Subject Research Guides

History: Latin America

Getting Started

Begin your search with reference works to find background information, locate statistics and facts, and build a bibliography.

General Reference Works

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture
Ref F1406 .E53 1996
A five volume work covering Central America, South America, and the Caribbean; articles include bibliographies for further reading.

International Historical Statistics: The Americas, 1750-1993
Ref HA175 .M52 1998
Population, labor force, agriculture, industry, trade, transportation, finance and education statistics.

South America, Central America and the Caribbean 2002
Ref F1406.5 .S68 2002
An excellent source of information on the history, politics, and economy of Latin American countries; each essay contains a statistical profile and a directory.

The Caribbean

A Bibliography of the Caribbean
Ref F2161 .G67 1996
Bibliography of historical works (primary sources) and contemporary works (secondary sources) on the Caribbean.

The Complete Caribbeana, 1900-1975
Ref F2161 .C63
Although somewhat dated, this three volume bibliography is extremely thorough.

Central America and Mexico

Dictionary of Twentieth Century Culture: Hispanic Culture of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
Ref F1234 .H794 1996
Covers art, cinema, dance, literature, music, theater, mass media and popular culture.

Encyclopedia of Mexico
Ref F1210 .E63 1997
A thorough reference work on Mexican history; includes some longer review essays; many articles include extensive bibliographies.

Ref F1208 .P45 1993
An annotated bibliography of English language books on Mexican history, culture, politics, government, economics, and society.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: The Civilizations of Mexico and Central America
Ref F1218.6 O95 2001
An interdisciplinary work covering mesoamerican society and culture from the pre-Hispanic times to the present.

South America

The World Bibliographical Series includes a number of bibliographies of English language books on the history, politics, society and culture of South American countries. Several are listed below:

Ref 2808 .B53 1991
Ref F2508 .B78
Ref F3081 .B52 1988
Ref F2258 .D38 1990
Ref F2668 .N53 1987
Ref F2708 .F49 1989
Ref F2308 .W32 1990

Other Latin American Reference Resources

The Indians of Central and South America: An Ethnohistorical Dictionary
Ref F1434 .O45 1991
A useful work for identifying groups and subgroups of indigenous peoples.

The Cambridge history of Latin American literature
Ref PQ7081.A1 C35 1996
A three volume narrative summary of Latin American Literature from pre-Columbian literature to the present

Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature
Ref PQ7081.A1 E56 1997
Articles on Latin American authors, literary works, and literary themes; most articles conclude with a bibliography of related Spanish and English works

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Finding Books

Two kinds of books, monographs and essay collections, compose the majority of Gould library's collection. Monographs, extended analyses of a topic by a single author, are abundant in the field of history. Essay collections bring together articles, often by different authors, on a given topic.

In BRIDGE, the shared library catalog for the libraries of Carleton and St. Olaf Libraries:

  • Enter words that describe your topic (names, places, events, etc.).
  • When you find a book on your topic, examine its subject headings for relevance to your topic.
  • Click on a hyperlinked subject heading to perform subject heading search and retrieve related books.
  • Search "Latin America - History", or "(name of Latin American country) - History" to browse a list of relevant subject headings, such as:

    Latin America -- History -- 1830-1898 -- Sources
    Colombia -- History -- War of Independence, 1810-1822
    Mexico -- History -- 1867-1910 -- Historiography

  • Note that many Library of Congress subject headings relevant to Latin American History do not begin with "Latin America" or the name of a Latin American country:

    Spain -- Colonies -- America -- History
    General Strike, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1919 -- Press coverage -- Sources
    Caribbean Area -- Foreign relations -- United States

Browsing the stacks can help you evaluate the library's collection in a given field of study. The following call number ranges contain works relevant to Latin American history:

F1201-1392 Mexican History
F1401-1419 Latin American History (General)
F1421-1440 Central American History
F1601-1629 History of the West Indies (General)
F1630-1660 History of Bermuda and the Bahamas
F1741-1991 History of the Greater Antilles (including Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic)
F2001-2151 History of the Lesser Antilles
F2201-3799 South American History

Search WorldCat, an online catalog for libraries throughout the world, to take your search beyond Northfield.

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Finding Articles

Periodical literature in the discipline of history presents cutting-edge research, provides reviews of historiographical trends, and hosts a forum for intellectual exchange among professional historians.

Once you have located an article citation in a database, index, or bibliography, perform a title search in BRIDGE using the exact title of the periodical. If Carleton and St. Olaf do not hold the journal, you may request the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Periodical Databases & Indexes

Handbook of Latin American Studies (1932-present)
An interdisciplinary index to articles, essays, and books on Latin American studies. Search the Handbook of Latin American Studies to find materials in English and Spanish.

Historical Abstracts (1954-present)
The premier access point to the journal literature in history; provides citations to articles, books, and dissertations on all aspects of World history, 1450 - present.

MLA International Bibliography (1963-present)
Provides citations to articles dealing with literature, folklore, and popular culture.

PAIS International (1972-present)
Provides citations to articles dealing with current and historical political and public policy issues, such as globalization, foreign policy, and child labor.

Sociological Abstracts (1963-present)
Provides citations to articles dealing with current and historical sociological topics, such as ethnic identity, development, and demography.

Web of Science
Search either the Social Science Citation Index (1969-present) or the Arts & Humanities Citation Index (1975-present) to locate journal articles that cite specific works.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (1975 - current)
Covers international literature in political science and its complementary fields. Use this database if you are interested in a contemporary topic, as historians of recent history often draw from the literature of related fields.

Academic Journals to Browse

American Historical Review
In Print and Online

Hispanic American Historical Review
In Print and Online

Journal of Latin American Anthropology
In Print and Online

Journal of Latin American Studies
In Print and Online

Latin American Politics and Society / Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs
In Print and Online

Latin American Research Review
In Print and Online

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Web Sites

The Web sites recommended below complement other research resources.

Guide to History on the Web
A searchable database of history Web sites created by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

H-LATAM, an academic listserv and discussion network, allows you to read current and archived discussions on Latin American studies.

Latin American Network Information Center
A Web subject directory maintained by the University of Texas; a number of good academic sites may be found under the "countries" category.

Oxford Latin American Economic History Database
Created by the Latin American Centre at Oxford University, this searchable database contains economic and social data for 20 countries covering the period from 1900-2000.

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