Central America is the mainland bridge that connects North and South
America. The mainland bridge is dominated by the Cordilleras. These are
surmounted by many volcanoes that rise on the boundary line between two plates
of the earth's crust. Central America is in the tropics. Dense rainforests
predominate in the lowlands on the Caribbean coast, while in the mountainous
regions there are climates and climates.
the countries of Central America are mostly agrarian structured developing
countries, whose economy is based on the cultivation of export crops (including
bananas, coffee, cocoa). The population, which mainly consists of indigenous
people, often lives in great poverty.
Central America, located between the continents of North America and South
America, is twice the size of Germany with an area of 750,000 km². It is
divided into the mainland bridge Central America and the islands of the
The mainland bridge, which is around 2000 km long and between 60 km and 500
km wide, runs in a northwest-southeast direction between the Pacific Ocean and
the Caribbean Sea. It extends in the northeast from the isthmus of Tehuantepec
(southern Mexico) to about the Panamanian-Colombian border in the southwest
(Figures 1 and 2). Sometimes all of Mexico is included in Central America.
Central America is traversed by the folds of the Cordilleras, which drop
steeply towards the Pacific Ocean. Towards the Caribbean Sea, they gradually
flatten out in hilly areas. T. swamped alluvial areas connect, which eventually
merge into mostly flat compensation coasts with a variety of beach lakes
In Central America there are extensive plateaus and basins between the two
main chains of the Cordilleras. The two largest lakes in Central America, Lake
Nicaragua (approx. 8000 km²) and Lake Managua are located in an elongated
The land bridge has only connected North and South America since the
formation of the Cordilleras in the Tertiary. Violent earthquakes, e.g. B. The
capital cities of Nicaragua and Guatemala have been devastated several times in
the past few decades, suggest continuous crustal movements.
A tectonic weak zone runs along the Pacific side of Central America, where
two lithospheric plates are still shifting against each other. This zone is not
only characterized by frequent violent tremors. It is also marked by a chain of
high volcanic cones, many of which are still active and which includes the
highest mountain in Central America, the Tajumulco (4210 m) in
Almost all of Central America has a tropical climate, which
can be mitigated by the altitude. In addition, as in South America, the
Cordilleras also represent a climate divide in Central America. The highest
rainfall falls under the influence of the north-east trade wind up to 6000 mm
per year off the Caribbean side of the Cordillera. The ever-hot lowlands of this
region are therefore taken up by evergreen tropical rainforests.
Depending on the altitude, the rainforests change into mountain forests (from
800 m). Mixed oak forests and pine trees then grow above 1500 m. Deciduous
forests still thrive up to an altitude of 3200 m.
Severe hurricanes (cyclones) with heavy rain, which can lead
to devastating landslides, are not uncommon here. Hurricane Mitch, which
devastated large areas of Nicaragua and Honduras in November 1998, killed around
10,000 people. The Pacific side, on the other hand, has a
changeable tropical climate.
Instead of rainforests, rain-green savannah forests or dry
forests with thorn bushes or cacti thrive here, depending on the amount of
The inner valleys and highlands of the Cordilleras lying in the slipstream of
the mountains are e.g. T. quite dry. In large areas, however, the original
vegetation has been destroyed and has given way to human cultivation.
Only in Guatemala do the indigenous people have a larger share of the
population. These are mostly Mayans, whose ancestors founded the Mayan Empire on
the Yucatán peninsula, which reached its heyday between 300 and 900 AD. As a
testimony to this ancient American high culture, glorious noble
palaces and mighty temple buildings have been preserved in the jungle.
As in most developing countries, population growth is very high. On average,
it is around 2.5% in the Central American countries.
The dominant religion is Catholicism. Often, however, Christian customs are
mixed with old Indian traditions or African cults at religious festivals.
The countries of Central America are underdeveloped. The agricultural
sector is the dominant economic sector. It mainly produces export
products such as coffee (Costa Rica and Honduras), sugar cane, bananas
(Honduras), rubber and cotton. Beans, rice and corn are mainly grown for their
The sparse industry in most states is focused on processing local mineral
resources and processing agricultural products. Overall, however, the industry
is underdeveloped. This also applies to the traffic system. There are several
rail links on the mainland that connect the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. The Panamerican
Highway is important for road traffic as a continuous north-south
The Panama Canal, as one of the most important shipping routes
in the world, connects the Atlantic and the Pacific.