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CENTRAL AMERICA Numerous Indian civilizations rose and fell in Central America before the arrival of the Spaniards. The Mayan Civilization is the most notable civilization in Central America. The Mayas lived in southern Mexico and in present-day Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Their written history begins in 50 BCE. They began to inscribe texts on pots, jades, bones, stone monuments, and palace walls. Records trace the history of the great kings and queens who ruled from 50 BCE until the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. All Maya “long count” calendar inscriptions fall between 292 and 909 ACE. They achieved amazing architectural skills and created hieroglyphics. They discovered advanced sciences, the 365 ¼ day calendar, and complex mathematics based on stars, in addition to learning to use zero. The Mayan civilization mysteriously disappeared after the Spanish conquests of the 16th century, but no one is certain as to what lead the Mayas to the end of their amazing civilization. 1502-- "West Indies" were discovered by Christopher Columbus 1513-- Vasco Nuñez de Balboa crossed the isthmus between North America and South
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America 1520s-- Major Spanish conquest and settlement INDEPENDENCE OF CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES There was little fighting in the 1820s. Panama was joined with Columbia while every other country united with Mexico. The short-lived Federal Republic of Central America was formed. Central America broke up into five separate nation since 1838. However, Panama remained part of Columbia until 1903 where it declared independence. GUATEMALA Pedro de Alvarado (Spaniard) came to Guatemala in 1524. The country declared independence from Spain on September 15, 1821. The Guatemalans claimed a territory, which they named Belize after declaring independence. COSTA RICA The first rumblings of independence movements began to reach the Costa Ricans in the early 1800s. The people of Costa Rica had heard the news that several other regions throughout South and Central America had finally thrown off Spanish rule. They enunciated the Act of Independence on October 13, 1821. After declaring independence, citizens had to improvise a government because they were politically inexperienced. On December 1, 1821, they drafted their first charter, the Pacto de Concordia. Later, the Republic of Costa Rica was established. NICARAGUA Spanish conquistadores from Panama arrived in 1519. Spaniards vowed to return in search of further treasure because they found the shores of Lake Nicaragua to be densely populated by peaceful indigenous people, who gave the Spaniards much of what little gold they possessed. The settlers who founded colonies in 1524 soon discovered the area had little gold. Settlers soon took advantage of the lake's rich soils. Nicaragua became a fully independent state in 1838. EL SALVADOR
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This note was uploaded on 08/25/2009 for the course GEO 160 taught by Professor Ehrkamp during the Fall '06 term at Kentucky.

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