- Slides: 79
Latin America Geography
Overview of Latin America
Latin America • Begins at the Rio Grande River on the southern border of the United States and extends to the southern tip of South America. • Covers 7, 900, 000 square miles or 16% of the earth’s surface
The Land • Mountains – Mexico has three mountain ranges – West Indies islands are the tops of volcanic mountains – The Andes Mountains stretches along the west coast of South America • Plains – Cover the coasts of Mexico and Central America – Two inland plains found inside South America • Pampas of Argentina and llanos of Colombia and Venezuela
The Land • Rivers – Contains five rivers including the Amazon – The Amazon stretches 4, 000 miles and is the longest river in the Western Hemisphere. • Natural Resources – Oil and natural gas are prevalent in Mexico and Venezuela – Other resources found are copper, iron ore, silver, and lead. – Rich soil allows farmers to grow grains, fruit, and coffee.
Climate and Vegetation • Elevation – Low elevation-hot and humid with green tropical vegetation – Higher elevation- the climate becomes milder and the temperature becomes cooler – Highest elevation- very little plant life (snow or frost) • Rainforests – Cover the lowland areas of Latin America – Largest is in Brazil in the Amazon basin – Found on the east coast of Central America and some of the Caribbean islands
Economy • Based mainly on agriculture • Farmers grow coffee, bananas, and sugarcane • Latin America is a top cattle raising region in the world • Service industry and manufacturing is growing
The People • Population- 500 million people (9%) • 70% live in cities and along the coastlines • Very diversified (many different groups of people) • Democratic governments have emerged and continue to emerge.
Latin America • Physical geography varies – Low-lying plains and vast water systems – Beauty and magnificence of the high rugged peaks of the Andes mountains
Location and Basic Facts • Located in the Western Hemisphere, south of the United States • 8 million square miles of land (16% of the world’s land surface) • Divided into three sub-regions: – Middle America – The Caribbean – South America
Mountains and Plateaus • The Andes mountains are the most distinctive landforms in this region • Located along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” • Plate movement still occurs causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions • People have settled into the mountain region and mostly plateaus
Mountains and Plateaus • The cooler climate and rich resources drew settlers in • These regions were at one time very isolated • Technology (cell phones, tv, and internet are breaking down physical barriers
Mountains in Middle America and the Caribbean • Sierra Madre mountain ranges are surrounded by the Mexican plateau • Mild climate, fertile volcanic soil, and rainfall have attracted settlers for many years • The Central Highlands is a chain of volcanic peaks in which many islands in the Caribbean Sea are part of
Andes of South America • Stretch 4, 500 miles along the western edge of South America • The longest mountain chain and one of the tallest in the world
Highlands of Brazil • Mato Grosso Plateau- sparsely populated plateau of forests and grasslands – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru • Brazilian Highlands- spans several climate and vegetation zones – Key place to raise livestock
Chapter 9 Latin America Mr. Jeremy Rinkel
Bridging Two Continents • Land bridge- a narrow strip of land that joins two larger landmasses • Connects North America and South America • Mexico is a peninsula or piece of land surrounded by water on three sides.
Mexico “Land of the Shaking Earth” • Very rugged landscape • Situated over various plates which caused the formation of mountains and volcanoes. • Earthquakes occur very frequently • Mount Popocatepetl “smoky mountain” – Famous volcano named by Aztec Indians
Mountains and Plateau • Mountain Ranges – Sierra Madre Occidentl (runs north and south along western Mexico near the Pacific Ocean) – Sierra Madre Oriental (runs along the eastern side of Mexico – Sierra Madre del Sur (southwestern Mexico) • Plateau of Mexico (covers 40% of Mexico) – Northern part is desert and grassy plains – Southern part rises in elevation with basins – Basins are broad, flat valleys.
Coastal Lowlands • Stretch along the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico – Rivers flow through the coastal plains – The Rio Grande forms the border with the U. S. and drains in the Gulf of Mexico
Climate • Latitude is the location north or south of the equator • The Tropic of Cancer runs through the center of Mexico • Mexico is usually warm year around
Climate • Altitude zones • Hot Land • Temperate Land • Cold Land
The Economy • Economic Regions – Service industries- is a business that provides services to people instead of making goods. • Three economic regions – Central Mexico – The North – The South
Farming in Mexico • Only 11% of the land is fertile for farming because of the mountains, deserts, and rainforests • Farmers grow: coffee, corn, cotton, oranges, and sugarcane.
Central Mexico • The economic heart of the country • Home to half of Mexico’s population • Has favorable conditions for farming • Cities in Central Mexico – – Mexico City Guadalajara Leon Puebla
The North • Includes Baja California and the northern part of the plateau of Mexico • Too dry to farm, but farmers irrigate to grow – Cotton, fruits, cereals, and vegetables • Ranchers raise – Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs – Vaqueros- cowhands developed the tools to herd, rope and brand cattle.
The North • Cities – Monterrey (steel, copper, lead, and zinc) • Maquiladoras- are factories that assemble parts shipped from other countries – Assemble automobiles, stereo systems, computers, and other electronic devices
The South • Stretches from Mexico City to the Yucatan Peninsula. • Poorest people of Mexico live in this area • Subsistence farm- is a farm that produces only enough to support a family’s needs • Plantations (in the valleys)- large farms that raise a single crop for money. – Rich farmers grow coffee and sugarcane • Tourism is very popular in the South
Economic Challenges • Mexico has become an industrialized country – Describes a country in which industry has replaced farming as the main economic activity • Challenges due to industrialization – – Conserving land Controlling pollution Creating new jobs Increasing trade with other countries
Pollution • Mountains surround Mexico City blocking the flow of air leaving smog. • Smog- is fog mixed with smoke and chemicals. • The city sometimes shuts down and people must stay indoors • Thousands of acres of forest are burned to make room for new fields for crops
Population Changes • Mexico’s population is growing twice as fast as the United States • Mexico cannot provide enough jobs • 98 million people live in the southern part of the Plateau of Mexico – Resources are strained with so many people living in this area • Many people move to the U. S. to seek employment
Free Trade • North American Free Trade Agreement – Joint agreement between the U. S. , Canada, and Mexico (1993) – Allows money to move freely among these three countries – Has created many new jobs in Mexico
Native Americans • The first people came from Asia • The Maya flourished in Yucatan – Lived during 250 A. D to 900 A. D. – Built cities around towering temples in the rainforest • The Aztecs built the city Tenochtitlan – Mexico City is located in this area – Were fierce warriors, builders and traders – Had marketplaces filled with pottery, baskets, cloth, gold, and silver
The Spanish Heritage • Hernan Cortes- arrived in Mexico in 1519. • Mexico remained a Spanish colony for nearly 300 years • The Spaniards enslaved the Native Americans and had them work the fields and the mines • Mestizo is a person with mixed Native American and European heritage • 60% are mestizos 30% Native American
Modern Mexico • Gained its freedom from Spain in 1821 • Revolution began in 1910 because people were discontent of the way of life especially poor farmers • 1920 - Mexico became a federal republic – 31 states share powers • 1990 s- people demanded reform – Other parties began to rule and win elections instead of just one political party
City Life • ¾ of the population in Mexico live in cities • Older homes are made of adobe (sundried or clay bricks) • Houses in poor areas are made of scrap wood, metal, or whatever material can be found • Most of these homes lack electricity and running water
Country Life • Most Mexican villages are very poor • Homes are built of cement blocks, with a red tiled roof, sheet metal, or clay • Most villages have a marketplace where clothes, food, baskets, and pottery are sold
The Arts and Recreation • Painters and Writers- have created many national treasures – Produced many murals or wall paintings • Music and Dance – Traditional music is played by a Mariachi band (a singer, 2 violinists, 2 guitarists, two horn players, and a bass player) • These musicians wear colorful outfits and sombreros
The Arts and Recreation • Celebrations- fiesta (feast day) – Independence Day (September 15 & 16) – Cinco de Mayo (May 5) – Mexicans also celebrate Christmas – Foods • Sports – Soccer is the most popular sport – Bullfighting is a popular sport for tourists
Sources • http: //go. hrw. com/atlas/norm_htm/mexico. htm
The Land • • • More than 1, 000 miles north to south 300 miles wide at widest point Pacific Ocean borders the west Caribbean Sea borders the east Volcanic eruptions are common
Climate • mostly tropical, but varies from country to country • Mountains and highlands are dry and cool year round • Pacific lowlands (tropical savanna) – May-Nov warm and rainy – Dec-April hot and dry • Eastern lowlands (tropical rainforest year round) – Hurricanes (fierce storms with winds of more than 74 m. p. h.
The Economy • Farming – Plantations- large farms that grow produce for sale or for export (coffee, bananas, sugar cane) – Substience farmer- raises small amount of crops to provide for family, extras are sold at the local market
The Economy • Rainforests (provide many great treasures) – Chicle- a substance used in making chewing gum. – Scientists use trees and plants used for medicine or medical research • Caribbean Lowlands – Farmers have cleared rainforest areas to raise crops, which erodes nutrients – Central American governments are trying to enforce laws from the destruction of rainforest.
Industry • Few small industries • Little manufacturing due to lack of fuels • Bauxite (mineral used to make aluminum) is found in Costa Rica and Guatemala
The People • Influence of the Past – Maya Indians settled in C. A. in 250 -400 B. C. – 1400 s- Spanish settled in Central America – 1500 s- Spanish claimed land forced Native Americans to work in plantations – 1600 s- British settled in Belize-enslaved Africans to work as slaves in the rainforest
Independence • Most countries gained in 1821 • In 1903, with U. S. help, Panama won independence from Colombia • Belize won independence from U. K. in 1981 • This area has been challenged by revolutions since the mid 1800 s.
The Population Today • 35 million people • Spanish is the official language except for English speaking Belize • 50% live on farms or small towns • People in urban areas work in manufacturing or service industry jobs • Those living on the coast harvest shrimp, lobster, and other seafood for export
Central America includes seven countries: • • Belize Guatemala Honduras El Salvador Nicaragua Costa Rica Panama
Landforms • • Many active volcanoes. Some are dormant. Dormant—Not likely to erupt. Chain of volcanic mountains, called the Central Highlands, stretch along most of the region. • Volcanic material has left rich, fertile soil. • Farmers grow coffee, bananas, sugarcane, & other crops.
Guatemala • Volcanoes • 40% live like their ancestors. • These people do not leave their country’s borders. • Guatemalans who speak Spanish & practice European ways are called ladinos. • Live in cities. • Civil War from 1960 -1996.
Costa Rica • Offers one of the highest standards of living in the world. • High literacy rates. • Most are of Spanish descent. • Few wars. • Lots of schools. • Major export is coffee.
Panama • 1903 –U. S. helped Panama gain independence. • U. S. built Panama Canal. (1914) • U. S. controlled the canal and the land of each side until 2000, when they gave it back to Panama. • 50% of population live & work near the canal. • Population is a mix of Spanish and Native American ancestry.
El Salvador • Main crops are coffee, sugarcane, corn, cotton, & shrimp. • Population of about six million. • Only 53% have access to safe water. • 1% are indigenous to the region. • Indigenous—native to the region.
The Caribbean • All Caribbean islands are located in the Caribbean Sea. • Geographers call a group of islands an archipelago. • Many of the islands are actually the tops of a mountain range that sit on the bottom of the sea.
The Caribbean • Some islands in the Caribbean are still active volcanoes. • Lava can help people as well as hurt. • When lava breaks down, it forms good soil for farming. • Some of the islands are not volcanic. • These nonvolcanic islands are called atolls. • Atoll---A chain of islands made up of coral.
Caribbean Islands • Bahamas are southeast of Florida. • Greater Antilles (northern Caribbean) include Jamaica, Cuba, Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), and Puerto Rico. • Lesser Antilles (southern Caribbean) include a number of smaller islands.
Climate & Economy • Constant tropical savanna climate. • Temperatures between 70 degrees & 85 degrees year round. • Farming & tourism are the most important economic activities. • Many islands rely too heavily on just one crop.
The People • 1 st permanent European settlement in the Western Hemisphere was established in 1498 in the Dominican Republic. • Most people in the islands are descendents of Africans. • Europeans brought millions of Africans to the islands to work as slaves on sugarcane plantations.
Religion • Most of the people of the Caribbean are Christians. • Some people of African descent believe in voodoo. • Followers of voodoo believe that good & evil spirits affect daily life. • Voodoo is strongest in Haiti.
Independence • During the 20 th Century, most of the smaller Caribbean islands won their freedom from colonial rule. • Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere with a communist government. • Communism---A government system in which there is no private property; the government owns & controls the land & goods
Cuba • • • 90 miles south of Florida. Large producer of sugar. Also grow coffee, tobacco, rice, & fruit. Most farmers work on cooperatives. Cooperatives—Farms owned & operated by the government.
Cuba • Leader is Fidel Castro. – Currently Raul Castro (Fidel’s brother is in power) • Most Cubans live in poverty.
Haiti • Shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. • More than 90% of population is of African descent. • People are poor & live in rural areas. • Coffee is a major crop. • Won independence in 1804 (2 nd in the Western Hemisphere after the U. S. )
Puerto Rico • Spanish colony from 1508 until 1898. • Under control of the U. S. since 1898 (Spanish-American War. ) • Has been a commonwealth since 1952. • Commonwealth—A partly self-governing territory. • More industry than any other island in the West Indies.
Puerto Rico • Agriculture & tourism make up the majority of Puerto Rico’s economy. • Factories make medicine, chemicals, clothing. • Capital is San Juan.