Chapter 3 Reading Guide
1. There are linguistic, political, and technological differences among the Latin American peoples.
Latin America includes three of the largest and most richly endowed countries on Earth (Mexico,
Argentina, and Brazil) as well as countries that are small, politically unstable and rank among the
world’s poorest nations (such as Haiti and Nicaragua). The physical environments of Latin
America also range greatly, from the Atacama Desert, to the Amazonian rain forest, and from
snow-capped volcanoes to sandy tourist beaches. There are also deep social and economic
divisions in this region.
2. Latin America consists of three great structural landform zones: the Eastern Highlands, the Central
Lowlands of South America, and the Western Alpine System. The Eastern Highlands are consists
of three large upland regions comprised of ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks. They are
found in central Brazil, southern Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, and in
southern Argentina. The Central Lowlands extends from the Orinoco River Valley of eastern
Colombia and southern Venezuela to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and north central
Argentina. The northern region has been used for cattle grazing and petroleum production. The
central area, or the Amazon Basin, has been used for hunting and gathering things such as rubber,
slash and burn farming, cattle ranching, lumbering, and mining. The southern region has fertile
soils and temperature climate. Large commercial farms providing coffee, corn, soybeans, and
wheat characterize the agricultural production.
3. Latin America is said to contain “virtually ever climate found on Earth” because air temperatures
generally decrease with increasing altitude or elevation above sea level, so likewise the climates in
different regions vary greatly simply due to elevation.
4. The three Altitudinal Life Zones are: the tierra caliente (hot land/produces heat-loving crops such
as coconuts, cacao, rice, bananas, sugarcane, rubber papayas, mangoes, and manioc), the tierra
templada (temperate land/produces coffee, citrus, cinchona, maize, and a variety of vegetables),
and the tierra fria (cold land/ produces plums, peaches, apples, and other cold-tolerant fruits,
grains, wheat, barley, and potatoes).
5. Land use patterns found today throughout Latin America are due mainly to the practices that were
begun by Roman settlers in Iberia, the peninsula that comprises Spain and Portugal. Upper-class
Romans met the need to be landowners and city residents by acquiring huge estates called
latifundios. They practiced absentee ownership, in which the landowner resided in a distant city
and entrusted the day-to-day management of the estate to an overseer.
6. The Moors were people of mixed Arab and Berber stock of northwest Africa who invaded and