The Isthmus Region
This region has many mountains and forests. This area connects North and South America and seperates the
Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This region is called Central America. It has many Earthquakes and volcanic
eruptions. Along the coast there are dense tropical forests. Most people live inland were the mountains rise into mild, highland
climates. The main cash crop is coffee grown along the mountain slopes. There are seven countries in this region.
Guatemala is the most populated of the seven countries. Besides coffee a spice called cardamom is the
major export here. Like the Mayan ancestores farmers grow corn, beans, squash, adn chili peppers. Economic inequality and discrimination against the indigenous population
have led to violent politics in recent times. Guatemalan leaders are now realizing the importance of political and economic
freedom. Land hunger, or the desire of farmers to own their own land, is being reduced through settlement of the once nearly
empty plains of Peten in the north.
Belie is humid-tropical,
dense forests limited settlement for many years. The population is made up of many kinds of people. Blacks and mulattos who
speak English live along the coast. Indigenous peoples and people of African ancestry live in the inland forests, and settlers
and Guatemala live along the inland borders.
Few cropscan grow in the poor soils.
Honduras is south of Belize
and the land is rugged mountains and valleys. Coffee again is the countries leading export. Less than 2o% of the land can
be farmed. Almost 90% of Honduras’s
people are mestizos. The rugged terrain makes transportation very hard. Many people have migrated out of the highlands to
work on the large banana and sugarcane plantations in the lowlands along the north coast.
El Salvador is a small country. It has many volcanoes and
plains. The soil is the most fertile in the region because of the volcanic ash. The climate here is wet in the summer and
dry in the winter. As in other parts of the region small farms and commercial farming dominate rural areas. Coffee and cotton
provide most of the countries export income. But most of the population lives
Nicaragua is hot and humid. It has volcanoes, mountains, valleys,
and great lakes. The major exports are coffee, beef, cotton, and bananas. In the highlands there is silver and gold. This
country had a history of political unrest. Its long-time dictator was overthrown in 1979 and a new government took over. The
u.s. put economic pressure on the Sandinistas
and supported Nicaraguan rebels, called Contras. In 1990,free elections were held and the Sandinistas were defeated , although
they are still the largest political party. Now, Nicaragua
is a democracy with many political voices.
Cost Rica has mild
climates and fertile soils. Coffee is the country’s main export. Cost Rica has the highest standard of living and the
literacy rate in Central America. The government has encouraged industrial growth and expanded
tourism. The country has also put aside land for national parks.
Most of the population lies ago the southern side of the country. The east has dense
forests and it is almost uninhabited. In the middle of the country is a prosperous area surrounding the Panama
canal, with large cities. In the west are more rural areas, were farming and haciendas are common. Canal fees
help the gross domestic product for the country.
The Caribbean islands
extend in a wide arc from south of Florida to the coast of Venezuela. The Bahamas are north in the Atlantic Ocean. The islands of the
Greater Antilles are Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The Lesser Antilles include the Virgin Islands, Barbados, Trinidad, and Tobago. The Bahamas,
north of the Greater Antilles, include more than 700 islands. The Caribbean
islands get 40 to 60 inches of rain a year. The Crops include fruits and vegetables and are grown throughout the year because
of the region’s climate.
The islands still show signs of slavery. The languages reflect the regions
cultural diversity. English, Spanish, French, Dutch, Hindi, and Chinese are spoken. Blending of these languages with African
languages are also common. Music is very important part of the culture here.