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Independence for Latin America

Independence for Latin America


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Grade Level Grades 6-8
Standards Alignment
Common Core State Standards

About This Lesson

In Independence for Latin America, students explore the wave of independence movements that led to the liberation of French, Spanish, and Portuguese Latin American colonies, beginning in the late 1700s and lasting into the early 1900s. Generally, these colonies had rigid class systems, with wealthy landowners controlling large tracts of land and poor workers providing the labor. But by 1830, most Latin American nations had won their independence from European colonial governments, with the help of leaders like Toussaint L’Ouverture in Haiti, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in Mexico, Simón Bolívar in Venezuela, and José de San Martín in Argentina. Students also learn that while many of these revolutions brought about new political and personal freedoms, independence proved easier to achieve than political stability. Almost every Latin American country has experienced the same cycle of government control by caudillos (regional strongmen), revolution, civil war, and violence.

This unit includes a Student Reader, Timeline Image Cards, and Teacher Guide, providing Guided Reading Supports and the following Additional Activities: domain vocabulary exercises; an activity designed to show the intertwined chronologies of the American, French and Latin American revolutions; opportunity to view a PBS’s Toussaint L’Ouverture and the Haitian Revolution; a video about Pancho Villa; and a Unit Assessment.


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings.


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