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Latin America

Latin America. Introduction. Is comprised of 17 countries Share a history of Iberian colonization Multiethnic (Amerindian, Iberian, African) Export of primary goods (eg, coffee, petroleum) Heightened economic integration (eg. FTAA) 75% urban; prevalence of megacities

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Latin America

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  1. Latin America

  2. Introduction • Is comprised of 17 countries • Share a history of Iberian colonization • Multiethnic (Amerindian, Iberian, African) • Export of primary goods (eg, coffee, petroleum) • Heightened economic integration (eg. FTAA) • 75% urban; prevalence of megacities • World’s great reserves of biological diversity (eg. Amazon rain forest, Andes mountains)

  3. Environmental Geography

  4. Western mountains and Eastern shields

  5. The Andes • Created by collision of oceanic and continental plates • Geologically young  volcanism, earthquakes • Geologically complex  rich in minerals • Divided into • Northern: Venezuela, Colombia • Central: Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia • Altiplano • Southern: Chile, Argentina

  6. Elevated plateau straddling the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes • Inhabited mostly by Amerindians • High-altitude lake (Titicaca, Poopó) Altiplano (elevated plain)

  7. The uplands of Mexico and Central America • The Mexican Plateau • Mesa Central (southern end) • Mexico’s breadbasket (eg. Mexico City, Puebla) • The Volcanic Axis of Central America • Stretches from Guatemala to Costa Rica • Many active volcanoes  rich volcanic soil  bulk of the agricultural land (produce beef, cotton, and coffee)

  8. Fertile volcanic soils, ample rainfall, and temperate climate of the Guatemala highlands have supported dense populations for centuries The Volcano Axis of Central America

  9. The Shields Guiana Shield • Large upland areas of exposed crystalline rock • Remnants of the ancient landmass of Gondwanaland • Brazilian shield • Human settlements: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro • Paranã basalt plateau: fertile red soils (terra roxa)  coffee, orange • Patagonian shield • Open steppe country with few settlements  home to wildlife Brazilian shield Paranã basalt plateau Patagonia shield

  10. Brazilian shield Patagonia shield Oranges are widely cultivated due to the fertile soil Wildlife (Guanacos) thrives on the steppe

  11. River Basins and Lowlands Orinoco basin Amazon basin • Amazon basin • Largest river system by volume and area • Year-round precipitation • Sparse settlement • Plata basin • Rivers: Paranã, Paraguay, Uruguay • Grassland: Chaco, Pantanal, pampas • Large-scale mechanized agriculture Plata basin

  12. River Basins and Lowlands Orinoco basin Amazon basin • Orinoco basin • Llanos • Tropical grassland • Has supported large cattle ranches • Now becomes the area of petroleum production Plata basin

  13. Tropical humid climates Mirror image of mid-latitude climates in the northern hemisphere Tropical, dry, temperate, and highland climates

  14. Tropical climates • Tropical lowlands in the east of the Andes • Support forest or savanna • Average monthly temperatures show little variation • Unlike tropical wet climate (Af), tropical savanna climate (Aw) has a dry season

  15. Dry climates • Can be found in • The Pacific coasts of Peru and Chile • Patagonia • Northern Mexico • Bahia of Brazil

  16. Temperate climates • Humid subtropical (Cfa) • Argentina, Uruguay, and parts of Paraguay and Chile • Mediterranean (Csb) • Around Santiago, Chile • Marine west coast (Cfb) • South of Conceptión, Chile

  17. Altitudinal Zonation • Changes in temperature by elevation (-3.5 °F for every 1000 feet; also known as environmental lapse rate) • Changes in vegetation by elevation – plant communities common to the midlatitudes could thrive in the tropics at higher elevations

  18. Altitudinal Zonation • Tropical highland areas support a complex array of ecosystems • The Andes, the highlands of Central America, the Mexican Plateau

  19. El Niño • Warm pacific current that usually arrives along coastal Ecuador and Peru in December, around Christmastime • Occurs every decade or so • Produces torrential rains • Causes drought

  20. Natural Hazards

  21. Environmental issues • The Valley of Mexico • Air pollution  thermal inversion layer traps pollutants in the high altitude • Water • Shortage: water is overdrawn from valley’s aquifer • Contamination: pollutant run off into the soil, which leach into the aquifer • Subsidence  reliance on ground water • Worsened by poverty and governmental inaction

  22. Air pollution in Mexico City • High elevation and immense size make management of air quality difficult

  23. Deforestation • The Atlantic coastal forests of Brazil, and the Pacific forests of Central America have nearly disappeared as a result of • Agriculture/Settlement • Rather seen as an agricultural frontier • Cleared to appease landless peasants • Ranching • Grassification – conversion of tropical forest into pasture • Etc. • Search for gold (Brazil, Venezuela, and Costa Rica) • Coca leaf production (Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia)

  24. Degradation of farmlands • Agricultural productivity has declined in recent decades due to increased aridity and severe soil erosion • Modern agriculture is squeezing out indigenous crops

  25. Urban environmental challenges • Pollution, inadequate water, garbage removal • Squatter settlements – more vulnerable to natural hazards • Industrial pollution • Eg. Cubatão 1984 oil pipeline explosion

  26. Environmental issues

  27. Population and Settlement

  28. Sparsely populated, youthfulness of population, urbanized • High variation between urban and rural countries

  29. The Latin American city • Rural-to-urban migration since 1950 • 1950: 25%  2000: 75% • Preference for urban life • Cultural: Under Iberian rule, residence in a city conferred status and offered opportunity • Economic: primary role in structuring regional economies • Urban primacy • A country has a primate city three to four times larger than any other city in the country • Eg. Lima, Caracas, Guatemala City, Santiago, Buenos Aires, and Mexico City • Decentralizing effort: Ciudad Guayana, Brasilia

  30. Latin American city model

  31. Latin American city model • Reflects colonial origins and contemporary growth • Colonial origins - existence of CBD(Central Business District) • Contemporary growth • Zone of Maturity, and In Situ Accretion are radiated out from CBD • Residential quality declines as one move from core to periphery • Highlights the class divisions • Elite spine – newer commercial and business strip that extends from the colonial core to newer parts of the city • Peripheral squatter settlements – straddles the periférico (beltway highway); limited services and infrastructure; resulted from (1) rapid inflow of migrants (2) inability of government to meet presseing needs

  32. CBD(central business district) Elite Spine (new commercial center)

  33. Peripheral Squatter Settlements Elite Residential Sector

  34. Informal sector • Economic sector that relies on self-employed, low-wage jobs (eg. street vending, shoe shining, and artisan manufacturing) that are unregulated and untaxed • Often includes illegal activities such as drug smuggling, sale of contraband items such as illegally copies videos and apes, and prostitutions • Fundamental force that houses, services, and employs the inhabitants of squatter settlements • Effort of the urban poor to make a place for themselves

  35. Patterns of rural settlement • Under the colonial rule • Colonial authorities granted land to the colonists • Latifundia: practice of maintaining large estates • Minifundia: peasants farmed small plots for their subsistence • Political turmoil in 20th century • Agrarian reform – redistribution of lands • Creation of agricultural frontiers • provides peasants with land • Taps unused resources • Shores up political boundaries

  36. Population growth • High growth rates throughout the 20th century • Natural increase • Immigration • Increasing life expectancy • Growth rates have weakened in the late 20th century • TFR has declined (except for rural countries) due to : • Increased participation of women in the labor force • Higher education levels of women • State support of family planning • Better access to birth control

  37. Migration to Latin America • European migration • After gaining independence from Iberia (1870-1930), government attracted European peasants to populate • The Southern Cone countries (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil) • Italian, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Germans • Asian migration • Mid 19th century: Chinese, and Japanese • Eg. Japanese in Peru, Japanese-Brazilian orange farms • Latest: South Korea

  38. International migration in Latin America • Employment opportunities • Venezuela’s oil wealth in 1960s and 1970s • Argentina attracts Bolivian and Paraguayan laborers • U.S. attracts Mexican laborers • Political turmoil • Chilean intellectuals in the 1970s • Nicaraguans in 1979 • Civil war in El Salvador and Guatemala

  39. Transnationalism • Phenomenon in which migrants maintain close contact with their home country • Develop vital immigrant social networks in host countries

  40. Principal Latin American migration flows • Interregional • To frontier zones • International within Latin America • To Venezuela, Argentina • International outside Latin America • To U.S. • To Europe

  41. Cultural Coherence and Diversity

  42. Cultural identity • Precontact period: civilization in the central Mexico, and the Andes • Since 1500s: forced assimilation of European culture • Religion, language, political organization • Dominance of European culture is explained by the demographic collapseof native populations The Pyramid of the Sun, near Mexico City – pre-Aztec Machu Picchu, Peru – Inca

  43. Demographic Collapse • Dramatic loss of indigenous population • 47 million (1500)  5 million (1650) cf. 42 million in western Europe (1500) • Causes are • Epidemics of influenza and smallpox • Warfare • Forced labor • Starvation due to a collapse of food production systems

  44. The Columbian Exchange • An immense biological swap that occurred after Columbus came; exchange of crops and animal between Old World and New World • Introduction of Old World crops • wheat, olives, grapes; sugarcane, coffee • Introduction of New World crops • potato, corn, tomato, squash • eg, Europe’s rapid population increase in 18th century • Introduction of Old World animals • Introduces Animal-borne disease; used for plowing; wool; diversity to diet

  45. Indian survival • Largest indigenous populations can be found in Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia • Occurs in isolated settings through the link to land • Amerindians’ political control • Eg. Comarcas in Panama – areas of land set aside for indigenous Amerindians • Eg. The first Amerindian president in Peru

  46. Complex ethnic blend • Racial mixing is the norm • Mestizo: Spaniard + Indian • Mulattoes: European + African • Racial caste system under Spanish rule: • Blanco (European ancestry) • Mestizo (mixed ancestry) • Indio (Indian ancestry) • Negro (African ancestry)

  47. Languages • 2/3 Spanish • 1/3 Portuguese in Brazil • Indigenous languages in the Central Andes, Mexico, and Guatemala

  48. Religions • 90% Roman Catholic • Syncretic religions • Blends of different belief systems • Animist practices + Christian worship Churches are important religious and social centers in Latin America

  49. Machismo and Marianismo • Cultural traits assigned to men and women • Machismo • Honor, risk-taking, self-confident • Marianismo • Patient, loving, gentle, willing to suffer in silence, keeper of home, nurturers of childen, deferential to husbands • Fading stereotype

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