Latin America History I

Prerequisite: Grades 11-12; knowledge of Spanish not required
This elective will provide students the opportunity to study ancient Pre-Columbian cultures in countries such as Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala. We will explore the history, society and art of Latin American pre-Columbian cultures before the years 1533 to 1697 when the Spanish decided to dominate Peru and Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Belize. A central example for study will be ‘La cultura Paracas’ located south of Lima, Peru. There one finds many drawings on the ground visible from the air. Archaeologists have conducted extensive research in an effort to learn how this culture could have produced these drawings without the aid of modern tools and what their significance was to their culture. Similar examples in other Latin American countries will be examined. Students will explore pre-Columbian cultures like Nazca, Paracas, Chavin de Huantar, Mochica, Zapotecas, Incas, Mayans and Aztecs. These last three empires were dominated by Francisco Pizarro, Hernán Cortéz, Martín de Urzúa y Arizmendi, and Pedro Alvarado who were part of the change of the pre-Columbian cultures. Students will prepare research papers, presentations and hands-on assignments, while learning to interpret, understand and elaborate on works of art of these cultures.