Central America

The Birth of the Panama Canal, 1869—1914

Panama, and its American-controlled Canal Zone, have lately been the scene of a revolutionary flutter. W.H. Chaloner asks, what is the history of the building of the Canal, and of the United States connexion with it?

Building the Panama Canal

Matthew Parker, on the centenary of the completion of the Panama Canal, describes the gruelling challenges faced by those competing to succeed in the project to join the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, from the 16th century to the present day.

Mr Maudslay: Victorian Exemplar

James A. Boutilier profiles Dr Alfred Percival Maudslay, a world-wide traveller who inaugurated the study of Mayan civilization in Central America.

Secret World of the Maya

The earliest explorers to uncover the ancient Maya civilisation in Central America could not believe that it owed its creation to the indigenous population, whom they saw as incapable savages. Nigel Richardson explains how this view changed.

Remembering and Forgetting in Guatemala

Rachel Sieder considers the role of ‘memory politics’ in Guatemala’s uncertain path to democracy as government and society attempt to come to terms with the brutality of the counter-insurgency war.

Columbus - Hero or Villain?

Felipe Fernandez-Armesto weighs up the case for and against the Genovese explorer, finding a Columbus for all seasons.