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Top 10 History and Traditions of South America

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The many varied indigenous tribes of South America enjoyed their own cultures for years before the arrival of Europeans and subsequent immigrations. Here you'll find a sampling of the many books written about the history and traditions of South America.

1. Conquistadors

Michael Wood - Very readable, engrossing and lively accounting and recreation of the journeys of exploration, with maps, illustrations and photos of the places the conquistadors conquered.

2. The Ancient Kingdoms of Peru

"Archaeologist and Incan expert Nigel Davies offers astonishing revelations about the remarkable empire of the Incas and the civilizations that preceded them. From the desert at Nazca to the great coastal civilization of Chimor, this compelling overview makes accessible the latest research on all the ancient kingdoms of Peru. 6 maps. 31 figures. photos."

3. History of the Inca Empire

"The Historia del Nuevo Mundo, set down by Father Bernabe Cobo during the first half of the seventeenth century, represents a singulary valuable source on Inca culture... The volume includes a general account of the aspect, character, and dress of the Indians as well as a superb treatise on the Incas--their legends, history, and social institutions." Translated by Roland Hamilton.

4. John Muir's Last Journey South to the Amazon and East to Africa

South to the Amazon and East to Africa Unpublished Journals and Selected Correspondence: Three years before his death, John Muir set out alone on his journeys, keeping records in journals and letters, never before published, of what he considered the "most fruitful year of his life."
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5. The History Atlas of South America (English)

South America is covered, from Aztec civilizations to the arrival of the conquistadors to the struggle for the cocaine trade. 70 illustrations & photos. 50 maps.
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6. The "Drug War" in Colombia:The Neglected Tragedy of Political Violence

Americas Watch Report - "This important book documents criminal activities by the Colombian armed forces. The research is meticulous. Americas Watch interviews witnesses and victims to provide first hand accounts of murder and death threats by government forces." (Amazon.com review)

7. History of the Conquest of Mexico and History of the Conquest of Peru

William H. Prescott - "Tells the story of Cortes' subjugation of the Incas in Peru. Presents a panoramic view of the clash of cultures that continues to reverberate in Latin America to the present day."

8. Life and Letters of Vasco Nunez De Balboa

Life and Letters of Vasco Nunez De Balboa, Including the Conquest and Settlement of Darien and Panama, the Odyssey of the Discovery of the South Sea, a Description of the Splendid Armada to Castilla Del Oro, and the Execution of the Adelantado (English)
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9. A History of Latin America: C. 1450 to the Present

by Peter Bakewell (Author) - "With a more accurate title, I would have happily given this book five stars. It is an informative and enjoable (sic) account up to independance from spain and portugal. It highlights differences between viceroyalties and presents a vivid picture of the people & changes in political climates until the early 1800s." Reviewer's comment.

10. The History of Argentina (English)

Daniel K. Lewis - "...This work provides a solid and engaging introduction to the persons, events, and factors that have helped shape the nation. Covering the entire sweep of Argentina's history from pre-Columbian times to 2001, the narrative outlines the connections between the colonial era and the 19th century and focuses closely on the last three decades of the 20th century."
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