Latin America Cultural Characteristics World Geography WG.4
Indian Civilizations Long before Europeans came to Latin America highly developed civilizations lived in the region.
Millions of people were controlled under three main empires: • Aztec • Inca • Maya
MAYA • Lived on the Yucatan peninsula • Mostly farmers • Developed a calendar using mathematics and astronomy • Spanish paid little attention to them because their land had little gold & silver
TIKAL • Major Mayan settlement • Located in present day Guatemala • The ruins of Tikal include more than 3,000 structures including palaces, temples, ceremonial platforms, ball courts, terraces, plazas, avenues and steam baths
AZTEC • Lived in the central valley of Mexico • Aztec capital was Tenochtitlan which is modern day Mexico City • Had a vast empire that was a military dictatorship which helped the conquistadors (conquers from Spain) take over
INCA • Empire extended from Columbia to Chile in the Andes Mountains • Extensive highway system • Used irrigation, guano, canals, reservoirs & llamas to produce enough food • Harvest was divided into thirds: • 1/3 to priest • 1/3 to ruler • 1/3 to community
Machu Picchu • When discovered in 1911 it was totally covered by vegetation • Used to study astrology • May have been a sacred place for religious ceremonies
TOUR MACHU PICCHU
European Colonization • Spanish conquistadors arrived in Latin America around 1519. • They were in search of Gold, God & Glory • Agriculture was also important . They turned the Indians’ ejidos(communal lands) into large haciendas owned by only the wealthy.
Why were the Europeans able to conquer the Indian empires? 1st: Europeans had guns and horses 2nd: Formed military alliances 3rd: Europeans brought diseases such as smallpox
ROMAN CATHOLICISM • Roman Catholic missionaries tried to convert the Indians over to Christianity. • They established missions in both the city centers and rural areas. • Today Catholicism remains the primary religion in Latin America
MESTIZOS - people of mixed European & Indian ancestry • Spanish and Indian cultures “mixed” in Latin America • Many of the European colonists were men and they got lonely so they “met” Indian women.
Out-Migration • Many Mexicans want to emigrate out of their country. • WHY? Push factors include poverty, pollution & crime • Better jobs are available in the US so Mexicans can send money back to their families
Population Growth The populations of many Latin American countries are growing rapidly. By looking at the population pyramid would you say Venezuela is developed or developing?_______
Rigid Social Structure • It is very difficult to rise up the social ladder • It is similar to India • If you are born poor you will probably be poor the rest of your life • The rich and poor do not mix socially
In the large megacities, squatter settlements are common. Many people live very closely together in homes made of whatever they can find.
Types of Music Music from this region has many African influences • calypso (Trinidad) • steel drum bands (Trinidad) • Listen to Caribbean Music Sample, "S Dwet" • reggae (Jamaica) LISTEN
Many dances also come from Latin America • Salsa (Cuba & Puerto Rico) • Merengue (Dominican Republic)