Archive "Latin America"

Latin America: The Income Gap

A long the oceanfront in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, gleaming office buildings and hotels share the boulevards with trendy restaurants and exclusive shops. Behind all this glitter and glamour, however, is another world, hidden from sight—the favelas, or slums, of Rio. Here, the poor live among swamps and garbage dumps, and on barren hillsides. These […]

Latin America: Giving Citizens a Voice

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE From the late 1970s through the early 1980s, the Argentine military waged a campaign of terror against those who supported political reform. As many as 30,000 people mysteriously disappeared. People accused of being terrorists and revolutionaries were kidnapped and questioned. Some were tortured, and then killed or “disappeared”— their bodies were never […]

Major Rain Forests of Latin America

Latin America: Rain Forest Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1997, biologist Marc van Roosmalen made an incredible discovery. An Amazonian Indian had brought the biologist a tiny monkey huddled inside a tin can. Van Roosmalen realized that the monkey was a kind of pygmy marmoset never before seen by scientists. Over the next three years, Van Roosmalen and his colleagues […]

Treaty of Tordesillas

Latin America: Brazil

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In 1807, Napoleon’s armies invaded Portugal. As the French army approached the capital of Lisbon, the Portuguese royal family boarded ships to escape capture. They sailed to Brazil, Portugal’s largest colony, taking their court and royal treasury with them. For the next 14 years, Brazil was the heart of the Portuguese empire. […]

The Mercosur Trade Group

Spanish-Speaking South America

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the early 1500s, the Inca empire was at the height of its glory. Then Spanish soldiers under the command of Francisco Pizarro invaded the South American empire. The Spanish attacked the Inca army, killed many of its warriors, and took the emperor prisoner. The Spaniards held him for ransom. Although the […]

Native Peoples, 1492

Latin America: Central America and the Caribbean

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Central America forms an isthmus, a land bridge between North and South America. It also divides two oceans. This geographic fact has made the region attractive to the United States and other major world powers and has helped to keep the area fragmented and politically unstable. For example, in the early 20th […]

Population Distribution in Mexican States

Latin America: Mexico

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Quetzalcoatl was a god worshiped by the Toltec and Aztec peoples of Mexico and Central America. According to Native American legend, Quetzalcoatl traveled east across the sea. It was said that he would return some day, bringing peace. One day, messengers brought Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, news that strangers had arrived from […]

Latin America: Human–Environment Interaction

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE High in the Andes Mountains, in what is present-day Peru, the ancient Inca needed fields in which to grow crops. By the 1200s, in the highlands around their capital of Cuzco and elsewhere, the Inca carved terraces out of the steep sides of the Andes Mountains. They built irrigation channels to bring […]

Vegetation of Latin America

Latin America: Climate and Vegetation

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE In the 17th century, missionaries and Indians in the area of present-day Paraguay were at times attacked by jaguars, the great cats of Latin America. In 1637, packs of jaguars roamed the countryside, attacking humans. The Indians built barricades for protection from the savage cats. But the jaguars remained a source of […]

Landforms and Rivers of Latin America

Latin America: Landforms and Resources

A HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Simon Bolivar was a general who led the South American wars of independence against Spain. In August 1819, Bolivar led approximately 2,500 soldiers on a daring march from Venezuela over the mountains into present-day Colombia. Coming from this direction, over the massive barrier of the Andes Mountains, Bolivar and his troops were […]