Latin America study guide terms and questions

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Here are the terms and questions for the latin america study guide for Huebner/ Williams.

isthmus

a narrow strip of land connecting two larger land areas

Name 3 factors that explain Mexico's climate.

1. Pacific subtropical high pressure cell
2. northeast tradewinds
3. elevation

What is unusual about Mexico's rivers?

There aren't many and there is no major river system.

Name the major mineral resources in Mexico.

silver, gold, iron, lead, mercury

What is Mexico's most valuable natural resource?

petroleum

What were the main crops of Mexico's early people?

beans, corn, peppers, squash

What was the capital city of the ancient Aztec empire?

Tenochtitlan

When did Spanish conquistadores come to Mexico?

1519

What unique advantages did the Spanish have that allowed them to conquer the Aztecs?

muskets, horses, and diseases

What was a major motive for Spain to colonize the Americas?

desire for gold and silver

What is the major religion in Mexico?

Roman Catholic

What was one result of the Mexican revolution

Mexico gained its independence from Spain.

What is NAFTA?

North American Free Trade Agreement that lowered tariffs between Canada, Mexico, and the US.

List the four regions of Mexico.

1. Greater Mexico City
2. Central Mexico
3. Gulf Lowlands and Southern Mexico
4. Northern Mexico

maquiladoras

special factories in Mexico owned mainly by American companies

What are the major challenges facing Mexico?

Mexico City has too few jobs so many people live in shacks without electricity and running water. Mexico City also suffers from terrible air pollution. Parts of southern Mexico have inadequate schools and poorly developed telephone communication and transportation.

How large is Mexico City?

It is the second largest urban area in the world after Tokyo.

On what legend did the Aztecs found the town Tenochtitlan?

Their god advised them to build where they saw an eagle eating a snake while perched on a cactus.

What happened to Tenochtitlan when the Spaniards arrived?

The Spaniards destroyed it and built Mexico City on the ruins.

What are some of the cultural and historical features of Mexico City?

Modern skyscrapers tower over Aztec ruins and Spanish colonial buildings. Mexico City's square is where the center of Tenochtitlan one stood. They have old cathedrals and a palace. Chapultepec Park was once used by Aztec emperors.

Describe in detail the environmental problems facing Mexico City.

The motor vehicles and factories release chemicals into the air which result in smog that can burn eyes and throats. People have pumped the wells so heavily that the ground has begun to sink and take the buildings with it.

Why is the land so unstable around Mexico City?

The city lies on a dry lake bed, so the soils underneath are soft and unstable.

What effects have earthquakes had on the city?

An earthquake in 1985 damaged much of Mexico City. This informed people of the environmental issues. Efforts were launched to save the Metropolitan Cathedral and improve the city's air quality.

What are the problems associated with air pollution?

Factories and cars that release chemicals and toxins into the air cause air pollution.

bauxite

mineral that is the ore from which aluminum is made

What are the Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles?

The Greater Antilles include the large islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. They also include the some 700 islands that make up the Bahamas. The Lesser Antilles include more than 20 small island countries and territories. The Greater and Lesser Antilles are the major island groups of the West Indies.

Describe the climate in Central America and the Caribbean.

Tropical wet and dry climates are typical. Temperatures seldom vary more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit between summer and winter. During winter, high pressure generally brings dry weather. A summer rainy season results when low pressure cells begin to move north across the region.

Describe the natural resources of the region.

One of the region's greatest natural resources is the warm and sunny climate, which attracts millions of tourists. Fertile soils and rich fishing grounds are also natural resources found in the region.

What mineral resources are found in this region?

Small gold fields have been discovered throughout Central America. Jamaica has major deposits of bauxite. Cuba and the Dominican Republic produce nickel. Trinidad has oil.

What environmental hazards are in this region?

This region has volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and mud slides.

indigenous

native

cacao

a type of tree from which we get cocoa beans

ecotourism

a type of tourism that focuses on guided travel though natural areas and on outdoor activities

Where do most Central American Indians live?

Guatemala

What crops does Central America depend on?

bananas, sugar, cotton, and cocoa beans

How did the Caribbean come to be called the West Indies?

Christopher Columbus thought he had reached islands off the coast of Asia that Europeans called the Indies, and the name stuck.

Describe and locate the main languages spoken in the Caribbean.

Spanish is spoken in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. English is also an official language in Puerto Rico. French and Creole are official languages of Haiti. Creole is a blend of European, African, or Caribbean Indian languages. In Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, many people speak Papamiento. This creole language combines elements of Spanish, Dutch, and Portugese.

What is the population of the Caribbean?

about 36 million people as of 2000

What is the future of tourism in the region?

Many island leaders see tourism as the great hope for the future economic growth. Tourism takes land that could be used for farming and the jobs are mostly seasonal and have low pay, though. Tourism does bring needed jobs and reduces unemployment.

Llanos

a large plains area in Northeastern Colombia and western Venezuela

Pampas

wide fertile grasslands in southern South America

El nino

ocean and weather patterns in which the Southeastern Pacific Ocean is warmer than usual, affecting regional climates

La nina

an ocean and weather pattern that causes the eastern Pacific Ocean to be colder than normal

Including French Guiana, how many countries are in South America?

13

Where are the Andes Mountains?

They are along South America's Pacific Coast.

What is the Altiplano?

an elevated plain between the two great ranges that the Andes divide into

Name the three great river systems in South America.

*Amazon
*Orinoco
*Parana

What is the world's largest tropical humid climate region?

the Amazon River Basin

Name and describe the five elevation zones of the Andes are.

*Tierra helada- above 16,000 feet (permanently covered with snow)
*Paramo- 10,000 to 16,000 feet (potatoes, grasslands and hardy shrubs, grazing)
*Tierra fria- 6,000 to 10,000 feet (potatoes, wheat, oats, barley, beans, corn, rye)
*tierra templada- 3,000 to 6,000 feet (coffee, corn, wheat, cotton, potatoes, sugar cane, tobacco)
*tierra cliente- sea level to 3,000 feet (bananas, cacao, rice, sugar cane)

What kind of climate does the Patagonia have?

a semiarid and arid climate

What is the driest region in South America?

Atacama desert of Northern Chile and Southern Peru

What country is the largest producer of copper in the world?

Chile

What is Colombia famous for?

emeralds

Where are the largest reserves of oil in South America?

surrounding Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela

When did people first enter South America?

more than 12,000 years ago

When did farming begin in South America?

more than 5,000 years ago

What were the accomplishments of the Inca empire?

*built paved roads and suspension bridges
*terraced fields braced by stone walls
*stone construction

When did the Spaniards, under Francisco Pizarro, conquer the Incas?

in the 1530s

What did the Portugese establish as the key crop in what is now Brazil?

sugar cane

What are the key natural resources in South America?

rich mineral desposits, fertile soils, climates suitable for farming, rivers, rain forests, gold and silver, copper, iron ore, bauxite, and petroleum

What are the main languages spoken in South America?

Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, English, French, Quechua, Guarani, and Portunol

favelas

large slums that surround major cities (in Brazil)

Describe the four major issues facing South America today.

1. loss of the Amazon rainforest because of new farms and ranches
2. soil exhaustion threatens south America's future. Overgrazing and loss of soil nutrients is causing this problem.
3. Political issues also cause conflict. Many South American countries have been involved in border disputes often over areas with valuable resources.
4. Violence is a problem. Terrorism is present in many South American countries, particularly Colombia.

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