Chapter 9: The Cultural Geography of Latin America

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<ul><li><p>GeoJournalAs you read this chapter, use your journal tolist and describe the cultural influences thathave shaped life in Latin America. Note howboth native and imported cultures haveformed a uniquely Latin American way of life.</p><p>Chapter Overview Visit the Glencoe WorldGeography Web site at tx.geography.glencoe.comand click on Chapter OverviewsChapter 9 to preview information about the cultural geography of the region.</p><p>http://www.glencoe.com/sec/socialstudies/geography/gwg2003/tx/content.php4/813/1</p></li><li><p>Population Patterns</p><p>A Geographic ViewA Flavorful MixMore than any other Caribbeanisland, Trinidad is a multiethnicstew. Africans and East Indians,each with about 40 percent of thepopulation, make up the base,while smaller groups add theirown flavor. Spanish and Frenchfamilies trace their roots to the18th century, when their ances-tors came to clear the land forplantations or to trade. . . . Portuguese, Chinese, and Syrian immigrants becamemerchants and shopkeepers.Today Trinidadians comparethe resulting mix to callaloo, a soup with many ingredients.</p><p>A. R. Williams, The Wild Mix of Trinidad and Tobago, National Geographic, March 1994</p><p>The island country of Trinidad and Tobago reflects inminiature Latin Americas diverse population. In this section you willlearn how Latin Americas multiethnic population came about, howthe land shaped patterns of human migration, and what benefits andchallenges population growth and diversity bring to the region.</p><p>Human CharacteristicsLatin Americas 525 million peopleabout 9 percent of the worlds</p><p>populationlive in 33 countries that span more than half of the Western Hemisphere. The regions population includes Native Americans, Europeans, Africans, Asians, and mixtures of thesegroups. The bar graph on page 212 shows you the ethnic diversitythat characterizes Latin America today.</p><p>Guide to ReadingConsider What You KnowThink about what you have readabout the physical geography ofLatin America. What geographic factors influence where people have settled in this region?</p><p>Read to Find Out What ethnic groups make up the</p><p>population of Latin America?</p><p> How have geography and eco-nomics influenced the distributionof Latin Americas population?</p><p> How has migration affected theLatin American culture region?</p><p> In what ways does Latin Americascultural diversity present bothbenefits and challenges for itspeople?</p><p>Terms to Know indigenous</p><p> dialect</p><p> patois</p><p> urbanization</p><p> megacity</p><p> primate city</p><p>Places to Locate Ecuador Caracas</p><p> Peru Santiago</p><p> Bolivia Patagonia</p><p> Guyana Rio de Janeiro</p><p> Buenos Aires Barbados</p><p>C h a p t e r 9 211</p><p>Woman at a Guatemalan market</p><p>Trinidads Laventille neighborhood</p></li><li><p>212 U n i t 3</p><p>History</p><p>A Blending of PeoplesThe ancestors of Native Americans were the first</p><p>people to settle Latin America. As a result, NativeAmericans today are known as an indigenous(ihnDIHjuhnuhs) group, people descendedfrom an areas first inhabitants. Centuries ago threeNative American groupsthe Maya of the YucatnPeninsula and parts of Central America, the Aztecof Mexico, and the Inca of Perus highlandsdeveloped great civilizations with important citiesand ceremonial centers.</p><p>Today many Native American cultural featuresstill remain in parts of Latin America. Most of LatinAmericas present-day Native Americans live inMexico, Central America, and the Andes region ofEcuador, Peru, and Bolivia. In areas where they area large part of the population, Native Americanpeoples have worked to preserve their traditionalcultures while adopting features of other cultures.</p><p>Europeans first arrived in what is now LatinAmerica in the late 1400s. Since that time millionsof European immigrants have come to the region.Most of these settlers were Spanish and Portuguese.Over the years other European groupsItalians,British, French, and Germanscame as well. In mod-ern times so many Europeans settled in Argentina andUruguay that these countries became known as immi-grant nations. In Latin America today, descendants ofEuropean immigrants continue to follow many of theways of life their ancestors brought with them.</p><p>Africans first came to Latin America in the 1500s.They arrived as enslaved people, brought forcibly byEuropeans to work sugar and other cash crop plan-tations in Brazil and the Caribbean islands. The laborof enslaved Africans helped build Latin Americaneconomies. By the late 1800s, slavery had finallyended in the region. Many Africans whose familieshad been in Latin America for generations remainedin parts of the region. They added their rich cultural</p><p>Brazil</p><p>Guyana</p><p>Venezuela</p><p>Argentina</p><p>Guatemala</p><p>DominicanRepublic</p><p>Peru</p><p>Mexico</p><p>0 20 40 60 80 100</p><p>85% 15%</p><p>6% 38% 55%</p><p>10% 2% 67% 21%</p><p>32% 6% 12% 49%</p><p>11% 16% 73%</p><p>30% 60% 9% 1%</p><p>1%</p><p>1%</p><p>44% 56%</p><p>45% 37% 15% 3%</p><p>* Two or more ethnic groupsSource: World Almanac, 2001</p><p>GRAPH STUDY</p><p>Ethnic Groups in Selected Latin American Countries</p><p>African</p><p>Native American</p><p>Mixed*</p><p>S Asian/SE Asian</p><p>European</p><p>Other</p><p>1. Interpreting GraphsWhich country has the larg-est percentage of people ofEuropean heritage in its population?</p><p>2. Applying GeographySkills What factors helpedinfluence the ethnic variety in Latin America?</p></li><li><p>C h a p t e r 9 213</p><p>influences to the food, music, arts, and religions ofLatin America.</p><p>Asians first settled in Latin America during the1800s. They labored as temporary workers, andmany remained to form ethnic communities.Today the Caribbean islands and some countriesof South America have large Asian populations. InGuyana about one-half of the population is ofSouth Asian or Southeast Asian descent. Manypeople of Chinese descent make their homes inPeru, Mexico, and Cuba, and many people ofJapanese descent live in Brazil and Peru.</p><p>Over the centuries there has been a blending of these different ethnic groups throughout LatinAmerica. For example, in countries such as Mexico,Honduras, and El Salvador, people of mixed NativeAmerican and European descent make up the largestpart of the population. In other countries, such asCuba and the Dominican Republic, people of mixedAfrican and European descent form a large per-centage of the population.</p><p>LanguageLanguage is a major factor in bringing</p><p>together the diverse ethnic groups of LatinAmerica. Most people in the region haveadopted the languages of the European countriesthat once colonized the region. Today Spanish isthe primary language of most countries of LatinAmerica. However, other languages also are spo-ken. For example, the official language of Brazil isPortuguese; of Haiti and Martinique, French; andof Jamaica, Belize, and Guyana, English.</p><p>Not all Latin Americans, however, speak theseEuropean languages the same way as, or even in away similar to, the original European colonists. Eachcountry has its own dialects, forms of a languageunique to a particular place or group. Meanings ofwords and the words themselves often differ fromone place to another.</p><p>In addition, millions of Latin Americans speakNative American languages. In Central America,Mayan dialects such as Kiche (keeCHAY) are com-mon. Tupi-Guarani predominates in Paraguay andBrazil. Aymara is spoken in Bolivia, and Quechua(KEHchuhwuh) in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.</p><p>Many Latin Americans are bilingual, speakingtwo languagesa European language and anotherlanguage, either indigenous, African, or Asian. Other</p><p>Latin Americans speak one of many Latin Americanforms of patois (PATWAH), dialects that blend ele-ments of indigenous, European, African, andAsian languages.</p><p>Where Latin Americans Live</p><p>In addition to having a diverse population, LatinAmerica today has a high rate of populationgrowth. By most estimates the regions popula-tion will soar to about 800 million by the year2050an increase of 55 percent. This high growthrate magnifies the challenges to human patterns of</p><p>AtlanticOcean</p><p>PacificOcean</p><p>English</p><p>English</p><p>English</p><p>Creole</p><p>FrenchDutch</p><p>60W80W100W120W</p><p>40S</p><p>20S</p><p>0</p><p>TROPIC OF CANCER</p><p>TROPIC OFCAPRICORN</p><p>EQUATOR</p><p>N</p><p>Azimuthal Equal-Area projection2,500</p><p>2,5000 mi.</p><p>0 km</p><p>Find NGS online map resources @ www.nationalgeographic.com/maps</p><p>EnglishDutchFrenchSpanishPortuguese</p><p>CreoleNativeAmericanlanguages</p><p>MAPSTUDY</p><p>Latin America: Languages</p><p>1. Interpreting Maps Where are Native Americanlanguages spoken?</p><p>2. Applying Geography Skills How might theareas where some languages are spoken relateto the regions history of colonial settlement?</p><p>http://www.nationalgeographic.com/maps</p></li><li><p>214 U n i t 3</p><p>settlement already presented by Latin Americasphysical geography.</p><p>Latin Americas varied climates and landscapeshave an impact on where Latin Americans live. Tem-perature extremes, dense rain forests, toweringmountains, and arid deserts limit human habitationin many parts of Latin America. In fact, most of LatinAmericas population lives on only one-third of theregions land.</p><p>About 350 million people live in South America,generally along the coasts. Another 138 million peo-ple live in Central America and Mexico, either alongCentral Americas Pacific coast or on the inland Mex-ican Plateau and Central Highlands. The Caribbeanisland countries are home to 37 million people.</p><p>South Americas Populated RimRain forests, deserts, and mountains dominate</p><p>South Americas interior. In these areas harsh liv-ing conditions and poor soil discourage humansettlement. As a result, most South Americans liveon the continents edges, an area sometimes knownas the populated rim. The coastal regions pro-vide favorable climates, fertile land, and easyaccess to transportation systems.</p><p>South Americas eastern coast,from the mouth of the AmazonRiver in Brazil to the pampasaround Buenos Aires, Argentina, isLatin Americas largest populatedarea. A narrower strip of denselypopulated land stretches along thecontinents northern and westerncoast from Caracas, Venezuela, toSantiago, Chile.</p><p>South Americas populated rimdoes not encircle the entire conti-nent, however. For example, theeastern coast between the Amazonsmouth and Caracas has a hot, rainyclimate and is sparsely populated.Another area of low populationdensity lies to the far south in theAndes and Patagonia, where the cli-mate and land are harsh.</p><p>With the exception of NativeAmericans, few South Americanslive in the continents inland areas.To draw people away from the</p><p>densely populated coast, the Brazilian govern-ment in 1960 moved the capital from coastal Riode Janeiro to Braslia, a planned city built in thecountrys interior.</p><p>Population DensityAs the population density map on page 184</p><p>shows, population density varies greatly through-out Latin America. One important factor in acountrys population density is its area. SouthAmerican countries, with their relatively largeland areas, tend to have low population densities.In Ecuador, the most densely populated country inSouth America, an average of only 118 peopleshare a square mile (46 people per sq. km). Brazilhas a large population, but its enormous land area,over 3.3 million square miles (8.5 million sq. km),results in a population density averaging only 52people per square mile (20 people per sq. km).</p><p>Caribbean countries, in contrast, combine smallland areas with large populations that tend togrow at rapid rates. These factors make theCaribbean countries some of the most denselypopulated in Latin America. The tiny island nationof Barbados has the highest population density in</p><p>Latin AmericanImmigration These floral arrangers, in the state of So Paulo,Brazil, are part of a community of Japanese Brazilians.</p><p>Movement Why have Asian and European immigrants settled inLatin America?</p></li><li><p>C h a p t e r 9 215</p><p>the Caribbean, with an average of 1,620 people persquare mile (698 people per sq. km).</p><p>Population density also varies within countries.With 99.6 million people, Mexico is the worlds mostpopulous Spanish-speaking country, and it is thesecond most populous country in Latin America,after Brazil. Mexicos population and its land area of756,000 square miles (1.9 million sq. km) give it apopulation density of 132 people per square mile (51people per sq. km), making Mexico seem relativelyuncrowded. This overall density rate is only anaverage, however. In metropolitan Mexico City,more than 18 million people live within an area of597 square miles (1,547 sq. km). That makes the pop-ulation density of Mexico City a staggering 30,150people per square mile (11,641 people per sq. km)!</p><p>MigrationMigration has been a major force shaping popu-</p><p>lation patterns in Latin America. As a geographywriter recently observed,</p><p> Migration is . . . everyones solution,everyones conflict. . . . Unlike the flightof refugees, which is usually chaotic,economic movement is a chain thatlinks the world. Migration . . . continuesto push us toward change.Michael Parfit, Human Migration, National Geographic,</p><p>October 1998</p><p>In past centuries Europeans, Africans, andAsians migrated to Latin America in large num-bers, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Todaypeople from places such as Korea, Armenia,Lebanon, and Syria come to Latin America seekingeconomic and political opportunities.</p><p>Migrating NorthIn addition to receiving an inflow of migrants</p><p>from foreign countries, Latin America also experi-ences an outflow of people to different parts of theworld. For many Latin Americans, the desire forimproved living conditions, political freedom, oran escape from political unrest leads them tomove north to the United States. Latin Americanscome to the United States primarily from Mexico,Central America, and the Caribbean islands.Immigrants from Latin America live in every stateof the Union, with large numbers in California,Texas, New York, Illinois, and Florida. Many LatinAmerican immigrants go through the process oflegally entering the United States; others enterillegally. All of these immigrants bring elements oftheir culture with them. Most retain close ties withfamily and friends in their home countries, andmany intend to return when economic conditionsthere improve.</p><p>Internal MigrationInternal migration, or movement within a</p><p>region or country, also has shaped Latin America</p><p>MarketStreet in La Paz A crowded street in La Paz,Bolivia, shows the effects of rapid urbanization.</p><p>Movement How does internal migration contribute to urbanization in the region?</p></li><li><p>216 U n i t 3</p><p>in recent decades. As in many parts of the world,migrants within Latin America usually move fromrural to urban areas because of better job oppor-tunities in the cities. This one-way migration alsooccurs because in many rural areas fertile land isin short supply or a small portion of the popula-tion controls access to the land. As the rural popu-lation rises, there is less fertile land to go around.Smaller farms can no longer support families.The result is continuing, rapid urbanization</p><p>the migration of people from the countrysideto cities as well as the change from a rural to anurban society that accompanies this movement.</p><p>Growth of CitiesIn the past most Latin Americans lived in the</p><p>countryside and worked the land. Today most live inurban areas. Four cities of Latin AmericaMexicoCity, Mexico; So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;</p><p>More than $10,000$2,000 $10,000Less than $2,000Labor migrationtrend</p><p>In...</p></li></ul>

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