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history of Latin America, history of the an ar from the pre-Columbian period and including colonization by the Spanish and also Portuguese beginning in the 15th century, the 19th-century battles of independence, and breakthroughs to the finish of the 20th century.


Did Chile obtain its self-reliance in 1818? walk the Incan civilization rule over ancient Mexico? Sort truth from fiction in this journey through Latin America.

Since the Spanish and also Portuguese aspect looms so huge in the background of the region, that is occasionally proposed that Iberoamerica would be a better term than Latin America. Latin seems to suggest an equal prestige of the French and Italian contributions, i beg your pardon is much from gift the case. Nevertheless, consumption has fastened ~ above Latin America, and also it is kept here.

This article treats the background of Latin America indigenous the an initial occupation by europeans to the late 20th century, through an initial factor to consider of the indigenous and also Iberian background. Because that more-detailed coverage that the area before European contact, see pre-Columbian civilizations. For added information around the european exploration and colonization the Latin America, see colonialism. Because that information about the individual nations of central America and South America as well as the Romance-language-speaking Caribbean countries, see details country articles by name: for main America, seeBelize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and also Panama; for southern America, see Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana (a départément that France), Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and also Venezuela; and, because that the Caribbean, see Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and also Haiti. See also the write-ups on the dependencies and constituent entities Guadeloupe, Martinique, and also Puerto Rico. The physical and also human geography of the continents, through some historic overview, are noted in the posts North America and South America. There is additionally a separate short article Latin American literature. For conversation of significant cities of Latin America and also their histories, see particular articles through name—e.g., Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City.

The background

Though the conditions of pre-Columbian America and 15th-century Iberia are past the border of Latin American history proper, they must be given consideration in that connection. Not just did the location of precontact America persist, but both the brand-new arrivals and the indigenous inhabitants lengthy retained your respective basic characteristics, and it was the fit between them that determined many facets of Latin American evolution.

The indigenous world and also the native “Indian”

From the moment of Columbus and the late 15th century forward, the Spaniards and also Portuguese dubbed the peoples of the ameri “Indians”—that is, residents of India. Not just is the hatchet erroneous through origin, yet it did no correspond come anything in the mental of the aboriginal people. They had no word definition “inhabitant of the western Hemisphere,” and most of them seem not to have adopted any equivalent also after century of contact. Any type of such word refers to commonalities seen from the outside and not to any type of unity regarded by the citizens of the americas themselves. The indigenous peoples were considerably varied, far more so than the Europeans; lock were spread out over a substantial area and only faintly aware of each various other from one significant region to the next.

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Nonetheless, the native peoples had several points in common. Lock were closely related come one an additional in organic terms, and also their languages, despite they can not be presented to have a usual origin, have tendency to share plenty of general features. All mutual an isolation from the great mass of mankind inhabiting Eurasia and also Africa, who were in some way in contact with one another. The inhabitants of America every lacked immunities to diseases typical in Europe and Africa. They had some impressive innovations to their credit, including the trained plants of Mesoamerica and the Andes, but all had actually been kept apart from points that had actually long because spread over much of the rest of the globe, consisting of steel, firearms, horses, rolled vehicles, long-distance shipping, and alphabetic writing. As a result, the native peoples, when in contact, were very vulnerable to the outsiders. Epidemics raged where intruders appeared; v their materials and techniques the Europeans to be able to conquer whenever they felt it imperative to execute so. Over there is, then, in ~ times, a need for a typical term, and also if one realizes the limitations, “Indian” may do as well as another.