Latin America Essay, Research Paper
When someone talks about Latin America the first thing that usually comes to head is a beautiful place that is mostly occupied by poor peasant farmers who don t know much about anything. Maybe the only thing that comes to mind is that its just a nice place to go for vacation, but that is because Latin America is probably unfamiliar to us Americans or we just think we re to good for them. Whatever the reason being for not knowing much about Latin America is just about to change as well as the way you view Latin America.
Latin America is rather large and kind of difficult to pin point since it starts from Mexico s border with the United States of America all the way to a small island called Tierra del Fuego, but I can tell you that it s south of the United States. Latin America also includes all of the Caribbean islands where almost all the countries are suffering of hunger and bad leadership. Brazil and Argentina are two of Latin America s strongest countries because they make up most of the common market where other nations come to trade, buy goods and buy cash crops. There is a lot of fertile land and plantations in Latin America that produce goods such as sugarcanes and tropical fruits. There are places like mountain ranges where people do live, but eventually have to leave because of the conditions so most of those people end up living in the cities and have to find work which is very hard and leads to poverty in the cities. The cities are one of the weirdest places in Latin America simply because of the people and way of life. In the city you can see Lexus parked right next to a donkey and see a millionaire right next to a woman walking barefoot carrying her child and a bucket on her head. These are everyday life occurrences that give you a clue on how things are in Latin America.
Human Life is actually put second in Latin America to working and because of this there is lack of educational and future opportunities. That is a reason for so many emigrants in the U.S; people see that there is no hope for their children so they save up money and come on boats that will free them from their depression.
Latin America is a dominant Roman Catholic region though Protestants are on the rise. The Catholic religion has been around for hundreds of years. There is not just one form of the Catholic faith, but three that were proposed to the Indians when they occupied Latin America that still exist today. The first is what they call the formal Catholicism, which was practiced by the rich, the second form is the nominal Catholicism, which was mostly practiced by the poor, the third form is folk Catholicism, which is a mixture of European Catholicism and non-Catholic belief. There is also another form of folk Catholicism, which is a spiritism form. The Europeans brought all these forms to the Indians.
The history of Latin America mostly consists of Indians only till the Europeans arrived and began to change Latin America forever. The Maya, The Aztec empire, The Inca, The Chibcha they were the owners of Latin America at the time. During this time period Latin America was divided into thousands of groups and they all spoke a different language which separated them and lead to wars. The Aztec Empire was the most advanced and prosperous of all the groups, which made them, very powerful. That made the other groups envious of them and wars were a regular thing. The Maya civilizations were approximately around 3000 B.C in Guatemala, but were not a real force till later on when they like the Aztecs built temples and monuments in beautiful cities. The Chibcha lived in villages in eastern Colombia and though they were not as advanced as the other civilizations they came up with some farming techniques that are still around today. The Inca civilizations lived on the high mountain ranges of southern Peru and Bolivia and like the Chibcha they were not as advanced as the other civilizations, but they did have highways and bridges that are still around today, which shows their worth in their work. Latin America in the days of the Aztec s and Maya s was a place filled with riches (natural resources) like maize (corn), beans, squash, chili peppers, tomatoes, manioc (cassava), sweet potatoes, white potatoes, peanuts, pineapples papayas, avocados, cacao (chocolate), American cotton, and tobacco. For all these crops that made ways to manage it like the inventions of land drainage, terracing, fertilization, crop and land rotations, and intercropping. They also had animals that were around to protect the crops like dogs, guinea pigs, and llamas (relative of a camel) these animals were also used for food when they were hungry even the dogs were eaten.
When the Spaniards arrived on the scene they immediately wanted to change the economy of Latin America and they set up mercantilism that s when the colonies trade with the mother country only. This was a smart move for the Spaniards who got a lot of profit out of this system. All business transactions and money had to be reported to the Spanish. This way of business was a tremendous loss in the long run for all of Latin America and its people simply because people started to lie to the government about business transactions to get more. This was just plain out being gritty, but can you blame the people they were just doing what they had to do to survive.
Now in this day and age Latin America has expanded its way of making money before they basically made their money mostly by food and small businesses, but in the past few years they have been trying to overcome that and become more industrial. There are more educated people around and since the invention of the computer they have been more communicative with other nations and countries. There was barely even a middle class before; you were either a poor peasant or a wealthy person, but now there is an upcoming middle class being developed because of more job opportunities this Computer age has brought them. The economy is just booming compared to the past, but still Latin America stays in debt and trying to figure out ways to make more money to support their poor countries and pay off debts to become one of the most respected and prosperous countries. The reason for their tremendous debt is because of their great plans though it may sound crazy that s just the way it is. Latin America needed money to make there big plans come true so they borrowed money from many banks like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund which left them really under the hole. Just too give you a taste of what its like Brazil and Mexico alone owe $150 billion plus what the other countries so one can only imagine what it s like. Many plans have been proposed to Latin America by other countries government and by their own government but the solution to this burden has yet to be found, but everyone hopes it will be soon because who knows how much longer a nation can go on in such conditions.
Latin America is a fairly large region of land so one can expect a enormous amount of people living their well it actually depends on what time period you re asking about. In the 1500 s the population was a good fifty million which is a rather small number if you compare it to the size of the country. In 1950 four hundred and fifty years later the population grew to one hundred and fifty million, but in the last fifty years the population has soared like the rest of the world to nearly five hundred million. This number is unbelievable, but the reason for this explosion is because Latin America became cleaner and began to control mosquitoes (people hate those) and basically it just became a healthier place to be. This is definitely an issue that has to be handled and watched considering their money problems because if not this can worsen a problem that can not afford to be worsened.
Latin America is a place of great diversity so many cultures have experienced its beauty and hardships, but they all have one thing in common and that is their contributions to making Latin America what it is today. Though it may not be in the best condition at this point it does have a promising future.
1. Understanding Contemporary Latin America by: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. 1997
2. World Regional Geography: a development approach / edited by David L. Clawson, James S. Fisher 6th edition 1998, 1995 by Prentice-Hall, Inc.
BY: EVETTE CASTRO PROFESSOR EDWARDS