What does Iberian mean?
Spanish & Portuguese.

What cultural traits does this region share with South America? Roman Catholicism, language

Why is this an individual realm and not simply included in a large Latin American region?
cultural-geographical pluralism


Memorize the “Major Qualities of Middle America.”

Island Chains

p. 139 Learn the italicized terms and find them on the map on the preceding pages.
Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, archipelago,

What makes the archipelago a  hazardous region?
volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes


 What is a culture hearth?   Why is it important for this realm?  Which cultures inhabited this culture hearth?
source area from which new ideas radiated and whose population could expand and make significant material and intellectual progress.  This realm contained the hearth called Mesoamerica.   Aztecs and Maya

The Lowland Maya

What environmental characteristics make the Maya special?
the Maya is the only civilization that developed in the lowland tropics.

What’s a lingua franca and a theocracy?  What were the Maya achievements?
official language (Latin and Nahuatl for example) used by peoples who speak a multitude of different languages; state ruled by religious leaders
urbanization, writing, math, astronomy, agriculture (cotton, cacao) and trade...


What were Aztec achievements?
Primarily borrowers and refiners, accomplishments include: irrigation, terraces, diverse agricultural production, urban centers, water control,...


What allowed Cortés to succeed?
Disunity in empire, religion, differing strategies of warfare...


Effects of the Conquest

What was the impact of Spanish conquest on Amerindians?
decline in population, rapid deforestation, grazing, crop substitution, urbanization of Indians

 Why are colonial towns easy to navigate?
grid pattern

How did the Spanish change the distribution of Amerindians?
  concentrated rural peoples in towns and cities.

You are a conquistador.  How do you get rich in Middle America?
trade, commercial ag, ranching, mining


Where were the foci of Spanish activities and settlement?
  Mexico, Panama; Pacific side of isthmus

Learn the Mainland-Rimland Framework.  Find it on the map.  Memorize it.

Which of the two -lands is most interesting to you?  Which would you most want to visit?  Why?

The Hacienda

What’s a hacienda?  Where were they?  If you were an Indian on one, what was your life like?  What  did you do?
Vast, Spanish-derived rural estate, indigenous subsistence farmers, inefficient production, prestige, cattle; 

The Plantation

What were the 5 characteristics of a plantation?  How was it different  from a hacienda?
  1. humid tropical, coastal lowlands,  2. single crop production for export, 3. foreign ownership, investment and profit, 4. seasonal, imported labor, 5. "factory-in -the-field", more efficient than hacienda


Characterize the variety in Caribbean Middle America.
  Hispanic, African, French, British, Dutch...A gumbo of different cultural traditions

 Trace the political development of the region.
  1804-end of 1820s = independence from Europeans powers spreads throughout the region
Monroe Doctrine: Limit Europe influence in region;
Late 19th century: US = major force in region (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama)
Some islands get independence as late as 1960s; some remain overseas territories of European countries

THE CARIBBEAN BASIN (starts p. 157)

What is the general human condition in Caribbean Middle America?
  persistent poverty, difficult, short lives
Characterize the past and present influences of the plantation (sugar) economy on the region.
Amerindians, Africans, Planters' profits, loss of monopoly, population growth, migrations of unemployed workers

What  motivated Castro?  Think about the region as a whole.
  lack of local autonomy, persistent local poverty

Problems of Widespread Poverty

Why does the region remain so poor?  Think about markets and dependency. 
Trapped in global economy in which their role is to provide low value materials (ag produce, minerals) and low wage labor to wealthy countries

What are urban areas like in the region?  Why? 
Miserable conditions; over population caused by high RNIs and rural -urban migration of past 50 years, stagnant economies

Why does reggae music and Bob Marley seem appropriate for this region?
  Marley was a protest singer.  He captured the region's difficult circumstances in his songs.

Ethnicity and Advantage

Learn the color ranking of the region.  What is a plural society? 
  White, mulatto, black

Tourism: Promising alternative?

Explain the title of this section?
  Tourism provides some of the region's best jobs.  Yet it intensifies the disparities in living standards


MEXICO (Starts at p. 145)

Compare Mexico’s population to the rest of the realm.
  Larger than combined populations of the rest of realm's countries.

Where are the Mexicans?  Why?  Mexico City ?
  >1/2 of population inhabit a belt from Veracruz to Guadalajara

Why is transculturation used to characterize Mexico’s population?
  a two-way exchange of culture traits between societies in close contact

Revolution and its Aftermath

 What was the purpose of the 1910 revolution?  What was the land ownership pattern?
  redistribution of land.  95% of rural families owned no land

 What factors caused the recent unrest in Chiapas?
  poverty, NAFTA, lack of land redistribution, privatization law

The Changing Geography of Economic Activity

 What  recent agreement furthered the transformation?  Why? 
NAFTA.  It reduced trade barriers between Mexico and the US, and forced Mexico to reduce protectionist economic policies.

 What shocks followed?  Why?
  Devaluation of the peso-recession.


Characterize Mexican agriculture.
  Central plateau = domestic production
Arid north = irrigated, mechanized export production (cotton, wheat, winter fruits and vegetables)
Gulf Coast = cattle

Energy resources

 What is the record of PEMEX?
  PEMEX is the government-run petroleum development corporation.  It manages Mexico's massive oil and natural gas reserves.  It has been plagued by mismanagement.  However, it did fuel Mexico's industrialization?

What and where are maquiladoras?  Why are they there? Fig. 4-11
Border area factories that assemble imported, duty-free components and raw materials into finished industrial products; cheap labor, close to large US market


Uneven Regional Development

Write 2-3 sentences that explain the title of this section
  Mexico's industrial growth is focused in a triangle of land that extends from Mexico City to the border.  This region made the difference in the defeat of the PRI.  The Mexicans in this triangle experience benefits of growth that most of the rest of the country does not.

NAFTA and Continuing Challenges

Why did we bail them out?  What about Mexican exports?
Because they are becoming an increasingly important trade partner; oil, immigrants

What are the challenges?
  Immigration (jobs), Chiapas, drug trade, devolution


How large?  Where are the people?   What do those italicized terms mean)?
  uplands and lowlands close to Pacific coast, Panama canal zone. altitudinal zonation

What are the problems?
  same as rural Mexico, especially population growth, ability to feed itself and rise of criminal gangs

Emergence from a Turbulent Era

What was the root of the turbulence?
  inequities, repressive govts, external interference, armed forces


Learn Guatemala, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.


How is Belize different?  How is that changing?  What are recent developments in the economy? 
small, African, British; migrations making it an increasingly Hispanic country; off-shore banking, eco-tourism

Honduras (my second home)

Why was/is it strategic?  What is its economy?
  Between El Salvador and Nicaragua; Export agriculture and some maquiladoras

El Salvador

 How is it exceptional?  What is its export crop?  Why the civil war?
most densely peopled; coffee, subjugated agricultural peasants and left wing intellectuals revolted against military-supported landowners


What’s the history of turmoil?  What are the economic prospects?
A dictatorial govt. supported by the small, wealthy land-owning minority, and a foreign-owned plantation system spur a revolt by leftist Sandinista rebels in 1970s.

Current prospects are not good. The country has gone from being one of the richest in the region to being one of the poorest.  Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of the infrastructure. The planned dry canal to replace Panama Canal is only a pipe dream currently.

Costa Rica

 Why exceptional?  What’s its physical geography?  What’s the basis of its economy and political stability?
 Environmental zones that parallel the coasts: two tierra caliente zones, central volcanic highlands (Meseta Central). Because it has a durable democracy, no standing army, relatively standard of living, high literacy, ...

 Why strategic?  US interests?  US history? 
Because of the presence of the canal. Supported Panama's independence from Colombia, built the canal, occupied the Canal Zone, 1989 invasion, US military withdrawal 1999.