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Latin American Business and Economics Resources

Economic History Resources

Underwood & Underwood, photographer Making cigarettes in the great factory "El Buen Tono," Mexico City, Mexico. [c. 1903]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

To understand the economic situation in Latin America and its place in the current world economy it is important to understand its economic history. Some of the selected resources in this section cover Latin American economic development going back to the colonial period, while others cover national, regional, and global issues in the continent since the beginning of the 20th century. We have also included titles on the history of major industries like commodities, mining, and agriculture in the continent that will contribute to better understanding of the economic past and present. Researchers will learn about specific historical issues and events of social, economic and political nature that affected the economic development of the Latin American countries and the reasons the economic growth of the region lagged behind comparable economies.

This section also features materials from the Library of Congress’ rich collections on Latin American economic history as well as databases and online resources, both free and subscription-based. To expand your research, please see the Search the Library's Catalog page that will help you find more material in the Library's collection on this topic.

Library of Congress Collections

In these manuscript collections you will find legal and financial records from Mexico including correspondence, tax records, contracts, mortgage, loan records, estate inventories, and more, going back to the 16th century. Along with the more recent photographs collection depicting the life of cattle drivers and cowboys in haciendas of South America, these unique collections are sure to offer valuable insight into Latin American economic history. 

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available. If you are interested in using these collections, please send your inquiry to the Manuscripts Division.

Print Resources

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

Online Resources and Databases

Listed here are both free and fee-based databases for researching Latin American economic history. Some are specific to business while others like newspapers, can be used for general research as well as for economic history. Try searching by historic events, industries, companies, and countries.

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.