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Smithsonian, 2003 - History - 302 pages
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As a bridge between North and South America, Central America has a fascinating natural history and a unique geographic and geopolitical position. It separates two immense and totally different continental faunas and two vast tropical oceans. It has also linked two remarkably contrasting groups of pre-Columbian cultures and has witnessed the mingling of the American and European civilizations after Spanish colonization, developments that have led to a remarkable array of political and social patterns among the seven nations in the region. This illustrated book is a popular yet thorough investigation of both the natural and the human history of Central America. landscapes that make it such a diverse and complex region; the differences between the Pacific and Caribbean; the importance of Central American corridors and barriers for both terrestrial organisms (including humans) and marine life; native peoples and cultures during pre-Columbian and colonial times; colonization; the postcolonial period and independence; and the current status of the native Indian peoples and their lands. The book closes with a look at regional conservation issues for the 21st century.

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About the author (2003)

Coates is deputy director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama

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