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Latin American History: Primary sources

An introductory guide to sources for Latin American history.

Understanding sources

 A primary source is any source, be it written, visual, oral or material, that comes from the time period being studied. Primary sources can include government documents, speeches, diaries, letters and newspapers, which tend to reflect official views of events that occurred.

Although it can be more difficult to find sources from ordinary members of the population, interviews and testimonies as well as folklore, popular tales and songs, and fictional works can also be considered in that they reflect aspects of the time they were created. All sources contain some kind of bias, so must be viewed critically whether they are official reports or firsthand oral accounts.

Supporting material

The History Faculty Library produces a pdf guide to primary sources. Although it does not include specific Latin American sources, it does contain useful tools for researching colonial history, U.S. history, government papers and news sources.

If you are particularly interested in consulting official papers, the dedicated guide below will show you how to get started.

Primary sources online

Libraries across the world are digitising their collections, and a wealth of primary source material can now be found online. The following links are gateways to a wide variety of resources for the study of Latin American history.

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