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THE RIDDLE OF LATIN AMERICA explores the promise and paradox of Latin America in a novel way by giving equal weight to the colonial and national periods. This is essential because in Latin America colonialism started early and independence came late. The aim of this book is to provide unfamiliar readers with a more balanced, interpretive view of Latin America’s long and complex history by identifying key patterns and trends and tracing them across time and space. Within chapters THE RIDDLE OF LATIN AMERICA takes a regional rather than country-by-country approach, treating, for example, the Greater Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, the Andes, the Southern Cone, and Brazil.

Kris Lane, Tulane University

Kris Lane received his B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1991, and his Ph.D in History from the University of Minnesota in 1996. Lane specializes in Colonial Latin American history, focusing mostly on mining in the Andes Mountains of South America. Lane’s books include PILLAGING THE EMPIRE: PIRACY IN THE AMERICAS, 1500-1750 (1998) and QUITO, 1599: CITY & COLONY IN TRANSITION (2002). He also edited Bernardo de Vargas MACHUCA’S INDIAN MILITIA AND DESCRIPTION OF THE INDIES (2008) and DEFENSE OF THE WESTERN CONQUESTS (2009). Lane has also published articles on piracy, slavery, gold mining, headhunting, and witchcraft in colonial Ecuador and Colombia. His new book, COLOR OF PARADISE: COLOMBIAN EMERALDS IN THE AGE OF GUNPOWDER EMPIRES, is due out in 2010.

Matthew Restall, Pennsylvania State University

Matthew Restall is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Colonial Latin American History, Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Penn State University at University Park. He is also the co-director of “LiLACS” and Director of Latin American Studies, a member of the Committee for Early Modern Studies, the editor of “Ethnohistory Journal”, and the series editor for “Latin American Originals”. Restall’s area of specialization resides in colonial Yucatan, Mexico, Maya history, the Spanish Conquest, and Africans in Spanish America. During the 1990s, his research focused on studying the Mayas of Yucatan through sources written in the Yucatec Maya language between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries--this work culminated in THE MAYA WORLD (1997) and MAYA CONQUISTADOR (1998). His research on the Conquest has been published as SEVEN MYTHS OF THE SPANISH CONQUEST (2003), and Invading Guatemala (2007). More recently, he received NEH and Guggenheim fellowships to study people of African descent in Mexico and Yucatan, and his book, THE BLACK MIDDLE: AFRICANS, MAYAS, AND SPANIARDS IN COLONIAL YUCATAN published in June of 2009.
  • End-of-chapter timelines, maps, and a “Keep Reading” feature provide further support beyond the content of the chapter.
  • Lane and Restall provide a broad sweeping approach to the regional history of Latin America.
  • Equal weight is given to the colonial and national periods.
Introduction: The Promise of Latin America
Part I: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1450-1550).
1. Native American Trajectories.
2. An Emerging Atlantic World.
3. The Riddle of Conquest.
4. Plunder and Production.
5. The Battle for Orthodoxy.
6. Daily Life in City and Country.
Part III: BREAKING AWAY (1740-1850).
7. War and Peace in the Late Colonies.
8. The Wars of Independence.
9. Colonial Continuities in the Early Republics.
10. Liberals, Conservatives, and Capitalists.
11. Exports and Underdevelopment.
12. Rural Majorities and Unconquered Frontiers.
13. Revolution, Reform, and Foreign Intervention.
14. Authoritarianism and its Discontents.
15. Democracy, Urban Life, and Neoliberalism.
Conclusion: The Paradox of Latin America.

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  • ISBN-10: 1133694357
  • ISBN-13: 9781133694359
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  • ISBN-10: 0618153063
  • ISBN-13: 9780618153060
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