History 2912 treats Latin America from the rise of the Inca and Aztec empires in the fifteenth century to the wars of independence in the early nineteenth century. The readings and lectures together will give you a broad outline of the major political, social, and economic trends of what some historians call the early modern Latin American past. We will devote special attention to matters of religion, economy, and ethnic and race relations, both before and after conquest, along with some discussion of sexuality and marriage. It is hoped that by exploring these larger themes we may be able to better understand the very different worlds faced by Native Americans, Africans, Europeans, and others during this long and complex period of social and economic transformation. You are encouraged to compare the features and effects of colonialism in other regions of the world, including British and French North America, with those discussed in this course.