Exploring Mexico and Central America
Group of people who share language, religion, and cultural traditions
In Guatemala, a mestizo, a person of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry
A section of a waterway in which ships are raised or lowered by adjusting the water level
A laborer who travels from one area to another, picking crops that are in season
A public square at the center of a village, town, or city
A person who settles on someone else's land without permission
Work stoppage; a refusal to continue to work until certain demands of workers are met
Key People and Places
Sample Essay Questions
1. List at least two challenges that you believe Mexico will face as more people move to the cities. Suggest a possible solution to one of the challenges on your list.
Acceptable challenges might include overcrowding, homelessness, and unemployment. Possible solutions might include creating more jobs; building more houses, schools, and hospitals; and providing public transportation and sanitation.
2. What are the causes of problems the Mayas and other Native American groups face in Guatemala? How are people trying to solve these problems?
Acceptable causes might include that Native Americans own little land, that the land they work is often of poor quality, and that they have little political power. To solve these problems, some native people are learning to read and write and organizing political movements.
3. Based on your reading, think of one option poor campesinos have once they decide to leave the country-side. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the option?
If you said that that most campesinos will move to the city than you should identify some of the following advantages and disadvantages. An advantage to the city is that the campesinos might be able to find a job. A disadvantage is that they often end up becoming squatters that live in temporary housing made of scrap metal.
4. Name two geographic obstacles and one political obstacle that stood in he way of the construction of the Panama Canal. How did engineers and politicians overcome these obstacles?
Obstacles might include mudslides, passing through a mountain range, different levels of land and lakes, diseases that affected workers, and the opposition of the Columbian government to the presence of the United States in the region. Engineers had to build a dam, design and build locks, and remove huge amounts of earth and rock. A medical obstacle is that scientists had to develop vaccines and medications to treat the disease malaria that affected many workers. A political obstacle was that the government of Columbia did not allow the United States to build the canal. The United States helped Panama revolt against Columbia, and Panama gave the United States the permission it needed.