Earthquakes have helped shape the history of many Latin American nations. The effects of floods, droughts, hurricanes, and earthquakes and tsunamis have destroyed people's lives and their built environments, and changed land forms, such as mountains, rivers, forests, and canyons. This collection of essays focuses on earthquakes in Latin America since the mid-nineteenth century. Often interpreted as evidence of God's wrath, internalized as punishment for sins, and serving as detonators of revolutions, earthquakes have shined an unforgiving light on political corruption and provided new opportunities to previously disadvantaged groups. These analyses of earthquakes reveal the human role in shaping interactions with our environment.
Jurgen Buchenau is professor and chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is the author of Tools of Progress: A German Merchant Family in Mexico City and editor of Mexico OtherWise: Modern Mexico in the Eyes of Foreign Observers, 1865 - Present (both UNMP). He is coeditor of Governors in the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1952: Portraits in Conflict, Corruption, and Courage. Lyman L. Johnson is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is coauthor of The Faces of Honor: Sex, Shame, and Violence in Colonial Latin America and editor of Death, Dismemberment, and Memory: Body Politics in Latin America (both UNMP). Johnson is general editor for Dialogos, a series of University of New Mexico Press titles about Latin American History, culture, and politics.