3.04-People and Culture of Central America

Population:
-over 38 million people in Central America.
-Mestizos, people of mixed Native American and European heritage, and Amerindians, also known as Native Americans, make up 5/6 of the population of the region.
Hispanic
Of Spanish speaking origins. This would include parts of Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of south America.
Latino/Latina:
Latino/a is not synonymous with Hispanic. For example, Brazil is Latino, but not Hispanic. Spain is Hispanic, but not Latino.
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Spanish-American War
Took place in 1898 and ended Soanish rule in the Americas.
Hernan Courtez
-spanish conquistador and influiential figure.
-claimed much land for Spain and conquered the Aztecs (within a year)
Mayan
-Spanish Catholic missionaries, instituted a policy of killing all the Mayan priests and burning all of their books.
The Ancient Maya relied heavily on their environment. They were and still are nature-worshipers, worshiping god of Rain, Sun, and Corn.
Agriculture and the timeliness of havest were important in Ancient Mayan religion.
Slash and Burn Farming Methods
used in central/south america by the ancestors of the Ancient Maya.
Religion
The predominant religion is Roman Catholic, mainly due to the Catholic missionaries that arrived with the Spanish Conquistadors in the 15th century.
Poverty
Over half of Central America is considered poor and almost all of the indigenous people of the region liv in poverty.
Belize: Heritage
Belize is the only country in Central America without Spanish as its national language due to the fact that it was a colony of England until a few short decades ago.
Traditional Foods
masa, pozole, and sopes prepared with maize or -corn- considered the most important crop of the region historically.
Modern Exports
Bananas, Cotton, Coffee, and Sugar are the main export crops of the region.
Agrarian Economy and Lifestyle
many would say that Europeans, and later the United States, exploited the fertile lands of the Central America region to suit their own financial interests. Forcing an agrarian lifestyle on Central America has been an important factor in inability to progress.
Fair Trade
is designed to help disadvantage workers and farmers. The overarching goal is to reduce poverty. Enacted in the 1940s
Democracy in Central America!
The Dominican Republic was one of the first to usher in democracy and lead the way for other Latin American countries to do the same.
Mayan Political structure
has been most closely compared to the Greeks. Some people believe their detailed writing system was created to record the transfer of power through the generations.
Mayan in Modern Society
Today, the Maya play a very limited role in the political systems of Central American countries.
Corruption in Central America:
Corruption is one of the main obstacles to development in Central American countries. The lack of transparency that tends to go hand in hand with government corruption leads to a level of uncertainty that effectively discourages foreign investors. The inability of government to confront corruption creates a climate of impunity that tends to make the problem especially widespread in the Central American region.
Cuba-History
-first inhabited by people in 3500 BCE
-largest or the Caribbean islands
-1492, Christopher Columbus arrived
-1511- Diego Colon (the son of Christopher Columbus) settles Cuba
-16th-20th centuries: Cuba controlled by Spain
Cristobal Colon
Also known as Christopher Columbus, claimed Cuba for Spain in 1492. He made a return visit with 17 ships, to supply the Cubans.
Cortados
1708, a slave may purchase his freedom. Slaves who obtain their freedom in this way are known as Cortados.
Tainos
One of the three native cultures that inhabited Cuba before Spanish arrival. It is not estimated that only about 2,000 of those people remain in all of Cuba!
Castillo del Morro
A castle that was designed to protect the city from attackers.
Factoria
1715, Spanish authorities gained a monopoly on Spanish tobacco. They sell this tabacco at fixed prices abroad.
Toussaint L’Ouverture
1794, a former slave who led a slave uprising in Haiti. He led the country to declare their independence.
Hacendados
A higher class of Cubans. They were interested in gaining independence in Cuba, but only if their class would be dominant.
Cuban Uprising
1959, Cuban uprising of the lower class living in poverty.
Bay of Pigs
The United States tried to overthrow Cuba, because of their support of communism, but it was a massive fail for the United States.
Cuban Food:
The Untied States now provides more food to Cuba than any other country
Elián González:
-He was forcibly removed from a family’s house in Miami. The Cuban government removed him to his home.
Wet Feet, Dry Feet Policy
If an immigrant is caught by the coast guard before reaching land, they will be taken back to their home country.
If an immigrant makes it to the land of the USA, they will be given the opportunity to apply for citizenship in the US.
Remittances
Growing numbers of women have been moving northward in order to get jobs and send money back to support their families. Often times, these women re leaving their own children behind.
Emigration
Emigration is not only to the US. There is a lot of immigration within Central American countries and to Mexico.
True of False: There is limited information on the history of the Mayan culture in the Common Era because the Spanish instituted a policy of killing all Mayan priests and burning all of thief books.
True
True of False: The rivers of the Lowlands were important to the Maya for the transportation of people and materials.
True
True of False: Centuries of persecution and cultural isolation have turned the Maya into impoverished outcasts in their own land.
True
Who outlawed the Maya religion and burned all but four of their sacred bark-paper books in the 16th century?
Catholic Missionaries
When did the practice of fair trade start?
1940s
Why did the practice of fair trade spread from handicrafts to food?
The demand for handicrafts was wearing off
Approximately thirty years ago, which country was the first to usher in democracy and lead the way for other countries in the region to do the same?
Dominican Republic
Why did the Mayans create a detailed writing system?
to keep track of political rulers
What is the reason for the “feminization” of emigration from Central America in recent years?
Increasing rural poverty
After reading the following quote, what can you infer about the role of Mexico in the emigration process?

Central America has been a locus of migration for generations. It is characterized by rural-to-urban and regional migration as well as emigration abroad, particularly to the United States. A relative unknown in hemispheric migration matters until recent decades, Central America transformed from a minor to a major player during a decade of armed conflicts in the 1980s. In this period the region also became a geographic bridge to North America for migrants from South America seeking to enter the United States, while Mexico has become the main transit country for Central Americans headed north. In short, Central America is a crossroads of many migratory streams.

Most migrants travel through Mexico on the way to the U.S.
Which of the following is the only country that does not have Spanish as its official language?
Belize
In most Central American countries, approximately what percent of the population is considered poor?
50%
Hernan Cortez was a Spanish conquistador responsible for seizing the Aztec empire in the 16th century.
True
Both the highlands and the lowlands were important to the presence of trade within the Mayan civilization.
True
Contrary to popular belief, the Mayans were not united as one empire.
True
How was information passed down between generations of Mayans?
detailed hieroglyphic writing system
which country was an important route by which the treasures of the Inca’s were transferred to the Spanish?
Panama
What is the goal of fair trade?
reduce poverty
Why do foreign investors hesitate to invest in Central America?
Government corruption
How was power transferred in the Mayan society?
primogeniture
What group of people has had higher rates of emigration in recent years?
young women from poor, rural families
After reading the following quote, what can you infer about the role of Central America in emigration to the United States?

“Central America has been a locus of migration for generations. It is characterized by rural-to-urban and regional migration as well as emigration abroad, particularly to the United States. A relative unknown in hemispheric migration matters until recent decades, Central America transformed from a minor to a major player during a decade of armed conflicts in the 1980s. In this period the region also became a geographic bridge to North America for migrants from South America seeking to enter the United States, while Mexico has become the main transit country for Central Americans headed north. In short, Central America is a crossroads of many migratory streams.”

Central America is a source for emigrants as well as a pathway for emigrants from South America.
What is the religion of most Central Americans?
Roman Catholic
Masa, pozole, and sopes are all traditional food of Central America prepared with what ingredients?
Maize

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