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Latin American History: Central America

The narrow stretch of land that links Mexico to South America has a long, complicated and often tragic history. The original nations of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica originally formed the ill-fated Republic of Central America before setting off on their separate paths, and they have since been joined by Panama and Belize.
  1. Presidents: Central America (6)

Manuel Zelaya Timeline
Manuel Zelaya went from being a popular president with a party majority in Congress to a refugee in the Brazilian Embassy after his own party kicked him out of power in June of 2009. Here's a timeline of how it happened.

The Countries of Central America
Central America, the stretch of land between Mexico and South America, has a long and troubled history of war, crime, corruption and dictatorship. These are the nations of Central America.

Photo Gallery: Historic Antigua, Guatemala
The charming colonial city of Antigua is Guatemala's most historic town. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1773, many of the city's most important buildings were subsequently abandoned. Ironically, this destructive earthquake therefore preserved some colonial architecture in the form of ruined churches and convents. Come take a virtual photo tour of some of Antigua's most historic sites!

The Federal Republic of Central America (1823-1840)
For a brief time after gaining independence first from Spain and then from Mexico, the original five Central American nations (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) were united as one nation. The Republic of Central America lasted less than twenty years, torn apart by small-minded politicians and civil wars over the influence of the church in politics.

Biography of Francisco Morazan
Francisco Morazan (1792-1842) was a Central American general, patriot and political leader. He served as President of the Republic of Central America in the 1830's and did his best to keep the nation united, although his efforts were doomed to failure.

Biography of Vasco Nuñez de Balboa
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (1475-1519) was a Spanish conquistador and explorer of the early colonial era. He is credited with leading the first European expedition to discover the Pacific Ocean (which he referred to as the "South Sea"). He was an able administrator and popular leader who cultivated strong ties with local tribes.

Biography of Ernesto "Che" Guevara
One of the more famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) protagonists of the Cuban Revolution, Argentine doctor Ernesto "Ch" Guevara would go on to play a key role in post-revolution Cuba. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967 while trying to stir up a Cuban-style communist revolution.

The History of the City of Antigua, Guatemala
Founded by legendary conquistador Pedro de Alvarado, historic Antigua is one of Central America's most beautiful and beloved cities. Today, it is one of Guatemala's top visitor attractions.

Biography of Hernn Corts
Hernn Corts, with dwindling provisions and 600 soldiers, was able to defeat the mighty Aztec Empire and its tens if not hundreds of thousands of warriors. Later, he served as governor of New Spain and was given the title of Marquis by the King of Spain.

Biography of Rigoberta Menchu
Rigoberta Menchu, the controversial winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, is still active in Guatemalan politics and native rights movements around the world.

The Colonization of Guatemala
The region of present-day Guatemala posed many challenges for would-be conquistadors and colonizers.

Latin American History: Introduction to the Colonial Era
Of all the different time periods in the History of Latin America, the Colonial Era was the most important in shaping the modern character of the region. Here you can read six reasons why.

Rigoberta Menchu
Information on Rigoberta Menchú, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, from the official Nobel Awards site.

Miguel Angel Asturias
A biography of Miguel Angel Asturias, the Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan writer.

Biography of José "Pepe" Figueres
Jose Figueres was a Costa Rican politician who served as President on three occasions between the 1940's and the 1970's. He was an important architect of modern Costa Rica.

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