Latin America

Chapter 9 – From the Andes to the Amazon

A.Latin America has an enormous span from north to south – about 7,000 miles

1.The Andes are one of the great mountain ranges of the world

  • Many active volcanoes
  • Barrier to the interior of the continent

2.Highlands: mountainous or hilly regions

3.Llanos: grassy, treeless areas used for livestock grazing and farming

4.Cerrado: plains of the AmazonBasin

  • Savannas with flat terrain and moderate rainfall
  • Suitable for farming

5.Pampas: grassland and rich soil

  • Main products are cattle and wheat

B.Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbeanhave few rivers

1.Surrounded by seas and oceans, they are not dependent on rivers

  1. South America has three major river systems
  • OrinocoRiver in the north
  • Amazon River (4,000 miles long) carries more water to the ocean than any other river in the world
  • Parana River empties into the Rio de la Plata (an estuary)

C.The CaribbeanIslands consist of three major groups:

1.Bahamas: hundreds of islands off the southern tip of Florida and north of Cuba

2.Greater Antilles: Cuba,Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico

  • First land discovered by Columbus in 1492
  1. Lesser Antilles: Windward Islands and Leeward Islands southeast of Puerto Rico

D.Latin America is a treasure house of natural resources

1.Minerals such as gold, silver, iron, copper, bauxite (aluminum), tin, lead, and nickel

2.Agricultural is very important

3.Vast forests provide a timber industry

4.Oil, coal, natural gas,uranium, and hydroelectric power are plentiful

E.Climate varies from hot and humid in the Amazon to dry and cold in the Andes

1.Vegetation varies from rain forests to grasslands and desert scrub

2.Reasons for these variations include:

  • Latin America spans many degrees of latitude on both sides of the equator
  • Big changes in elevation
  • Warm currents of the Atlantic Ocean
  • Cold currents of the Pacific Ocean

F.The tropical climate zones produce both rain forests and savannas

1.Tropical Wet climates support rain forests

  • Dense forests that are hot and rainy year round
  • The Amazon rain forest covers more than 2 million square miles
  • Support a vast ecosystem of plants and animals

2.Tropical Wet and Dry: support tree-dotted grasslands called savannas

  • Hot climates with seasonal rains

G.Dry climate zones are found on both the North American and South American continents

1.Semiarid: generally dry with some rain

  • Grass-covered plains and desert shrubs

2.Deserts support only a few low shrubs in the gravel or sand

  • Atacama Desert is in northern Chile
  • PatagoniaDesert is in southern Argentina

H.Mid-Latitude climate zones mirror those in the United States and Canada

1.Humid Subtropical areas have rainy winters and hot, humid summers

2.Mediterranean zones experience hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters

3.Marine West Coast zones have cool, rainy winters and mild, rainy summers

4.Highland climates vary from moderate to cold depending on elevation

  • Wind, sunlight, and landscape also affect climate

I.The Inca were a highly advanced civilization that lived in the AndesMountains

1.Terraced the steep mountainsides to provide land for crops

2.Built irrigation channels to bring water to the terraces

J.Native peoples used the slash-and-burn technique to clear fields

1.Cut trees, brush, and grass and burn the debris

2.Today, farmers practice the same method in the AmazonRiver basin in Brazil

K.Throughout Latin America people are moving from rural areas into the cities

1.Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay are the most highly urbanized countries

2.Push Factors include:

  • Poor medical care, poor education, and low paying jobs
  • Most of the land is owned by a few rich families

3.Pull Factors include: higher-paying jobs, better schools, and better medical care

4.Rapid growth of cities creates challenges:

  • Slums spread over larger and larger urban areas
  • Unemployment and crime increase
  • High levels of air and water pollution
  • Shortage of drinking water
  • Strained infrastructure: sewers, transportation, electricity, and housing

L.Tourism is a growing industry throughout Latin America

1.Advantages: tourists spend money at local businesses and create jobs

  1. Disadvantages include resorts built in previously unspoiled settings
  • Local governments are sometimes strained to pay for improvements such as airports, harbors, sewage systems, and shopping areas
  • Resorts are often owned by foreign companies and profits go to their countries

Chapter 10 –A Blending of Cultures

A.Spanish conquest of Mexico began when Hernando Cortes arrived on the coast in 1519

1.The Aztecs welcomed him believing he was their god Quetzalcoatl

2.Cortes and his men marched inland and captured the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan

3.Burned the city to the ground

4.The Spanish valued Mexico for its gold and silver

B.1821 – Mexico achieved independence from Spain

1.Agustin de Iturbide proclaimed himself emperor in 1822

2.Mid-19th Century – Benito Juarez led a reform movement and was elected president

  • Worked for separation of church and state
  • Better education
  • More even distribution of land

3.Porfirio Diaz, a dishonest politician, ruled Mexico for 30 years after Juarez

  • Harsh and corrupt rule brought revolution led by Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata
  • 1917 - New constitution was written
  • Redistributed nearly half the farmland in Mexico to peasants

4.1929 – Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) arose

  • Helped introduce democracy and maintain political stability
  • Undermined by intolerance, fraud, and corruption
  • 2000 – Vicente Fox was the first president in 71 years who was not a PRI candidate

C.Mexico is a blend of Spanish and native cultures

1.Before the arrival of the Spanish, Mexico was a place of many advanced cultures

  • Aztec city of Tenochtitlan was a place of temples, palaces, gardens, and lakes
  • Aztecs made war on their neighbors and practiced human sacrifice
  • Mexico City is built on the ruins of Tenochtitlan
  • Mexica was an older name for the Aztecs
  1. The Spanish brought their language and the Catholic religion
  • Mestizos: people of mixed Spanish and Native American heritage

3.Mexico has a long heritage of architecture and art

  • Important painters such as Jose Orozco portray the history of Mexico in murals
  • Aztec art and architecture are still a strong influence
  • Red tile roofs, horseshoe arches, and bright tiles reflect the Spanish influence

D.Mexico struggles with two main economic challenges

1.Attempting to close the gap between rich and poor

2.Attempting to develop a modern industrial economy

  • Traditionally agricultural, Mexico started to industrialize in the mid-20th Century

3.Mexicans are moving to cities for job opportunities

4.The oil industry is a major part of Mexico’s economy

  • Profits used to finance development of manufacturing
  • Maquiladoras: factories in northern Mexico that produce goods for export; mostly to the United States

5.NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement): agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

  • Reduces import tariffs between the countries
  • Expected to contribute to the economic prosperity of member nations

E.Mexico faces many challenges:

1.Mexico’s rapidly growing population and government policies contribute to a job shortage

  • Many Mexicansmigrate to theU.S. each year looking for jobs
  • Generally send money back to their families in Mexico

2.Without education and training, young workers cannot find good jobs

  • Today, about 85% of Mexican children attend school

F.Central America forms an isthmus: a land bridge connecting North and South America

1.The region was a cultural hearth: a place from which important ideas spread

2.The Maya built cities with temples and palaces

  • Centers for religious ceremony and trade
  • Maya influence spread over a wide area of Mexico and Central America

3.The region was ruled by Spain, then Mexico

  • 1923 – declared independence as the United Provinces of Central America
  • By the late 1830s, split into separate nations

G.The Caribbean was settled and claimed by many European powers

1.When Columbus reached the Caribbean, he thought he had reached the East Indies

  • Called the natives “Indians”
  • Spanish, French, British, Dutch, and Danish claimed islands
  • Established sugar plantations worked by native slaves
  • Many died or ran away so slaves were brought from Africa

2.The first independence movement was a slave revolt in Haiti in the 1790s

  • Over the next 160 years, other islands gradually gained independence

H.The culture of Central America is predominantly Spanish and Native American

1.In the Caribbean, various European cultures mixed with Native Americans and Africans

2.Religions include Catholic and Protestant

  • Santeria combines elements of African rituals with Catholic practices
  • Voodoo is practiced on the island of Haiti

3.Spanish is spoken on the most populous islands; Cuba and the Dominican Republic

  • Dominant language depends on what European country colonized each island

I.Most of the people in these regions are poor

1.In colonial times, resources were exported and not used locally

2.Sugar plantations in the Caribbean provide the region’s largest export crop

  • Many people work on the plantations for low wages

3.In Central America the main source of income is commercial farming

  • Produce 10% of the world’s coffee and bananas

4.The Panama Canal connects the Atlantic and PacificOceans

  • Ships from both hemispheres make the canal a crossroads of world trade
  • Built by the U.S. in the early 1900s and given to Panama in 1999

5.Most people in Central American live in rural areas

  • Many people on Caribbean islands live in urban areas where tourism creates jobs
  • Many people come to the cities looking for jobs and end up living in slums

6.Calypso music contains elements from Africa, Spain, and the Caribbean

  • Reggae developed in Jamaica

7.Tourism is a very important part of the economy

  • Informal economy: takes place outside official channels
  • Street vending, shining shoes, and other activities provide a small income

J.South America is divided into two main regions based on whether people speak Spanish or Portuguese

1.The Inca were a highly advanced civilization living in the AndesMountains

  1. Francisco Pizarro and his men conquered the Incas
  • Forced the Native Americans to work in gold and silver mines
  • Forced the Spanish language and Catholic religion on the Inca
  • Many natives still speak Quechua, the Inca language

3.The American and French revolutions inspired independence in South America

  • Simon Bolivar helped liberate Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia
  • Jose de San Martin helped free Argentina, Chile, and Peru

4.Problems remain in the region:

  • The continent tends to be populated only around its edges
  • Mountains and rain forests limit interaction
  • Oligarchy (government by the few) and military rule have characterized many governments
  • Strong militaries, underdeveloped economies, and social class divisions are continuing challenges

K.The region’s isolation creates a cultural mosaic: different cultures living near each other but not mixing

  1. Literature, music, and art combine the influences of Native American, Spanish and African cultures

L.Most economies in the region are based on agriculture, mining, and oil

1.Countries in the north grow crops for export

2.Colombia and Venezuela have huge oil reserves

3.Peru and Ecuador have fishing industries

4.Bolivia mines tin, zinc, and copper

5.Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay produce crops and livestock

  1. Chile is the region’s greatest success story
  • Its economy is booming and it has a good education system

M.1494 - Treaty of Tordesillas divided South America between Spain and Portugal

  1. Portugal gained control over part of present-day Brazil

2.Spain received the rest of South America

3.Portuguese colonists found no gold or silver

4.Established sugar plantations along the coast worked by Native American slaves

  • Native slaves died or ran away so Africans were imported

5.Brazil gained its independence in 1822

  • King of Portugal agreed to allow his son, Dom Pedro, to rule Brazil

N.Brazil’s culture includes the influence of Portuguese, Africans, and Native Americans

  1. Most people speak Portuguese and are Catholic
  1. Architect Oscar Niemeyer designed the buildings for the new capital of Brasilia
  • Begun in 1957 to replace the old capital of Rio de Janeiro
  • The government moved to the new capital in 1960

O.Brazil is a growing economic power

1.Vast natural resources including iron, bauxite, tin, manganese, gold, and silver

2.More than 1,000 rivers provide hydroelectric power

3.Large reserves of oil and gas

4.Many Brazilian cars run on fuel made from sugar cane

P.Like many other countries, Brazil is increasingly urban

1.People are also migrating into the interior to farm the cerrado

2.One of the most colorful aspects of Brazilian life is Carnival

  • People in Rio de Janeiro dress in costumes and ride on floats
  • Samba is part of Carnival: music with African influences

3.Capoeira: a martial art and dance that developed in Brazil from African origins

4.Sao Paulo is the economic heart of Brazil and the largest city

5.Rio de Janeiro is the cultural center of the country

  • Tourists come to see the spectacular mountains and beaches
  • Favelas are desperately poor slums lacking electricity and running water

Chapter 11 – Today’s Issues

A.The vegetation of the rain forest helps to clean earth’s atmosphere

1.Biodiversity: wide range of plants and animal species

2.The Amazon’s hardwoods such as mahogany and cedar are exported

3.Native people clear the forest for farming, not realizing the soil is not very fertile

  • In a few years the farmland is exhausted and they clear more land

4.Ranchers clear land so their cattle can graze

5.Brazil’s growing population creates pressure to develop the rain forest

6.Some people believe the slash-and-burn method of clearing the forest contributes to global warming

7.Rain forests are home to perhaps 50% of the world’s plant and animal species

8.Many plants may have medicinal value

  • The cancer drug Taxol was originally found in the rain forest

B.Many Latin American countries are attempting to balance economic growth and preservation of the rain forests

1.Debt-for-nature-swap: an organization agrees to pay off a certain amount of a government’s debt in return for protection of the rain forest

C.After the Spanish conquest, Central and South America were ruled by governors appointed by the king and queen of Spain

1.After independence, they continued to be ruled by oligarchies

  • Censored the press, limited free speech, and punished dissent

2.Junta: a government run by generals after a military takeover

3.Caudillo: military dictator such as Juan Peron in Argentina

4.PRI used fraud and corruption to win elections in Mexico

D.Political and economic stability are two sides of the same coin

1.Lack of prosperity is usually accompanied by social and political unrest

  • Businesses need a stable government to protect them physically and financially
  • Governments need successful businesses to generate jobs and tax revenues

2.Land Reform: the process of breaking up large landholdings and giving portions of the land to poor peasant farmers

  • Widespread land ownership promotes prosperity and democracy


Latin America SG-L