The colonization of Latin America and the Caribbean followed the European discovery of the Americas. As the first wave of Western colonialism, the majority of the nations of Latin America had already won their independence from Spain and Portugal before colonialism had fully taken root in other parts of the world. But colonialism lasted longer in the Caribbean and its legacy lingers in Latin America. Special attention is paid to colonial society, which bore little resemblance to the indigenous societies but was a major influence on Latin American societies. An indispensable resource for students of history or Latin America.