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Tectonic Plates in Middle America
Tectonic Plates in Middle America
World Hurricane Tracks
World Hurricane Tracks
Regions of Middle America
Regions of Middle America
Middle America
Middle America
Middle America
Middle America
Euro-African influence
Euro-African influence
Regions of Mexico
Regions of Mexico
Altitudinal zonation: Middle & South America’s Vertical Climate Zones
Altitudinal zonation: Middle & South America’s Vertical Climate Zones
Altitudinal Zonation in Middle America
Altitudinal Zonation in Middle America
Middle America
Middle America
The Panama Canal
The Panama Canal
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Middle America

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1Chapter 4 – Middle America. A – 28it needed without making a permanent
Defining the Realm B – Colonialism and its commitment to admit the workers as
Impacts C – Mexico D – Central America and residents. Took 10% of earnings to be
the Caribbean. deposited in saving accounts in Mexico. To
2A. The Landscape. Defining the realm favor the return of labor. Mexico earned
Latin America: Includes Middle and South foreign exchange: Remittances sent back
America. Mexico: The most substantial home by the workers and solved some of its
landmass. Central America: Narrowing strip own employment problems. The third most
of land to 40 miles wide in Panama. important source of income for Mexico
Caribbean islands. Major geographic after oil and tourism. 16.6 billion in
qualities Fragmented - physically and 2004.
politically. Culturally diverse : Less 29Top 10 Countries of Origin for US
Latin than South America. Importance of Legal Immigrants, 1995-2003.
pre-Columbian and African cultures. Many 30Population Pyramid of Mexico, 2000.
European dominions (English, French, 31Regions of Mexico. Mexamerica. Club
Dutch). Mex. New Spain. Metromex. South Mexico.
3Physical Geography. Land bridge A link Club Mex.
(isthmus) between two major continental 32The Regions of Mexico. Mexamerica
masses. A shortcut between two major Extends north of the Rio Grande into
oceans. Archipelago About 7000 islands. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and
Greater Antilles: The four large islands; California. Northern half of Mexico. The
Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. most integrated with the US economically
Lesser Antilles: Numerous small islands; and culturally. Source of most migration
Bahamas, Martinique, etc. Natural hazards to the US. Largely a dry land of great
Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Hurricanes. ranches. Concentration of land ownership:
4Physical Geography. Volcanism Eruption Runs counter to overall government
of lava and rock fragments and gas policies, since the Revolution, of more
explosions. Path of least resistance to equitable land distribution.
the surface. Often corresponds to borders 33The Regions of Mexico. New Spain
between tectonic plates. Magma bursts Mexico's breadbasket and its historic
forth as lava in volcanic eruptions. colonial hearth. Region of old cities and
Yields the classic cone-shaped or tradition. Most conservative and
composite volcanoes that frequently traditionally Catholic region. Metromex
associated with volcanic eruptions. Mexico City and its surrounding area.
Montserrat: Major volcanic eruption in Classic example of a primate city: One of
1995; ongoing to 2003. Evacuation of 7,000 the world's largest city (25 million). A
out of the 10,500 population. More than quarter of the national population.
half the island now inhabitable. Growing at the estimated rate of 500,000
5Tectonic Plates in Middle America. per year through both natural increase and
Caribbean Plate. Cocos Plate. North immigration. Dominates the national
American Plate. Pacific Plate. economy, the national political life, and
6Physical Geography. Hurricanes Violent its modern cultural life. Significant
tropical storms. Form during the summer environmental problems.
and early fall. About 96 tropical cyclones 34The Regions of Mexico. South Mexico
are reported annually. Spiral shape and Major areas of continued habitation by
curved paths: Caused by the Coriolis large indigenous populations: The states
effect. Formed 5 degrees north and south of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and of the Yucat?n
of the equator. In the north, storms Peninsula. 20% of the Mexican population
follow clockwise paths. In the south, of Amerindian origin. Many unassimilated
storms follow a counterclockwise path. groups, particularly in highland areas.
Heat is the critical factor in the The poorest region of the country. Least
formation of tropical storms. affected by development. Chiapas rebellion
7World Hurricane Tracks. of 1994: Revolt against landowners.
8Regions of Middle America. Atlantic 35The Regions of Mexico. Club Mex
Ocean. Lesser Antilles. Greater Antilles. Capture the essential international flavor
Mexico. Caribbean Sea. Pacific Ocean. of Mexico's areas of concentrated resort
Central America. Puerto Rico. Cuba. tourism development. Tourism as economic
Dominican Republic. Haiti. Jamaica. development: Pursued by the government.
Belize. Honduras. Guatemala. Nicaragua. El Mostly in areas of relatively limited
Salvador. Costa Rica. Panama. industrial development. Created the
9Regional Divisions. Central America necessary infrastructure (particularly
From Guatemala to Panama. Geopolitically airports). Allow foreign investors to have
fragmented. Panama Canal zone controlled access to rather remote regions (note
by the United States until 1999. Canc?n, Ixtapa, Puerto Escondido).
Population of about 30 millions, mostly Construction of hotels, restaurants, and
M?tis. Plantation system often controlled entertainment facilities. Club Mex is much
by American multinationals. Exports of less Mexican than other parts of the
bananas, coffee, sugar and cotton. country.
Dependency on the American market. 36Integration to North America. Context
10Regional Divisions. Caribbean Large Pool of cheap labor will be more readily
number of Islands, about 35 million exploitable by multinational corporations.
inhabitants. Lesser Antilles; the crest of Improve Mexico's employment outlook by
volcanic mountains. Insular micro-states; absorbing its young and growing labor
no other equivalent in the world: Other force. Stem the tide of migration by
island states are groups of islands. reducing the incentive to move to the USA.
European and African influence: Cuba: 70% Increase and diversify Mexico's export
White. Haiti: 90% Black. Dominican potential. Increasing its ability to earn
Republic: 60% M?tis. Important export foreign exchange. Reducing its risk of
functions: Sugar for Cuba; Coffee, Sugar recession that was quite high when it
and Cacao for Hispaniola; Bauxite for relied primarily upon one export product -
Jamaica. Tourism: Important function. oil.
Dependent on the United States 37Integration to North America. Creation
(proximity). of Maquiladoras Initiated in the 1960s as
11Mesoamerica. Culture hearths coupon houses. Assembly plants pioneered
Pre-Columbian Latin America was a the migration of industries in the 1970s.
combination of a few urban-based Importance: 4,000 maquiladoras. 1.2
federations ruled by the Mayas, Incas or million employees. Modern industrial
Aztecs. Maya civilization: 3000 BC. plants. Assemble imported, duty-free
Classic period 200-900 AD with a components/raw materials Export the
population of 2-3 million. Lowlands; finished products Mostly foreign-owned
Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Yucatan (U.S., Japan) 80% of goods re-exported to
peninsula. Theocratic structure; collapsed U.S. Tariffs limited to value added during
by the 9th century. Aztec civilization: assembly.
1300 AD. Highlands; Valley of Mexico. 38Wages in the Manufacturing Sector,
Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) with a 1995 (per hour).
population of more than 200,000 people. 39Integration to North America. NAFTA
Overthrown by Cortes between 1519-21 with (1994) Trade agreement between Mexico,
508 soldiers. Canada and the US: Reduced and regulated
12Pre-Columbian Civilizations in Middle trade tariffs, barriers, and quotas.
America. Atlantic Ocean. Aztec. Maya. Standardized finance & service
Pacific Ocean. exchanges. Advantages Mexico gains jobs.
13Colonial Experience. Conquista Began Foreign owners benefit from cheaper labor
in the early 1500s. First in the Caribbean costs. Effects Regional development.
(Hispaniola). Region divided into numerous Development of an international growth
individual colonial territories. Military corridor between Monterrey and Dallas -
phenomenon (muskets and horses). Lack of Fort Worth. Future The model came to a
unity among indigenous groups (Aztecs, standstill in the 21st century. Labor
Incas) that the Spanish encountered. competition from China ($0.35 to $1 per
Impact on the indigenous population hour). Loss of 300,000 jobs.
Scattered groups of people living in 40Integration to North America (The
subsistence economies. Diseases brought by Maquiladoras). United States. Mexico.
the Europeans: Decimated the indigenous California. Arizona. New Mexico. Texas.
populations to levels drastically lower Border industrial zone. Southern
those prior to the beginning of the Maquiladoras limit. Transformation and
invasion. Latin American population fell trade city. Industrial development.
from about 60 million in 1500 to 15 Investments Semi-finished goods. Los
million in 1650. Angeles (15,000,000). San Diego
14Colonial Experience. Land (2,600,000). Yuma (55,000). Albuquerque
appropriation Colonial commercial (400,000). Phoenix (2,300,000). Finished
interests. Lands devoted to food crops for goods Semi-finished goods. Nogales
local consumption were converted to cash (20,000). El Paso (520,000). Tijuana
cropping for export Forced urbanization (1,000,000). Dallas-Fort Worth
Relocation of the population in nucleated (4,050,000). Mexicali (600,000). Nogales
towns and villages. Favored control and (110,000). Ciuadad Juarez (800,000). San
conversion to Catholicism. Land alienation Antonio (950,000). Houston (3,750,000).
Famine; loss of 90% of the population. Laredo (110,000). Chihuahua (550,000).
Poverty. Migration. Little agricultural Brownsville (95,000). Nuevo Laredo
diversity. (220,000). Matamoros (300,000). Reynosa
15Colonial Experience. Religion Major (300,000).
concern of the Europeans, especially of 41Integration to North America. Mexico
the Spanish. Reconquista (1492): Driving and NAFTA Promises a higher standard of
the last of the Moors from Spain. living. NAFTA creates more jobs for
Religious struggle as well as a Mexicans as US companies begin to invest
nationalist one. Religious fervor carried more heavily in the Mexican market.
over into colonial activity as well. Mexican exporters increase their sales to
Combination of religious activity with the US and Canada. Canada remains as the
colonial expansion. Religious conversion United States’ largest export market.
to Catholicism: Occurred on a massive Since 1977, Mexico has moved into second
scale. Religious infrastructure was among place (displacing Japan). 85% of all
the early priorities of the colonial Mexican exports now go to the United
powers: churches, convents, cathedrals. States. 75% of Mexico’s imports originate
Presence of the Church is felt virtually in the United States.
everywhere in Latin America today. 42Altitudinal zonation: Middle &
16Colonial Experience. Catholicism mixed South America’s Vertical Climate Zones.
with indigenous religions: Unique blend 43Altitudinal Zonation in Middle
that carries a very strong stamp of the America.
local culture. Catholicism's plethora of 44Central America and the Caribbean.
saints and myths: Served to make the Population distribution Most in middle
conversion process itself go more altitudes (Tierra Templada). Along the
smoothly. Land ownership Pre-Columbian Pacific Coast. The Atlantic coast is less
Latin America: Generally communal. Concept settled: Lowlands. Tropical rainforest;
of private ownership of land was alien to infertile soils. Tropical storms. Fast
most of the groups. Altered to meet the growth: Population doubling to 80 million
needs of the colonial economy that the by 2030.
Europeans established. A primarily 45
subsistence agricultural economy would 46Central America and the Caribbean.
produce very little surplus to exploit. Political turbulence Linked with American
17Colonial Experience. Land alienation intervention (Monroe Doctrine): Deter any
Implementation of the encomienda: A further European efforts to colonize parts
replicate of the European feudal system. of the Americas following the independence
System that mandated the payment of of most of Latin America. Include the
tributes to the Crown. Forced the America’s right to intervene in the
indigenous groups into the cash economy. internal affairs of hemispheric states in
Subsistence agriculture would not provide matters deemed of concern to US security.
the means to pay the tax. The Crown Overthrown of democratically elected
rewarded its conquistadores with huge land governments: Perceived to be leaning
grants. Most provide protection and the towards communism. Chile (1973) and
teachings of Christianity. Including much Guatemala (1954) to install military
land already used by the indigenous dictatorships. Supporting many repressive,
peoples. Formation of large haciendas authoritarian, though anti-communist
(estates): Encomienda system ensured the regimes in the process. “He’s a SOB but he
presence of a large labor force that is our SOB”. Led to many rebellions, civil
essentially was a slave labor force. wars and massacres. Successful revolt by
Workers derived little benefit from their Fidel Castro in Cuba (1954).
labors beyond the ability to pay the 47Central America and the Caribbean.
encomienda. Deforestation 3 million acres of woodland
18Land Tenure Systems. Plantation. in Central America disappear each year.
Hacienda. Northern European origins Export Clearing of rural lands to accommodate
oriented monocrops Imported capital and meat production and export. Rapid logging
skills Seasonal labor Efficiency is key of tropical woodlands to meet global
Single cash crop Profit motive Market demands for new housing, paper, and
vulnerability. Spanish institution Not furniture. Population explosion: forests
efficient but social prestige Workers are cut to provide crop-raising space and
lived on the land Domestic market firewood.
Diversified crops Year round jobs Small 48Central America and the Caribbean.
plot of land Self-sufficient. Tourism Caribbean countries are of small
19Colonial Experience. Social size: Limited agricultural potential.
stratification Development of a socially Limited economic opportunities. High costs
stratified society along racial lines. of living. Advantages: State and regional
Miscegenation: Mixed race resulting economic options. A clean industry.
between Caucasians and the indigenous Educational. Disadvantages: Disjunctive
population. Miscegenation began very early development. Degrades fragile
on during the colonial period. Early environmental resources. Inauthentic
migrations from Europe were primarily male representations of native cultures.
migrations. Mestizos (M?tis): European / 49Central America Free Trade Agreement
Indian. Mulattos: European / Black. In (CAFTA) Signed in 2005. Involves NAFTA and
most cases continued into contemporary 6 large Middle American countries (Costa
times. One of the overriding realities of Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Latin America. One of the region's Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala).
greatest problems. 50The Panama Canal. Context Joins the
20Colonial Experience. Upper class A Atlantic and Pacific oceans at the Isthmus
small group controlling Latin American of Panama: From Cristobal on Limon Bay, an
society. Primarily comprised of people of arm of the Caribbean Sea, to Balboa, on
European extraction. Many of whom are the Gulf of Panama. Ranks as one of the
directly descended from the original greatest engineering works of all time.
settlers of the Conquista. Inherited the Composed of three main elements: Gatun
large landholdings from that era. Middle Locks (Atlantic side). Gaillard Cut
class Historically very small in Latin (continental divide) Miraflores Locks
America: Growing substantially in the (Pacific side). Dimensions: Slightly more
post-WW II period. Comprised of less than 64 km long. Minimum depth of 12.5 m
wealthy Europeans, mestizos and mulattos. and a minimum width of 91.5 m. Prevents a
21Colonial Experience. Lower class Most 21,000 km detour around South America.
numerous group in the region. Remnants of Handles about 12% of the American
unassimilated indigenous populations: international seaborne trade.
Particularly numerous in Guatemala, parts 51The Panama Canal. Panama. Atlantic
of Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas states), Ocean. Colon. Panama City. Pacific Ocean.
Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and parts of Gatun Lake. Atlantic Ocean. Cristobal.
Brazil, Venezuela, and Paraguay Work in Pacific Ocean. Gatun Dam. Panama Canal
great estates: Often as sharecroppers. Railway. Gaillard Cut. Balboa.
Giving a negotiated percentage of their 52The Panama Canal. Early history
produce to the landowner, keeping the rest Interest in a short route from the
for family use or sale. Descendents of Atlantic to the Pacific began with
African slaves: Imported during the explorers of Central America the early
colonial period for their labor. Numerous 16th century: In 1534, the Spanish
in much of Brazil, the Dominican Republic, surveyed the Panama region. Was judged
and Cuba; and in some coastal areas of impossible. The United States became
Colombia, Panama, and Mexico. interested in the canal building when gold
22 was discovered in California in 1848.
23 French attempts: French Geographical
24Euro-African influence. High Society of Paris signed a treaty with
accessibility (trade). Plantation economy Columbia (then the owner of the Province
(Sugar and banana). Euro-Indian influence. of Panama; 1878). From 1879 to 1899, the
Greater isolation. Hacienda prevailed. French Canal Company undertook
25Mexico. Modern Mexico High social construction. The project failed due
stratification as with most of Latin mainly to financial problems and the
America. Once independence was achieved, technical difficulties of trying to build
despotism resulted, undermining progress. a sea level canal.
The outcome of the 1910 revolution. Aiming 53The Panama Canal. American
at redistributing land: 8,000 haciendas intervention Panama revolt from Columbia
taking almost all the good farmland. 95% (1903), supported by the United States.
of rural families owning no land (peones). Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty: United States
Land distribution in a rural society still guaranteed the independence of Panama.
a major issue. Substantial oil reserves Perpetual lease on a 16-km (10 miles)
controlled by the government. strip with complete sovereignty.
26Importance of Mexico. Population Compensation of $10 million and an
issues 106 million inhabitants. 60% M?tis, inflation-indexed annual compensation.
30% natives and 10% whites. Pre-Colombian Construction Constructed between 1904 and
heritage. Youthful population with an 1916. Cost of $387 million (compensation
average age < 20. Opportunity to to Panama and $40 million to purchase the
migrate to the USA - legally or illegally. previous project from the French Canal
Represented an outlet for Mexico's excess Company). Under the authority of the U.S.
labor. Simultaneously fills a need in the Army Corps of Engineers. 70,000 people
US as Mexican workers willingly take jobs worked on the project and about 5,600 died
that most US citizens do not want. in the process. Excavation of 143 million
27Mexican Migration to the United cubic meters of earth. Sanitation of the
States. The Bracero Program (1943-1964) entire canal area (mosquitoes; yellow
From the Spanish “Brazos” meaning people fever and malaria).
working with their arms. The Mexico-US 54The Panama Canal. Operations and
migration pattern is recent (mid 20th traffic Under the jurisdiction of the
century). Established during WW II (1943): Panama Canal Authority (1999): Collect
Allowed Mexican farm workers to work tolls on all ships crossing the canal. A
temporarily on farms in Texas, California, loaded ship pays about $2.57 per net ton.
and the Southwest USA. Make up for the The average toll is about $45,000.
labor shortage caused by the war (the USA Traffic: 13,000 ships transit the canal
had over 11 million people in uniform). every year, (35 ships per day). Grains
The program worked well and helped both (43% of the traffic transited). Containers
countries. About 5 million Mexican (11%) and petroleum products (10%). Loss
immigrants entered the US. of some of its strategic importance due to
28Mexican Migration to the United super-tankers. Panamax standard: Equals to
States. Reciprocity: The USA got the labor 65,000 tons and a draft of 12 meters.
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