Latin AmericaWhy study Latin America?????? ? ? ? ? ? ?
18% of U.S. citizens are of Latin American heritage. Hispanics
represent the largest minority in the U.S.U.S. history is closely
linked to Latin America.Latin America is one of the most important
region for U.S. trade and investment.It helps eliminate
U.S. culture is heavily influenced by Latin American song,
dance, art, food, fashion and sport.
Includes:Mexico7 countries in Central AmericaIslands of the
Caribbean12 Countries of South AmericaAnd 1 dependency- French
Latin AmericaPhysical Overview Notes
Middle America (Mexico & Central America)Very
MountainousClimate most affected by elevationMexico is called
country of mountainsOver 100 active volcanoes on Pacific
coastCaribbean coast = lowlands
Caribbean3 groups of islands = Bahamas, Greater Antilles, Lesser
AntillesGroup of islands are made differently:Bahamas = cays(keys)
coralGreater Antilles = underwater mnts.Lesser Antilles = volcanic
Caribbean (cont.)Chain of Islands 2,000 miles long
(Archipelago)Largest Islands:CubaHispaniola (Haiti & Dominican
South AmericaVery similar to North AmericaWest = high rugged
mnts.(Andes mnts.)Central = plains (Amazon basin & Pampas)East
= low, rounded mnts. (Brazilian Highlands)
Atacama DesertDriest place on Earth.Evidence suggests some areas
have not had rain for 120,000 years.
PampasFertile grasslandsSimilar to Great Plains in North
Amazon River BasinLargest river basin on Earth11 million cubic
feet per second released into the Atlantic Ocean
Andes MountainsLongest mountain range on EarthHighest peak is
Chimborazo 20,564 feet (Ecuador)Mining
Latin American PopulationMost people live near the coast.
In Mexico they live near the center.
Twice as many people as in the U.S.
live in cities.
Economic ActivityMost Economies are based on agricultureCash
crops include coffee, bananas, and sugar cane.
AgricultureLatifundia: Large estates owned by families or
corporationsMinifundia: smaller farms that produce for the family
and sell in the market.
THE MOST INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES ARE MEXICO (MOTOR VEHICLES,
ELECTRIC GOODS) & BRAZIL (IRON, STEEL, AUTOMOBILES, TEXTILES,
Economies (cont.)INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT IS SLOW BECAUSE OF LACK
OF CAPITAL, SKILLED WORKERS & RAW MATERIALS
LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES RELY ON EACH OTHER ECONOMICALLY. THIS
HAS CREATED A LARGE AMOUNT OF FOREIGN DEBT.
Latin American OilVenezuelan & Mexican oil reserves are
among the top 10 in the worldOil generates about 80% of Venezuelas
export revenuesThe Hugo Chavez government is in complete control of
the oil industry in VenezuelaVenezuelas state owned oil company
acquired Citgo in 1980.
Panama CanalThe crossroads of world trade.
Built by the United States under President Teddy Roosevelt from
The United States controlled the Canal until December 31,
HistoryLand conquered by the SpanishConquistadors.
History (cont.)Many unstable governments, military leaders and
revolutions. Most striving toward Democracy except Cuba (Fidel
Castro) & Venezuela (Hugo Chavez)
Lived in Mexicos Central Plateau (feared and hated by others in
Mexico).Warlike people, defeated more settled people and forced
them into paying taxes.Became skilled builders-Built the capital
city of Tenochtitlan in the middle of a lake.Worshiped many Gods
Sun GodThought it would weaken and die if it was not fed blood and
humans hearts.Engaged in warfare to provide human sacrifices.
TenochtitlanFounded as the Aztec capital in 1325It was built in
the center of Lake TexcocoAt one time, over 200,000 people lived in
this cityThe city flourished until 1519, when Cortes and the
Lived more towards Central America Yucatan PeninsulaAgriculture
type of people (slash and burn)Scientific and artistic
achievements:1. Calendar2. Use of zero in math (Europeans did not
use)3. Developed a written languageReasons are unknown why they
began to abandon their cities at about 800 900 AD
Empire lasted about 100 yrs.Included parts of 5 present day
countries.Advanced methods of
religiousTransporting goods = Stone highways, suspension
bridgeStrong and complex government- forced population to save food
for famine. Took census without a writing system. Kept records by
tying knots in a rope device called a quipu.
Spanish culture of Mexico4 social classes1. Peninsulares
(Spanish Born)2. Criollos (Spanish/New world born3. Mestizos
(Spanish/Native Indian)4. Native Indian
Haciendas Mexican Plantation
Class structure lasted 300 years.*Until 1821 Mexico was a colony
of Spain*1920 Became a Democracy after 10 yrs. Of struggle. *Family
is a very important factor in Mexican life.
Mexico City2nd largest city in the world with a population of
over 22 millionLocated where the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan was
Most Mexicans are Roman Catholic 66% of the population is
urban.ECONOMICS Most Important Industries in Mexico are:PETROLEUM
4TH LARGEST PRODUCER IN THE WORLDTOURISM CALLED THE SMOKELESS
Common wealth to the U.S.Elect own governor and legislative
body.People have full U.S. citizenshipDo not pay income taxesThey
cannot vote in presidential electionsEnter or leave any part of the
U.S. at will