A Brief History of Central America / Edition 2

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Central America is a small region, broken into seven even smaller nations. Yet, more than 5 million North Americans visit these countries annually, exploring Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Belize, discovering the rain forests of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, snorkeling in Honduras, and cruising through the Panama Canal. A Brief History of Central America explores the history of the Central American isthmus from early pre-Columbian cultures to the contemporary nations that make up the region today: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Written for a general audience, the history focuses on seminal events and broad cultural patterns that have shaped the region. Special themes, such as the causes of unity and disunity on the isthmus and the economic pressures on the rain forest from farming and tourism, are developed throughout the book.

Coverage also includes: The Land and Its First Peoples, The Spanish Conquest, Life in the Colony, The Federation of Central America, The Making of the Coffee Republics, Challenge to the Old Order, Civil Wars, The Challenge of Peace and Democracy. Basic facts, a chronology, a bibliography, and a list of suggested reading make up the appendixes.

About the Author:
Lynn V. Foster is a writer and former research scholar and an adjunct faculty member in the Hispanic Studies Department of the University of Massachusetts in Boston

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Editorial Reviews

This short but comprehensive history of the Central American isthmus is scholarly in its depth of research, with an abundance of details and an attractive format. The easy-to-read text offers descriptive close-ups of influential people, events, and trends; quotations and excerpts from historical and literary sources; and dozens of illustrations. In thirteen chapters, Foster paints a riveting picture of the history and cultural evolution of this region, from its geological formation three million years ago to its colonization by Spain, the gradual process that divided it into separate national entities, and its zenith today. The seven modern, independent, multicultural nations of Central America each face political, economic, and environmental challenges, but each is committed to democratic principles. Foster presents fascinating insights on subjects as varied as Fray Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish priest and protector of the natives; the great Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario; Salvadoran women's rights activist, Prudencia Ayala; and Guatemalan Nobel Peace Prize-winner, Rigoberta Menchu. Descriptions of Mayan cities and their sophisticated architecture, regional writers and artists, environmental problems, and the United States military presence in the area further enliven the book. Individual appendixes for each country give the basic facts. Although not an in-depth study, this handy reference volume is ideal for students. It is well documented, interesting to read and understand, and visually appealing. This resource might also stimulate further research into this breathtakingly beautiful and vitally important slender strip of land that connects the North and South American continents.Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts. Biblio. Further Reading. Chronology. Appendix. 2000, Facts on File, 326p. PLB Ages 12 to Adult. Reviewer: Delia A. Culberson SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
Spanning 3,000 years of civilization, this history begins with a discussion of the early pre-Columbian cultures and concludes with an analysis of the region's current political and economic situation. Written for a general audience, the book focuses on key events and broad cultural patterns that have shaped the region. Special themes are developed throughout the book, revealing a great variety of human experience and exposing the contrasts that exist among the Central American nations. Foster teaches Hispanic studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816066711
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/2007
  • Series: Brief History Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     v
List of Maps     vi
List of Tables     vii
Preface     viii
Acknowledgments     ix
Note on Photos     x
Introduction     xi
The Land and Its First Peoples     1
The Mayans and Their Neighbors     24
The Spanish Conquest (1492-1541)     45
Founding of the Kingdom of Guatemala (1541-1570)     68
Life in the Colony     90
The Bourbons and Independence (1700-1823)     120
The Federation of Central America (1823-1839)     134
Conservatives and Foreign Profiteers (1840-1870)     152
The Making of the Coffee Republics (1870-1900)     170
Dollar "Diplomacy" and the Dictators (1898-1944)     186
Challenge to the Old Order (1944-1975)     205
Civil Wars (1975-1996)     225
The Challenge of Peace and Democracy     255
Guatemala: Basic Facts     285
El Salvador: Basic Facts     287
Honduras: Basic Facts     289
Nicaragua: Basic Facts     291
Costa Rica: Basic Facts     293
Panama: Basic Facts     295
Belize: Basic Facts     297
Chronology     299
Bibliographic Sources     306
Suggested Reading     313
Index     325
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