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Group of Caribbean Islands comprising Cuba, Republic of, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, the last divided into Haiti, Republic of and the Dominican Republic. Prior to contact with the Spanish colonists, the art of the Greater Antilles was relatively unified. However, after colonization traditions soon separated.

Antilles, Lesser, §I: Introduction...

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Irene Fanning, Mario Tesler, Jorge Glusberg, Cheryl Jiménez Frei, Nelly Perazzo, Christopher Hartop, Jorge F. Rivas Pérez, Ruth Corcuera, Marta Arciprete de Reyes, Julieta Zunilda Vaquero and Marta Calvo

[República Argentina]

South American country. It is bordered to the north by Bolivia and Paraguay, to the northeast by Brazil and Uruguay, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the west by Chile (see fig.). Buenos Aires is the capital city, and the country is divided administratively into several areas. The mild and fertile Pampa region in the center accounts for the country’s agricultural wealth; the Andes in the west range from dry, hot, northern peaks to sub-Antarctic Patagonia; the arid northwest is rich in mineral reserves. The north is covered by subtropical forest, known as the Chaco. Mesopotamia, to the northeast, is enclosed by two great rivers, the Paraná and the Uruguay, which 16th-century Spanish expeditioners followed in search of the gold and silver that they believed Argentina (“the land of silver”) concealed. This varied hinterland has, nevertheless, remained underdeveloped at the expense of the over-populated capital; around a third of the total population lives there and in the surrounding province. The majority of the population is of European descent, particularly Spanish and Italian, but also including British, German, French, Lebanese, Syrian, Eastern European, and Jewish communities, with growing immigration coming from neighboring countries and East Asia as well. The population of African descent that was introduced through slavery during colonial rule has all but disappeared, not least as a result of an epidemic of yellow fever in ...

Article

Belize  

Lita Hunter Krohn

[formerly British Honduras]

Central American country. Bordered by Mexico on the north, Guatemala on the west and south and the Caribbean Sea on the east (see fig.), its total land area is c. 23,300 sq. km. Its population of c. 250,000 (1999) contains a vast variety of ethnic groups. There are three types of Maya: the Mopan, Kekchi and Yucatec, each with its own unique language. The largest group are the Mestizos (43.6%), of mixed Spanish and Maya descent. There are also Creoles (29.8%), of mixed European and African ancestry, whose language, derived from English, is widely spoken by all, and Garifuna (6.6%), descended from Amerindian Caribs, Arawaks and Africans. The population also includes Chinese, Lebanese, Europeans, Hindu and Mennonite communities. In 1970 Belmopan became the capital in place of the coastal Belize City, which had been devastated by a hurricane in 1961. The terrain in the north of the country is mostly flat, as is the whole of the coastal area, while the south contains the Maya Mountains. There is thick rainforest in the interior, while the coast has the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere; the Belize Barrier Reef has been named a World Heritage Site....

Article

Laura Escobari, Pedro Querejazu, Christopher Hartop and Ruth Corcuera

South American country. It shares borders with Brazil to the north and east, with Paraguay and Argentina to the south, and with Chile and Peru to the west (see fig.). The Spanish arrived in Bolivia in 1534. During colonization, as part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, the territory of Bolivia was called Charcas or Upper Peru. The name derives from the Charcas Indians who lived to the north of Potosí, where the Spanish established the main political and administrative body of the region, the Audencia de Charcas. The region remained under the control of Lima until 1776, when it became the most northerly region of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. The Republic of Bolivia (founded 6 August 1825) was named after the Venezuelan revolutionary Simón Bolívar. It is divided into nine departments, which are further divided into provinces and cantons. Each department has a canton, usually the largest city. Sucre is the legal capital, and La Paz is the administrative capital....

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Roberto Pontual, Cécile Fromont, Cláudia Costa Cabral, Cláudia Costa Cabral, Maria Cecilia Loschiavo dos Santos, Christopher Hartop, Glauco Adorno, Claudia Mattos Avolese and Liliana Herrera

South American country. It is in the center of the eastern side of the continent, bounded by all other South American countries except Chile and Ecuador. Geographic regions of Brazil include the equatorial north, containing the Amazon basin, extensive and scantily populated; the northeast, with a semi-arid interior reaching to the coast and a relatively dense but poor population; the southeast, populous and highly developed, with the main cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; the southern plateaux, occupied mainly by landowners of European origin; and the central plateaux, the western part of which contains the swampy depression of the Mato Grosso irrigated by the basin of the River Paraguay. The vegetation is essentially tropical, with rainforests in the north, pine forests in the south, caatinga (brushwood) in the arid northeast interior, and savanna grasslands in the center and south. Although its area of c. 8,512,000 sq. km takes up almost half the continent (...

Article

Jorge Ortiz Avila, Armando de Ramon, Ramón Alfonso Méndez Brignardello, Milan Ivelić, Christopher Hartop, Isabel Baixas Figueras and Lissette Balmaceda

South American country. It is in the south-west of the continent, bordered to the north by Peru, to the north-east by Bolivia and to the east by Argentina. The country occupies a narrow strip of land running for 4200 km from north to south, with an area of 756,947 sq. km (see fig.). Further territory includes Easter Island, the Juan Fernandez Islands, various other Pacific islands and an area of the Pacific known as the Mar Chileno. The country is physically distinguished by the Andes Mountains and by coastal mountain ranges, a central valley and coastal plains. The climate is predominantly temperate, except in the extreme south, which is cold, and the extreme north, which has a hot desert climate. The population of 12 million is mostly mestizo (of mixed race), although in the late 20th century c. 5% were Native Americans, principally Mapuche from the southern region of Arauco; it is also mostly urban, based predominantly in and around ...

Article

Natalia Vega, Fernando Carrasco Zaldúa, Liliana Herrera, Christopher Hartop, Eduardo Serrano and Francine Birbragher

Country in the northwest of South America. It is bordered to the northwest by Panama and the Caribbean, to the east by Venezuela and Brazil, to the south by Peru and Ecuador, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean. The region was colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century under the name of Nuevo Reino de Granada. The area of 1,141,748 sq. km that makes up modern Colombia was established in the years following independence from Spain (1819). This article discusses the art and architecture of the country since the settlement of the Europeans.

For a discussion of the arts of the Pre-Columbian period in Colombia, see South America, Pre-Columbian, §II.

Colombia is divided into 23 departments, with a total population of c. 35 million. The capital city, Santa Fe de Bogotá has a population of 6 million. The country has an extremely varied topography. Three ranges of mountains running from southwest to northeast divide it into five regions: the Caribbean (with the islands of San Andrés and Providencia) and Pacific coastal regions, the Andean zone, the eastern plains, and the Amazon region in the southeast (...

Article

C. Guillermo Montero and Juan Bernal Ponce

[Sp. República de Costa Rica]

Central American country. It is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, by Panama to the south-east, by the Caribbean Sea to the east and by the Pacific Ocean to the south and west (see fig.). The Sierra Madre cuts across the country from north-west to south-east, forming a central plateau that is the main centre of population; the capital is San José.

C. Guillermo Montero

Columbus arrived at the town of Cariari (Puerto Limón) on 18 September 1502, during his fourth voyage. His brother Bartolomé explored the interior of the region but left no settlements. In 1509 the territory of Costa Rica became part of Castilla de Oro and was governed from Panama by Diego de Nicuesa. It was incorporated in the Audiencia de Guatemala, established c. 1521. During the government of Pedrarias Dávila, Gaspar Espinosa led an expedition to the Gulf of Nicoya, where the first Spaniards settled. ...

Article

Roberto Segre, Gerardo Mosquera, Liliana Herrera, Ernesto Cardet, Rebeca Gutiérrez and Marta Aguilera

Country situated in the Caribbean Sea between North and South America, near the Tropic of Cancer. It comprises over 1600 cays (low coral banks) and the Isla de la Juventud (see fig.), with a total land area of 110,922 sq. km. The capital is Havana.

See also Caribbean Islands.

Cuba is characterized by fertile territory that until the 19th century was covered with forests of valuable timber; these have been replaced by orchards and extensive plantations of sugar cane, tobacco, and coffee. The mountains, of moderate height, include the Guaniguanico range, the Sierra de los Organos, and the Sierra del Rosario in the west; the Sierra del Escambray in the center; and the Sierra Maestra in the east. The most important rivers are the Cayagualeje, Almendares, Mayabeque, Hatiguanico, Canimar, Sagua la Grande, Toa, and Cauto. The climate is moist and subtropical, and there are two main seasons: dry, from November to April, and rainy, from May to October. The islands are also sporadically swept by hurricanes and cyclones....

Article

Janet Henshall Momsen, Marianne de Tolentino, Paul Niell and Liliana Herrera

Country occupying the eastern two-thirds of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The western part is occupied by Haiti (see fig.). The capital is Santo Domingo, and Spanish is the official language; the population (7.4 million in 1996) is of mixed African, Indian, and European descent. It has the highest mountain in the Caribbean, Pico Duarte (3075 m), but also includes much rich agricultural land with large plantations. Cultivation of sugar cane began in the 16th century, and its need for a large workforce led to imposition of slavery on the Amerindian population and importation of Africans for forced labor; ratification of the abolition of slavery took place in 1844. Mining of nickel and textile manufacture are also important, although tourism is the main source of foreign exchange.

The Dominican Republic is the oldest settlement of European origin in America. After its discovery by ...

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Consuelo de Póveda, Liliana Herrera, Florencio Delgado, Carmen María Fernández-Salvador, Ricardo Descalzi and Lenin Oña

South American country. It is in the northwest of the continent and is bordered to the north by Colombia, to the south and east by Peru, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean (see fig.). It also includes the Galapagos Islands off the Pacific coast. The country occupies an area of 270,690 sq. km and has a population of c. 17 million (2019). The capital is Quito, but the largest city is the chief port, Guayaquil. The country is tropical, and regional variations in climate are determined by the Andes mountains, running north to south, which divide Ecuador into three regions: the coastal or ante-Andean region; the mountainous Andean region, a volcanic area containing some highly fertile valleys; and the Oriente region to the east, the principal center for oil production, which led to a period of rapid economic expansion in the 1970s. Throughout its history the country has been beset by earthquakes. The territory that makes up modern Ecuador was under Spanish colonial rule from ...

Article

Claudia Allwood de Mata

[Sp. República de El Salvador]

Central American country. It is bordered to the north and east by Honduras, to the south-east by the Gulf of Fonseca, to the south by the Pacific Ocean and to the west by Guatemala (see fig.). It covers an area of 21,200 sq. km and has a population of over five million; c. one million live in the capital, San Salvador, which is located in the central southern region of the country. The territory is subdivided politically into 14 departments. El Salvador gained independence from Spanish colonization in 1821. This article covers the art and architecture produced since colonial times. For a discussion of the arts of pre-colonial times, see Maya, §2.

The Spanish colonial conquest and rule began with the discovery of El Salvador by Andrés Niño in 1522. Within the Viceroyalty of Guatemala, El Salvador was of immense value for its agricultural wealth. In the struggle for independence in Central America, San Salvador was the first city to rebel, and the country played a leading role in Central American integration, with the establishment in ...

Article

Jorge Luján-Muñoz, A. Méndez-Domínguez, Linda Asturias de Barrios, Christopher Hartop and Rossina Cazali de Barrios

Central American country. It is bordered on the north and west by Mexico, on the north-east by Belize, and on the south-east by El Salvador and Honduras; the Pacific Ocean forms a coastline 250 km long to the south-west and the Caribbean Sea a shorter coast to the north-east (see fig.). The capital is Guatemala City (formerly Nueva Guatemala or Guatemala de la Asunción), although before its foundation in 1776 the capital was Santiago de Guatemala (founded 1527), which, following a landslide in 1541, was relocated (1543) several kilometres away on the site of present-day Antigua. Despite the country’s relatively small size, it can be divided into three distinct geographical areas: the lowlands in the north (comprising about a third of the country’s territory); the central, mountainous highlands; and the southern coastal plain. The lowlands contain notable classic Maya archaeological sites (see Maya, §1...

Article

[formerly British Guiana]

Country in South America. It is bordered by Venezuela on the west, Brazil on the south, Surinam on the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the north (see fig.). It includes the counties of Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice; the capital is Georgetown in Demerara. Its terrain consists of a highly cultivated coastal region, an interior of rain-forest, and open savannah in the south-west. Initially colonized by the Dutch in the early 17th century, it came under British rule in the early 18th, gaining independence in 1966.

For the history and art of Guyana before colonization see South America, Pre-Columbian, §VII, 1.

Denis Williams

The Dutch began to settle Guyana in 1616, and in 1621 the Dutch Chartered West India Company was given a monopoly in trade with the region. Failed attempts to settle the Pomeroon River were made by English colonists in 1639 and 1642...

Article

Dolores M. Yonker and Eva Pataki

revised by C. C. McKee

Country in the Caribbean. Occupying 26,000 sq. km of the western part of the island of Hispaniola (see fig.), it is volcanic in origin and mountainous. Intense cultivation of mountain slopes has caused severe erosion, and despite attempts at reforestation, Haiti is virtually barren of forest cover. The principal agricultural regions are the lowlands of the northern plain, the central plateau, the valley of the Artibonite River, and the Cul de Sac plain in the south. Over one hundred rivers and streams flow from mountain headlands into the Atlantic to the north, the Gulf of La Gonâve to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the south. The largest cities are the capital of Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien in the north. The majority of Haitians speak French Creole and practice the religion of Vodoun.

Dolores M. Yonker, revised by C. C. McKee

Christopher Columbus landed on ...

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Gloria Lara-Pinto and Rolando Soto

Central American country. It is bordered by Guatemala and El Salvador to the west and south-west and by Nicaragua to the south-east. Honduras has a 640-km coastline on the Caribbean Sea in the north and a narrow access to the Pacific through the Gulf of Fonseca in the south (see fig.). It is the second largest republic in Central America, its area of c. 112,100 sq. km dominated by mountainous terrain, with narrow coastal lowlands. Because of its elevation, much of the country has a moderate tropical climate, and the vegetation ranges from pine, oak and broadleaf monsoon forests in the temperate highlands to dense mangrove thickets, open savannah and vast tropical rain-forests in the humid coastal lowlands. Communications are relatively undeveloped, particularly in the east, and the population is mainly rural, about 70% living in the mountain valleys, where Comayagua, the former capital, and Tegucigalpa, the present capital, are also located. Honduras was colonized by Spain after ...

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Kathryn Greenthal and Marcus Whiffen

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Kathryn Greenthal and Marcus Whiffen

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Kathryn Greenthal and Marcus Whiffen

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