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Sample Resources

Below is an annotated list of Internet resources for this organizing topic. Copyright restrictions may exist for the material on some Web sites. Please note and abide by any such restrictions.

“Monroe Doctrine, 1823.” Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State. http://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/Monroe. This site gives information on the Doctrine.

“Simón Bolivar.” http://www.embavenez-us.org/kids.venezuela/simon.bolivar.htm. This site provides an overview of Bolivar’s life and his role in the revolutions he led in Latin America.

“Toussaint L’Ouverture.” Africans in America: Brotherly Love. Public Broadcasting Service. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3h326.html. This site provides information on Toussaint L’Ouverture.

Session 1: Latin America in 1800


  • Chart paper

  • Attachment A: Vocabulary Brainstorming

  • Attachment B: Map of South America before Independence
Instructional Activities

1. Ask students to explain why the Western Hemisphere is called “Western” and which continents and oceans are included in it. Have students brainstorm what they already know about Latin American, and write responses on a chart.

2. Distribute Attachment A, and direct students to complete the organizer and save it for revisiting at the completion of this unit of study.

3. Distribute Attachment B, and guide students in identifying and labeling the Spanish and the Portuguese territories in 1800. Include identification of New Granada, Rio de La Plata, and unsettled areas. Instruct students to keep the map for reference as the unit progresses.

4. Explain that for more than 300 years, from 1492 to 1800, European countries, primarily Spain and Portugal, established colonies to provide raw materials and trade for the benefit of the mother countries. Spanish conquests in Latin America saw the rapid decline of native populations and introduction of slaves from Africa. Conquistadors were given governmental authority by the crown, and they became known as viceroys. The Spanish and the Portuguese governments imposed the same Roman Catholic religion on the native peoples, but they brought different colonial languages. The Latin American revolutions of the nineteenth century were influenced by the clash of European cultures in the development of governments and ruling powers.

Session 2: The Colonial System in Latin America


  • Attachment C: Independence Movements of Latin America

  • Teacher-developed class notes
Instructional Activities

1. Ask students to describe the characteristics of the colonial system in Latin America, including the following:

  • Colonial governments in Latin America mirrored the home governments.

  • Latin American colonies were strongly influenced by Roman Catholicism.

  • Mining precious metals was a major element of the economies of the colonies.

  • Major cities were established in Latin America as outposts.

2. Distribute Attachment C, and have students locate the following cities on the map:

  • Havana

  • Mexico City

  • Lima

  • São Paulo

  • Buenos Aires

Tell students that they will add additional information to this map in lessons to come.

3. Lead a class discussion about the rigid class structures that existed in the Latin American colonies. Include in the discussion the roles of viceroys and other colonial officers, Creoles, and Mestizos. Discuss how the class system compared to the manor system in medieval Europe.

Session 3: The Impact of the American and French Revolutions; Mexican Revolution

Instructional Activities

1. Explain that the ideals of the Enlightenment, which had inflamed revolutionary thought in the United States and France in the late 1700s, quickly spread to the Latin American colonies. Within 20 years, the ideas and examples of the revolutions in the United States and France influenced the people of Latin America to begin their own revolutionary movements. Revolutions in the Americas were commonly led by native-born North or South Americans of European background. (Creoles). These leaders were typically well educated and wealthy and were able to rally the population to the cause of independence. The Napoleonic domination of Spain made the Spanish powerless to stop these independence movements. Eventually independence came to Spanish, Portuguese, and French colonies.

2. Have student retrieve Attachment C and identify on the map the location of the following countries that gained independence during the 1800s:

  • Mexico

  • Haiti

  • Colombia

  • Venezuela

  • Brazil

3. Inform students that Father Miguel Hidalgo, a liberal priest, started the Mexican independence movement. He encouraged Mestizos and Indians to revolt against the Spanish landlords. Assign a teacher-selected reading about the revolt, the execution of Hidalgo, and the subsequent success of the Mexican Revolution. Have students take notes on the reading.

4. Assign a teacher-selected reading or other reinforcement activity.

Session 4: Toussaint L’Ouverture and Simón Bolivar

  • Textbook and/or other instructional resources about Toussaint L’Ouverture and Simón Bolivar

  • Attachment D: Toussaint L’Ouverture and Simón Bolivar Venn Diagram

  • Teacher-selected reading about the revolutions in Haiti and northern South America
Instructional Activities

1. Explain that the contributions of Toussaint L’Ouverture and Simón Bolivar led to the development of independent states in Latin America in the nineteenth century. Toussaint L’Ouverture was a former slave who led Haitians to rebel against French rule. The Haitians defeated the armies of three foreign powers: Spain, France, and Britain. Haiti was free until L’Ouverture’s death, when it fell into despotism.

2. Explain that Simón Bolivar liberated the northern areas of South America. He was a native-born resident who led revolutionary efforts throughout the region. He tried during the 1820s to bring various colonies together under a federal constitution modeled after that of the United States. The plan failed because of the differences of the Latin American peoples.

3. Distribute Attachment D. Instruct students to use the textbook and/or other instructional resources to gather information about Toussaint L’Ouverture and Simón Bolivar. Then, have students compare and contrast the two revolutionary leaders by displaying their findings on the Venn diagram.

4. Assign a teacher selected reading about the revolutions in Haiti and northern South America.

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