Page Created By: Rachel S., Shae R., Scott C., and Andrew W.
Welcome to the South American History page. We hope that you learn a lot!
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Fun Review Jeopardy!

Jeopardy Answers (For teacher only)

Quiz Time!

From our wikispace, you will be able to answer these essential questions:

How did Pre-Columbian civilizations in South America, such as the Chavin, the Moche, and the Nazca, begin and grow?

What would happen to the countries of the world's economy if the Grand Exchange never happened?

How did events in Europe trigger wars of independence in South America?

Welcome to South America! Home of 10 Latin American Countries and 13 Total.


Pre-Columbian South American History
30,000-18,000 BC- Man’s first arrival in America (precise date is uncertain, dates determined by archaeological sites)
  • Norte Chico civilization
13,000-9000 BC- Late Pleistocene
  • From this age
    • Stone working had emerged
    • Tools were developed
      • Spear and dart points
      • Knives and cutting tools
      • Scrapers for whittling wood or cleaning hides
      • Artifacts used for engraving, chopping, mashing, pounding and hammering

Google Images
12,000 BC- Migrants make their way all the way to Chile
8,000- Man changed from food-gatherer to food producer
  • Considered one of the most important changes
    • Marked the beginning of settled life and cultural development and allowed early civilizations to thrive

Google Images
8,000-7000 BC- Late Pleistocene ends
  • Large mammals such as mammoths, mastodons, horses, and ground sloths became extinct
  • Glaciers and ice caps retreated
  • Sea levels rose, creating climate changes
    • Caused changes in vegetation

Google Images
6700 BC- People gathered more plant foods as the chief means of subsistence
  • New tools, such as stonechoppers, grinders, mortars, and pestles, were created
6500-5000 BC- Beginnings of agriculture
  • Maize production
Google Images
4500 BC- Process of domestication begins
  • Cultivation of plants such as corn, squash, beans, and chili
Until 3,400 BC- 30% of the total food supply came from agricultural crops
2500 BC- Pottery begins
Google Images
2300-1500 BC- Earliest permanent villages were founded in the Peruvian highlands
2000 BC- Development of the first Peruvian ceremonial centers
1500 BC- Village life becomes more complex and elaborate
  • Ceremonialism appears
    • Includes a figurine cult, possibly representing a circle of family gods
1000 BC- Cumbe Mayo aqueduct was built, located in Cajamarca
Google Images
900 BC-200 BC-Chavin civilization
  • Learned how to tame llamas (had a spiritual significance)
  • United Peru
  • Had the first familiar artistic style
750 BC-100 AD- Paracas culture
After 850 BC- Hybrid corn grows in irrigated fields
  • Temple mounds appear
400 BC-1000 AD- Nazca coastal culture
  • Created the famous Nazca lines (large motifs)
Google Images
  • Built an impressive system of underground aqueducts that still function today
100-800 AD- Moche civilization
  • Noted for highly detailed erotic pottery, gold work, and irrigation systems
400-1000 AD- Tiahuanaco Empire
500-1200 AD- Huari civilization
700 AD- Sizable cties appeared, agriculture flourished, trade developed with neighboring villages, society and religion became more complex
850-1470 AD- Chimor Kingdom
  • Grew from the remainings of the Moche culture
1100- Cuzco (Peru) founded
1438-1538- Inca Empire
  • Largest empire in Pre-Columbian history
  • Built a vast empire in the fertile valleys of the Andes
  • Worshipped many gods, especially the sun god
  • The word “Inca” meant “children of the sun”
  • Developed skilled farming methods to feed a population of 9 million people
  • Gold was “the sweat of the Gods”
  • Reached peak of power in about 1500
  • Ends in 1532 when Francisco Pizarro, a conquistador, captures Atahuapla, the emperor of the Inca
external image Colonizationoftheamericas.png

Wikipedia Images (map above)


As seen in the map above, South America was mainly conquered and colonized by the Spanish and Portuguese, and to a lesser degree the French.

Age of Exploration
  • The competing powers at the time were Spain and Portugal
The Discovery of South America
  • Christopher Columbus
    • Explorer employed by the Spanish
    • Looking for passage way to India
      • Hence the name Indians
    • Instead of finding India, he discovered the New World
Spanish Conquest
  • After the Iberian Peninsula was retaken from the Moors, Spain was eager to prove itself to the Pope
    • They saw a opportunity to convert Native Americans and get rich in the process
  • In 1530 Francisco Pizarro destroyed the Incan empire with just 150 men
    • The Incans were already weakened by civil war and European diseases
  • In just 15 years, Spain became the main power in Europe and the leader of the colonization of the New World
Aftermath of the Conquests
  • All Amerindian empires destroyed
  • Spain began to settle the area more and founded cities
    • Buenos Aires, Lima
The Grand Exchange
  • When Old and New world exchanged methods, ideology, animals, diseases and even people
    • Diseases spread rapidly among the Native Americans because their immune system could not fight the infections
    • Staple crops such as corn and potatoes became an important crop in Europe and Asia
    • Native Americans first saw a horse with the coming of the Spanish
    • The economy, mainly for anyone like a farmer or a rancher, would be totally different since without the Grand Exchange many of the plants and animals would have never been introduced to them

Cultures Mixed
  • Spanish men married Native American women
    • Their children would become “mestizo”
  • The Spanish brought with them their food, religion and language
  • Whenever Spain conquered a new territory, the leader of the expedition first founded a city
    • Spanish cities were normally built upon the ruins of an Amerindian city
      • Spanish citizens help the highest position in society
  • The colonist needed something to export to Spain
    • Gold was panned for in the rivers
    • Silver veins were mined
    • Mines needed laborers so the Native Americans were forced to work the shafts
The ecomienda (commission)
  • Spanish system to receive cheap Native American labor
    • The Native American’s land was distributed among their Spanish overseers
    • The Native Americans also had to work on ranches and in mines
    • In return, the mine or ranch owner would convert them to Christianity and make them civilized
Ruling an Empire
  • Once the general period of Conquistadors was over Spain was very clear that only the monarchy was to rule the newly acquired territories
    • Most former conquistadors became governors of the area they conquered
      • Spain bought off them with titles and plots of land

The Struggle For Independence (1800-1830)

Google Images
The Napolean wars began in the early 1800's. During this period, Europe was in turmoil. Countries like Spain and Portugal were forced to shift their focus from their American colonies to weapons manufacturing for the war. During this period of weak government control, strong leaders, such as Simon Bolivar, came to power. These leaders began to inspire people all across South America.
When the Napolean wars were under control in Europe, Spain and Portugal returned to their colonies. By this time, the leaders were too powerful and the thought of liberation had many people declaring independence. The few Royalists left were pushed to a small area on the west side of South America. They were not able to help the European countries because they were secluded. With the European countries weakened from the wars in Europe, the colonies had an easier time defeating Spain and Portugal.

Google Images
Google Images (Below)

"Judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement."- Simon Bolivar

All of the countries in South America were colonized by either Spain or Portugal, with the exception of Urugauy, which was part of Brazil before it declared its own independence. After Chile got its independence in 1810, countries began declaring independence. AMariaIPortugal.jpgs all of the independence wars broke out, it was harder for Spain to keep up with troops, money and weapons.
JoaoVIPortugal.jpgDuring the wars in Europe, the Portugese royal family stayed in Brazil. They had control of the country completely. After the wars, and the Portugese royal family returned to Europe, they left leaders in charge along with troops to keep order. The Brazilians didn't like having troops in the streets so in turn violence often broke out amongst the Brazilians and the Portugese troops. This was the beginning of the war.
Since Portugal only had one colony being Brazil troops were more plentiful, unlike the Spanish who had many colonies all throughout the Americas.
For these reasons the war lasted longer, but Brazil eventually gained independence. Although Brazil technically remained part of Portugal until the late 1800's when it was separated from Portugal completely. However, the traces of strong Portugese culture still lingers throughout Brazil and South America. For example, the official language of Brazil is Portugese.

Google Images (Both Images Above)

South America after Independence (1800-1900)

  • Brazil was a kingdom of Portugal until about 1891
  • The country was organized into a central government
    • The government then fell into chaos
    • Elections were rigged
    • The government banned slavery in 1888
    • Finally, in 1891, Brazil created a constitution to become a republic
  • Simon Bolivar was first president
    • He reformed the economy and government
    • However, he predicted that the Bolivians were not ready to govern themselves
    • He then turned control of the country over to his lieutenant Sucre
  • Bolivar was right, and the government was very unstable
  • In 1880, Bolivia loses a war over a land dispute to Chile, and loses control of its costal territory to Chile (becoming landlocked)
  • After the independence of Colombia, the country is seperated into two factions
    • Federalists
    • Nationalists
    • The two factions disagreed and fought on politics for almost 100 years
  • After independence, almost one-third of Venezuela's population was dead
  • The economy was crippled
  • Caudillos or "Strong Men" seized power
    • General Paez ruled peacefully for 16 years
      • However, the economy was decimated when coffee prices plunged
      • The government split into two factions
        • Conservatives
        • Liberals
      • Paez named General Jose Tadeo Monagas as his successor
        • Monagas abolished slavery in Venezuela
    • General Juan C. Falcon took power in 1863 after the war for power between local caudillos called the Federal War
      • Established federalism
      • Complete disaster (Falcon was unsuitable for governing)
    • Antonio Guzman Blanco ruled for 18 years as a caudillo
      • Established peace
      • Removed disloyal caudillos and replaced them with loyal caudillos (no more fighting)
      • Had to flee to Paris after riots brokeout against him
      • Caudillos fought for power for 4 years after Guzman fled
  • One of the first countries to abolish slavery - 1823
  • Chile adopted a constitution that made it a republic, but Liberals and Conservatives disagreed often and the country was in turmoil until 1830
  • Leaders advanced the country's agricultural and commercial development by exporting minerals
  • Was the first South American country to achieve stability and peace
  • First government after Simon Bolivar had power was unsuitable to govern
  • Caudillos vied for power
    • There were at least 24 changes in power in 24 years (1821-1845)
    • Constitution was rewritten 6 times
  • Marshal Ramon Castilla rose to power in 1845
    • Sparked economic growth
    • Country enjoyed political stability
    • Exported fertilizer from bird droppings
  • Population was scattered throughout countryside after independence
  • Local caudillos had most of the power
    • Rivera and Oribe were the two major caudillos
    • They formed the first two political parties in Uruguay
      • Colorado Party
      • National Party
    • Waged war against one another for power
  • Because of the fighting, the government was unstable
  • The military was the source of power from 1875-1900
  • After independence, Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia took power
    • He built a strong country and was popular with the lower classes
    • He completely ignored human rights and enforced an authoritarian police state
    • Under him, the police killed and tortured to surpress rebellion
    • He isolated Paraguay from outside influence to remain independent
  • Carlos Antonio Lopez took power after Francia's death
    • Used the country to increase his personal wealth
    • Reformed Paraguay to be more open to outside influence and trade
  • Juan Jose Flores was the first president (1830-1834, 1839-1845)
    • Under him, the country experienced multiple civil wars
    • Led to three infamous dictators - Juan Jose Flores(1839-1845), Gabriel Garcia Moreno(1861-1865, 1869-1875), and Eloy Afaro(1907-1911)
  • Ecuador was unable to stabilize their government until 1859 due civil wars
  • Gabriel Garcia Moreno took power and created a strong and stable government
  • Was ruled by different caudillos for 55 years from 1835 to 1890
  • General Juan Manuel de Rosas
    • Expelled many authors, which inspired many works during the Spanish romantic period
  • Bartolome Mitre
    • Built schools, established liberal reforms, and approved public works
  • General Julio Roca - President 1880-1890
    • Initiated agricultural reform and made Argentina a top world grain producer
    • Developed railroads and industries
    • Made rapid economic expansion in the late 1880s, but led to inflation in 1890 and rebellion
Gran Colombia
  • Short-lived republic created by Simon Bolivar
  • Contained present-day countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador
    • Large size created competition between leaders for power
    • Led to break up by 1830

Lesson Plan
*South American History
Rachel and Shae's Lesson Plan

Scott and Andrew's Lesson Plan

Works Cited:

"The Americas: Country Studies." Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. 4 Mar. 2005. Library of Congress. 20 May 2007 < cs/continent_americas.html>.

"Argentina." World History: The Modern Era. 2007. ABC-CLIO. 20 May 2007

"Bolivia." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Brazil." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. Ed. Simon Collier, Harold Blakemore, and Thomas E. Skidmore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

"Chile." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Colombia." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Gran Colombia." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Ecuador." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

Herring, Hubert, and Helen Baldwin Herring. “The Indian Background.” A History of Latin America from the Beginnings to the Present. 1955. Vol. 3. New York: n.p., 1968. 24-63.

History. Dept. home page. NC State University. 14 May 2007 <>.

“History: America Before Columbus.” The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. Ed. Simon Collier, Harold Blakemore, and Thomas E. Skidmore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. 162-171.

History Department. Dept. home page. Jan. 2004. North Park University. 14 May 2007

Monteon, Michael. "Chile." World Book Online Reference Center. 2007. Upper Merion Area High School Lib., King of Prussia, PA. 8 May 2007

"Paraguay." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Peru." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

Robinson, David J. "Peru." World Book Online Reference Center. 2007. Upper Merion Area High School Lib., King of Prussia, PA. 8 May 2007

"Uruguay." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

"Venezuela." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO. 2007. 20 May 2007

Davidson, James West, and Michael B. Stoff. The American Nation. 1986. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice
Hall, 1995.