This lecture course (there will be no separate tutorials) examines the significance of pre-contact Mexica (Aztec) and Inca civilizations, Africa and Iberia in the late medieval period, the European invasion, colonialism as a historical “problem”, the Independence movements in the early nineteenth century, and the struggle of the new nations to build viable economic, political, and social institutions within the shadow of what some historians call the “colonial legacy”. We will focus primarily upon the Spanish Viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru, as well as the Portuguese colony of Brazil. Readings include biographical accounts that tease out the nuances and complexities of social relations and what it meant to be a colonial vassal. This course is meant to increase your knowledge of Latin American history, enhance your analytical and independent thinking skills, and help you gain a clearer sense of how to write a historical essay. There will be a mid-term, a 6-page essay and a final exam.