Brett Teplitz,Sam Goldberg,and Jess Golden




•First major culture in Latin America.
• Arose sometime around 1200 B.C.E in Central America.
• Considered the mother culture of the later civilizations.
• Known for their art, especially the use of colossal heads.
• Polytheistic



  • Situated on the Yucatan Peninsula
  • Established during the first millennium C.E.
  • Very intelligent civilization, well known for their skill and knowledge of astronomy.
  • Developed the concept of zero.
  • Extremely accurate calendar.
  • Only known writing system of the ancient Latin American civilizations.
  • Built many temples and pyramids.
  • Polytheistic



  • Appeared in what is now central Mexico.
  • Founded their capital of Tenochtitlan in 1325 on an island in Lake Texcoco.
  • Subservient people until 1428, when they rebelled under the leadership of Chief Itzcoatl and became very powerful.
  • Skilled and ruthless warriors, demanded tributes from conquered areas in the form of men to be sacrificed to their many gods.
  • Sacrifices were done to guarantee fertile soil and continuing sunshine.
  • Had their own language called Nahuatl.Architectural site of the Aztec civilization was Teotihuacan.
  • There are many incredible pyramids in Teotihuacán as well as the famous “Avenida de los Muertos.”
  • They also had technological advances, such as chinampas, which were floating gardens.
  • Their most important god was Quetzalcoatl, who was prophesied to be a mix of a serpent and a bird, which also had very pale skin.
  • When Cortez arrived in 1519, he was believed to be Quetzalcoatl at first.



• Their civilization was founded around 1200 in the highlands of modern-day Peru, in the area of Cuzco.
• They had also taken over many neighboring tribes and harshly ruled over several million people.
• These people were forced to build roads and cities, farm their lands, and fight in their wars.
• They had an advanced system of roads and they also had a system of runners, called Chasquis.
• Farming was difficult due to the Andes Mountains and unlevel land.
• They developed terrace farming to counter this problem.
• Many were engineers.
• They also used quipu as a way to keep records of amounts for accounting and census purposes.



• Chavín, emerging during the millennium B.C.E was the first great inter regional civilization in Andean South America.
• The Nazca, on the south coast of Peru and the Moche on the north coast were regional civilizations appearing from about 100 to 600 C.E.
• Teotihuacán was one of the largest urban centers and a powerful city during the early centuries C.E.
• The Huari-Tiahuanco culture imposed inter regional conformity again from about 600 to 1000 C.E.
• From 800 to 1400 C.E the Chimu Empire dominated the valleys of the Peruvian north coast.
• These early Andean societies built major ceremonial centers throughout the Andes, created elaborate irrigation systems, canals, and highways, and created beautiful pottery, textiles, and metalwork.


  • Great variety of geographic features
  • Hindrance of transportation and communication
  • Regionalism occurs due to this lack of communication
  • Regionalism is when people feel a sense of loyalty to the area they live in, rather than to their nation.

  • Rivers- Amazon River, Rio de Janeiro, and the Orinoco are all examples of major rivers in South America.
  • Allows for transportation, fishing, and allows for easier communication especially in the Amazon Rainforest which hinders communication.
  • the-amazon-river0.gif

  • Desert- Atacama Desert- prevents farming and is another geographic feature that helps prevent communication and transportation.

  • Panama Isthmus- Allows for travel between North and South America. Later when the Panama Canal was built, trade was facilitated since merchants no longer had to go around South America.
  • 450px-Pm-map.png

  • Amazon Rainforest- Causes regionalism
  • hinders communication and trading
  • allows for slash and burn farming which offers rich soil
  • Provides a wide variety of herbs and medicines
  • prevents settling

  • Plains- Pampas and Llanos- Allowed for cattle raising
  • Easy transportation
  • Large areas for settling
  • Llanos located in Venezuela
  • Pampas located in Argentina

  • Mountains- Andes and Sierra Madres-causes regionalism
  • prevents farming, settling, and trading
  • Andes Mountains located mainly in Chile and Peru
  • Forces terrace farming
  • 3887-004-73462CE0.gif
    The map shows some physical features in Latin America, the darker parts represent higher elevation such as the Andes


• Came from Europe for the 3 G’s: G-d, Gold, and Glory.
• “Religion provided the pretext and gold the motive.”
• The goal of many European religious groups, like the Jesuits, was to spread Christianity.
• Force was often used to convert many natives to Christianity.
• Once in Latin America, the Europeans saw that many of the civilizations had lots of gold and silver jewelry. At first they were given some out of fear and respect, even worship in some cases (like the Aztecs that believed the Europeans were G-ds).
• They demanded large amounts of it and then fought the natives for it.
• Once they took over, they forced the natives to mine for resources.
• Many explorers achieved riches and fame for their actions.
• European values and culture came to dominate, as the indigenous languages and cultures were not allowed to remain.
• Spain allowed their actions to occur because they made a profit off of it (one fifth of the profits or, the “quinto,” went to Spain).

Hernando Cortez

• He led an expedition to Latin America where he arrived at the Aztec Empire in 1519 with 600 men.
• He was first believed to be Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god.
• Montezuma who was the Aztec leader, tried to appease Cortez with gifts of gold.
• His people were already weak after being weakened and losing many lives to European diseases, like smallpox.
• To defeat the powerful Aztecs, he enlisted the services of neighboring tribes that had a grudge against the Aztecs for demanding sacrifices of their people.
• He successfully defeated the Aztecs and claimed the empire for Spain and renamed the capital Mexico City.
• Montezuma was imprisoned, where he died.
• The Aztecs were able to temporarily push the Spanish out again, but were defeated badly in 1521.
• The empire became New Spain.


Francisco Pizarro

• Another famous conquistador.
• He led an expedition in the Incan Empire in Peru.
• He sailed from Panama, inspired by Cortez’s example.
• He had 200 men with guns, swords, and horses that were too powerful for the Incas.
• After fighting, Pizarro met with Atahualpa, the leader of the Incan Empire.
• When Atahualpa refused to pay tributes, he was captured and held for ransom.
• Although the ransom, a room filled with gold and two rooms filed with silver, was paid, he was executed anyway.
• He founded the city of Peru and the empire for Spain.


Pedro de Alvarado

  • Spanish Conquistador
  • Was a skilled soldier
  • Helped cause the fall of the Aztec Empire
  • Was extremely cruel, mistreated and enslaved the natives
  • Became governor of Guatemala in New Spain


• When Columbus arrived in the Western Hemisphere, more than commercial goods were exchanged.
• Religion was imposed on the native populations, as missionaries and religious orders tried to impose Christianity.
• European values and culture were imposed and enforced on the natives.
• Some European technology was given that improved the lives of many, but the superior European military technology was used against the natives.
• Many diseases, which the Europeans had grown resistant to, were brought to Latin America and killed millions of people.
• Many resources in Latin America were given to and taken by the Europeans, like gold and silver.
• Many different foods were exchanged.
• Corn and potatoes were the most important foods brought to Europe.
• Animals like cattle, horses, and turkeys were exchanged as well.
• Tobacco also came from Latin America, which became extremely popular in Europe.
• The slave trade was a result as well; because slaves in Latin America were used by the Europeans and then slaves from Africa were brought to Latin America.
• Language is another major effect of the Columbian Exchange, because European domination resulted in the imposition of language in addition to culture.
• For this reason, most people in Latin America speak the language of the country that conquered them.
• Most Latin American countries speak Spanish, but not all, like Brazil, which speaks Portuguese because it was ruled by Portugal.




• Peninsulares: lived in Spain, moved to Latin America, controlled land, wealth and power
• Creoles: Spanish origin but born in Latin America
• Mestizos: mixed European and Indian ancestry
• Mulattos: mixed European and African ancestry
• Bartolome de las Casas- spoke out against mistreatment of Native Americans
• African slaves: worked on plantations
"In three or four months… more than seven thousand children died of hunger, their fathers and mothers have been taken to the mines… Thus they [Spaniards] ruined and depopulated all this island [Cuba].”
- Bartolomew de Las Casas, 1552,
The Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies


• Spanish king was an absolute Monarch
• Viceroy: governor of colony appointed by king
• Audiencia: court used by viceroy to enforce laws
• Enlightenment, American and French Revolution affected how people thought and sparked nationalism.


• Mercantilism: colonists felt that their mother countries trade laws were limiting their economic development and them from becoming prosperous
• Encomienda: labor system in which colonists received Native Americans to work their mines and fields
• Repartimiento: replaced the encomienda, all male Indians must work for a certain about of time in Spanish mines, factories and farms
• Peonage: Indians were in debt to the colonists, this system allowed for debtors to be bound in servitude to their creditors until their debts are paid
• Native Americans were not very productive workers, many were able to escape because they knew the land well
• Native Americans were very susceptible to disease and died easily
• Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: the speaking out of Bartoleme de las Casas encouraged Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, suggested the use of Africans instead of Native Americans
• The African American workers were more productive, could not escape as easily and they were more resilient to disease


  • The effect of colonialism led to a decrease in population due to factors such as diseases.



• Colonized by the French
• Toussaint L’Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines led rebellion
• 1791 the slaves revolted
• Haiti is the first Latin American country to win its independence



• Spanish colony
• Miguel Hidalgo: Criollo priest that led rebellion for more rights for Native Americans and mestizos
• Jose Morelos continued the fight after Hidalgo was executed
• 1821 Mexico declared its independence after a creole officer Agustin de Iturbide made peace with the rebels
• Iturbide attempted to rule Central America as an emperor, but was overthrown in 1823



• Spanish colony
• Simon Bolivar: wealthy Criollo that led the rebellion
• Became known as “The Liberator”, climbed the Andes and surprised Spanish troops
• 1821 Venezuela won its independence



• Jose de San Martin-Argentinean criollo who helped liberate Argentina, Chile and Peru in the early 1800’s
• Bernardo O’Higgins became the first governor of Chile


• The Portuguese royal family took refuge in Brazil in 1807
• Rio de Janeiro immediately became a court city
• Prince regent João addressed many of the local complaints, equivalent to those of the Spanish creoles, by, for example, taking measures to expand trade
• In 1815, João made Brazil a kingdom, no longer just a colony of Portugal
• In 1820, a revolution occurred in Portugal forcing João to return to Lisbon, and he made Portugal a colony again
• João became João VI in 1816, leaving his son Dom Pedro as regent in Brazil, encouraging him to be sympathetic to the political aspirations of the Brazilians
• In September 1822, Dom Pedro embraced Brazilian independence, became emperor of independent Brazil
• They had an imperial form of government until 1889
• The transition of Brazil to an independent country came peacefully because Brazil’s leaders were scared of the destruction that resulted from wars of independence, which they saw in other countries
• They wanted to keep slavery, and the resulting political and social turmoil from a revolution could open up the issue for debate



• Simon Bolivar attempted to unite Latin America as the Republic of Gran Colombia
• Due to lack of education, no past democratic government and a difficult geography the attempt failed
• Caudillos- military leaders
• Oligarchies developed and the gap between the rich and the poor grew

The Monroe Doctrine

  • The Monroe Doctrine was officially issued on December 2, 1823
  • It was issued by President James Monroe.
  • The United States was starting to become a major international power
  • A major act in identifying the United States as a world power and a firm declaration of its international interests
  • The Monroe Doctrine stated: that the Western Hemisphere would no longer be colonized by the European powers
  • The United States did not want Europe to interfere in the Western Hemisphere
  • The United States, in turn, would not interfere with affairs in Europe
  • It was issued at a time when Latin American countries were gaining their independence
  • The United States did not want foreign powers changing this
  • The main objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from foreign intervention and control
  • At this time, the United States was not strong enough to fully enforce it, but Britain backed it up with its navy


Roosevelt Corollary

  • The Roosevelt Corollary was a major amendment to the Monroe Doctrine
  • Issued in 1904 by President Theodore Roosevelt
  • It asserted the right of the United States to intervene in Latin America to help the economies of those countries
  • This was to keep Europe out of affairs in the Western Hemisphere
  • This was somewhat an extension of Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” policy and gunboat diplomacy-in which the United States acted as a type of police watching over Latin America
  • This was later cited as an excuse for the US to be further involved in Latin America
  • Both the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary were basically reversed in the Clark Memorandum -saying that the United States did not have the right to intervene unless there was a serious threat
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt further eliminated it with his “Good Neighbor Policy,”-which allowed Latin American countries more freedom and independence


When did it occur?

• 1898, for 4 months

Why happened?

• After gaining their independence, Latin Americas were ruled by caudillos
• People lacked a voice in government and voting rights were restricted
• The U.S. issued the Monroe Doctrine- saying that American Continents will no longer be colonized
• In 1868 Cuba declared it’s independence and fought Spain for 10 years and then gave up their fight
• Jose Marti reignited the flame and launched a second war
• The US had economic ties with Cuban and objected to Spanish brutality in the nation
• In 1898 the US fought with Cuba for their independence, launching the first attack on the Philippine Islands.

What were the Results?

• In 1901 Cuba was an independent nation
• Spain gave the U.S. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines



· 1898- Cuba was a Spanish colony
· During the Spanish Civil War Cuba asked U.S. for assistance
· America beats Spain, liberates Cuba
· In return, the U.S. receives access to Guantanamo Bay


The Cuban Revolution

· Cuba was under control of Fulgencio Batista
· Batista seized power through a military coup d’état after his term as president ran out
· He helped foreign investors and many Cubans did not benefit from prosperity
· Organized crime and corruption were rampant
· Fidel Castro questioned the regime
· Castro overthrew Batista in the first time that guerrillas had overthrown a military regime
· Castro proclaimed himself premier
· Made discrimination illegal, improved healthcare, public education for all and redistributed wealth
· Lives of the poor greatly improved
· American sugar estates, cattle ranches, and oil refiners were seized
· 1961- U.S. broke off trade relations with Cuba, and placed an embargo on it


Bay of Pigs Invasion-1961

· U.S.’s attempted to overthrow Castro
· A force of 1,800 of Cuban exiles land on the Bay of Pigs on Cuba’s coast
· JFK is embarrassed at the attempt
· Castro captures and exiles force


Cuban Missile Crisis-1962

· U.S. discovers Soviet missiles were placed on Cuban aimed at U.S.
· Kennedy ordered a naval blockade on Cuba
· World stood on brink of WWIII
· Krushchev removes missiles


Today in Cuba

· 1991- Soviets collapse as Cuba’s “Big brother”
· Cuban economy suffered due to the fall
· U.S. embargo on Cuba is still effective
· U.S. citizens can not fly directly into Cuba
· Wet feet, dry feet policy is in effect for immigrants trying to enter into Florida (If they are found in the water, they will be sent back, if they make it to the land without being caught, they can stay)

not everyone agrees with the united states policies


•1936-1970’s-Somoza family dictators ruled • 1979- Sandinistas came to power under Daniel Ortega
• Sandinistas wanted to improve the lives of the people
1970-1980’s-Nicaragua Civil War
• Sandinistas vs. Contras
• Contras were Nicaraguan anti-communists, supported by the U.S.
• 1990-Violetta Chamorro is elected president


El Salvador


•Smallest most densely populated Central American nation • Coffee was a key import
• As the coffee prices in the world declined, the economy declined as well
1970s-Civil War
• Civil war was the result of protests against years of corruption in the country
• 1979- land redistribution program turned privately owned farms into cooperative farms
• The program divided the population into death squads(wealthy land owners) and guerrillas(peasants)
• 70,000 people killed
• Over 500,000 homeless
• 1989-priests and nuns were murdered
• Archbishop Oscar Romero was assassinated while saying mass
• Liberation theology was introduced by catholic priests and nuns who encourage Latin American’s to fight for social justice


Puerto Rico


• 1490s-1890’s-Spanish colony
• Produced sugar and fruit
• As a result of the Spanish American War, Puerto Rico became U.S. territory
• Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth
• Commonwealth- to be associated with a nation with limited rights
• Puerto Rico has rights such as: being U.S. citizens, vote for governor, having a non-voting representative in Congress, and not paying federal income taxes
• For the last 20 years, Puerto Rico has voted on becoming the 51st state
- The people have voted against this



• After gaining their independence Haiti was ruled by military dictators
• The Duvalier family ruled
• 1990-Haiti held their first democratic election
• Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a catholic priest, was elected president
• General Raoul Cedras took power in a coup d’etat
• Too many refugees were entering the United States
• 1994-U.S. intervenes and sends in Naval Ships and ex-president Jimmy Carter to remove Cedras and replace Aristide in power
• Haiti is experiencing economic and political problems
• One of the poorest countries in the world




• Colombia has a one crop economy
• In the 70’s and 80’s coca plants became popular, to make cocaine
• 1990-President Cesar Gaviria redistributed land to help demobilize impoverished peasant guerilla revolts
• Narcoterrorism- the drug lords violence campaigns
• Drug Cartels- gangster organizations on illegal but highly profitable drug trades
• Cartels use their bribery and murder techniques to keep their power
• Pablo Escobar-billion leader of Medellin Cartel, surrendered due to Gaviria’s policies of lenient treatment towards the narcoterrorism
• 1989-United States government gave Colombian government military equipment and advisers to help in the war against cocaine




• Panama is an isthmus, and one of the narrowest pieces of Central America
Panama Canal:
• The French originally began building the canal but came across malaria/yellow fever and stopped
• Panama was owned by Colombia
• President Teddy Roosevelt gave Panama arms to have a revolution and leave Colombian rule
• America found Quinine which prevented malaria, and the U.S. drained the swamps and began building the canal
• December 31st 1999, the U.S. gave Panama back control of the canal
Manuel Noriega:
• President during the 1980’s
• Involved in drug trafficking between the United States and Colombia
• U.S. marines entered, arrested him and he is today in Miami jail




• 1968-1980- many military dictatorships
• Since the 1960’s Peru experienced harsh guerrilla warfare against the government
• The Shining Path- a Maoist organization led by Abimael Guzman in a rebel against corruption, unemployment and discrimination
• Guerrillas killed tens of thousands
• 1990-Alberto Fujimori became president and in 1992 he became dictator
• As his popularity increased the violence decreased
• 1993- Fujimori gave up his power and a new Peruvian Congress came into power
• The United States restored economic aid and Peru paid off debts
• The government sold state-owned electric and phone companies to reduce inflation
• 1994- Peru had the worlds fastest growing economy
• June 1995- Congress and Fujimori passed a broad amnesty for the solders that prevented them from being brought to trial for their past actions




• Since 1958 Venezuela was a civilian-run democracy with the largest oil reserves outside of the Persian Gulf
• 1974-1979-President Carlos Andres Perez used oil revenues to create jobs for the people
• 1988-Perez began a free market austerity program to relieve Venezuela of it’s debt
• 1994- Rafael Caldera Rodriguez became president
• The economy turmoil and Rodriguez introduced price and exchange controls
• Constitutional rights in Venezuela were suspended in 1994
• Hugo Chavez became President of Venezuela in 1998
- Improved the standard of living for the people
- Opposed United States foreign policy
- Promoted unity among Latin American nations
- Gained national control over the country's valuable oil resources and uses this control for diplomatic power.
• The United States is against Hugo Chavez and has had many conflicts with him.




• From 1964-1985 Brazil was ruled by military leaders that were concerned with state guided economic development
• Abertura- political opening, began democratic reforms such as amnesty to critics and opponents, increased freedom of press, and increase in popular elections
• 1985- the military regime ended and in 1989 Fernando Collor de Mello was elected
• In 1992 Mello was removed without military as a solution to a problem, proving strength in democracy
• President Franco came to power and asked Cardoso to develop a economic recovery program for Brazil
• 1995-Congress approved 5 free market amendments to the constitution
• Brazil is an emerging industrial power
• 164 million people live in poverty
• Brazil has the highest deforestation rate in the world
• Deforestation has led to a global issue of carbon dioxide emissions, and loss of biodiversity




· 1993- Mexico joins NAFTA
· President Carlos Salinas de Gortori declared drug trafficking as a national security threat
· Government corruption increased
· 1994- Ernesto Zedillo took charge and worked closely with President Clinton to improve the economy
· Zapatistas- leftist rebels involved in guerilla warfare
· Mexico is experiencing a drug war
· The drug cartels are violent in the streets making life extremely dangerous
· Maquiladoras- American companies operating in Mexico
· The companies are responsible for pollution because they dump toxic



(North American Free Trade Agreement)
• Composed of the nations of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
• Created in the 1990’s
• Purpose was to remove tariffs from trade between each of these three countries.
• This was because if there are no tariffs, Mexican economy would benefit which would cut down on illegal immigration in the US.
• NAFTA took over instead of the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement since it added Mexico to the agreement.