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Central America

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Central America Collection

History Archive - Central America Collection

Central America is geographically at the southern end of North America, lying between Mexico, Colombia, the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific. The coast of Central America was visited by Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1500, and by Columbus in 1502. It was invaded by Cortez in 1524. Guatemala and Salvador were held by Alvarado, second in command to Cortez. For three centuries the country was under Spanish rule and subject to frequent disturbances and harsh conditions.

Central America was the home of the Aztecs, and is rich in remains of this ancient civilization. The present inhabitants are Creoles or Spanish-speaking whites, Indians, Negroes and mixed races. Nation states in the region in the early 1900's include Belize (British Honduras), Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Salvador. Belize is a British possession, the remaining states independent republics.

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Independence was achieved in 1821, and in 1823 a republic was formed by the union of the five provinces. Slavery was abolished in 1824, but after dissensions and civil war the republic was dissolved in 1838. The progress of the country has since been retarded by frequent wars and revolutions. In 1907 a meeting of delegates from all the states was held in Washington, U. S. A., and an agreement was made that all differences which may occur shall be submitted to a peace-court at Costa Rica.

At Tehuantepec, Mex., is a broad plain. In northern Guatemala the mountains begin, close to the Pacific, extending through Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Not of great height, they consist of detached ranges with volcanic peaks, some of which are active. Then comes the depression nearly filled by Lake Nicaragua, the largest inland body of water south of the great lakes. In Costa Rica highlands follow. Panama is a low plateau. The rivers flow mostly into the Gulf and the Caribbean. The climate is tropic and pestilential on the shores and along the streams, but moderate and healthful on the uplands. The rainfall is enormous, 200 inches at Panama, and creates heavy vegetation.

In geological formation, it differs from North and South America, and appears to belong to a different system, related to the West Indies, the mountain folds having an east and west trend, and apparently having no connection or relation to the Rocky Mountain and Andean systems of North and South America. Its length is 1,280 miles and maximum breadth 315 miles, dwindling to 28 miles at the Isthmus of Panama. The area is 207,474 square miles, and the population about 4,803,487, Panama included.

The animals of Central America are those of South America. There are heavy forests which are rich in mahogany and other valuable woods. The chief products are fruits, coffee, rubber, sugar, indigo and tobacco; corn, wheat and rice are grown to some extent. Mineral resources are great, including gold, silver, platinum, copper, lead, iron and zinc.

References:

The New Student's Reference Work (1914)

Regional Sub-Divisions

Available Books

Related Images

Image Name
The Gate of the Pacific - Greytown Harbour (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - Primeval Forest, Preparing for the Iron Road (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Cascada de Tizapan Sn. Angel (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Villa de Tacubaya tomada desde Chapultepec (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Indios Kikapoos presentados a Sm. Maximiliano 1865 (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Gorgon Villa with a View of Grey Town, March 1860 (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plano General de la Ciudad de Mexico 1875 (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Interior de la Catedral de Mexico (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - The Bridge over the Chagres, Half-way across the Isthmus (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos (V) (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Gorgon Bay (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - [Railroad Drawing] (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - El Mercado de Iturbide Antigua, Plaza de San Juan (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Carta General de la Republica Mexicana 1872 (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Map Shewing Lines of Communication via New Transmit Route Through Central America (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Palacio Nacional de Mexico (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Central America - Port Realejo (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Catedral de Mexico (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plaza de Armas de Mexico (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos (IV) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - El Valle de Mexico tomado desde las alturas de Chapultepec (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Port of Realejo 1859 (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - San Antonio Chimalistaca Entrance de Sn. Angel (II) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos (I) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Fuente del Salto del Agua (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Veracruz (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - San Juan del Sur 1859 (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - Plan of Port Fitzroy (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Colegio de Mineria (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Villa de Guadalupe Tomada en Globo el Dia 13 de Diciembre (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - El Pueblo de Ixtacalco 1869 (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Fuente de la Tlaxpana (1869)
The Panama Canal - Title Page (1913)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Interior de la Alameda de Mexico (II) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Calle de Roldan y su Desembarcadero (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos (II) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Villa de Tacubaya tomada a ojo de Pajaro Sobre del Camino de Toluc (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Jardin de la Plaza de Armas (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos (III) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - El Sagrario de Mexico (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Estacion de Puebla Inauguracion del Camino de Fierro (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - San Antonio Chimalistaca Entrance de Sn. Angel (I) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Camino de Tacubaya a Chapultepec Trajes de Indios Mexicanos (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Eastern End of Gorgon Bay (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - View of Plantation just below Machuca Rapids, River San Juan (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Las Cadenas en Una Noche de Luna (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Paseo de Bucareli (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plaza de San Agustin de las Cuevas Ciudad de Tlalpam (II) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Ataque de Una Diligencia (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Interior de la Alameda de Mexico (I) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Molino de Belen Lomas de Santa Fe Tacubaya (1869)
The Panama Canal - Back Cover (1913)
The Gate of the Pacific - Title Page (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Ciudad de Mexico 1869 (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Illustrated Title Page (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Bosque de Chapultepec (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Chapultepec (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Orizava (1869)
The Panama Canal - Birds-Eye View of the Panama Canal (1913)
The Panama Canal - Front Cover (1913)
The Gate of the Pacific - Delta of the River San Juan (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos un Fandango (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Atrio del Convento de San Francisco 1860 (I) (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Eastern Suburb of Panama Railway - Terminus on the Right (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Casa del Emperador Iturbide - Hoy Hotel de las Diligencias Generales (1869)
The Gate of the Pacific - Back Cover (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - Front Cover (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - Map of Central America (1863)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Title Page (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Back Cover (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - La Alameda de Mexico tomada en Globe (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Atrio del Convento de San Francisco 1860 (II) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plaza de San Agustin de las Cuevas Ciudad de Tlalpam (I) (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Casa Municipal o Disputacion (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Antiguedades Mexicanas que existen en el Museo Nacional de Mexico 1857 (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - El Paseo de la Viga (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Book Display (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Trajes Mexicanos Soldados del sur 1855 (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plaza de Santo Domingo (1869)
Mexico y sus Alrededories - Plaza de Morelos (1869)

Related Maps

Map Name
The Gate of the Pacific - Map of Central America (1863)
The Gate of the Pacific - Map Shewing Lines of Communication via New Transmit Route Through Central America (1863)
The Panama Canal - Birds-Eye View of the Panama Canal (1913)

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