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Central America and the Caribbean Islands

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Central America and the Caribbean Islands

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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
 
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

 

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 from Mexico and Guatemala live along the inland borders. Few cropscan grow in the poor soils.

 

Honduras

 

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
 

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 in poverty.

 

Nicaragua

 

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.

 

Costa Rica

 

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.

 

Panama

 

 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.

 

Physical Geograph

 

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.

 

Human Geagraphy

 

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.

 

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