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Central America

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.

According to Countryaah, 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.

Location

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 Caribbean.

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.

Surface shape

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 (lagoons).

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 depression.

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 southern Guatemala.

Climate/vegetation

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 precipitation.
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.

Population

Country Area
in km²
Population
in 1,000
Capital
Costa Rica 51 100 4,579 San Jose
El Salvador 21 041 6 163 San Salvador
Guatemala 108 889 14 027 Guatemala
Honduras 112 492 7 466 Tegucigalpa
Nicaragua 120 254 5 743 Managua
Panama 75 517 3 454 Panama

Population

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.

Economy

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 own use.

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 connection.
The Panama Canal, as one of the most important shipping routes in the world, connects the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Countries in North America
  1. Antigua and Barbuda
  2. Bahamas
  3. Barbados
  4. Belize
  5. Canada
  6. Costa Rica
  7. Cuba
  8. Dominica
  9. Dominican Republic
  10. El Salvador
  11. Greenland
  12. Grenada
  13. Guatemala
  14. Haiti
  15. Honduras
  16. Jamaica
  17. Mexico
  18. Nicaragua
  19. Panama
  20. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  21. Saint Lucia
  22. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  23. Trinidad and Tobago
  24. United States

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