Central America is an extraordinarily beautiful part of the world, with sweeping panoramic vistas of tropical vegetation, towering mountains, and striking ethnic and racial diversity. This tropical paradise has a history as diverse as its people and cultures. Pearcy begins with the Maya in ancient Mesoamerica, and then moves on to discuss European contact and the subsequent subjugation of the people of Central America by the Spaniards during the Colonial period. The book also covers the National period, independence movements, and the subsequent development of independent, sovereign Central American nations. It concludes with a look at the mid-twentieth century, when the economies, governments, and populations of the seven republics had evolved so distinctly that each has its own unique set of challenges to deal with today. Pearcy examines the development of each individual nation and the regional similarities that propelled or constrained that development.