The map of the Western hemisphere seems to support the thesis about the existence of two Americas: on one hand the "Anglo-America" in the north with its huge lateral extension; the extensive environments of temperate climate; its marine connections of easy access, with the rich areas of the world that nowadays we call the "North"; and its reach all the way to the ice of the Arctic Ocean. On the other hand we have Latin America which seems to be somewhat distant from the world markets, and subject of unfavorable climate. But Felipe Fernández-Armesto asserts that they are more similar that what it seems. We cannot use environmental arguments to explain the different historical trajectories of both regions. And for the reasons that the speaker will show, the cultural arguments typical of the traditional historiography, are even less valid. To understand the recent failures of Latin America, and the relative success of the USA and Canada, as well as to understand their future, we need to change the focus and propose new questions.