Encyclopedia > History of Central America

  Article Content

History of Central America

Table of contents

Before European Contact Most of modern Central America was part of the Mesoamerica cultural area in Pre-Columbian times. The Native American civilizations of Mesoamerica extended from central Mexico down to Costa Rica. The Precolumbian cultures of Panama traded both with Mesoamerica and the cultures of South America, and can be considered transitional between the two cultural areas.

Spanish Colonial Era After the Spanish Conquest in the 16th century, most region now known as Central America shared a common history. The exceptions were the 2 nations at the north and south ends of Central America. Panama was part of Spanish New Granada, and then of the nation of Colombia, until 1903. Belize was the United Kingdom colony of British Honduras until 1973.

In the 16th century until the early 19th century Central America was part of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain, administered by the Captain General's administration in Antigua Guatemala and later Guatemala City.

Independence In 1821 the area became part of the Mexican Empire under Augustin de Iturbide. Independence from Mexico was discussed from the begining, and when Mexico became a republic it acknowledged Central America's right to determine it's own destiny.

The United States of Central America In 1823 the nation of Central America was formed. It was known alternately as "The United States of Central America" or "The United Provinces of Central America", but most commonly simply as "Central America". The Central American nation consisted of the states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In the 1830s an additional state was added, Los Altos, with its capital in Quetzaltenango, occupying parts of what is now the Western Guatemala highlands and Chiapas, Mexico.

Presidents of Central America:

Disolution of the Union

The Union dissolved in civil war 1838-1840. Various attempts were made to reunite Central America in the 19th century, but none succeded for any length of time. The first attempt was in 1842 by former President Morazan, who was captured by rebels and exicuted. Guatemalan President Justo Rufino Barrios attempted to reunite the nation by force of arms in the 1880s and was also killed in the process. A union of Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador as the Republic of Central America lasted from 1896 through 1898.

Despite the failure of a lasting political union, the sense of shared history and hopes for eventual reunification persist in the nations formerly in the union; all 5 fly flags that are modified versions of the old flag of the United States of Central America, a white stripe between two blue stripes, representing the land between two oceans.

In 1907 the Central American Court of Justice was formed.

On December 13, 1960 the Central American Common Market ("CACM") was established by Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua with hopes of greater political unification to follow; however little progress has yet been made in that direction.

History of the present-day nations of Central America:

History of Belize
History of Costa Rica
History of El Salvador
History of Guatemala
History of Honduras
History of Nicaragua
History of Panama

See also:

History of Mexico

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... links Ludvika (http://www.ludvika.se) - Official site Municipalities of Dalarna[?]: Avesta  |  Borlänge  |  Falun  |  Gagnef ...

This page was created in 28.7 ms