unit banner

Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson F: Imperialism and the New World of the Americas

Opening: Latin American Social Structure

Under European colonialism, strict social definitions emerged. This created a Latin American Caste System. Those who were descendants of Europeans had more power and wealth in Latin America while those who were descendants of only Native Americans or Africans had little power and were often used for labor. Slavery was abolished during the 19th century, but the daily life of those of African descent did not change much. These individuals also were denied basic political, economic, and social rights. During the 19th century, the Creoles were normally the ones who led revolts and revolutions but after Latin American countries received independence, they moved to the top of the social pyramid and held the power.

Directions: Select each section of the pyramid to review the major social classes in Latin America prior to independence.


Alternative content

Get Adobe Flash player


Notebook Icon

Written Activity - Notebook

Examine the Latin America social pyramid and then in your notebook, respond to the following questions:

  • What patterns do you see in the pyramid?
  • Why do you think this structure emerged?
  • How does this structure remind you of others that you have learned about? Which ones? What similarities do you see?
  • Do you think a similar social structure still exists in Latin America? Why or why not?


image of classroom blackboard with world history written on it

Classroom Activity - Latin American Society

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Work with a partner to review what you wrote about the social structure of Latin America. With a partner create a visual, diagram, chart, or other graphic representation of the culture and society of Latin America.


❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖  ❖