HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America

Course Syllabus for "HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America"

This course will introduce you to the history of Latin and South America from the year in which European explorers first discovered and began to colonize the region to the early 19th century, when many Latin and South American colonies declared their independence from European rule.  You will learn about the major political, economic, and social changes that took place throughout Latin and South America during this 400-year period.  The course will be structured chronologically.  Each unit will include representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the conquest of native peoples by European explorers, colonial settlement patterns and trade networks, social and cultural exchanges between native peoples and Europeans, and the emergence of independence movements across Latin and South America at the end of the 18th century.  By the end of the course, you will understand how the interaction between native peoples and European settlers created diverse and complex colonial societies throughout Latin and South America, and why the colonies of the region eventually declared their independence from European political control.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, student will be able to:

  • Think critically about the history of Latin and South America from the pre-colonial period though the beginning of the 19th century
  • Compare and contrast the political, economic, and social practices of the peoples of Iberia, Africa, and the Americas in the pre-colonial period.
  • Analyze the political, social, and military interactions between Iberian explorers and conquerors and the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • Identify how Spanish colonists settled Latin and South America in the 16th century and analyze the role played by imperial and religious institutions in colonization efforts.
  • Assess the role of European Mercantile policies in the formation of colonial economies and trade networks.
  • Analyze the structure of Spanish and Portuguese colonial societies and assess the role of women, indigenous peoples, and Afro-Latinos in these societies.
  • Students will be able to assess the status of Latin and South American colonies in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires of the 17th and 18th centuries and identity how European conflicts affected political and economic life in the colonies.
  • Identify how the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19thcentury led to the rise of independence movements in the colonies of Latin and South America.
  • Assess how political revolutions and wars for independence throughout Latin and South America ended European colonial control of the region, and compare and contrast the consequences of these revolutions for ethnic European and indigenous populations.
  • Analyze and interpret primary source documents from the pre-colonial period though the beginning of the 19th century using historical research methods.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software.  Please note that this course makes use of material in the following formats: PDF (requires Adobe Reader), iTunes video lectures (requires iTunes), RealPlayer/Quicktime, webpages that may require Flash, and PowerPoint.

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed all courses listed in “The Core Program” of the history discipline (HIST101, HIST102, HIST103, and HIST104).  This requirement only applies to those students who are seeking the equivalency of a Full History Degree.  If taking this course as an elective, you must only have completed HIST001.

Course Information

Welcome to HIST221: Colonial Latin and South America. General information about this course and its requirements can be found below.
Primary Resources: This course comprises a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned material. All units build on previous units, so it will be important to progress through the course in the order presented.
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the assessments at the end of each unit in this course. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 71.5 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit and assignment. These time advisories should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at the time advisories before beginning this course in order to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit. Then, you can set goals for yourself. For example, Unit 1 should take you approximately 29 hours to complete. Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete Subunit 1.1 (a total of 5.5 hours) on Monday night, Subunit 1.2 (a total of 16 hours) on Tuesday and Wednesday night, etc.