latin america: political and economic geography

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  • Metropolitan University PragueMartin KolmhoferLATIN AMERICA


  • 1492 voyage ofChristopher Columbus. 1500 voyage of Pedro lvares CabralBut: The Americas were inhabited by people already 20-30,0000 years ago. (Aztecs, Mayans and Incas)

  • 1494 ADTreaty of Tordesillas- The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the newly discovered lands outsideEuropebetweenPortugalandSpain. The Spanish received all of the land to the West and the Portuguese to the East. This gave Portugal Africa while Spain received all of the new world with the exception of Brazil.


  • The MexicoUnited States border is the most frequently crossed international border in the world.

  • Cancn and theYucatnPeninsula have becomeMexico'stoptourist destination.

  • PEMEX - Petrleos Mexicanos most of Mexicos crude oilisproduced offshore in the Bay ofCampeche

  • Amaquiladorais afactorythat imports materials and equipment on a tariff-free basis for assembly or manufacturing and then re-exports the assembled product, usually back to the originating country.

  • Discussion:

    Will border fence will stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border?

  • Drug cartels coordinate the production and distribution of cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

  • The North American Free Trade Agreement (1994) was designed to allow goods and services to flow more freely between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and it has worked. Unfortunately, many of the goods entering America from Canada are illegal drugs, the trafficking of which was made easier by the trade pact.

  • Colombia is the world's largest cocaine producer.

  • The first commercial drilling of petroleum in Venezuela took place after World War I by British, Dutch and American multinational oil companies

  • Venezuela officially nationalized its oil industry in 1976. Much of the income from the oil industry was used to build infrastructure.

  • OPEC (founded in 1960) has twelve member countries: six in the Middle East, four in Africa, and two in South America.OPEC is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

  • Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela in 1998 and renamed the country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as an reference to Simon Bolivar, who is credited with the 19th century liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Bolivia from Spanish colonial rule.


    1983 End of Military Dictatorship2001 Economic Crisis

  • Massive European immigration in the 19th century (mainlyItalian andSpanish, focused on colonization and sponsored by the government)

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  • Falkland war 1982:What lies behind renewed tensions over the Falkland Islands?Is this about oil or taking the focus away from other things e.g. economic problems, internal problems?

  • Border Disputes between Argentina and Chile:The most recent dispute was overthe Southern Icefields, which contain the second largest reserve of potable water in the world.

  • Bolovia: Gas War social movement regarding what to do with Bolivia's natural gas reserves (Evo Morales)War of the Pacificin the 1879s: Chile took over Bolivia's only access to the sea (Bolivia has been landlocked ever since)

  • Brazils economy is the largest of theLatin Americannations: Fishery, (Offshore) Oil, Water Power, Agriculture

  • Over half theBrazilianpopulation has someAfricanancestry. Africans were transported to the country as slaves by the Portuguese. (sugar plantations )

  • In economics,BRICis a groupingacronymthat refers to thecountriesofBrazil,Russia,IndiaandChina, which are all deemed to be at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development.


  • MERCOSUR (customs union): purpose is to promotefree tradeand the movement of goods, people, and currency.




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