GEOG 102 Lecture 3: geog chapter 2

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Chapter Two
Middle America
Major Geographic Qualities
o Small realm mainland from Mexico to Panama & islands of Caribbean Basin
o Land bridge connecting North and South America
o Cultural &political fragmentation
o complex cultural geography African and European influences in Caribbean,
Spanish, & Amerindian influences on the Mainland
o Mexico leads realms in population, territory, & economic potential
o NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement)
- Canada, United States, and Mexico 1994 until …
o Maquiladoras foreign-owned assembly factories
- Assemble imported, raw materials & components into finished products
- Located close to U.S. border
- 4,000 factories with 1,2 million workers
- Mexico provides ~ 13% of US imports (Canada 24%)
Regions of the Realm
o Mexico
o Central America
o Caribbean
- Greater Antilles
- Lesser Antilles
Leeward Islands
Windward Islands
Physical Geography
- Land bridge mainland Middle America
o Isthmus narrow strip of land
o Island Chains
- Archipelago island chain
o Dangerous Landscapes
- Earthquakes
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Chapter Two
Jan 12, 2010, Haiti hit by 7.o earthquakes
- Hurricanes
Hurricane Alley Greater Antilles, S. Florida, Mexico’s Yucatan
& Gulf of Mexico
Altitudinal Zonation & Environments
Altitudinal zones distinct local climates, vegetation, crops, animals, & lifestyle
o Tierra caliente sea level to 750 m (2500 ft.)
- “hot land”, Coastal plains and low-lying basins, Tropical agriculture
o Tierra templada up to about 1800 m (6000 ft.)
- temperate land cooler, commercial crops coffee, corn, wheat
o Tierra fria 1800 to 3600 m (6000 to 12000 ft.)
- cold country of Andes, potatoes, and barley
o Tierra helda 3600 to 4500 m (12000 to 15000 ft.)
- above tree line, cold, and barren, sheep grazing, and hardy livestock
o Tierra Nevada highest zone, permanent snow and ice
Cultural Geography
Mesoamerican Culture Hearth
o near Mexico City to central Nicaragua
o source area for population and cultural advancement
o agricultural specialization, urbanization, transportation network, and science
Lowland Maya
o only major culture hearth in lowland tropics
o great cities with stone pyramids and massive temples
o zenith 3rd-10th century AD
o Chichen Itza on Yucatan Peninsula
Mesoamerican Legacy
The Highland Aztecs
o Intermontane highland of Mexico
Teotihuacan- 3rd-10th century
North of Mexico City
1st true urban center in the Western Hemisphere
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Chapter Two
o Valley of Mexico
Tenochtitlan -14th-16th century
Large city and ceremonial center
Greatest city in the Americas
o Developed irrigation systems
o Constructed walls to terrace slopes
o Domesticated corn, sweet potato, and tobacco
Collisions of Cultures
o Indigenous Amerindians Caribs and Arawak’s
o Spanish Central America to Mexico
o Other European
- British, Dutch, French
Islands and Caribbean coasts
Sugar trade
o US influence in “Banana Republics”
o African plantation labor
Political History
Independence
- Mexico 1821
- Central American republics end of 1820s
- Spanish-American War 1898
Cuba independent
Puerto Rico US territory
Economy
o Higher GDPs (gross domestic product) in Mexico and Panama
o Stability in Costa Rica
o Barbados highest HDI (Human Development Index) in Latin America
o All others low GDP with less table governments
Regional Contrasts
Mainland-Rimland Framework
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