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Special Collections Guide: Environmental History in Latin America & the Caribbean

Research guide to primary sources from the Latin American Library's Special Collections for historical research on the dynamic relationship between people and the environment across Latin America and the Caribbean.

How to Use This Guide

Welcome to the Research Guide for Researching Environmental History in Latin America

This guide was initially created for a Latin American Studies course (LAST 6961) to help enrolled students locate and consider relevant resources in the Latin American Library's Special Collections for a writing assignment focused on the analysis of primary sources.  It now becomes a  guide available to anyone with an interest in locating primary source materials relating to environmental disasters or impacts from past human-environmental interactions and relationships within the geographic context of Latin America and the Caribbean.  This guide is still a work in progress as the Special Collections keeps growing and more materials across our collections reveal important and pertinent information relevant to the topic.   

The Special Collections of the Latin American Library contains rich resources in a variety of formats that include manuscript collections, rare books and pamphlets, ephemera, maps, and a photographic archive that can provide primary source information for historical research with an environmental perspective on the following themes:

  • Disaster events (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts, insect plagues)
  • Mining
  • Panama Canal and railway construction
  • Tropical commodity production (coffee, bananas, sugar, henequen, timber)
  • Public works/urbanization (drainage, transportation, deforestation, urban sprawl)
  • Studies of nature
  • Disease/epidemics

The tabs to the left of the page provide annotated lists of pertinent Special Collections holdings by theme.  These lists are robust, but not exhaustive.  You can click on the highlighted title of a collection that will take you to an online finding aid that provides detailed information about collection contents.  More detailed finding aids may be available in print form at the Latin American Library office.  Please stop by to consult the printed finding aids or the card catalog for the Special Collection holdings.  You may always contact me directly with any questions you may have about the collections or the library's services regarding the Special Collections.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.