Latin America: A Brief History

Latin America: A Brief History

Latin America: A Brief History

Latin America: A Brief History

Excerpt

To tell in one short volume the history of two empires for three centuries, and of twenty states for a century and a quarter, is not easy. The first typescript of this volume far exceeded possible limits. Much has been reluctantly scrapped, and much condensed. Thus, only a few pages have been allotted, in Chapter IV, to a large subject, the Spanish Empire in America: that subject has been more fully treated by the present writer in The Cambridge Modern History, vol. X, chapter 8.

Some dislike the now familiar term 'Latin America', as not accurately descriptive. This objection seems to confuse a name-- a convenient and generally accepted label--with a descriptive definition. The terms Amazonas, Costa Rica, Venezuela ('little Venice'), Rio de la Plata, Rio de Janeiro (which is river-less), were originally attempts--unsatisfactory attempts--at description. They remain as convenient names, their signification forgotten. On the other hand confusion has arisen from treating the political term 'Central America' as a geographical description. Political designations, ethnologically or geographically inexact, abound elsewhere; nor have some post-war emendations always proved entirely happy in everyday use. The alternative term 'Hispanic America' is unwelcome--perhaps mistakenly--to Brazilians; nor, if regarded as a descriptive definition, does it include Haiti. 'Eurindia', proposed by some, does not commend itself. Historians native to those lands, when they are writing for Europeans, commonly use the term Latin America. Among themselves Latin- Americans use no epithet: they call themselves americanos and their common land America (América in Spanish), a word which, to the Peninsula and its daughter lands, denotes what we call Latin America. When occasion makes distinction necessary, they say Nuestra América, 'Our America'. In this volume it is impossible to avoid using the word 'American' in a national sense, varied by the unsatisfactory substitutes 'Yankee' or 'North American' in case of ambiguity or awkwardness.

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.