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Latin America. Geographic Area Spans the continents of North and South America LATIN AMERICA is a culture region. The people in this region have “culture”

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Presentation on theme: "Latin America. Geographic Area Spans the continents of North and South America LATIN AMERICA is a culture region. The people in this region have “culture”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Latin America

2 Geographic Area Spans the continents of North and South America LATIN AMERICA is a culture region. The people in this region have “culture” in common.

3 What does Latin America mean? Called Latin America because two main languages in the region (Spanish & Portuguese) are derivatives of Latin. Spanish Portuguese Why is Brazil the only Portuguese- speaking country? - It was the only colony of Portugal in the region

4 Sub-Regions of Latin America 4 sub-regions: –Mexico –Central America –Caribbean –South America Southernmost tip is Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), which is close to Antarctica

5 Physical Features Most of Latin America lies between Tropic of Cancer & Tropic of Capricorn –Wide range of latitudes, climates, landforms, & vegetation Latin America is rich in its natural landscape

6 Andes Mts. Serve as barrier to movement into the interior, resulting in majority of population living on eastern & northern coasts Home to ancient Incas in Peru Rockies, Sierra Madres, & the Andes are all apart of the same mountain chain

7 Rivers in Latin America Relied upon heavily in South America –Transportation inland, food production, water Why not needed as much in Central America or the Caribbean? Already located close to major bodies of water Major rivers include: Amazon Orinoco Parana

8 Amazon River Flows west to east for about 4,000 miles –2 nd largest river in the world after the Nile –Carries more water than any other river – more than next 7 rivers combined Starts in the high mountains of the Andes & empties into the Atlantic Ocean Home to the Amazon Rainforest

9 Amazon Rainforest Piranha

10 Other Water Features Lake Titicaca Lake Orinoco Angel Falls Parana River

11 Llanos Grassy, treeless land used for grazing livestock & farming Located in Venezuela & Colombia

12 Human Geography 2 major themes throughout region: –Language (primarily Spanish) –Religion (primarily Roman Catholic Christian) Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro

13 Pre-Columbian Latin America Pre-Columbian refers to the time before Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas & modified its history Latin America was home to a number of advanced cultures & empires The Aztecs built a powerful empire based on brutal conquest & a ritual of human sacrifice

14 The Mayans The Mayans built great cities in the Yucatan in Mexico and in Guatemala. They “disappeared” around 1500.



17 The Incas How did geography affect the location and communication in their empire? The Incas of South America built a vast empire. Macchu Picchu






23 The Aztecs Tenochitlan Ancient civilization in modern-day Mexico, built among Lake Texcoco. An advanced society based around religious traditions such as human sacrifice

24 Spanish Exploration Financed by the Spanish monarchy, an Italian navigator, named Columbus, set sail west to find a more direct route to the “east” for goods such as spices. –Columbus used Ptolemy’s calculations & maps to navigate –What problem did this pose?

25 Post-Columbian America Upon discovery of the “New World,” other European nations set expeditions to colonize the area –Most fell under Spanish rule –France & England also claimed territory in the Caribbean Spanish Empire in the Americas Cortez led an expedition in the 1500s to the area, leading to the collapse of the Aztec empire Pizzaro conquered the Incas

26 Spain vs. Portugal So, why does Brazil speak Portuguese and not Spanish? 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas was signed between Spain & Portugal, both major colonial powers at the time The treaty devised a “line,” called the Tordesillas Meridian,and gave everything to the east to Portugal & to the west to Spain

27 Post-Columbian America Christian Europeans clashed with the ancient civilizations & their belief in sacrifice & cannibalism Most people became Roman Catholic, the religion of the Spanish monarchy, & it remains the dominant religion in Latin America

28 Columbian Exchange An exchange of commodities between Old & New Worlds –Foods, peoples, diseases, & ideas –European diseases caused the death of most native populations (due to lack of exposure to germs)

29 Goods of Columbian Exchange Old World foods: –Lemon, okra, white rice, cabbage New World foods: –Potatoes, coffee, chocolate, corn Europeans brought steel & superior weapons Also, diseases like smallpox

30 Plantation Era European settlers dominated native populations, forcing them to work on plantations in brutal conditions Because of its tropical climate, Latin America was used by its colonial powers to harvest plantation crops: –Sugar cane, coffee, bananas, etc

31 African Slaves Lack of adequate labor forced Europeans to bring over African slaves to work on the plantations –To this day, on many islands, the majority population is “African American”

32 Modern Plantations Plantation crops are still essential to the economies of Latin American countries Most plantations are owned by foreign companies who hire locals to harvest the crops for very little money!

33 Latin America Today Today, much of Latin America is still mired in poverty. Reasons include colonialism, corrupt governments, and in many cases simple Geography.


35 Latin America Today Countries such as Mexico and Venezuela have tapped in to vast oil reserves to increase the economic wealth of their countries, although the wealth has not trickled down to most of the population.

36 Latin America Today Today, tourism is a major source of income in the Caribbean Islands and much of Central America and Mexico. Hotels and resorts can bring wealth, but there is still a predominance of poverty for the average people.


38 Every country in Latin America is below the magic latitude line. What assumptions can you make as a result of that fact?

39 Latin America Today While some countries have more wealth than others (Mexico, Brazil, Chile, compared to Bolivia, Haiti) all countries of Latin America are considered a part of the developing world.


41 Like most of the developing world, Latin America is a land of potential wealth that has yet to be realized.

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