Latin America Terms

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Andes Mountains

the world's longest mountain chain, stretching along the west coast of South America

Llanos

plains region of eastern Colombia and western Venezuela

Cerrado

closed, savannaa with flat terrain with moderate rainfall that make them suitable for farming

Pampas

the vast grassy plains of northern Argentina

Orinoco River

a South American river 1,500 miles long

Amazon River

a major South American river, the second longest river in the world and one of its three major river systems, running about 4,000 miles from west to east and emptying into the atlantic ocean

Parana River

a South American river, a river in central south america and one of its three major ribver systems, originating in the highlands of southern brazil traveling about 3,000 miles south and west.

Rain forest

a forest region located in the Tropical Zone with a heavy concentration of different species of broadleaf trees.

Slash and Burn

a farming method involving the cutting of trees, then burning them to provide ash-enriched soil for the planting of crops

Terraced Farming

a technique of growing crops in step-like fields cut into hillsides or mountain slopes

Push Factors

negative conditions and perceptions that induce people to leave their adobe and migrate to a new location

Pull Factors

positive conditions and perceptions that effectively attact people to new locations from other areas

Infrastructure

the stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area

Spanish conquest

Christopher Columbus convinced the King of Spain to sponsor his voyage to Asia by the Atlantic Ocean, and thus found the Americas. The Spanish took control of the Indians and began converting them to Catholicism. Soon, the Spanish slave trade started. Disease and malnutrition decimated the Indian population. In 1809, La Paz, Bolivia signed a declaration of independence from Spain. Revolutions fueled by this declaration as well as the French and American Revolutions spread across the American Spanish colonies. All colonies except Cuba and Puerto Rico freed themselves. in 1898 The United States won the Spanish-American war, ending all remaining Spanish rule in the Americas.

Tenochtitlan

Capital of the Aztec Empire, located on an island in Lake Texcoco. Its population was about 150,000 on the eve of Spanish conquest. Mexico City was constructed on its ruins.

Institutional Revolutionary Party

the most powerful political party in Mexico from the 1920s to 2000, which won every presidential election during that time

Mestizo

a person of mixed racial ancestry (especially mixed European and Native American ancestry)

Maquiladoras

The term given to zones in northern Mexico with factories supplying manufactured goods to the U.S. market. The low-wage workers in the primarily foreign-owned factories assemble imported components and/or raw materials and then export finished goods.

NAFTA

A trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico that encourages free trade between these North American countries.

Cultural Hearth

A center where cultures developed and from which ideas and traditions spread outward.

United Provinces of Central America

the name of Central America after the region declared independence from Mexico in 1823

Panama Canal

Ship canal cut across the isthmus of Panama by United States Army engineers; it opened in 1915. It greatly shortened the sea voyage between the east and west coasts of North America. The United States turned the canal over to Panama on Jan 1, 2000 (746)

Calypso

The beautiful nymph who falls in love with Odysseus when he lands on her island-home of Ogygia. Calypso holds him prisoner there for seven years until Hermes, the messenger god, persuades her to let him go.

Reggae

a style of music that developed in Jamaica in the 1960s and is rooted in African, Caribbean, and American music, often dealing with social problems and religion.

Informal economy

Economic activity that is neither taxed nor monitored by a government; and is not included in that government's Gross National Product; as opposed to a formal economy

Inca

a member of the small group of Quechuan people living in the Cuzco valley in Peru who established hegemony over their neighbors to create the great Inca empire that lasted from about 1100 until the Spanish conquest in the early 1530s

Quechua

the language of the Quechua which was spoken by the Incas

Mercosur

South American organization whose purpose is to expand trade, improve transportation, and reduce tariffs among member countries

Treaty of Tordesillas

Set the Line of Demarcation which was a boundary established in 1493 to define Spanish and Portuguese possessions in the Americas.

Carnival

a festival marked by merrymaking and processions

Samba

a form of canasta using three decks and six jokers

Capoeira

a martial art and dance that developed in Brazil from Angolans who were taken there by the Portuguese from Africa

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