Question set for Brady, S. 1999. “An historical geography of the earliest colonial routes across the American isthmus.” Revista Geografica, 126: 121-143.


1. What are the differences between site and situation?



2. What was the situation of the Central American isthmus during the Spanish colonial period?



3. What were the routes, destinations and functions of Spain’s three “maritime lifelines”? 





4. What were the most important ports on the Pacific side of Latin America?



5. What were the most important ports on the Atlantic side of Latin America?



6. You really need to learn the maps in this article.


7. How did Spain’s policies of “colonial exclusivism” and “mercantilism” influence Spain’s colonial transportation network?





8. Learn the three locations, distances and time of discovery of the three primary isthmian crossings.  Look at map 2.


9. What three factors did each of these three crossings share?





10. Skim the section on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It provides context for the discussion of the other two crossings.


11. Describe the site of the Nicaraguan crossing.  Use the terms Mar Dulce and Desaguadero in your description.




12. Which colonial settlements emerged because of the Nicaraguan crossing?  What was the purpose of each?



13. What was Nicaragua’s colonial function?



14. How was the Desaguadero a “two-edged” sword for Nicaragua?



15. How and when did events in California bring the influence of Cornelius Vanderbilt to the Nicaraguan crossing?



16. Describe the crossing at Panama.



17. What discovery made Panama the most important isthmian crossing?



18. Note how Pedrarias was so effective at securing “stimulus funds” from the Spanish crown.



19. Describe Panama’s Atlantic and Pacific ports.



20.  What were cimarrones?



21. When and how did the English force the Spanish to give up on their convoy system?




22. What events revived the Panama crossing?