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This title authoritatively recounts the main events in the history of Latin America and highlights the men and women who played key roles in the establishment and growth of the region. Though long inhabited only by various Amerindian tribes, Latin America was transformed by the arrival of Europeans, who built colonial empires across the region beginning in the sixteenth century. Much of Latin America secured its independence in the early nineteenth century, but the new countries were plagued by political and economic instability, some of which continues today. Readers will get a full picture of Latin America's complex history and an understanding of how it affects the present-day region.