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History: Latin America: Reference

Reference sources - what are they?

Materials which are referred to for brief or general information. Examples include:

  • Background or overview synopses (encyclopedia)
  • Definitions (dictionary)
  • Synonyms (thesaurus)
  • Statistics
  • Biographical Details
  • Maps (atlas)

Reference sources - how to search them

Reference resources are organized in an order that aids searching (alphabetically, chronologically, etc).  Most include an index which points users to the appropriate section.  Tips for searching:

  1. Decide on your search terms
  2. Try searching with them
  3. If not satisfied with the results, try searching a synonym or related idea

Things to watch out for:

  • Is the computer searching only the title/header of the entries or the full-text of the information?  You will get more results, but more of them will be irrelabent if you are searching the full-text.
  • Are you searching for a proper noun (name, place,...)?  Make sure that the spelling is correct and try variations if it originated in a foreign language.
  • Searching for something by date?  This is trickier than it sounds.  If possible, search for an event name or topic rather than a date, e.g. civil rights movement or hippies or flower children rather than 1960s.


Major Encyclopedias

  • Historical dictionary of U.S.-Latin American relations. Ref F 1418 .F457 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Latin American history and culture. 5 vol. Ref F 1406 .E53 1996
  • Latin American heroes : liberators and patriots from 1500 to the present. Ref F 1407 .A32 1993
  • Encyclopedia of Mexico: history, society, and culture. Ref F1210.E63 1997
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of mesoamerican cultures. Ref F 1218.6.O95 2001
  • Cambridge encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. Ref F 1406.C36 1985.
  • Historical dictionary of Cuba. Ref F 1754.S83 2001
  • Historical dictionaries of various other Central and South American nations: at Ref F 1443 to Ref F 3708.
  • Puerto Rico past and present: an encyclopedia. Ref F 1954.F47 1998
  • Dictionary of Afro-Latin American civilization. Ref F 1408.3.N86


  • International historical statistics : the Americas 1750-1988. Ref HA 175 .M52 1993
  • Cuba: a handbook of historical statistics.  Ref F 1778.S37 1982.

Maps and Atlases

  • Historical atlas of Latin America: political, geographic, economic, cultural.   F 1408 .W66 1967

Research Guides

  • Cultural studies in the curriculum : teaching Latin America.  F 1409.95.U6 C85 2003


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