Middle America (Americas)


Middle America (Americas)
Middle America
LocationWHMiddleAmerica.png
Area 2,728,827 km2 (1,053,606 sq mi)
Population (2007) 188,187,764[1]
States
Dependencies
GDP $1.416 229 trillion
(PPP, 2005 est.)[1]
Major languages Spanish, English, Mayan, French, Haitian Creole, Antillean Creole, and others
Timezone UTC -4:00 (Barbados) to
UTC -8:00 (Mexico)
Largest urban agglomerations

Middle America is a region in the mid-latitudes of the Americas. In southern North America, it usually comprises Mexico, the nations of Central America, and the West Indies. The scope of the term may vary. Sometimes, Colombia and Venezuela are also included in Middle America; the West Indies are occasionally excluded from the region; and the Guianas are infrequently included.[2][3][4]

Physiographically, Middle America marks the territorial transition between the rest of North America and South America, connecting yet separating the two.[5] On the west, the Middle American mainland comprises the tapering, isthmian tract of the American landmass between the southern Rocky Mountains in the southern United States and the northern tip of the Andes in Colombia,[6] separating the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean (viz. the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea) on the east, while the Greater and Lesser Antilles form an island arc in the east.[5] The region developed sub-aerially southward from North America as a complex volcanic arc-trench system during the Early Cretaceous period, eventually forming the land bridge during the Pliocene epoch when its southern end (at Panama) collided with South America through tectonic action.[7]

Middle America (political)

Occasionally, the term Middle America is used synonymously with Central America[4] (compare with Middle Africa and Central Africa). In English, the term is uncommonly used as a synonym of the term Mesoamerica (or Meso-America),[6][8] which generally refers to an ancient culture region situated in Middle America extending approximately from central Mexico to northern Costa Rica.[9] In addition, some residents of the region (e.g., Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans) may be referred to as Meso-Americans or Central Americans but not, however, as Middle Americans, which refers to a particular constituency in the United States.[10]

See also

Sources

  1. ^ GeoHive - Population of continents, regions and countries
  2. ^ CIA political map of Middle America. 1994. Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection; University of Texas Library Online
  3. ^ "Middle America." Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. 2003. (ISBN 0-87779-809-5) New York: Merriam-Webster, Inc.
  4. ^ a b Augelli, John P. (1962 (Jun.)). The Rimland-Mainland Concept of Culture Areas in Middle America. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. pp. 52 (2): 119–129. JSTOR 2561309. "Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies, to which the term is normally applicable, share a general [geographic] focus .... For some ... "Middle America" refers only to Mexico and Central America; others add the West Indies and, infrequently, even Colombia, Venezuela, and the Guianas. Occasionally, the term "Central America" is used synonymously with "Middle America," and for some German geographers "Mittelamerika" refers to the isthmian territories from Panama to Guatemala." 
  5. ^ a b Gonzalez, Joseph. 2004. "Middle America: Bridging Two Continents" (ch. 17). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography. (ISBN 1-59257-188-3) New York: Alpha Books; pp. 213-7
  6. ^ a b "Middle America." Encyclopædia Britannica 2006. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  7. ^ Coney, Peter J. 1982. "Plate tectonic constraints on the biogeography of Middle America and the Caribbean region." Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden: v. 69, pp. 432-443
  8. ^ 'Glossary' Images of the Past, 4th ed. 2005. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
  9. ^ Dow, James W. 1999. The Cultural Anthropology of Middle America.
  10. ^ "American." The Oxford Companion to the English Language (ISBN 0-19-214183-X). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 35.

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