaigns during the sixteen-year struggle. consequences for Latin American societies. Military rulers
Venezuelan-born Simón Bolívar and the Argentine José de stepped in to restore order in both Argentina and Peru,
San Martín are remembered as brilliant military tacticians; and throughout the region. Getúlio Vargas took power in
they demonstrated that Latin Americans could in fact or- Brazil with strong backing from the military. A group of
ganize and effectively fight against Europe to achieve po- petty tyrants (most rising up through their respective mili-
litical, social, and economic independence. Later, in the tary ranks) emerged in Central America and the Carib-
immediate aftermath of independence, leadership in Latin bean, including the Somoza family in Nicaragua, Jorge
America centered around the priorities of caudillo rulers; Ubico in Guatemala, Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Re-
these “men on horseback” gained popularity and support public, and Maximiliano Hernández Martínez in El
by exploiting patron–client relationships, traditional pat- Salvador.
terns of authority, and the general collapse of order in the The military interventions of the latter half of the twen-
early nineteenth century. tieth century were a continuation of a trend established in
The modern Latin American military structure was also the early days of the nineteenth century. The Brazilian mili-
born in the nineteenth century, and any discussion of con- tary took power away from civilians in 1964 and ruled
temporary military institutions in Latin America must con- until 1985. The Argentine military ruled from 1966 to
sider their historic origins throughout the region. One of 1973, and again from 1976 until 1983. Some of the worst
the most intriguing stories of military misstep, change, human rights abuses in modern Latin American history
and development over time involves the Brazilian mili- were recorded during this second intervention. After 1976,
tary, which suffered two serious setbacks in the nineteenth the Argentine army spoke reverently of the patria; to de-
century. First, there was the disastrous War of the Triple fend “the fatherland,” they attacked students, members of
Alliance (Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina versus Paraguay), leftist political organizations, persons of Jewish decent,
which lasted from 1865 until 1870. This war provided a intellectuals, and journalists. They called their campaign
wake-up call to the Brazilian military, as tiny Paraguay of terror el proceso (“the process”) but others referred to
valiantly fought off two bordering giants for almost five it simply as la guerra sucia or “the dirty war.” Some 20,000
years. Paraguay was eventually defeated, and lost nearly Argentines were “disappeared” during an eight-year period.
all of its adult male population in the process. Second, In Chile, General Augusto Pinochet took power in a
after four arduous campaigns, the Brazilian military fi- military coup on September 11, 1973, overthrowing the
nally defeated the northeastern rebel community of democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. His
Canudos. Some 10,000 residents died in the final assault military intervention broke significantly with Chilean his-
in 1897. The Canudos debacle clearly demonstrated the tory, which had recorded relative stability and democratic
military’s inability to effectively “dominate” the entire procedure dating back to the late-nineteenth century. The
Brazilian landmass. brutality of the Pinochet regime shocked the world: be-
Change and modernization began to take shape during tween 10,000 and 12,000 Chileans were murdered during
the early twentieth century in the Brazilian military struc- his military intervention and another one million Chileans
ture, especially after 1922, when the tenentes movement fled the country, moving to exile in other countries in Latin
showed the discontent of younger officers who were fed America and Europe. Pinochet remained in office through
up with corruption, the ruling oligarchy, and extreme hi- 1990, when he lost a plebiscite. After a long legal battle, he
erarchy in the military structure. These younger “lieuten- was indicted at home in a protracted international legal
ants” demanded more respect, better and more modern struggle that has served as a sort of referendum on his sev-
equipment, and believed that they were best equipped to enteen-year rule.
defend Brazil from external or internal enemies. Luiz Carlos
Prestes, a junior officer and member of the Communist BIBLIOGRAPHY
Party, led a military column of more than 1,000 through Feitlowitz, Marguerite. 1998. A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the
the Brazilian interior from 1924 to 1927, evading the mili- Legacies of Torture. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kornbluh, Peter, ed. 2003. The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on
tary and highlighting (once again) the weakness of the Bra- Atrocity and Accountability. NewYork: The New Press.
zilian military structure. Levine, Robert M. 1992. Vale of Tears. Berkeley: University of Califor-
The Latin American military has historically played the nia Press.

Collapse of Democracy, Birth of Debt

he 1980s is generally referred to as “the lost de- Allende had implemented labor reform, wage and price
cade” in Latin American history and political dis- controls, and nationalized key sectors of the Chilean
course due to the large-scale accumulation of debt economy. Middle-class urbanites, wealthy landowners, and
and financial chaos of the 1970s and 1980s. The lost 1980s industrialists cried foul. Together with key sectors of the
can only be understood by considering the collapse of de- military, these groups began planning for what they viewed
mocracy in key regions of Latin America during the 1960s, as a necessary and inevitable coup. Allende, a legitimately
the oil shock of the early 1970s, a downturn in world prices elected leader, was killed in the presidential palace on Sep-
paid for Latin American commodities, and expanding debt tember 11, thus foreshadowing the violence that would
to creditors during the 1980s. grip Chile over the next seventeen years.
During the 1960s and 1970s, democratically elected With democracy in recess throughout the region, a new
governments were swept away, first in Brazil (1964), then crisis loomed when the price of oil reached thirty dollars a
two years later in Argentina. In 1968, a left-leaning mili- barrel in 1973; this price hike precipitated a deep finan-
tary government took power in Peru and implemented cial crisis in Latin America. Loans that had been made to
sweeping reforms. The dramatic military coup in Chile in Latin American nations for capital infrastructure develop-
1973 captured the attention of the world and ushered in ment projects and industry were primarily “floating” rather
seventeen years of rule by the ruthless and autocratic Gen- than fixed interest rate loans. The world economic crisis
eral Augusto Pinochet. Social scientists concocted the term of the early 1970s drove interest rates up, which meant
“bureaucratic authoritarianism” to describe the new wave that Latin American nations would spend increasing
of anti-democratic regimes taking power in Latin America amounts of money to service the debt, resulting in deep
during this period. Military elites believed that they were cuts in social programs. The concurrent rise in social ten-
best equipped, technically and morally, to organize and sion was met by stiff state-sponsored repression.
restructure societies in light of the political and economic The debt crisis had devastating effects, particularly
complexities of the day. They sidelined civilians and stated on the poor, the working, and middle classes. Inflation
that their political ambitions were short-term, and based rates in Bolivia ran over 11,000 percent in 1985, mak-
primarily on patriotism, or service to the patria. ing local currency essentially worthless. Throughout the
The Brazilian military moved into power on March 31, region, domestic demand could not keep up with pro-
1964, ousting the democratically elected João Goulart from duction, given that real wages were falling due to infla-
the presidency. The military generals, supported by the tionary pressures. The Mexican government was forced
United States, sought to restore economic stability and re- to borrow heavily to support food subsidies, and by the
mained in power until 1985. While Brazil’s overall eco- middle of the 1980s, about 45 percent of the Mexican
nomic growth during the late 1960s and 1970s was working-age population was unemployed or significantly
remarkable, this was overshadowed by high levels of infla- underemployed. In Brazil, between 1970 and 2000, the
tion, growing social and economic disparities, the abuse national debt rose from 4 billion to 228 billion dollars.
of human rights, and the curtailment of civil liberties. The Total debt for the Latin American region reached 400
civilian government that took control in 1985 inherited billion dollars by the middle of the 1980s. With GDP
serious and growing social and economic problems, in- falling, on average, 8.3 percent per capita throughout
cluding a foreign debt in excess of 100 billion dollars. Latin America during the 1980s, this decade truly rep-
The Argentine military regime was by far the most re- resents a period of time that many Latin Americans
pressive, particularly when the military returned to power would like to forget.
in 1976 and ushered in a “dirty war,” which disappeared
about 20,000 Argentines. They finally left power in 1983, BIBLIOGRAPHY
but only after the generals provoked a conflict in 1982 with Burns, E. Bradford, and Julie A. Charlip. 2002. Latin America: A Concise
Great Britain. The so-called Malvinas War (or Falklands Interpretive History. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Chasteen, John Charles. 2001. Born in Blood and Fire: A Concise His-
War) represented a humiliating defeat for Argentina and tory of Latin America. New York: W.W. Norton.
led to the collapse of the military dictatorship. Eakin, Marshall. 1997. Brazil: The Once and Future Country. New York:
On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military, with the St. Martin’s Griffin.
assistance of the Nixon administration and the CIA, over- Franko, Patrice M. 1999. The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Devel-
opment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
threw the democratically elected government of Salvador Skidmore, Thomas E., and Peter H. Smith. 2005. Modern Latin America.
Allende Gossens. After his election in 1970, President 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

Drug Trafficking and Informal Markets

he illegal production and exportation of narcotics tance of “informal markets,” or the informal sector, in Latin
inflicted significant damage on Latin American America and other places in the developing world. In No-
economies, especially during the difficult decade of vember 1986, the Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto
the 1980s. As economies floundered and both public debt published El otro sendero (The Other Path), in which he out-
and unemployment mounted in the region, Latin American lined the importance and impact of the informal sector in his
“entrepreneurs” discovered that massive, quick profits could native Peru. De Soto described the economic activity of indi-
be achieved through the smuggling of drugs. The leading viduals who were itinerant street vendors, day laborers, do-
export market in the 1980s was the United States. mestic servants, and migrant agricultural workers; the author
Growing crime and epidemic-level use of crack cocaine noted their primacy in making the Peruvian economy func-
in U.S. cities led to increased debate on the “drug ques- tion, but, since these workers operated “off the books,” their
tion” in the media and political establishment. President work was not recorded, taxed, or recognized by “official”
Ronald Reagan, bowing to political pressures, declared a society. So much of the work in Peru (and by extension in
“war” on drugs in early 1982. Subsequent U.S. adminis- Latin America) was tied to the informal sector, according to
tration policies stressing “supply-side” eradication pro- De Soto, that official government statistics on GDP, income,
grams tended to place the responsibility of America’s drug and government spending were impossible to calculate. This
problem on the shoulders of Latin Americans. However, made government planning all but impossible. De Soto
Latin Americans saw the problem differently: they believed claimed in his work that 60 percent of all “work” in Peru
that the United States should spend its resources on cur- belonged to the informal sector, and stressed the need to
tailing the demand for drugs at home. This inability to acknowledge this force in future state planning.
agree on methodology and tactics has led to the squander- Across Latin America during the 1980s, the informal
ing of billions of dollars, a war on drugs that has been lost, sector grew rapidly—by more than 30 percent—due to
and fluctuating periods of tension between Washington the economic crisis and growing poverty throughout the
policymakers and the citizens of Latin America. region that forced workers to seek employment outside of
Debt and economic downturn in Latin America pushed the more traditional, diminishing formal sector. Presently,
peasants to harvest coca leaves, especially in poverty-stricken in some places in Latin America, the informal sector em-
areas of Peru and Bolivia, where the plant grows easily in ploys more than 50 percent of the entire working-age popu-
cool, moist climates at higher elevations. In Bolivia, for ex- lation. This sector also tends to be dominated by
ample, two-thirds of all tin miners were laid off during the impoverished urban, unskilled laborers. In Guatemala,
1980s as the world price for tin collapsed. Unemployment more than 90 percent of the working poor are employed
levels rose about 14 percent in the formal sector between in the informal sector.
1980 and 1986, while the number of families involved in The increase in drug trafficking from Latin America and
the cultivation of coca (the informal sector) increased some the rapid growth of the informal economic sector are re-
300 percent. Facing extreme poverty and starvation, out- lated phenomena and suggest structural problems in the
of-work miners chose to plant and harvest coca, and in some region. Weak central governments and outdated, indiffer-
areas of Bolivia the plants yielded four crops annually. Dur- ent taxation policies and procedures significantly facilitated
ing the 1980s, coca leaves harvested in Peru and Bolivia the production and shipment of illegal narcotics and the
were transformed into a sort of paste that would be shipped massive expansion of an informal economic sector. The
to Colombia for final processing (i.e., the addition of chemi- push for neoliberal reforms in the region, beginning in the
cals, and other rudimentary chemical processes). In Medellín, 1980s and continuing to the present, was designed to bring
Colombia—the central city of the Colombian drug trade— more order (and less “informality”) to Latin American
the operation generated about 28,000 jobs for unemployed economies, largely through privatization of key, govern-
and impoverished laborers, both skilled and unskilled. Of ment-controlled sectors of the economy. However, illegal
course, drug trafficking in Latin America had a negative ef- narcotics continue to flow from Latin America, and
fect overall for workers and the poor in the region: the wealth neoliberal policies, which have eliminated hundreds of
generated from the drug trade flowed into overseas banks thousands of jobs in Latin America, have actually pushed
and real estate, having only a marginal effect on structural more people into the informal sector.
and capital improvements in Bolivia, Peru, or Colombia.
But revenues from the drug trade were enormous. Between BIBLIOGRAPHY
1980 and 1995, it is estimated that Colombia earned 36 De Soto, Hernando. 1987. El otro sendero: La revolución informal. 7th
billion dollars in drug money, representing 5 percent of GDP ed. Bogotá: Instituto Libertad y Democracia.
Franko, Patrice M. 1999. The Puzzle of Latin American Economic Devel-
during that period. Most of the profits from the drug trade opment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
remained in the United States or Europe. Skidmore, Thomas E., and Peter H. Smith. 2005. Modern Latin America.
Drug trafficking drew attention to the power and impor- 6th ed. New York, Oxford University Press.

Education Compared by Country

imited access to education in Latin America has Rural and indigenous persons have always been at a disad-
contributed to highly skewed patterns of economic vantage in terms of access to formal education. Two out of
and social development, as educational opportu- every five children in rural areas in Latin America fail to
nities in the region have never adequately met societal finish primary school, compared to one in six of their ur-
needs or demand. Even when education was available, ban counterparts. During the 1990s, this disparity only
controversy over management and implementation of the shrank in three countries: Chile, Honduras, and Mexico.
system rendered it incapable of reaching the majority of Since education is still considered an important determi-
the population. nant of quality of life, limited access to education for the
During the colonial period, private education was spon- majority means that children still inherit the poverty of
sored primarily by the Roman Catholic Church, which their parents.
fought tenaciously for the exclusive right of overseeing edu- At a recent meeting in Cochabamba, Bolivia, education
cation on the continent. Jesuit priests constructed some of ministers adopted a set of standards designed to improve
the most important institutions of higher learning, but those education and educational access in the region. They de-
schools were designated for the children of the elite. As clared that teacher training must improve and called for
such, they excluded the poor, the indigenous, and of course, more participation of civil society in public education.
the enslaved. In Mexico, church and state (literally) went These leaders advocated that education be seen as a fun-
to war over the issue of the church’s role in society, in- damental human right. Yet money looms as the primary
cluding those issues dealing with education. In Brazil, chil- obstacle in effecting lasting educational change in the re-
dren of the elite were sent to Coimbra in Portugal for gion, and the Cochabamba Declaration could neither en-
training in the arts, letters, law, and medicine; the first force its goals nor provide the needed funds.
university in Brazil was not established until the twentieth Figures from select countries in 1998 suggest both bright
century. In Colombia, via a Concordat with Rome in 1887, spots and inadequacies in Latin American educational sys-
Catholicism was established as the official state religion tems and structures. Argentina identified 97 percent of its
and education was handed over to the Roman Catholic population as literate and spent 4.1 percent of GDP on edu-
Church. Public education, therefore, would contain strong cation. Bolivia, with a wide disparity of literacy according
elements of Catholic doctrine and teachings, and would to gender (91 percent for men, 78 percent for women) spent
come to deeply influence the historic and social trajectory 5.6 percent of GDP on education. Cuba, with nearly equal
of that country. rates of literacy for men and women (97 and 96 respec-
The twentieth century witnessed a greater emphasis tively) spent 6.7 percent of GDP on education. In the Cu-
on making education more accessible, due in large part ban case, the revolution of 1959 dramatically focused
to the Kennedy administration’s focus on education in attention on affording every citizen education; illiteracy was
Latin America and the Alliance for Progress. In terms of virtually eliminated within the first three years of the revo-
education, the Alliance proposed increasing the school lution. By contrast, Guatemala was spending only 1.8 per-
enrollment rate from 6 percent to 9 percent, so that all cent of its GDP on education in 1998, and literacy rates
of the projected 85 million school-age children would be there are among the lowest on the continent, with 75 per-
enrolled in primary school by 1977. However, the Alli- cent of males and 60 percent of females counted as literate.
ance never solved the problems of education in Latin Larger allocations to train teachers might also contrib-
America. It set clear but unattainable goals. While new ute to educational improvement in the region. Argentina
schools were built in the region, bureaucratic and admin- and Cuba, with two of the highest literacy rates in Latin
istrative entanglements in Washington, together with mis- America, have committed more resources to teacher train-
calculations of birthrates and a misunderstanding of the ing (as a percentage of GDP) than other countries in the
power of hierarchy and tradition in Latin America, region: each country counts about one teacher per fifty-
doomed the ambitious goals of the Alliance from the nine citizens.
program’s earliest days.
While it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove causa- BIBLIOGRAPHY
Levinson, Jerome, and Juan de Onís. 1970. The Alliance That Lost Its
tion between a lack of education and vast inequalities in Way. Chicago: Quadrangle Books.
the distribution of wealth and resources in Latin America, United Nations. Annual Education Survey. United Nations Educational,
it is clear that the two phenomena are related. Taking into Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 1998. UNESCO In-
account the huge disparities in wealth within and among stitute for Statistics and the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD). Available at
Latin American nations, especially notable in Brazil, Co-
———. 2001. “Education Statistics 2001: Latin American and Carib-
lombia, Guatemala, and Paraguay, it is not surprising that bean Regions Report.” UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Available at
education continues to elude most citizens in Latin America.

Nobel Laureates and Other Significant Persons in
Culture and Science

atin America has produced some of the most promi- would define a national literature that acknowledged and
nent painters, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, celebrated Peru’s Indian culture rather than ignoring it.
and theologians in the world. Fifteen Nobel Prize The twentieth century saw a remarkable flourishing of
laureates have called Latin America home; that prize has Latin American art, literature, and music. The muralist
been awarded to Latin Americans for the promotion of movement in Mexico inspired a generation of visual art-
peace, literary accomplishments, medicine, and chemis- ists all over the Americas: Diego Rivera, David Alfaro
try. A cultural mapping of Latin America reveals a legacy Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco are just a few of the
of achievement despite a history marked by censorship, important Mexican painters from the early twentieth cen-
limited education, social and racial hierarchy, and an elite- tury; moved by the Mexican revolution, Rivera and oth-
sponsored perception that culture only develops in Eu- ers sought to “paint” the history of Mexico on public
rope or other “advanced” societies. buildings as an innovative, didactic tool.
In the sixteenth century, the Peruvian Garcilaso de la Vega In the literary boom of the 1960s in Latin America, as-
chronicled Inca society before the arrival of the Spaniards, sociated with the medium of stream-of-conscious technique
and his work is still widely quoted today. One of the most and the exploration of dreams and fantasy, writers such as
creative and innovative poets of the seventeenth century was Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes, Argentina’s Julio Cortázar, Cuba’s
Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican woman considered Alejo Carpentier, Chile’s Pablo Neruda, Guatemala’s Miguel
by many the greatest baroque poet ever to have lived. Father Ángel Asturias, Brazil’s Nélida Piñon, Peru’s Mario Vargas
Francisco Clavijero, during the eighteenth century, wrote a Llosa, and Colombia’s Gabriel García Márquez made ma-
book entitled History of Ancient Mexico, published in 1781, jor contributions to world literature. Neruda, Asturias,
which was designed to teach the history, geography, and cul- García Márquez, and the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral
ture of Mexico. This book helped support the slowly emerg- have all been recognized by the Nobel Academy.
ing post-Enlightenment idea that Mexico could in fact survive Music and dance comprise a vital part of Latin Ameri-
on its own without the tutelage of Spain. can culture. The Cuban Ernesto Lecuona was an impor-
The Latin American independence leader Simón Bolívar tant composer of boleros, romantic and slow-paced piano
stands out as a military strategist and political philoso- pieces that most likely originated in Cuba. Classical com-
pher without equal during the late eighteenth and early posers who have received critical acclaim include the Ar-
nineteenth centuries. Other significant figures during the gentine Alberto Ginastera and Brazil’s Heitor Villa-Lobos;
nineteenth century in Latin America include the Argen- they are regarded throughout the world for their original
tine Domingo F. Sarmiento, who wrote the influential work that interprets, lyrically, their country’s traditions
political piece Civilization and Barbarism (1845) and José and history.
Mármol, who authored Amalia, the great romantic novel The Latin American continent, throughout its history,
of the nineteenth century in Argentina. Three significant but especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centu-
modernist writers emerged in Latin America during the ries, has been devastated by civil conflicts, revolutions,
nineteenth century, each credited with redefining his outside intervention, and repressive military rule. Five
country’s literary traditions: Joaquim María Machado de Latin Americans have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize;
Assis was a realist writer who rarely traveled outside his the most recent recipient was the Guatemalan Rigoberta
native city of Rio de Janeiro. José Martí was the great Menchú Tum (1992), who won for her relentless efforts
Cuban essayist, revolutionary, and political activist to expose—to the world—the brutal conflict in her na-
martyred by the Spaniards in 1895. Rubén Darío’s pow- tive land during the 1970s and 1980s. Other Peace Prize
erful poetry expressed the anger and humiliation of United recipients include Argentina’s Carlos Saavedra Lamas and
States military interventions in his native Nicaragua. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mexico’s Alfonso García Robles,
World War I changed Latin Americans’ uncritical reli- and Costa Rica’s Oscar Arias Sánchez.
ance on Europe for cultural and educational standards. In
Mexico and Peru, indigenista literature challenged Latin Bethel, Leslie, ed. 1998. A Cultural History of Latin America: Litera-
Americans to look toward their own traditions and his- ture, Music, and the Visual Arts in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Cam-
tory for inspiration and meaning: Mexican intellectual (and bridge: Cambridge University Press.
minister of education in the early 1920s) José Vasconcelos’s Fuentes, Carlos. 1999. The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the
New World. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
La raza cósmica offered such an inward glance. Later, in Schlessinger, Bernard S., and June H. Schlessinger, eds. 1996. The Who’s
Peru, José María Arguedas, Ciro Alegría, and César Vallejo Who of Nobel Prize Winners, 1901–1995. 3d ed. Phoenix: Oryx.

Music of Latin America

he interaction of numerous cultures throughout movement incorporated themes of social and political
Latin America’s history produced a plethora of protest as well. Music has also been used by the state
musical styles. Among the cultural strains, the tra- for political purposes, with laws in some countries call-
ditional musics of indigenous, Iberian, and African cultures ing for certain percentages of radio music broadcasts to
have been the most important in the development of folk consist of folk music in order to promote a sense of
music, which is best understood in terms of the relative musical nationalism.
degrees of influence from each cultural contribution. Much of the Latin American commercially driven popu-
Little is known about the music of pre-Columbian in- lar music, such as salsa, the popular Afro-Caribbean genre
digenous cultures, but most musical events seem to have that draws on Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican idi-
been linked to religion or politics, featuring singing, danc- oms, has its roots in folk music. Similarly, the balada can
ing, and playing of instruments. Much music in traditional be seen as a continuation of the long-established pan-His-
indigenous cultures still takes place in religious contexts, panic, guitar-based romantic song embodied in the bolero
particularly shamanism. and canción. Mexican música ranchera is the musical re-
Interaction between indigenous and Iberian music be- sult of the mass migration of a rural population to urban
gan with the earliest encounters between Native Ameri- areas, allowing former campesinos to cultivate a link to
cans and Europeans. Catholic missionaries set up schools their roots through use of traditional folk musical styles
for Native Americans in which European church music and genres. Brazilian bossa nova, heavily influenced by
was taught; Indians soon made up the majority of musi- American jazz, represents an adaptation of samba to a night-
cians in some churches. Jesuit mission towns in South club context. While Latin American rock has made inroads
America were especially prominent in terms of musical as a popular music, it has generally been more successful
acculturation. Secular Iberian music has also influenced in Mexico and the Southern Cone of South America than
current folk music, both in terms of instruments and elsewhere.
genres. For instance, the Renaissance guitar developed Several Latin American countries have been home to
into many characteristic variants throughout the area. The important art music composers, some of whom, espe-
Spanish romance, a long epic ballad, provided the ori- cially up until about 1950, have drawn inspiration from
gins of the Mexican corrido, used originally to celebrate the folk musics of their homelands. Mexico’s Manuel
the exploits of revolutionary leaders and now to recount Ponce incorporated Mexican folk idioms into romantic,
the adventures of narco-traffickers. Lyrical genres such impressionist, and neoclassical styles, and Carlos Chávez
as the Paraguayan guarania and the Mexican son are Ibe- frequently made use of a primitivist and “Indianist” aes-
rian in style, as is the Paraguayan polca, despite the cen- thetic. Many of Heitor Villa-Lobos’s works draw in an
tral European origin indicated by the name. eclectic fashion on his deep knowledge of rural Brazil-
Some of the most African musical styles can be found in ian folk music and urban styles as well. Alberto
syncretic Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban religions as well Ginastera, while not always drawing directly from the
as in the Brazilian martial art/dance known as capoeira, all folk music of his native Argentina, frequently wrote com-
of which utilize African-derived instruments. Much secu- positions that he maintained were characterized by a
lar music of African derivation is dance music, such as the “pronounced Argentine accent,” though he also made
Colombian cumbia, the Brazilian samba, the Cuban use of twelve-tone and expressionistic idioms. A num-
huahuancó, and the Puerto Rican bomba. Especially im- ber of composers turned to avant-garde experimental
portant in South America is the zamba/cueca complex, and electronic genres beginning in the 1960s. Though
made up of various musical/dance styles known as zamba composers at the end of the twentieth and the begin-
in Argentina, and cueca, zambacueca, or zamacueca in ning of the twenty-first centuries have made use of in-
Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. In Peru, it is now called the ternational models, they have transformed and
marinera, in honor of the Peruvian sailors who died in the incorporated them into the ongoing cultural synthesis
War of the Pacific (1879–1883). that has operated for centuries in the music of Latin
Folk music has been put to political use in a number America.
of ways. The nueva trova movement, for example, made
use of the traditional Cuban trova genre in support of BIBLIOGRAPHY
the revolution of 1959. The nueva trova served as in- Béhague, Gerard. 1979. Music in Latin America: An Introduction.
spiration for the nueva canción movement that began Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
in Chile in the mid-1960s, which incorporated Andean Olsen, Dale, and Daniel Sheehy, eds. 1998. The Garland Encyclopedia
of World Music, vol. 2, South America, Mexico, Central America,
genres and musical instruments to invoke pan-Andean
and the Caribbean. New York: Garland.
social and cultural unity in support of socialist ideol- Stevenson, Robert. 1968. Music in Aztec and Inca Territory. Berkeley:
ogy. Many musicians of the música popular brasileira University of California Press.

The Mexican Revolution

orfirio Díaz ascended to the Mexican presidency had barely begun. Three years after the fall of the old guard,
in 1877, and his thirty-three-year rule—known as in 1914, the revolution turned on itself, reflecting—to some
el porfiriato—was marked by rapid economic growth degree—the conflicting ideas and ambitions of the various
at the expense of democratic principles. He opened up the leaders.
country to foreign investors and land speculators, thus re- After 1914, Zapata returned to the south to govern, and
placing traditional community-based landholding patterns Morelos operated independently from the central govern-
with private ownership. By 1910, some 90 percent of rural ment, reflecting local traditions, customs, and priorities. Yet
Mexicans had lost their land to speculators and private con- provincial independence from central Mexico ran counter
tractors. Wages, if paid at all to rural Mexicans, remained to the plan for a strong, centralized government. Villa’s
steady throughout the nineteenth century, but the price of northern army was defeated by the central forces in 1915,
food staples (corn, beans, chili peppers) doubled. Many poor and Morelos’s independence soon came to an abrupt end.
Mexicans, forced off their lands, began working for the large The Constitution of 1917 had a salutary effect and its
hacendados, or landowners, in conditions that resembled implementation suggested that the revolution had turned
those of medieval Europe. Public dislike and distrust of an important corner. Venustiano Carranza, who worked
Díaz began to bubble over during the first decade of the to consolidate the revolution at the center, presided over
new century, and some began calling for a revolution. the drafting of a constitution that limited the power of the
The Mexican Revolution would change the course of church, returned lands seized illegally to the ejidos, or lo-
Mexican history. From 1910 to about 1920, about 1.5 mil- cal communities (Article 27), and guaranteed rights to ur-
lion Mexicans died as a result of the revolution and a mil- ban laborers (Article 123).
lion more fled north to the United States. The Mexican Zapata was killed in April 1919 in an ambush, but his
Revolution created legendary figures such as Emiliano legacy lived on in southern Mexico. He was an innovative
Zapata and Doroteo Arango (nom de guerre Pancho Villa). idealist who believed in the power of ordinary people to
One of the chief architects of the revolution was the rule themselves. He preferred local government to national
mild-mannered jurist Francisco Madero, who called for concerns, and the Morelos experiment in self-rule was, in
authentic elections in 1910. Educated in Paris and Berke- the words of Carlos Fuentes, “sacrificed to greater Mexico,
ley, the young Madero viewed Mexico’s political structure the dynamic, responsible, unscrupulous, centralized force
as woefully out of step with the Western world. Díaz, how- that was taking shape around Carranza and his ambitious
ever, was unwilling to relinquish power. On June 21, 1910, chieftains, Obregón and Calles.”1
farcical elections returned the eighty-year-old dictator to During the decade from 1910 to 1920, the U.S. gov-
the presidency. ernment saw the violence to the south as destabilizing.
Carlos Fuentes has characterized the Mexican Revolution There were two U.S. interventions in Mexico during the
as a series of smaller revolutions—one in the north, another course of the revolution. The first occurred on April 21,
in the south, and one at the center of the country, each with 1914, when troops landed at Veracruz and occupied the
its own objective, personality, and leadership structure. The city for several months. The second happened in 1916,
northern armies, organized under the leadership of Pancho when General John J. Pershing crossed into Mexico with
Villa, were comprised of lower-middle-class cowboys, work- 6,000 U.S. soldiers in pursuit of Pancho Villa; that expedi-
ers, small land holders, and those who wanted a greater share tion lasted about nine months, cost 130 million dollars,
in the wealth of Mexico—wealth which flowed dispropor- and was completely unsuccessful. Villa disappeared into
tionately to the few, to foreign business, and mining interests. the small towns of northern Mexico, and his tracks were
Villa’s army, closely connected in geography to the United covered by the local populace.
States, saw firsthand how political and social forces in the In 1920, the death of Carranza and the election of Álvaro
United States condemned Mexicans to poverty and power- Obregón to a four-year presidential term signified an end
lessness. They were willing to fight for a greater share of to the decade-long struggle that claimed the lives of so
Mexico’s immense wealth. In the southern state of Morelos, many Mexicans.
a vastly different leader emerged—Emiliano Zapata. A horse
trainer and a man with a clear sense of the injustices of land- NOTE
1. Carlos Fuentes, The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the
holding patterns and legal structures (which favored the New World (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), pp. 305–306.
wealthy and their foreign allies), Zapata organized peasants
in the south to fight for tierra y libertad, land and liberty. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Meyer, Michael C., William L. Sherman, and Susan M. Deeds. 2003. The
Porfirio Díaz did resign, on May 25, 1911, after an or-
Course of Mexican History. 7th ed. New York: Oxford University Press.
ganized and determined insurgency squeezed the capital Womack, John, Jr. 1968. Zapata and the Mexican Revolution. New York:
city from the north and south. But the revolution, in 1911, Vintage Books.

Bolivia and Guatemala: The Early 1950S

secondary wave of revolutionary struggles spread half a million acres in the country. About 100,000 poor,
through Latin America in the mid-twentieth century, landless families received land between 1952 and 1954 in
the result of a combination of factors including: the a state-sponsored redistribution effort. Unlike Bolivia,
emergence of populism, import-substituting economics, where the nationalization efforts were tolerated, the Arbenz
modernization, rural-urban migration, and a rising tide of government in Guatemala threatened the sovereignty and
unfulfilled expectations. These struggles were most clearly land holdings of a powerful U.S. company. U.S. president
seen in Bolivia in the early 1950s and in Guatemala at Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to remove Arbenz, after
about the same time period. The Cuban Revolution (1959) pressure was applied by lobbyists and lawyers from UFCO.
is outlined in the following chapter. (The director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and his brother,
In Bolivia and Guatemala, the central concern involved Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, had both worked
an almost feudal land tenure system, the exploitation of for a New York law firm that represented UFCO.)
workers in the most significant sectors of the export “Operation Success”—the code name for the plan to
economy (tin in the case of Bolivia, agricultural products overthrow Arbenz—went into effect in May 1954, begin-
in Guatemala), and changes in government that favored ning with the dropping of pamphlets over the capital, Gua-
workers while challenging outside mining and agricultural temala City. The second phase of Operation Success
interests conducting business in Latin America. The stakes involved moving in a hand-picked successor, Carlos Castillo
were high for all parties involved, and the United States Armas, from Honduras with a hastily trained army to put
tended to brand nationalist reformers in Latin America as pressure on the Arbenz government. Arbenz resigned rather
troublemakers—or worse, communists. than face a bloody battle in the streets of Guatemala City.
Both revolutionary processes involved the nationaliza- Though the Bolivian and Guatemalan “revolutions”
tion of key components of the economies’ export sectors. occurred within a two-year period, there are fundamen-
In April 1952, Bolivia’s Víctor Paz Estenssoro created a tal differences between the movements, their eventual
governing body known as the MNR (National Revolution- outcomes, the long-term effects on their respective soci-
ary Movement); he had won, a year earlier, the presiden- eties, and relations with the United States. In Bolivia,
tial elections in a plurality and thus held a legitimate claim U.S. presence and investment were minimal, and the
to the office of the presidency. Paz’s goals included nation- Eisenhower government sought to “engage” the moder-
alization of the tin industry, but he convinced worried lead- ate Paz and his followers. After recognizing Paz, the
ers in Washington that he was neither communist nor United States lavished his regime with favorable trade
pro–Soviet Union. However, the nationalization of three agreements and military-economic aid. In Guatemala,
important tin mines and land reforms directed to benefit where U.S. economic interests ran much deeper, Arbenz’s
the poor sent a contradictory message to key Washington relatively mild land reform plan frightened individuals
policymakers. The mine owners were the famous “tin mag- at the top ranks of government in the United States. They
nates,” millionaire Bolivians who lived outside the coun- took action, preferring to overthrow the reformist, na-
try, mostly in Europe. Confused between Paz’s words and tionalist Arbenz; land reform in Central America—where
actions but willing to tolerate him, the United States adopted U.S. corporations had traditionally found a way to ex-
a policy of “constructive engagement,” making grants, loans, press their will—would not be tolerated, especially in
and technical assistance available to Bolivia as a way to the tense Cold War era. When Castillo Armas came to
encourage moderate reformers rather than more militant power in Guatemala in 1954, he immediately rounded
revolutionaries within the MNR. Although the United States up followers of the former president, murdered them,
would remain the largest export market for Bolivian tin, it and annulled the 1952 land reform.
had very little to lose in Bolivia’s nationalization of key The secondary reformist-revolutionary wave in Latin
industries like tin because investment in Bolivia was mini- America, most notably expressed by the nationalization of
mal compared to other countries within the region. key components of the economies of Bolivia and Guate-
In Guatemala, the situation was completely different. mala and the subsequent reactions of Latin American elites
There, U.S. investment was vast and centered on the hold- and the U.S. government, can be seen as a dress rehearsal
ings of the United Fruit Company (UFCO, or la frutería). for the larger, truly transformative revolution that would
United Fruit operated as an enclave economy in Guate- occur in Havana in 1959.
mala and in other Latin American nations including Hon-
duras and Colombia. The same year that Paz assumed BIBLIOGRAPHY
power in Bolivia, Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz Blasier, Cole. 1986. The Hovering Giant: U.S. Responses to Revolution-
(1950–1954) implemented a sweeping agrarian reform ary Change in Latin America, 1910–1985. Pittsburgh: University of
Pittsburgh Press.
program designed to bring modernity to his country. The Langley, Lester D. 1989. America and the Americas: The United States
reform inevitably affected UFCO, which held more than in the Western Hemisphere. Athens: University of Georgia Press.

Cuba, 1959

he Bolivian and Guatemalan revolutionary history—and geography. Proximity to the United States
struggles of the early 1950s foreshadowed a more meant easy access to U.S. markets for Cuban sugar and a
significant revolution, which occurred on the is- price subsidy to ensure that the price of Cuban sugar could
land of Cuba in 1959. The Cuban Revolution created deep compete with sugar prices from other regions of the
structural changes and led to the termination of diplomatic world. However, Cubans were also aware that, while the
relations between the United States and Cuba. The Latin average wage on the island was twice as high as the aver-
American left enthusiastically embraced the Cuban Revo- age wage in Latin America, Cubans earned about five
lution, and leaders across the region vowed to imitate the times less than the average worker in the United States.
tactics and rhetoric of the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro Ruíz. Thus, a “revolution of rising expectations” ensued on the
That the United States would clash with Castro in the island. This, combined with a growing and dissatisfied
period after 1959 is not surprising given the strange his- middle-professional class and the increasingly arbitrary,
toric relationship between Cuba and the United States. In violent rule of Batista, created a political crisis on the
both 1848 and 1854, the United States had attempted to island in the 1950s. The door was now open for a revo-
purchase Cuba from Spain for 100 million dollars and 130 lutionary hero to emerge. A young, charismatic, upper-
million dollars respectively. Unable to purchase the island middle-class student named Fidel Castro pointed out the
outright, the United States undertook a new policy focused contradictory nature of Cuban history, and went so far as
on investment in the country. U.S. investment in Cuba in- to suggest that the island had, in fact, never enjoyed le-
creased significantly after the First War of Cuban Indepen- gitimate “independence.”
dence (1868–1878), and by the mid-1880s, U.S. investment Batista, openly disdainful of dissenters, ordered Castro
on the island totaled about 50 million dollars. sent to prison and then into exile in Mexico. Castro re-
The nineteenth-century Cuban patriot, intellectual, and turned to his home in 1956 on a boat called the Granma.
military strategist José Martí knew intimately how Cu- Many in the landing party were captured or killed by
ban and U.S. interests intersected, and warned that a Cuba Batista’s forces, but Fidel and eleven others, including his
free of Spanish rule would face political and economic brother Raúl and the Argentine physician Ernesto “Che”
pressures from the emerging power to the north. Martí Guevara, escaped to the Sierra Maestra mountain range.
asked forebodingly, shortly before he was killed by the From there, they waged a slow yet effective insurgency.
Spaniards in 1895, “Once the United States is in Cuba, Batista claimed that all of the insurgents had been killed,
who will get her out?” When the United States entered but when the American journalist Herbert Matthews pub-
the Second War of Cuban Independence (1895–1898) and lished an interview with Fidel in 1957 on the front page of
defeated Spain, ostensibly for the “liberation” of Cuba, it the New York Times, the world knew that Fidel and his
quickly became apparent that a war for Cuban indepen- men were alive and well.
dence had in fact become a war of American occupation Castro and los barbudos (the “bearded ones”) marched
and conquest, just as Martí had predicted. In 1901, the triumphantly into Havana on January 6, 1959; they were
United States Congress passed the Platt Amendment, greeted as heroes by cheering mobs of students, workers,
which dictated the terms of Cuban independence; the and the urban middle class. The landed elite were less en-
amendment allowed the United States to intervene mili- thusiastic and many began to leave the island seeking ref-
tarily and politically in Cuban affairs and insisted that uge in nearby Florida. When Castro began nationalizing
Cuban treaties with other sovereign nations be approved key sectors of the economy, including important national
by Washington. businesses and foreign-owned businesses and estates, the
In addition to the subjugation of Cuban sovereignty with United States reacted with anger and apprehension. In fact,
the passing of the Platt Amendment, world price fluctua- one of President Eisenhower’s final acts as president in
tions of sugar dramatically affected Cuba. The limitations early 1961 was to cut off diplomatic relations with Ha-
to Cuban social and economic development became ap- vana. U.S.-Cuban relations remain, as of this writing, in a
parent, especially during the 1920s, when the price of sugar state reminiscent of the Cold War era. And though politi-
reached a high of 22.5 cents per pound before falling to cal freedoms and democratic elections do not really exist
.72 cents per pound after the U.S. stock market crash of in Castro’s Cuba, the revolution has improved social con-
1929. Fulgencio Batista rose to power in the early 1930s, ditions and educational opportunities for the vast major-
promising to return stability and order to Cuba. He would ity of citizens on the island.
rule the country as a dictator until Castro’s rise to power
Matthews, Herbert L. 1961. The Cuban Story. New York: George Braziller.
Cubans noted, particularly during the period from Pérez, Louis A., Jr. 1995. Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution. 2d ed.
1930 to the late 1950s, their precarious position in New York: Oxford University Press.

Guerrilla Movements: Che and Colombia

idel Castro’s Cuban Revolution was met with eu- Fidel Castro’s successful revolution in Havana.
phoria in some places and terror elsewhere. The Colombian elites, in the late 1950s, designed a “power
revolutionaries in Cuba believed that other Latin sharing” arrangement that allowed the two main political
American regions were ripe for the revolutionary process, parties (the Liberals and Conservatives) to alternate power
and plans were made to “export” the revolution. However, every four years for a total period of twenty years. This
the Cuban revolutionaries and their Latin American allies arrangement displeased many Colombians, because it es-
never imagined the tenacity of the region’s essentially conser- sentially eliminated or shut out any and all dissenting po-
vative sociocultural structure, which stressed obedience and litical opinions. And nowhere was this displeasure more
deference to figures of authority, and they miscalculated the discernable than among students in the universities. In pro-
extent to which the United States would support almost any test of the elitist power-sharing plan, some students in
and all counterrevolutionary measures in the region. Bogotá took to the mountains in support of a more equi-
One of the twelve disciples of the Cuban Revolution was table political arrangement.
an Argentine physician named Ernesto “Che” Guevara. The most famous recruit of the ELN was the Roman
Guevara was transformed by his travels in South America in Catholic priest, Camilo Torres Restrepo, who joined the
the early 1950s, witnessing the poverty, desperation, and organization in October 1965 and was killed in combat
humiliation of millions of Latin Americans who toiled in against the Colombian army on February 15, 1966.
foreign-owned mines and on the plantations of traditional Whereas some Colombians viewed him as a naïve oppor-
oligarchs. The poor passed their poverty and debt on to tunist, many saw “Padre Camilo” as a martyred hero who
their children and never seemed able to break out of a per- was willing to die in order to create a more inclusive, demo-
petual cycle of misery. Guevara worked closely with the revo- cratic, and just Colombia.
lutionary government in Cuba for a time, but the Cuban Later, in 1966, another revolutionary movement, the
Revolution was not large enough for the competing egos of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), orga-
Fidel and Che, prompting the latter to leave on a mission of nized and still operates in Colombia today, with an esti-
exporting the revolution based on the foci theory. Heading mated 12,000 insurgents in the field. The group has never
for Bolivia, Guevara was convinced that revolutions could officially “taken” power in the country; rather it has always
be “generated” based on the hard work and commitment of chosen to function as an insurgency, fighting from within
small groups of revolutionaries (the foci) planted and orga- the borders of Colombia’s complex geography. Through-
nized around the continent. From these foci, revolutionary out its existence, the FARC has been primarily an agrarian
ideas would flow out to the periphery, encouraging regional movement, growing out of the failed agrarian struggles of
and national support among the people. Bolivia, though, the 1930s and 1940s. These conflicts culminated in a de-
was not Cuba. Certainly labor exploitation, racism, and neo- cade-long undeclared civil war (of the 1950s) known sim-
colonialism prevailed in Bolivia, but Che Guevara, an Ar- ply as la violencia—The Violence. La violencia took the
gentine physician-revolutionary with no real practical lives of 200,000 citizens—mostly peasants—and altered the
experience living among poor indigenous Aymara-speaking course of Colombia’s twentieth-century history; it suggested
peoples, never developed a strong following there. The CIA, that state power might yield to armed vigilante groups who
working closely with the Bolivian government, trained and exerted local “justice” on a stage the size of the Colombian
equipped the elite counterinsurgency force (the Bolivian nation. Today, the FARC is widely discredited in Colombia.
Rangers) that captured and killed Che in 1967. The group has lost most of its support from urban intellec-
While some Latin Americans viewed Che as a hopeless, tuals, and its ideology seems to have shrunk to the collec-
tion of profit through extortion, kidnapping, and protection
out-of-touch romantic who died tragically and led many
of the illegal cultivation of coca and other crops.
young Latin Americans to their deaths, others viewed him
The road from Fidel’s revolution to the revolution-
in a vastly different light—as a hero who died fighting for a
ary processes of the 1960s passed through many regions
noble cause. Che’s legacy, and the revolutionary message,
of Latin America. Revolutionaries were met with severe
lived on in the region long after his death, and one place
repression by national governments, and achieved na-
where this revolutionary sentiment took root was Colombia.
tional success in one Latin American country, Nicara-
In 1962, the ELN (National Liberation Army) formed
in Colombia. Today this group still operates in that coun- gua in 1979.
try and is based primarily in the state of Santander, north BIBLIOGRAPHY
of the capital city. And, while it has never operated on the Bergquist, Charles, Ricardo Peñaranda, and Gonzalo Sánchez G. 2001.
national level, the revolutionaries did garner significant Violence in Colombia: 1990–2000. Wilmington, DE: SR Books.
Pérez, Louis A., Jr. 1988. Cuba: Between Reform and Revolution. 2d ed.
support among young Colombians, particularly during the New York: Oxford University Press.
1960s. The ELN formed for reasons unique to Colombia’s Safford, Frank, and Marco Palacios. 2002. Colombia: Fragmented Land,
history, though certainly the movement was inspired by Divided Society. New York: Oxford University Press.

The Sandinista Revolution and Central America

l Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua experienced The one place, besides Cuba, where revolutionary forces
similar revolutionary struggles during the twen- succeeded—at least for a while—is Nicaragua. In 1979, a
tieth century (struggles that grew intense after about revolutionary group, the Sandinistas, took power in that
1960), but Nicaragua stands with Cuba as the only coun- country; they derived their name from the early twentieth-
try where armed revolution succeeded. century insurgent leader, Augusto César Sandino, who
In El Salvador, a small clique of fourteen families owned fought a long, bloody war against U.S. intervention in the
most of the country’s farm land and industry. Landless peas- late 1920s and early 1930s. Sandino was executed in 1934
ants who sought a greater share of profits and resources by Anastasio Somoza García, who consolidated power as
were dealt with brutally. The poor organized in the early director of the newly formed Nicaraguan National Guard,
1930s against the large landowning families, especially af- created with U.S. funding to help ensure order and stabil-
ter the international price for El Salvador’s primary ex- ity in that country once U.S. Marines left (their departure
port, coffee, collapsed. In 1932, between 20,000 and was intended as a gesture of cooperation under Franklin
30,000 peasants were systematically executed by the Sal- D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy”). The Somoza fam-
vadoran armed forces in what became known as “La ily ruled in Nicaragua for more than four decades and their
Matanza” (The Massacre). It was also during this time that abuses were legendary: in 1973 when an earthquake struck,
General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez consolidated a great deal of international relief was stolen by Somoza
his power, which he gained a year earlier via a coup. He and the National Guard. This crime, together with the ha-
ruled until 1944. Struggles broke out some three decades rassment and murder of journalists and Somoza family
later, during the 1970s and 1980s, pitting government holdings estimated at one-quarter to one-third of all agri-
forces and right-wing death squads (responsible for the cultural production in the country (by the late 1970s),
murder of the archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, helped turn the tide in favor of the insurgents by 1979.
on March 24, 1980) against a powerful, unified insurgent The Sandinistas, greeted as heroes when they marched
organization called the FMLN (Frente Farabundo Martí into the capital city of Managua in July 1979, put together
para la Liberación Nacional). The insurgents never took an eclectic government comprised of economists, revolu-
power, but did control many rural zones during the long tionaries who had fought in the streets, and two Roman
struggle. In 1992, peace accords were signed in El Salva- Catholic priests—Father Miguel D’Escoto, who became for-
dor, after a war that had cost billions of dollars, left about eign minister, and Father Ernesto Cardenal, the minister of
75,000 dead, and sent more than half a million citizens culture. The new government adopted a mixed economic
abroad in search of a new home. The vast majority of the plan that combined capitalism, expropriations, and Marx-
killings in El Salvador were committed by the Salvadoran ist social science approaches. However, the Sandinista’s over-
army and the right-wing death squads. all fortunes changed in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was
Guatemala suffered a similar fate. After reform attempts elected president of the United States. Reagan defeated Presi-
between 1952 and 1954 were thwarted by wealthy land- dent Jimmy Carter by connecting the Democrat from Geor-
owners, the Catholic Church, and the United Fruit Com- gia to a “weak” foreign policy; he suggested that the triumph
pany and its U.S. allies, Guatemala spiraled into a seemingly of Marxism in Nicaragua was Carter’s fault. Once in office,
unstoppable civil war that left perhaps as many as 250,000 Reagan became obsessed with defeating the Sandinistas, and
dead. The Guatemalan government squared off against the United States began channeling—first with the consent
poor people, the landless, and many urban intellectuals. of Congress, and later illegally—funds to the contras, or
The civil war, characterized by acts of genocide, was espe- counterrevolutionary fighters who worked to overthrow the
cially brutal during the early 1980s under the government government. The U.S. president named these mercenaries
of Efraín Rios Montt. His government targeted indigenous “freedom fighters” and managed to convince citizens of the
peoples and was responsible for the complete destruction United States that ending the Sandinista rule was vital to
of many indigenous villages. Just as in El Salvador, the maintaining U.S. national security.
insurgents never officially took power and were rendered By 1990, after ten years of war and tens of thousands of
somewhat powerless by massive infusions of U.S. military deaths, the Sandinistas called elections and lost to Violeta
and economic aid that continually poured into Guatemala Chamorro, the widow of slain journalist Pedro Joaquín
throughout the duration of the bloody conflict. Peace ac- Chamorro, who was killed by Somoza forces in January 1978.
cords were finally signed in 1996 in Guatemala, after thirty- This election effectively ended the Sandinista Revolution.
six years of incessant conflict. Rigoberta Menchú Tum BIBLIOGRAPHY
received the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize for publishing her Keen, Benjamin, and Keith Haynes. 2004. A History of Latin America.
7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
testimony of this period, and she continues to work for LaFeber, Walter. 1983. Inevitable Revolutions. New York: W.W. Norton.
improved relations between indigenous peoples and people Woodward, Ralph Lee, Jr. 1999. Central America: A Nation Divided. 3d
of European descent in her native Guatemala. ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

New Indigenous Movements: Peru’s Sendero Luminoso,
Mexico’s EZLN, and Brazil’s MST

evolutionary tactics in Latin America have control of several municipalities in the southern state of
changed dramatically since the 1970s. The failure Chiapas, a locale long ignored by political and economic
of the Sandinistas to realign Nicaragua demon- elites in the capital city far to the north. The “Zapatistas,”
strated the difficulties and challenges of “administering” as they came to be known, took their name from the icono-
once in power. Revolutionary groups in Peru, Mexico, and clastic folk hero of the Mexican Revolution, Emiliano
Brazil organized during the 1980s and 1990s: they chal- Zapata, a revolutionary who never succumbed to the temp-
lenged their respective states and fought on behalf of the tations of political power or wealth while fighting for the
poor and marginalized, much like many of their predeces- rights of landless peasants in the southern state of Morelos.
sors. However, these groups distinguished themselves by Zapata’s cry of tierra y libertad (land and freedom) be-
developing new tactics that frightened citizens in Latin came the rallying cry for the Zapatistas, and they staged
America and policymakers in Washington. The most radi- their uprising to coincide with the implementation of
cal of these groups, Peru’s Shining Path (Sendero NAFTA—the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Luminoso)—influenced by Mao Zedong’s rural revolution Would NAFTA bring benefits to the poorest of the poor in
in China—called for the complete elimination of all West- Mexico, or would it merely advance the interests of capi-
ern influences in Peru. The group hoped to return Peru to talists and the professional sector of society?
its pre-Columbian Inca roots, and its emergence in the poor, The EZLN never intended to “take over” Mexican so-
indigenous southwest state of Ayacucho had a dramatic ciety, and in this sense, they differ dramatically from pre-
influence on Peruvian politics, economics, and society dur- vious revolutionary groups in Latin America, including the
ing the 1980s and 1990s. Mexico’s EZLN (Zapatista Army Shining Path. They did, however, manage—via extraordi-
of National Liberation) emerged on the world scene on narily effective communications tactics, including use of
January 1, 1994—the same day that the North American the Internet—to convey their message to the world.
Free Trade Agreement went into effect—and Brazil’s MST In Brazil, during the 1990s, a new revolutionary move-
(Landless People’s Movement—Movimento Sem Terra) ment took shape to champion the interests of some 5 mil-
continues to challenge the Brazilian state in defense of poor lion Brazilian rural families who did not own land. The
people’s rights to land and work in rural Brazil. MST has mobilized across that country. Through relatively
The Shining Path, led by Peruvian philosophy profes- peaceful tactics such as land invasions, the MST has helped
sor Abimaél Guzmán, reacted to grinding poverty in the focus attention on the glaring disparities in the structure
Ayacucho region and its relative isolation from the capital of Brazilian land tenure in a country where about half the
city, Lima, to advance a radical agenda. The militants who population lives in poverty. In response to this movement,
integrated into this organization envisioned a return to an the Brazilian government initiated a moderate program
idealized, utopian state, free of outside influences, West- of land distribution in 1994 under President Fernando
ern political ideology, and economic exploitation. They Henrique Cardoso, which benefited tens of thousands of
hoped to create a sort of pachacuti, or complete reorder- rural residents through transfer of fallow lands, with ad-
ing of society, and their tactics were ruthless. With the sup- equate compensation to owners. However, the limited
port of the United States military, the Peruvian military nature of these reforms has barely affected the widening
eventually gained control over the insurgents; the military gap between the country’s haves and have-nots.
locked down segments of Ayacucho and instituted its own The Shining Path of Peru, Mexico’s EZLN, and the MST
form of state-sponsored repression. By the time the war in Brazil represent local responses to poverty, repression,
ended with the capture of Guzmán in September 1992, and a confusing array of neoliberal trade and economic
between 65,000 and 70,000 Peruvians had been killed, policies that seem to ignore the plight of the poor,
the majority of whom were poor peasants in remote areas undereducated, and landless. The fact that all three move-
of the country. Despite their influence in Ayacucho, the ments still exist points to fundamental structural problems
Shining Path never attained political power, to the relief that are nearly impossible to redress via the polite rhetoric
of most Peruvians, who were fearful of the group’s radical of modern, liberal governments in Latin America.
agenda and tactics. However, the realities of generational
poverty, isolation, and racism—factors that fueled the first BIBLIOGRAPHY
Sendero struggle in Peru—have contributed to the reemer- Palmer, David Scott, ed. 1994. Shining Path of Peru. 2d ed. New York:
St. Martin’s.
gence of Sendero in rural areas of the country. Womack, John. 1999. Rebellion in Chiapas. New York: The New Press.
On January 1, 1994, the world learned of a “new” revo- Salgado, Sebastião. 1997. Terra: Struggle of the Landless. London:
lutionary group in Mexico called the EZLN, which took Phaidon.


A Audiencia of New Galicia, 46

Audiencia of Quito, 46
Acapulco, 56 Audiencia of Santa Fe, 46
Africa, 20, 24, 26 Audiencia of Santo Domingo, 46
Africans, 6, 12, 20, 40, 48, 50 Augustinians, 46
aguardiente, 56 Australia, 12
Alabama, 124 Ayacucho, Battle of, 76
Alaska, 12 Ayacucho, Peru, 74, 160
Alegría, Ciro, 132, 144 Aymara, 6, 16
Alfonsín, Raúl, 110 Azore Islands, 20
Allende, Salvador, 136, 138 Aztec Empire, 32, 34, 36, 38, 56
Alliance for Progress, 108, 142 Aztecs, 4, 14
Amaru I, Tupac, 36
Amazon, 4 B
Amazon Basin, 114
American Revolution, 70, 72 Bakewell, Peter, 54
Andean Community, 110 bandeirantes, 40
Andes, 4, 56 Barbados, 12
Antilles, 4, 12 Barranquilla, 118
Antilles, Greater, 30 Barrios, Justo Rufino, 80
Antilles, Lesser, 22 Batista, Fulgencio, 154
Antioquia (Colombia), 54 Battle of Pichincha (1822), 74
APRA (Peru), 134 Belalcázar, Sebastián de, 38
Aragon, Kingdom of, 22 Belgians, 20
Araucanian Indians, 38 Belize or British Honduras, 6N, 14, 24, 62, 88
Arawak, 4, 14, 16 Benin, 20
Arbenz, Jacobo, 152 Bering Strait, 12
Argentina, 4, 6, 60, 76, 82, 84, 86, 90, 92, 96, 98, 100, 102, Birmingham (U.K.), 98
104, 106, 108, 110, 118, 120, 122, 126, 134, 136, 138, Blaine, James, 96
142, 146 Bogotá (Bacatá), 16, 38, 44, 56, 60, 64, 74, 98, 118, 122,
Arguedas, José María, 132, 144 124, 156
Arguin Bay, 20 Bolívar, Simón, 24, 74, 76, 92, 136, 144
Arias, Oscar, 144 Bolivia, 6, 8, 16, 24, 54, 56, 60, 102, 110, 128, 138, 140,
Arizona, 14, 34, 62, 80 146, 152, 156
Arkansas, 124 Bolivians, 6
Aruba, 4 Bonaparte, Joseph, 72
Aruba, 62 Boston, 124
Asia, 24 Bourbons, 60
Asia, Central, 12 Boyacá, Battle of, 74
Asians, 6 Braganzas (Portuguese Monarchy), 90
astrolabe, 20 Brazil, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 24, 26, 38, 40, 50, 54, 76, 76n, 84,
Asturias, Miguel Ángel, 144 90, 92, 96, 98, 100, 102, 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 114,
Asunción, 38, 44 118, 120, 122, 126, 134, 136, 138, 142, 160
Atahualpa, 36 brazilwood, 26
Atlanta, Georgia (USA), 124 British investment, 98
Atlantic Ocean, 4, 20, 22 Broad and Alien is the World, 132
Audiencia, 46 Buchanan, Pat, 112
Audiencia of Lima, 46 Buenos Aires, 76, 82, 84, 86, 98, 118, 134
Audiencia of Mexico City, 46 Burns, E. Bradford, 84, 98

C Charles II, King, 44
Charles III, King, 60
cabildo, 60 Charles IV, King, 36
Cabral, Pedro Álvares, 26 Chávez, Carlos, 146
cacao, 4 Chavin, 16
Cadíz, 60 Chevalier, François, 102
Cajamarca, 26 Chiapas (San Crostóbal de las Casas), 112, 160
Caldas, Francisco José de, 66 Chile, 4, 6, 16, 36, 38, 46, 54, 76, 92, 98, 106, 108, 110,
Cali (Colombia), 118 112, 126, 128, 136, 138, 142, 146
California, 34, 62, 80, 124 Chimus, 16
California, Baja, 34 China, 26
Callao, 56, 60, 74, 118 Chocó (Colombia), 6, 102
Calles, Plutarco, 150 Cholula, 14
Camino Real, 16 CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), 138, 152, 156
Campaign of the Desert, 98 Ciboney, 14
Canada, 24, 92, 112, 128 Civil War (U.S), 88, 92
Canary Islands, 22 Civilization and Barbarism, 86, 118, 144
Cano, Juan Sebastián del, 26 Claver, Pedro (Saint), 50
Canudos (Brazil), 136 Clavijero, Francisco (Father), 144
Caracas, 56, 74 Clinton (Bill) Administration, 112
Cardenal, Ernesto (Father), 158 Coatsworth, John, 98
Cárdenas, Lázaro, 102, 106, 122, 134 Cochabamba, Bolivia, 142
Cardoso, Fernando Henrique, 160 Coimbra (Portugal), 142
Caribbean Basin, 4, 12, 24, 30, 44, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 62, Colombia, 56, 74, 76, 86, 88, 90, 100, 110, 118, 120, 122,
86, 88, 92, 96, 110, 124, 136 126, 134, 140, 142, 152, 156
Caribbean Common Market, 110 Colombia (New Kingdom of Granada), 4, 6, 8, 16, 24, 36,
Caribbean Islands, 4, 14, 38, 40 38
Caribbean Sea, 86, 98, 118 Colorado, 62, 80
Caribs, 14, 16 Columbus, Christopher, 12, 20, 22, 24
Carpentier, Alejo, 144 Common Market, Central American, 110
Carranza, Venustiano, 150 Comuneros (Colombia), 60
Carrera, Rafael, 80 Concepción (Chile), 38
Cartagena, 44, 46, 50, 52, 56, 60, 86 concierto agrario, 48
Cartagena Agreement (1969), 110 Constantinople, 20
Carter, Jimmy (President), 158 contrarevolucionarios (contras), 158
Casa Grande e Senzala, 132 Copán, 14
Castille, Kingdom of, 22 Córdoba (Argentina), 44, 56
Castillo Armas, Carlos, 152 Corn Laws, 84, 86, 96
Castro, Fidel, 92, 154, 156 Cortázar, Julio, 144
Castro, Raúl, 154 Cortés, Hernán, 32
Cauca Valley, 38 Cosa, Juan de la, 38
caudillo, 76, 80, 82, 84, 86, 136 Costa Rica, 100, 108, 114, 128
Cayenne (French Guiana), 92 Criollos, 60
Central America, 76, 82, 92, 96, 120, 122, 124, 128, 136, 152 Cuba, 4, 6, 6N, 14, 22, 50, 88, 90, 92, 96, 100, 108, 124,
Central American Free Trade Agreement, 110 142, 144, 152, 154, 156, 158
Corregidores, 46, 48 Cuban Revolution (1959), 108, 124, 154, 156
Cerro de Pasco, 54 Cúcuta, 74
Cesar Vallejo, 144 Curaçao, 62
Ceuta, 20 Cuzco, 16, 36, 38, 44
Chaco, 4
Chamorro, Pedro Joaquín, 158 D
Chamorro, Violeta, 128, 158
Chan Chan, 16 da Gama, Vasco, 26
Charles I, King, 44 Darío, Rubén, 132, 144

de Andrade, Oswaldo, 132 G
De Soto, Hernando, 140
Denmark, 62 Gabon, 20
D’Escoto, Miguel (Father), 158 Gadsen Purchase, 34
Dessalines, Jean-Jaques, 70 Gaitán, Jorge Eliécer, 122, 134
Dias, Bartolomeu, 26 García Márquez, Gabriel, 144
Díaz, Porfirio 84, 150 García Robles, Alfonso, 144
Dirty War, The (Argentina), 136, 138 García, Alan, 134
Doctrinero, 48 Georgia, 124
Dolores, Guanajuato (Mexico), 72 Germany, 96, 100
Dominican Republic, 6, 6n, 14, 22, 70, 136 Ghana, 20
Dominicans, 46, 52 Gibraltar, 20
Donatari, 40 Gibson, Charles, 26, 52
Drake, Francis, 62 Ginastera, Alberto, 144, 146
Dulles, Allen, 152 Good Hope, Cape of, 26
Dulles, John Foster, 152 Good Neighbor Policy, 158
Dutch, 20, 26, 98 Goulart, João, 138
Gran Colombia, 74
E Granada (Nicaragua), 62
Granada, Battle of (Spain), 22
Ecuador, 4, 6, 8, 16, 56, 60, 74, 102, 110, 118, 126 Granma, 154
Egypt, 12 Great Britain, 96, 98, 138
Egyptian Society, 12 Grito de Dolores, 72, 74
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 152, 154 Guadalajara, 118
Ejido, 84, 150 Guadalupe Hidalgo, Treaty of, 34, 80, 88, 124
El otro sender, 140 Guadeloupe, 62, 92
El Salvador 14, 100, 110, 114, 120, 122, 124, 136, 158 Guam, 88, 92, 96
ELN—National Liberation Army (Colombia), 156 Guanajuato, 34, 44, 54
Encomienda, 30 Guaraní, 6, 8, 16, 38, 48, 70, 100, 110
England 52, 62 Guatemala, 6, 8, 14, 80, 108, 114, 120, 122, 124, 136, 140,
English, The, 26, 98 142, 152, 158
Enlightenment, The, 64, 66 Guatemala City, 152
Eskimos, 12 Guayaquil 50, 52, 56, 76
Estado, Novo (Brazil), 134 Guerrero, Vicent 72
EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army), 112, 160 Guevara, Ernesto “Che,” 154, 156
Guyana, 4, 6n, 62, 92
F Guzmán Blanco, Antonio, 82
Guzmán, Abimaél, 160
FARC—Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, 156
Federmann, Nicolas, 38 H
Ferdinand VI, 60
Ferdinand VII, 72, 74 Haiti, 6, 6n, 14, 24, 44, 62, 70, 92, 114, 124
Florence (Italy), 24 Haitian Revolution, 70, 72
Florida, 62, 154 Hapsburg Monarchy, 44
Florida, Straits of, 52 Havana (La Habana), 44, 50, 52, 56, 60, 118
FMLN—Farabundo Martí Liberation Front), 158 Haya de la Torre, Victor Raúl, 122, 134
France, 24, 34, 52, 62, 70, 72, 92, 96, 100 Hawkins, John, 62
Franciscan missionaries, 34 Hernández Martínez, Maximiliano, 136, 158
French and Indian War, 34 Heyerdahl, Thor, 12
French Guiana, 6N, 14, 24, 62, 92 Hidalgo y Castillo, Miguel (Father), 72, 92
French Revolution, 70, 72, 74 Hispaniola, 6, 14, 22, 30, 70
French, The, 20, 26, 98 Holland, 62
Freyre, Gilberto, 132 Holy See, 86
Fuentes, Carlos, 144, 150, 150n Honduras, 14, 100, 110, 114, 142, 152

Huancavelica, 54 Lesser Antilles, 62
Humanae Vitae, 120 Lima, 16, 36, 44, 46, 54, 76, 118, 122, 160
Humboldt Current, 4 Lisbon, 20, 26, 50, 76
Hurricane Jeanne (2004), 114 Liverpool, 98
Hurricane Mitch (1998), 114 Llaneros, 74
Llanos, 4
I Locke, John, 66
Los Angeles, 124
Iberian Peninsula, 22, 74, 90, 118 Los rios profundos, 132
Import Substituting Industrialization (ISI), 104 Louisiana, 34, 62, 92
Inca Empire, 16, 36, 38 Louisiana Purchase, 62
Incans, 56 l’Ouverture, Toussaint, 70
India, 20, 22, 26 Lusitania, 20
Indigenismo, 8, 132
Inés de la Cruz, Sor (Sister), 66, 144 M
Inquistion, The, 46, 64
Intendency system, 60 Machado de Assis, Joaquim María, 144
Islam, 20, 22 Madeiras, 20, 40
Italians, 20 Madero, Francisco, 150
Italy, 106, 126 Madrid, 30
Iturbide, Agustín de, 72 Magdalena River, 38, 86, 118
Magellan, Ferdinand, 26
J Mahan, Alfred Thayer, 88
Maíz, 14
Jackson, Andrew, 62 Mali, 20
Jamaica, 6n, 30, 62, 92 Malvinas/Falklands War, 138
Japan, 26, 126 Managua, 62, 158
Japanese, 6 Manaus, 4
Java, 26 Manchester, 98
Jefferson, Thomas (President), 66 Manifest Destiny, 88
Jesuits, 34, 38, 46, 48 Manila, 56
Jiménez de Quesada, Gonzalo, 38 Maquiladoras, 112
João VI, 76 Marina, Doña (Malintzin), 32
Juárez, Benito, 86 Marines, United States, 158
Marmól, José, 144
K Marshall Plan, 106
Martí, José, 92, 132, 144, 154
Kennedy administration, 142 Martínez de Irala, Domingo, 38
Kentucky, 124 Martinique, 62, 92
Keynes, John Maynard, 104 Massachusetts, 124
King John of Portugal, 20 Matthews, Herbert, 154
Kingdom of Guatemala, 72 Mayan Civilization, 14
Medellín (Colombia), 56, 102, 118, 140
L Medellín (Spain), 32
Melanesia, 12
La Paz, 54 Menchú Tum, Rigoberta, 8, 144, 158
La Plata, 60 Mendoza, 48, 76, 106
La Raza Cósmica, 132, 144 Mercantilism, 54
Lake Titicaca, 16 MERCOSUR, 110, 112
Las Casas, Bartolomé, de 14, 30, 48 Merida (Venezuela), 56
Laws of Burgos, 30 Meso-America, 12, 14
Lecuona, Ernesto, 144 Mestizaje, 6
Leeds, 98 Mexican Revolution, 120, 124, 150
León, 62 Mexican-American War, 88

Mexico (New Spain), 4, 6, 8, 12, 14, 24, 32, 34, 36, 44, 46, Núñez de Balbao, Vasco, 26
54, 56, 62, 66, 70, 72, 76, 80, 82, 84, 86, 90, 92, 96, Núñez, Rafael, 86
102, 104, 106, 112, 114, 118, 120, 122, 124, 126, 144,
134, 142, 150, 160 O
Mexico City, 34, 44, 46, 80, 98, 118, 122
Miami, 124 Obraje, 48
Middle-Easterners, 6 Obregón, Alvaro (President), 150
Minas Gerais, 40, 54, 84, 102 Ojeda, Alonso de, 38
Mistral, Gabriela, 144 Olinda, 40
Mita, 36 Orinoco River, 4, 22
MNR—National Revolutionary Movement, 152 Orozco, José Clemente, 132, 144
Moctezuma II, 32 Oruru, 54
Mongolia, 12 Ostend Manifesto (1854), 88
Monroe Doctrine, 88, 92
Monterrey, 118 P
Montesinos, Antonio de, 30, 48
Montevideo, 118 Pacific Ocean, 4, 12, 22, 26
Moors, 20 Páez, José Antonio, 74
Moran, Theodore H., 54 Palacios, Marco, 38
Morelos (Mexico), 150, 160 Palenque, 14
Morelos, José María (Father), 72, 92 Pampas, 4, 56, 84, 98
Morgan, Henry, 62 Panama, 24, 26, 36, 46, 52, 56, 60, 100, 114
Morocco, 12 Panama City, 50
Mosquera, Tomás Cipriano de, 86 Panama, Province of, 88
Mosquito Coast, 62 Paraguay, 6, 8, 16, 38, 48, 60, 76, 76n, 82, 90, 92, 100, 110,
MST—Landless People’s Movement, 160 128, 136, 142
Muisca Empire, 38 Paríba River Valley, 118
Muiscas (Chibchas), 16, 38 Pasto, 38, 56
Muslims, 20, 22, 44 Pastry War (1838), 80
Mutis, José Celestino, 64 Patagonia, 4
Patronato Real, 46
N Paz Estenssoro, Víctor, 152
Pedro I (Brazil), 76, 90
Nabuco, Joaquim, 90 Pedro II (Brazil), 76, 90
Náhuatl, 8, 32 PEMEX (Mexican Oil Industry), 106, 134
Napoleon I, 72, 74, 76, 118 Peninsulares, 60
Native Americans, 4, 6, 8, 12, 22, 30, 34, 40, 46, 48, 50 Pérez Esquivel, Adolfo, 144
Neocolonialism, 96 Pérez, Louis A., Jr., 100, 100n
Neruda, Pablo, 144 Pernambuco, 40
Netherlands, 52 Perón, Juan and Eva (Evita), 108, 122, 134
New Granada, 60 Perot, Ross, 112
New Jersey, 124 Pershing, John J. (General), 150
New Laws (1542), 48 Peru, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 36, 38, 46, 50, 52, 54, 56, 66, 70, 76, 102,
New Mexico, 14, 62, 80 110, 118, 122, 126, 134, 136, 138, 140, 144, 146, 160
New Orleans, 34, 62, 124 Peruvians, 6
New York City, 124 Philip V (King of Spain), 60
New York Times, 154 Pinochet, Augusto, 136, 138
Nicaragua, 62, 88, 100, 110, 114, 120, 128, 136, 144, 158, Piñon Nélida, 144
160 Pirates, 54
Nixon Administration, 138 Pizarro, Francisco, 36
North America, 24 Platt Amendment, 88, 92, 154
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 8, 110, Polynesian Islands, 12
112, 160 Ponce, Manuel, 146
North Carolina, 124 Popayán, 56, 102

Pope Paul III, 30 Sagres, 20
Portobelo, 44, 50, 52, 56, 60 Salvador (Bahia), 40, 44, 50, 84
Portugal, 20, 62, 66, 76, 90 San Agustin (Florida), 62
Portuguese, The, 6, 8, 20, 22, 26, 40, 48, 50 San Antonio, 54, 124
Positivism, 96 San Carlos University (Guatemala), 64
Potosí (Bolivia), 54, 56, 98 San Diego, 34
Potosí, San Luis, 34, 44, 54 San Francisco, 34, 124
Prebisch, Raúl, 104 San Ildefonso, Treaty of (1762), 34
Prestes, Luiz Carlos, 136 San Juan, PR, 52
Preto, Ouro, 54, 84 San Juan Capistrano, 34
Prince Henry the Navigator, 50 San Marcos University (Lima), 64
Protestantism, 6 San Martín, José de, 76, 92, 134, 136
Puerto Rico, 6, 14, 30, 88, 92, 96, 124 San Salvador (Caribbean), 22
San Salvador (El Salvador), 158
Q Sandinista (Nicaraguan) Revolution, 110, 122, 158, 160
Sandino, César Augusto, 158
Quechua, 6, 8, 16, 36 Santa Anna, Antonio López de, 80
Quetzalcóatl, 32 Santa Barbara, 34
Quiché, 6, 8 Santa Fe, 34
Quilombo, 90 Santa Marta, 16, 74
Quito, 4, 36, 44, 56 Santander (Colombia), 156
Santiago (Chile), 38, 44, 76, 118
R Santiago de Cuba, 52
Santo Domingo, 22, 44, 52, 56
Recife, 40, 50, 84 Santos (port of) Brazil, 84, 90
Reconquista, 22, 34, 44 São Paulo, 6, 40, 84, 90, 118, 122, 132
Reform Laws (Mexico, 19th century), 86 Sarmiento, Domingo F., 86, 118, 132, 144
Repartimiento, 30 Sarney, José, 110
Requirimiento, 30 Scheper-Hughes, Nancy, 120
Resguardos, 38 Scotland, 52
Rimac River, 36 Seminoles/Cimarrón, 62
Rio de Janeiro, 40, 44 50, 76, 90, 118, 122, 144 Serra, Junipero (Fr.), 34
Rio Grande, 34 Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), 62
Rios Montt, Efraín, 158 Shining Path (Peru), 160
River Plate, 4 Siberia, 12
Rivera, Diego, 132, 144 Sierra Maestra (Cuba), 154
Rivet, Paul, 12 Sierra Nevada Mountains, 16
Roca, Julio, 98 Siqueiros, David Alfaro, 132, 144
Rodríguez de Francia, Gaspar, 82 Slavery, 12, 20, 40, 48, 50
Rodríguez, Agustín, 34 Smith, Adam, 54
Roman Catholic Church, 6, 30, 46, 64, 66, 70, 72, 80, 82, “Soccer War” (1969), 110, 110n
86, 120, 142 Somoza Family (Nicaragua), 136, 158
Romans, 20 Somoza García, Anastasio, 158
Romero, Oscar (Archbishop), 158 South Carolina, 124
Reagan, Ronald, 112, 128, 140, 158 South Pacific, 106
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, 88 Soviet Union, 12
Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 88, 158 Spain, 20, 22, 32, 34, 44, 46, 52, 54, 60, 62, 66, 72, 76, 92,
Roosevelt, Theodore, 88 126, 144, 154
Rosas, Juan Manuel de, 82, 84, 86 Spaniards, 6, 8, 14, 20, 26, 30, 32, 38, 40, 44, 46, 48, 50,
54, 56
S Spanish Monarchs, 12, 22
Spanish-American War (1898), 88, 96, 124
Saavedra Lamas, Carlos, 144 Sublimus Deus (1537), 30
Safford, Frank, 38 Sucre, Antonio José de, 74

Suriname, 6, 62, 92 Uruguay, 6, 60, 76n, 82, 90, 100, 110, 136
Switzerland, 126 Utah, 62, 80


Taft, William, 96 Valdivia, Pedro de, 38

Taino, 14 Valparaiso, 56
Tairona, 16 Vargas Llosa, Mario, 144
Tawantinsuyu, 16 Vargas, Getúlio, 108, 122, 134, 136
tenetes movement (Brazil), 136 Vasconcelos, José, 132, 144
Tennessee, 124 Vega, Garcilaso de la, 16, 144
Tenochtitlán, 14, 32, 34, 44 Venezuela, 4, 16, 38, 46, 60, 74, 82, 102, 108, 110, 114,
Teotihuacán, 14 118, 120, 128
Texas, 34, 62, 80, 124 Vera Paz, 44
The Influence of Sea Power on History, 88 Veracruz, 32, 44, 50, 52, 56, 60, 150
The Philippines, 88, 92, 96 Vespucci, Amerigo, 24
The Violence/la violencia (Colombia), 156 Vice Royalty of New Spain (Mexico), 46
Thousand Days, War of, 86 Vice Royalty of Peru, 46
Tijuana, 118 Vieira, Antonio, 66
Tikal, 14 Villa, Pancho (aka Arango, Doroteo), 150
Tlaxcala, 32 Villa-Lobos, Heitor, 132, 144, 146
Tobago, 62 Virrenato (Vice Royalty), 46
Toledo, Alejandro, 36 Vitoria, Francisco de, 48
Toltecs, 14 von Humboldt, Alexander, 64
Tordesillas, Treaty of, 24, 44
Torres Restrepo, Camilo (Father), 156
Treaty of Paris (1898), 88, 124
Waldseemüller, Martin, 24
Trent, Council of, 64
Triana, Rodrigo de, 22 War of Cuban Independence (First), 154
Trinidad, 44, 62 War of Cuban Independence (Second), 154
War of Spanish Succession, 60
Triple Alliance, War of the, 90, 136
War of the Pacific, 146
Trujillo (Peru), 44, 56
Washington, D.C., 124
Trujillo, Rafael, 70, 136
Walker, William, 88
Tucumán, 56
Tula, 14 Wolf, Eric, 12
Tunja, 56 World War I, 8, 84, 96, 132, 144
World War II, 92, 100, 102, 106, 108, 118, 120, 122
Tupac Amaru, Rebellion of, 60
Tupi, 4, 16 Y
Tupi-Guaraní, 16
Ybor City/Tampa, Florida, 124
U Yucatan Peninsula, 14

Ubico, Jorge, 136 Z

Union City, NJ, 124
United Fruit Company, 100, 152, 158 Zacatecas, 34, 54, 98
United Nations, 120 Zapata, Emiliano, 112, 150, 160
United States (of America) 4, 6, 24, 34, 46, 50, 80, Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), 8
84, 88, 90, 92, 96, 100, 102, 106, 108, 110, 112, Zapotec, 14
120, 124, 126, 128, 138, 140, 150, 152, 154, Zedillo, Ernesto, 112
156 Zedong, Mao, 160
Urabá, Gulf of, 38 Zipaquirá, 16

Michael J. LaRosa is associate professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis.
LaRosa has been a Fulbright scholar in Colombia and has published six books, includ-
ing a co-edited collection (with Germán R. Mejía) titled The United States Discovers
Panama (2004).

Germán R. Mejía is professor of history at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá,

Colombia. He is the author of Los años del cambio: Historia urbana de Bogotá, 1820–
1910 (2000). Mejía is editor of the Colombian journal Memoria y Sociedad and was
named, in April 2004, founding director of the Archivo de Bogotá.