Presentation on theme: "Central America and the Caribbean Islands Central American History, Culture and Today."— Presentation transcript:
Central America and the Caribbean Islands Central American History, Culture and Today
Early History In several of the central american countries, maya were present building cities with temples and pyramids. By 900 AD, the maya abandoned their cities and almost disappeared. People of maya descent live in Belize and Guatemala today and the customs still influence the region today.
Early History In the 1500’s, the entire region would come under control of Europeans – here mainly Spain. Belize was a British colony. The Spanish established large plantations growing tobacco, sugarcane and cotton and opened gold mines, employing the natives to perform the labor until they were worked to death or succumbed to white men’s diseases. Then Africans will take their place. This system would become the norm in New Spain.
Central America Since Independence The Spanish colonies of Central America declared their independence from Spain in 1821. They remained together as the United Provinces of Central America until Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala separated in 1838-9. Panama remained a part of Columbia until 1903. Belize would gain independence from Britain much later in 1981.
Central America Since Independence For most of Central America, things would not change as the Spanish left wealthy landowners behind to run the economies – plantation crops of coffee and bananas will be the economic anchor to the region.
Economy In the early 1900’s, the American company, United Fruit Company, controlled most of the banana production. They built railways and ports that would help transportation and communication in the region. Some resented the foreign investments feeling it was wrong for so few to own so much, while so many struggled to live.
Struggles In the mid to late 1900’s, demands for reform led to armed conflict in Guatemala El Salvador and Nicaragua. It has been in the last few years that peace has been attained.
Culture: People and Languages Most of the people that live in Central America are mestizos. Native Maya ancestors live in the highlands of Guatemala. People of African descent are also prominent and most live along the Caribbean coast.
Languages In some of the countries of Central America, many still speak native languages. In some places, Belize for instance, English from their colonial heritage is spoken. However, Spanish is the official language in most countries and the Spanish colonial influence is noticeable.
Religion, Festivals and Food Catholicism is the main religion of the region – Spanish missionaries converting the Natives adds to this. Indian traditions have influenced the Catholic way in the region. Protestants are becoming big in areas like Belize.
Festivals and Food Saint Day Celebrations are big in Central America and Easter celebration is very important. Towns are fancifully decorated and people carry images pf saints on parades. During these celebrations, people eat traditional foods like corn, peppers, tomatoes and cacao.
Today: Guatemala Guatemala us the most populous of the countries with 13 million people. 60% ar mestizos and Europeans and 40% are Native Americans. Most live in small villages in the highland region.
Today Guatemala Fighting between the government and rebels killed 200,000 people between 1960 and 1996. The Guatemalans are still recovering. Coffee grows well in the highlands and is the most important crop. The spice cardamom is also grown.
Today Belize Belize has the smallest population. They do not have much land or agriculture, but ecoturism – the practice of using a countries natural environment to attract tourists – has become popular. Coral reefs, Mayan ruins and coastal resorts are all popular with tourists
Today Honduras Honduras is a mountainous country and most of the people live in the mountains. The rugged land makes it difficult to get around or grow crops. Citrus fruits and bananas are important exports.
Today El Salvador In El Salvador, a few rich people own most of the land. A civil war raged through the 1980’s and killed many and hurt the economy. Since 1992, El Salvadorans have been rebuilding the country using the fertile soil and exporting crops like coffee and sugarcane.
Today Nicaragua Nicaragua has been rebuilding since the end of its civil war. in 1979, A group called the Sandinistas overthrew the dictator. Many Nicaraguans supported the Sandinistas But the US government aided other rebels to fight the Sandinistas for power. The war ended in 1990 when elections ended Sandinista rule and created a democracy.
Today Costa Rica Unlike most of Central America, Costa Rica has enjoyed a long history of peace. It also has a stable, democratic government. Not having an army allows the country to use funds to reduce poverty. Crops like bananas and coffee are important and tourism to the rainforests aid the economy.
Today Panama Panama is the narrowest, southernmost country in Central America. Most people live near the Panama Canal. Canal fees and local industries make this region the countries most prosperous.
Today Panama The Panama Canal provides a link from Pacific to Atlantic. The French started the canal and the US finished it in 1914. The US controlled the canal until 1999 when it was given to Panama as agreed to in an earlier treaty.
To Sum Up … Exit: Why do you think Panama wanted control of the canal? Stay Tuned Nest Time for The Caribbean Islands.