How to choose an essay topic

Welcome to the Latin American and Caribbean History subject guide at Carleton University Library.

Explore your topic

Introducing Summon - which makes it possible to search across many of the library's collections simultaneously. Including books, ebooks, journal titles, games, music, videos, government information, maps, and more.

However,  Summon doesn't search everything that the library owns or subscribes to so you will still need to search other resources to find everything that you need. Summon also doesn't let you do sophisticated searches that you may be used to doing in specific databases or the library catalogue.  

When to use Summon

  • When starting research on a topic
  • If you are not sure which databases to use

For assistance using Summon please contact the Research Help Desk.

Use these to get an overview of your topic or to find definitions of key terms and concepts.

Key Databases: 

Additional Databases: 

By connecting via Carleton Library, you will be able to seamlessly connect to the fulltext of articles that are part of the library's collection.

An annotated bibliography of works on Latin America covering various fields in both the humanities and social sciences. The database covers from 1936 to the present.

Dissertations and Theses

Provides full-text access to theses from a number of universities around the world with a focus on theses from Latin American institutions.

Finding primary sources in the library collection

  1. Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Research Collections (ARC) website.
  2. Reproductions can be found by checking the library catalogue.

Use specific words to locate primary sourcees in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:

    [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
    [PERSON’S NAME] and s:diaries
    [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
    [KEYWORD] and s:sources

Latin America:

Includes the following:

Convention with Peru for the Satisfaction of Claims of American Citizens; March 17, 1841
Extradition Convention Between the United States and Argentina; September 26, 1896
The Inter-American System: Agreements, Conventions and Other Documents - full text of acts, treaties, conventions, declarations, resolutions, and other documents.
Mexican-American Diplomacy : 1848 - 1861 - full text of treaties between México and the United States.
Treaty for the Free Navigation of the Rivers Parana and Uruguay Between the United States and Argentina; July 10, 1853
Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Between Argentina and the United States; July 27, 1853

Digital collections includes 100s of early books on Latin America as well as other material

Digital collections from the National Library of Spain includes 100s of early books on Latin America. In Spanish.

Over 1,200 images, maps and texts from the 18th and 19th centuries reveal contrasting experiences of life in the former British colonies.

This collection of letters consists of the incoming correspondence to the Colonial Bank in Trinidad from its inception in 1837 to 1885.

A collection of electronic texts originally written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820.

Digital archive of ecclesiastical sources for Africans and those of African descent in Cuba, Brazil and Spanish-controlled areas of the Caribbean, covering the early 16th century through the late 19th century. 

Maps, photographs, and published materials, as well as field notes, letters, and a unique range of manuscript materials on selected expeditions between 1626 and 1953 to Latin America and Asia.

University of New Mexico's premier English language Latin America news service. Searchable.

Digital library of 16th-19th century Latin American travel accounts (only Brazil at the moment).

More than 100 Latin American Studies titles from the Stanford University Press; rare published and archival materials from the Stanford University Libraries Special Collections. At present, online access to these materials is available at no charge.

More than 600 images taken from 19th Century books.

Demographic, social and economic statistics on 20 Latin American countries 1900-2000.

More than 2,000 photographs of artifacts, buldings and images.

Argentina:

Provides a brief narrative and a selection of declassified documents.

Testimonies of 881 victims of Argentina's "Dirty War," official documents, reports, verdicts, list of detention centers, and a bibliography.

Caribbean:

Includes thousands of historic photographs, maps, posters, manuscript material and more.

Over 1,200 images, maps and texts from the 18th and 19th centuries reveal contrasting experiences of life in the former British colonies.

Diaries of the governor of Tobago in the early 19th century.

Provides access to digitized versions of Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials currently held in archives, libraries, and private collections.

Cuba:

Searchable database of Castro speeches transcribed and translated into English.

"The Cuban Heritage Digital Collection (CHDC) is a digital gateway to finding aids and primary sources selected from the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC) of the Otto G. Richter Library at the University of Miami. It is currently comprised of archival collection finding aids and the digitized content of those collections, including photographs, letters, manuscripts, and other documents."

More than 1,500 photographs of Cuba taken during the early 1960s.

Data and Statistics

Online resource for comparable economic and social data series from 1900-2000 for 20 countries in Latin America.

Excellent source for political data and constitutional and electoral information for Latin American countries.

Government Documents

See section on Latin America.

Guatemala:

Provides a brief overview and copies of declassified documents.

Mexico:

More than 300 documents regarding colonial Mexico. In Spanish

More than 2,500 items including oral histories and photographs.

Collection of documents, journals, photographs and bibliographies on the history of Mexico.

Transcriptions of over 5,000 articles dealing with the Mexican-American War

European imperialism in Mexico through 19th century photographs of which include images of cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, albums, and postcards.

Part of the National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book series at George Washington University. Provides a brief overview and copies of declassified documents.

"Zapatistas! contains the full, English language text of every communique published (along with several that were not published, as well as many interviews, letters, and essays) from the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) from December 31, 1993 through June 12, 1994."

Newspapers

Fulltext digital image archive of London Times.

Centre for Research Libraries Newpapers Collection (CRL)

Search the CRL catalogue by country to find historical newspapers for individual countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Most are available in microform and can be ordered through Interlibrary Loans using your RACER account.  See also the Latin American Studies Topic Guide.

Panama:

Smithsonian exhibit dealing with the building of the Panama Canal.

ARCHIVES

Images

Includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archeology.

Over 1,200 images, maps and texts from the 18th and 19th centuries reveal contrasting experiences of life in the former British colonies.

Films and Videos

Collection of streaming educational videos that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Contains both clips and full-length videos.

For video material at the Carleton Univeristy library, do a KEYWORD search in the library catalogue and limit "Material Type" to FILM/VIDEO. If you cannot find what you need search the following database:

If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.

Open source movies in Spanish.

General

Searchable database of bibliographic data on Mesoamerican cultures

Virtual library of eBooks, eJournals, Conference Proceedings, and Multimedia published in Latin America and the Caribbean.

By Country

Argentina

Barbados

Brazil

Cuba

Digital archive of ecclesiastical sources for Africans and those of African descent in Cuba, Brazil and Spanish-controlled areas of the Caribbean, covering the early 16th century through the late 19th century. Only the Cuban Documents are available at the moment.

Jamaica

Access to Government of Jamaica documents and online exhibitions

Mexico

A digital educational resource on contemporary US-Mexico border issues.

Oral histories and artifacts pertaining to the Bracero program, a guest worker initiative that spanned the years 1942-1964.

"Full text of five agreements between the government of Mexico and the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN) from February 1996."

European imperialism in Mexico through 19th century photographs of which include images of cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, albums, and postcards.

Peru

By Topic

History

Digital collection of selected Latin American manuscripts, covering the Colonial period and 19thand 20th centuries.

    Internet Modern History Sourcebook

Includes full text of documents and essays as well as links to other resources for these time periods:

    Colonial Latin America
    19th Century Latin America
    20th Century Latin America

 Human Rights

The digital library is a specialized collection of over 5,700 full-text documents relating to refugees and forced migration. Searchable.

International Organizations

Maps

Over 29,000 maps and images online. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North American and South American maps and other cartographic materials.

Clickable map of the countries in Central America and the Caribbean.

Politics and Government

Religion

Slavery

Women

Associations