Middle America (Americas)

Middle America is a region in the mid-latitudes of the Americas. In southern North America, it usually comprises Mexico, the nations of Central America, and the Caribbean. In northern South America, it usually comprises Colombia and Venezuela. The Caribbean is occasionally excluded from the region, and the Guianas are infrequently included.[2][3][4]

Physiographically, Middle America marks the territorial transition between the rest of North America and South America, connecting yet separating the two.[5] On the west, the Middle American mainland comprises the tapering, isthmian tract of the American landmass between the southern Rocky Mountains in the southern United States and the northern tip of the Andes in Colombia,[6] separating the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean (viz. the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea) on the east, while the Greater and Lesser Antilles form an island arc in the east.[5] The region developed subaerially southward from North America as a complex volcanic arc-trench system during the Early Cretaceous period, eventually forming the land bridge during the Pliocene epoch when its southern end (at Panama) collided with South America through tectonic action.[7]

MiddleAmerica-pol
Political map of Middle America.

Occasionally, the term Middle America is used synonymously with Central America[4] (compare with Middle Africa and Central Africa). In English, the term is uncommonly used as a synonym of the term Mesoamerica (or Meso-America),[6][8] which generally refers to an ancient culture region situated in Middle America extending roughly from central Mexico to northern Costa Rica.[9] In addition, some residents of the region (e.g., Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans) may be referred to as Meso-Americans or Central Americans, but not, however, as Middle Americans, which refers to a particular constituency in the United States.[10]

Middle America
Middle America (orthographic projection)
Area2,728,827 km2 (1,053,606 sq mi)
Population (2007)188,187,764
States
Dependencies
GDP$1.416 229 trillion
(PPP, 2005 est.)
Major languagesSpanish, English, Mayan, French, Haitian Creole, Antillean Creole, and others
TimezoneUTC −4:00 (Barbados) to
UTC −8:00 (Mexico)
Largest urban agglomerations

See also

Sources

  1. ^ "Population of urban agglomerations with 750,000 inhabitants or more in 2005, by country, 1950-2015" (PDF). United Nations. 2005. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  2. ^ CIA political map of Middle America. 1994. Perry–Castañeda Library Map Collection; University of Texas Library Online
  3. ^ "Middle America." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. 2003. (ISBN 0-87779-809-5) New York: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  4. ^ a b Augelli, John P. (June 1962). "The Rimland-Mainland Concept of Culture Areas in Middle America". Annals of the Association of American Geographers: 52 (2): 119–129. JSTOR 2561309. Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, to which the term is normally applicable, share a general [geographic] focus .... For some ... "Middle America" refers only to Mexico and Central America; others add the West Indies and, infrequently, even Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guianas. Occasionally, the term "Central America" is used synonymously with "Middle America". Also, German geographers often refer to just the isthmian territories from Panama to Guatemala as Mittelamerika.
  5. ^ a b Gonzalez, Joseph. 2004. "Middle America: Bridging Two Continents" (ch. 17). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography. (ISBN 1-59257-188-3) New York: Alpha Books; pp. 213–7
  6. ^ a b "Middle America." Encyclopædia Britannica 2006. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  7. ^ Coney, Peter J. 1982. "Plate tectonic constraints on the biogeography of Middle America and the Caribbean region." Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden: v. 69, pp. 432–443
  8. ^ 'Glossary' Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine Images of the Past, 4th ed. 2005. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
  9. ^ Dow, James W. 1999. The Cultural Anthropology of Middle America Archived 2007-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "American." The Oxford Companion to the English Language (ISBN 0-19-214183-X). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 35.

Coordinates: 17°24′00″N 91°00′00″W / 17.4000°N 91.0000°W

Americas

The Americas (also collectively called America; French: Amérique, Dutch: Amerika, Spanish and Portuguese: América) comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.

Along with their associated islands, they cover 8% of Earth's total surface area and 28.4% of its land area. The topography is dominated by the American Cordillera, a long chain of mountains that runs the length of the west coast. The flatter eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the Amazon, St. Lawrence River / Great Lakes basin, Mississippi, and La Plata. Since the Americas extend 14,000 km (8,700 mi) from north to south, the climate and ecology vary widely, from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America.

Humans first settled the Americas from Asia between 42,000 and 17,000 years ago. A second migration of Na-Dene speakers followed later from Asia. The subsequent migration of the Inuit into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is generally regarded as the settlement by the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

The first known European settlement in the Americas was by the Norse explorer Leif Erikson. However, the colonization never became permanent and was later abandoned. The Spanish voyages of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1502 resulted in permanent contact with European (and subsequently, other Old World) powers, which led to the Columbian exchange and inaugurated a period of exploration, conquest, and colonization whose effects and consequences persist to the present.

Diseases introduced from Europe and West Africa devastated the indigenous peoples, and the European powers colonized the Americas. Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of indentured servants, and importation of African slaves largely replaced the indigenous peoples.

Decolonization of the Americas began with the American Revolution in the 1770s and largely ended with the Spanish–American War in the late 1890s. Currently, almost all of the population of the Americas resides in independent countries; however, the legacy of the colonization and settlement by Europeans is that the Americas share many common cultural traits, most notably Christianity and the use of Indo-European languages: primarily Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and to a lesser extent Dutch.

The Americas are home to over a billion inhabitants, two-thirds of which reside in the United States, Brazil, or Mexico. It is home to eight megacities (metropolitan areas with ten million inhabitants or more): New York City (23.9 million), Mexico City (21.2 million), São Paulo (21.2 million), Los Angeles (18.8 million), Buenos Aires (15.6 million), Rio de Janeiro (13.0 million), Bogotá (10.4 million), and Lima (10.1 million).

Caribbean

The Caribbean (, locally ) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean) and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region has more than 700 islands, islets, reefs and cays (see the list of Caribbean islands). Island arcs delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea: The Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (which includes the Leeward Antilles). They form the West Indies with the nearby Lucayan Archipelago (the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands), which are sometimes considered Caribbean despite not bordering the Caribbean Sea. On the mainland, Belize, Nicaragua, the Caribbean region of Colombia, Cozumel, the Yucatán Peninsula, Margarita Island, and the Guyanas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Guayana Region in Venezuela, and Amapá in Brazil) are often included due to their political and cultural ties with the region.Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a region of North America and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010, there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies. From January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived political union called the West Indies Federation composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.

Central America

Central America (Spanish: América Central, pronounced [aˌmeɾika senˈtɾal], Centroamérica [sentɾoaˈmeɾika]) is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas. This region is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The combined population of Central America is estimated to be between 41,739,000 (2009 estimate) and 42,688,190 (2012 estimate).Central America is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala to central Panama. Due to the presence of several active geologic faults and the Central America Volcanic Arc, there is a great deal of seismic activity in the region, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which has resulted in death, injury and property damage.

In the Pre-Columbian era, Central America was inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica to the north and west and the Isthmo-Colombian peoples to the south and east. Following the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus' voyages to the Americas, Spain began to colonize the Americas. From 1609 to 1821, the majority of Central American territories (except for what would become Belize and Panama) were governed by the viceroyalty of New Spain from Mexico City as the Captaincy General of Guatemala. On 24 August 1821, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which established New Spain’s independence from Spain. On 15 September 1821, the Act of Independence of Central America was enacted to announce Central America’s separation from the Spanish Empire and provide for the establishment of a new Central American state. Some of New Spain’s provinces in the Central American region (i.e. what would become Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) were annexed to the First Mexican Empire; however, in 1823 they seceded from Mexico to form the Federal Republic of Central America until 1838. In 1838, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala became the first of Central America’s seven states to become independent autonomous countries, followed by El Salvador in 1841, Panama in 1903 and Belize in 1981. Despite the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America, there is anecdotal evidence that demonstrates that Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, Savadorans, Panamanians and Belizeans continue to maintain a Central American identity. For instance, Central Americans sometimes refer to their nations as if they were provinces of a Central American state. It is not unusual to write "C.A." after the country’s name in formal and informal contexts. Governments in the region sometimes reinforce this sense of belonging to Central America in its citizens. For example, automobile licence plates in many of the region’s countries include the moniker, Centroamerica, alongside the country’s name.

Index of Central America-related articles

This is an Index of Central America-related articles. This index defines Central America as the seven nations of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Latin America

Latin America is a group of countries and dependencies in the Western Hemisphere where Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French are predominantly spoken; it is broader than the terms Ibero-America or Hispanic America. The term "Latin America" was first used in an 1856 conference with the title "Initiative of the America. Idea for a Federal Congress of the Republics" (Iniciativa de la América. Idea de un Congreso Federal de las Repúblicas), by the Chilean politician Francisco Bilbao. The term was used also by Napoleon III's French government in the 1860s as Amérique latine to consider French-speaking territories in the Americas, (French Canadians, French Louisiana, French Guiana, Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy) along with the larger group of countries where Spanish and Portuguese languages prevailed, including the Spanish-speaking portions of the United States (Southwestern United States and Florida) Today, areas of Canada and the United States (with the exception of Puerto Rico) where Spanish, Portuguese and French are predominant are typically not included in definitions of Latin America.

Latin America consists of 13 dependencies and 20 countries which cover an area that stretches from the northern border of Mexico to the southern tip of South America, including the Caribbean. It has an area of approximately 19,197,000 km2 (7,412,000 sq mi), almost 13% of the Earth's land surface area. As of 2016, its population was estimated at more than 639 million and in 2014, Latin America had a combined nominal GDP of US$5,573,397 million and a GDP PPP of 7,531,585 million USD.

Mesoamerica

Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, and within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In the 16th century, European diseases like smallpox and measles caused the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous people. It is one of five areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas along with Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day Peru, in the northern coastal region.

As a cultural area, Mesoamerica is defined by a mosaic of cultural traits developed and shared by its indigenous cultures. Beginning as early as 7000 BCE, the domestication of cacao, maize, beans, tomato, avocado, vanilla, squash and chili, as well as the turkey and dog, caused a transition from paleo-Indian hunter-gatherer tribal grouping to the organization of sedentary agricultural villages. In the subsequent Formative period, agriculture and cultural traits such as a complex mythological and religious tradition, a vigesimal numeric system, a complex calendric system, a tradition of ball playing, and a distinct architectural style, were diffused through the area. Also in this period, villages began to become socially stratified and develop into chiefdoms with the development of large ceremonial centers, interconnected by a network of trade routes for the exchange of luxury goods, such as obsidian, jade, cacao, cinnabar, Spondylus shells, hematite, and ceramics. While Mesoamerican civilization did know of the wheel and basic metallurgy, neither of these technologies became culturally important.Among the earliest complex civilizations was the Olmec culture, which inhabited the Gulf Coast of Mexico and extended inland and southwards across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Frequent contact and cultural interchange between the early Olmec and other cultures in Chiapas, Guatemala and Oaxaca laid the basis for the Mesoamerican cultural area. All this was facilitated by considerable regional communications in ancient Mesoamerica, especially along the Pacific coast.

This formative period saw the spread of distinct religious and symbolic traditions, as well as artistic and architectural complexes. In the subsequent Preclassic period, complex urban polities began to develop among the Maya, with the rise of centers such as El Mirador, Calakmul and Tikal, and the Zapotec at Monte Albán. During this period, the first true Mesoamerican writing systems were developed in the Epi-Olmec and the Zapotec cultures, and the Mesoamerican writing tradition reached its height in the Classic Maya hieroglyphic script.

Mesoamerica is one of only three regions of the world where writing is known to have independently developed (the others being ancient Sumer and China). In Central Mexico, the height of the Classic period saw the ascendancy of the city of Teotihuacan, which formed a military and commercial empire whose political influence stretched south into the Maya area and northward. Upon the collapse of Teotihuacán around 600 AD, competition between several important political centers in central Mexico, such as Xochicalco and Cholula, ensued. At this time during the Epi-Classic period, the Nahua peoples began moving south into Mesoamerica from the North, and became politically and culturally dominant in central Mexico, as they displaced speakers of Oto-Manguean languages. During the early post-Classic period, Central Mexico was dominated by the Toltec culture, Oaxaca by the Mixtec, and the lowland Maya area had important centers at Chichén Itzá and Mayapán. Towards the end of the post-Classic period, the Aztecs of Central Mexico built a tributary empire covering most of central Mesoamerica.The distinct Mesoamerican cultural tradition ended with the Spanish conquest in the 16th century. Over the next centuries, Mesoamerican indigenous cultures were gradually subjected to Spanish colonial rule. Aspects of the Mesoamerican cultural heritage still survive among the indigenous peoples who inhabit Mesoamerica, many of whom continue to speak their ancestral languages, and maintain many practices harking back to their Mesoamerican roots.

Middle America

Middle America may refer to:

Middle America (Americas), a region in the mid-latitudes in the Americas

Middle America (United States), a region of the United States representing the country's interior and non-urban "heartland"

American middle class, a social class in the United States

Midwestern United States, region representing the north-central parts of the United States

"Middle America" (song), a song by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Northern America

Northern America is the northernmost region of North America. The boundaries may be drawn slightly differently. In one definition, it lies directly north of Middle America (Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America). Northern America's land frontier with the rest of North America then coincides with the Mexico–United States border. Geopolitically, according to the United Nations' scheme of geographic regions and subregions, Northern America consists of Bermuda, Canada, Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and the United States of America (excluding Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands and other minor US territories).

Robert Wauchope (archaeologist)

Robert Wauchope (December 10, 1909 – January 20, 1979) was a well-respected American archaeologist and anthropologist, whose academic research specialized in the prehistory and archaeology of Latin America, Mesoamerica, and the Southwestern United States.

Earth's primary regions

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