76

I don't believe the answer to this is known objectively. However, it may be worth looking at the different settlement histories of the two areas you are comparing. Most of the American possessions, up until quite recently (19th century or so) were treated as resources to be tapped (or "looted" if you prefer) by the owning Europeans. This includes not just ...


41

T.E.D.'s answer is very good, and points to the most important issue: the difference between colonisation methods in North America vs Latin America. There are a few missing nexus that I feel could be explored in more depth, though. But, first, as this is a question with very important political and ideological consequences, I also think it is necessary to ...


33

A large factor in the advancement/financial disparity between the U.S./Canada and its neighbors to the south is the difficulty of colonizing areas in tropical/subtropical climates vs. colonizing temperate areas. The climates of these regions are vastly different. Very little of Earth's land lies in the temperate zone of the southern hemisphere. (If I ...


31

Iron is not "mined" in its native form. The ores of iron, such as hematite, are oxides which are plentiful and can even be collected right off the surface of the earth with no mining involved at all. I myself have collected hematite and magnetite from stream beds right near where I live. The difficulty in making iron is that it must be reduced from its ...


25

Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish-Peruvian chronicler in the Viceroyalty of Peru(then Spanish-held) recounted several aspects of Incan life and tradition. His most famous works include Historia de la Florida and Comentarios Reales de los Incas the second of which is of presumably more interest to you as it details some of his experiences in Cuzco as a child. ...


23

One reason was that the "Anglos" brought their own women with them. For instance, there were women passengers on the Mayflower. And twelve years after the settlement at Jamestown, there was a boatload of women (in 1619), followed by many more. The Spaniards also had more "multicultural" dealings, as noted in the comments above. The Spanish religious ...


21

Cristóbal de Molina, a young Spanish priest, witnesses in 1535 the Inca celebration of the maize harvest: On a platform Indians were throwing meats into a great fire. At another place the Inca ordered llamas to be thrown for the poorer Indians to grab, and this caused great sport. Over 200 hundred girls came out of Cuzco, each with a large new pot ...


20

Of course there were many factors. But the Spanish/Portugal scheme was a rural patron/peon arrangement that had not reached the bourgeoisie stage, i.e. an educated third estate. The British and particularly the French thinking in this regard, laid the ground work for the American founders’ derivative political philosophy. The American frontier also ...


14

The answer to your question is one of timing, power and the types of colonies. There were 5 countries that were the main competitors in the global colonization game. The Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and Dutch. Simply said the Spanish and Portuguese were about 100 years ahead of the rest, Also known as the Age of Discovery. Portugal and Spain, due ...


13

I think you could argue for a fundamental difference in the Spanish and English attitudes toward "colonization" of the Americas, based partly on different historical backgrounds and partly on where they started. Once the Spanish got to the Americas proper (as opposed to the Caribbean islands), they encountered populous agricultural and urban societies, ...


13

TED's answer is fantastic; it covers the root causes of the problems. I'd like to add one more cause, specifically, US military and economic intervention in Central and South America have acted to keep these countries poor. Edit: The new answer by Luís Henrique provides a ton of detail. Some examples, working from South to North: US backed Chilean coup of ...


12

Historically, there weren't multiple Portuguese colonies in South America. There was just one. The Portuguese governed Brazil as a single unit since 1549, when the failed Captaincies were merged. This became the Viceroyalty of Brazil (1775), the Kingdom of Brazil (1815, still ruled by the Portuguese Crown), the independent Empire of Brazil (1822, when ...


12

The most important reasons go back to the differences between the English colonial heritage in North America, and the Spanish/Portuguese colonial heritage in South America. Although England, Spain and Portugal were all monarchies during the colonial period, and even today, England had "Republican" and "Democratic" traditions going back for centuries. This ...


11

There are undoubtedly many reasons, but one is that the institutions of democracy and capitalism require a long period of development before they become strong and healthy. England had Magna Carta and a parliament starting in 1215. There was a longstanding tradition of militias, in which every adult male (sometimes subject to religious and property ...


10

Why were Native Americans much more under developed then their neighbors in the south. Copyright Skubasteve834, source: Wikimedia Commons, usage via CC-BY-SA. It's not quite fair to classify native North Americans as underdeveloped. The above image is of Monks Mound, a part of the Cahokia Mounds complex in southern Illinois. This mound was constructed over ...


10

The reason is the same for which the Bronze Age existed in Europe and elsewhere. People knew how to make copper and bronze but did not know how to make iron. So there is nothing special about Americans in general and Peruvians in particular. They just did not discover the process. But I suppose they knew about meteoric iron.


10

I have not watched the documentary. However, going by Jared Diamond's book of the same name, I would be surprised if it claimed that the Incans capitulated because they believed that the conquistadores were gods. Quoting from the book: These Spanish victories cannot be written off as due merely to the help of Native American allies, to the psychological ...


9

The main trade in the Caribbean in the 16th and 17th centuries was the sugar trade. Spain had gotten most of the islands, but Britain, the Netherlands and France managed to get a few, such as the Antilles. To supplement these footholds, they also carved out chunks of South America near the Caribbean. These were initially trading posts more than anything else,...


8

Most countries in South America today roughly correspond to the borders of the Audiencias. Before I continue, I will give some clarity on certain governmental units within the Spanish Empire. -Audiencia: a subdivision within a Viceroyalty serving as the seat of a court having jurisdiction over a specific area; also handled decision making in the absence of ...


8

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was a massive wave of German emigration to the Americas, the numbers are a bit fuzzy, but there's little doubt that at the conclusion of WW2 there were strong German speaking communities all around South America, mainly in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile. Furthermore, the politics of those countries were - ...


8

The reason was colonialism and trade rights. For this same reason, the Dutch had already sent a ship in 1902, along Britain, Germany and Italy. In 1908, a second Venezuelan crisis occurred. Economic tensions with the United States escalated, in part from still unresolved issues involving the New York & Bermúdez Company. The gunboat Tacoma was sent ...


8

I think this discussion must involve Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weber argued that Protestantism induces a mindset in its followers which aligns well with and promotes secular endeavors. The protestant god is a bookkeeper: There is an eternal record continuously updated with your good and bad deeds, and when you die a ...


8

First, a clarification: North America includes many more sovereign states than just the USA and Canada. As for why the USA and Canada have been more prosperous than other American sovereign states, territories, etc, there are many factors. My answer will just consider two factors: anti-competitive interventions, and political fragmentation. My answer is ...


7

My answer is a little more simplistic than most, but here goes. When people left Britain for the colonies, it was to escape religious persecution, mostly. You had people all sharing a common motivation to make it work. When the Spanish landed in South and Central America, it was to loot it for riches. Don't underestimate the power of a people with a ...


6

It seemed to follow the bright red path depicted in this image: The Incan Empire had built and maintained a very extensive road transport system prior to their conquest by Spain. Segments of the old roads were converted into, and subsequently expanded upon, to form this particular El Camino Real.


6

Argentina was actually ranked one in the top 10 economies of the world in the late 1800ds. Infrastructure engineering with torrential rain in the tropics is more difficult, and the jungle was endless, even through flood basins, so trans continental rail links only were completed in South America in 1912 from Atlantic to Pacific. The human cost of tropical ...


5

In the colonial era, sugar then was comparable to oil now - it was an extremely valuable commodity, and countries sought to produce as much of it as possible. The Guianas had a suitable climate for growing sugar and had been left unsettled by the Spanish/Portuguese, so it was not surprising that they would be eventually conquered by other European powers. ...


5

Just to add a little to explain the points in your question: what the "unfriendly acts" were: In March it seems he seized a Dutch vessel carrying official correspondence from the Governor of Curacoa to the dependent island of Aruba. Intercepted the correspondence and imprisoned the crew and now he has handed his passports to M. de Reus the Dutch ...


5

Gold was usually found in low places, in the middle of rain forests. Even though there were gold mines in Buriticá y Remedios (Nueva Granada), the usual method was finding alluvial gold, dragged by sand in the rivers. Silver was extracted only from mines. In the Altiplano (Andean Plateau), the natives used an "explosive technique" that was adopted by the ...


5

Geography is a factor. The United States began as a collection of States that shared a common seaboard; communication across the states could happen quickly, which helped to build a sense of common solidarity and shared national identity that served to counter the Federalist momentum from the different states. South American geography, with the variety ...


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