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This is an International Baccalaureate (college preparatory) course. We will be examining the regional historical record as well as current topics affecting the region. We will also work on a Historical Investigation. This is a research paper with defined parameters and format. Students who took HL1 History last year are eligible to take the IB HL History exam.  Other students WILL take a version of the exam in class.

The countries of the Americas have great diversity within the region, but ultimately they are linked by geographical and historical circumstances that bind them together.

How have these individual countries influenced each other?

What influences can we still see today?

Major developments, which include movements for Independence, the Mexican Revolution, the emergence of the Americas in global affairs and its role during the Cold War, will be addressed in this class. The goal of this class is to broaden our understanding of our neighbors to the south, as well as to prepare students to become better writers and researchers of history.
Course Outline
  1. The Colonial Period
  • Historical and cultural context of “the encounter”
  • Motives behind and significance of colonization
  • political and economic relationship with the colonial powers: Britain, France, Spain, Portugal
  • social and economic organization of the immigrant population
  • role of religion in the New World
  • treatment of indigenous peoples
  • the origins of slavery
  1. Movements of independence
  • causes-political, economic, social, intellectual, religious-and conflicts leading to war
  • role of outside powers
  • role of the social classes/ slavery
  • role of leadership: Washington, Jefferson, Bolivar, San Martin
  • the Declaration of Independence
  • independence of brazil
  • Haitian Revolution and the Republic: Toussaint L’Ouverture
  1. The Mexican Revolution, 1910 to 1940
  • causes and course of the revolution
  • aims and roles of the leaders, including Zapata and Villa
  • the Constitution of 1917
  • effects: immediate and long term: political, social, economic and cultural
  • role of the USA
  • Latin American politics in the first half of the 20th century
  • evolution of nationalism, indigenism, populism
  • role of the military
  • leaders, single-party states and populism: Vargas, Peron
  • nature and effectiveness of dissent
  1. Political and economic developments in Latin America after WWII
  • Revolutions; causes and effects (political, economic, social, ideological)
  • Role of leadership
  • The Cuban Revolution and Castro’s regime
  • Economic changes
  • Guatemala, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Chile or a country of the candidate’s choice
  • Military regimes: causes and effects
  • Return to democracy
  • The role of the Catholic church
  1. IB Exam Review
  • Year 1 Review Materials
  • Exam Structure
  • Advice, Hints & Tips
Concepts, themes and categories play an important role in the IB History course. They allow you to see the bigger picture, to compare and contrast and to think more analytically and critically about events in the past.
Below is an overview of the key concepts built into the course. (causation, consequence, continuity, change, significance and perspectives). Other examples of categories and themes are: social, historical, economic, political, technological, causes, practices, effects, rise and fall, consolidation, power, minorities, violence, peace, peacemaking, cooperation, civil war, total war, foreign intervention, foreign policy, domestic policy, ideology etc etc.
You can create your question using one of these themes. 
Useful website about historical thinking and concepts here
The description below is taken from the IB History Guide. 
The study of history involves investigation of the extent to which people and events bring about change. You should think about, and look for change, even if some claim none exists. You can also look for evidence to challenge orthodox theories and assumptions about people and events which led to significant change. Your questions and judgments about historical change should be based on deep understanding of content and on comparison of the situation before and after the events under examination. 
While historical study often focuses on moments of significant change, you should also be aware that some change is slow, and that history there is also significant continuity. You can demonstrate deep historical knowledge and understanding by, for example, showing awareness that there are times when there has been considerable continuity in the midst of great historical change. Alternatively, you may question and assess whether a change in political leadership, for example, brought about a change in foreign policy, or whether it was more accurately mirroring policies of previous governments.
Claims about the past try to explain and understand how a certain set of circumstances originated. Deep historical understanding is demonstrated where you recognize that most historical events are caused by an interplay of diverse and multiple causes that require you to make evidence-based judgments about which causes were more important or significant, or which causes were within the scope of individuals to direct and which were not.  Click here to read a great explanation of Cause and Effect by Historian Richard Pipes. 
History is the understanding of how forces in the past have shaped future people and societies. You demonstrate competency as a historical thinker when you understand and explain how significant events and people have had both short-term and long-lasting effects. You use evidence and interpretations of those people and events to make comparisons between different points in time, and to make judgments about the extent to which those forces produced long-lasting and important consequences.
History is not simply the record of all events that have happened in the past.
Instead, history is the record that has been preserved through evidence or traces of the past, and/or the aspects that someone has consciously decided to record and communicate. You should ask questions about why something may have been recorded or included in a historical narrative. Similarly, you should think about who or what has been excluded from historical narratives, and for what reasons. Additionally, you should think about, and assess, the relative importance of events, people, groups or developments, and whether the evidence supports the claims that others make about their significance.
You should be aware of how history is sometimes used or abused to retell and promote a grand narrative of history, a narrowly focused national mythology that ignores other perspectives, or to elevate a single perspective to a position of predominance. You should challenge and critique multiple perspectives of the past, and compare them and corroborate them with historical evidence. You should recognize that for every event recorded in the past, there may be multiple contrasting or differing perspectives. Using primary-source accounts and historians’ interpretations, you may also investigate and compare how people, including specific groups such as minorities or women, may have experienced events differently in the past. In this way there are particularly strong links between exploring multiple perspectives and the development of international-mindedness.