The History of Central America

by Thomas L. Pearcy


Examines the histories of Central American countries; Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama; from earliest times to the present day.

Print Flyer
Cover image for The History of Central America

December 2005


Pages 192
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics World History/Politics and Government

Central America is an extraordinarily beautiful part of the world, with sweeping panoramic vistas of tropical vegetation, towering mountains, and striking ethnic and racial diversity. This tropical paradise has a history as diverse as its people and cultures. Starting with the Maya in ancient Mesoamerica, the History of Central America continues with European contact and the subsequent subjugation of the people of Central America. Spaniards established and ruled their Central American empire during the Colonial period. This led to the National period, independence movements, and the subsequent development of independent, sovereign Central American nations. By the mid-20th century, the economies, governments, and populations of the seven republics had evolved so distinctly that each has its own unique set of challenges to deal with today. Pearcy examines the development of each individual nation and the regional similarities that propelled or constrained that development.

Ideal for students and general readers, the History of Central America is part of Greenwood's Histories of Modern Nations series. With over 30 nations' histories in print, these books provide readers with a concise, up-to-date history of countries throughout the world. Reference features include a biographical section highlighting famous figures in Central American history, a timeline of important historical events, a glossary of terms, and a bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading.

Series Description

The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations

Every school and public library should update its resources with these engagingly written and succinct narrative histories of the world’s nations covering prehistoric times through today. Based on the most recent scholarship, each history provides a chronological narrative examining the political, cultural, philosophical, and religious continuities in the featured nation’s long, rich history in an exploration of how its people came to be who they are today. Each volume includes a chronological narrative history, a timeline of events, biographical sketches of key figures, a glossary, and a bibliographic essay.
Table of Contents

Series ForewordTimeline of Events in Central American HistoryAn Introduction to the Seven Nations of Central AmericaCentral AmericaEarly Roots of Modern Central AmericaFrom United Provices to Independent States: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and NicaraguaPanama: From Columbian Provice to Occupied StateThe United States and Central AmericaThe Cold War I: Communism and "Freedom Fighters"Cold War II: Belize, Costa Rica, and PanamaCentral America in the Twenty-First CenturyNotable People in the History of Central AmericaGlossary of Foreign Language Words and Key ConceptsCentral American History: A Bibliographic Essay



"Pearcy presents an up-to- date, concise, analytical history of the seven nations of Central America for students and interested laypeople. The text includes an introductory overview of the seven countries and of early Central America; the evolution of the countries from provinces held by other nations to independent entities; relations between the U.S. and the region; developments during the latter half of the 20th century; and Central America in the 21st century. The historical narrative is supplemented with a timeline of historical events, brief biographies of notable individuals in the region's history, a glossary of foreign language words and key concepts, and a bibliography for further reading."—Reference & Research Book News


"Professor Thomas Pearcy's excellent history of Central America is unusual in its consideration of places that previous historians of Central America have often overlooked, including Belize and Panama. This expanded scope enables Pearcy to make provocative comparisons that challenge conventional understandings of the Cold War and other pivotal moments in the region's history. This engagingly written book will be of great interest to anyone who seeks an insightful introduction to a region whose history has long been intertwined with that of the United States."—Dr. Aims McGuinness, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

"Tom Pearcy has written a highly readable and geographically complete introduction to the history of Central America, with an emphasis on social, political and economic developments in the region from the colonial period to the present. Additionally, Pearcy outlines the role of the United States in Central America, as well as the Cold War. This book is ideal for high school students and college freshmen."—Robert H. Jackson, Office of Federal Acknowledgment, Department of the Interior

"Tom Pearcy's History of Central America introduces the reader to key issues in the study of the region, offering an illuminating counterpoint to some conventional wisdom. He achieves this through a concise, balanced and intelligent approach that takes into consideration the particular conditions of every country, the historical trends shared by this heterogeneous territory as a whole, and the influence of its relationship with the United States of America. This is a smooth and engaging brief narrative not only of the five countries usually included in this kind of study, but also of Belize and Panama."—Fernando Aparicio, History Department, University of Panama

Look Inside

Other Titles of Interest

The History of Venezuela cover imageThe History of Iraq cover imageThe History of Indonesia cover image
The History of Ghana cover image

Product Search

Product Search

Publication Year



Need Help? Try our Search Tips