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North and Middle America

by: Layne Franklin

North and Middle America IREL 100

Marketplace > University of Indianapolis > History > IREL 100 > North and Middle America
Layne Franklin
GPA 2.9

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These notes are an over of North and Middle America. It may cover some of the material that will be on the exam.
World Regional Geography
Brian Platt
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Layne Franklin on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to IREL 100 at University of Indianapolis taught by Brian Platt in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 21 views. For similar materials see World Regional Geography in History at University of Indianapolis.


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Date Created: 02/01/16
North and Middle America Physical Geography Altitudinal zones—distinct local climates, soils, vegetation, crops, domestic animals and modes of life • Climates ‒ Dry in north ‒ Better-watered in south • Biodiversity hot spot ‒ Contains 7% of all the world’s natural species ‒ Costa Rica and Panama • Natural resource wealth ‒ Minerals, oil, timber • Agriculture ‒ Coffee, Fruit, Livestock, Seafood, Sugar, Tobacco, Rice Mesoamerican Legacy Culture hearth • Source area from which new ideas radiated and whose population could expand and make significant material and intellectual progress • Agricultural specialization, urbanization, transportation networks developed, and writing science, art Cultural Geography Mesoamerican Legacy The Lowland Maya • Only major culture hearth that arose in the lowland tropics • Great cities with stone pyramids and massive temples • Zenith from 3 to 10 th centuries AD • Powerful religious hierarchy Mesoamerican Legacy The Highland Aztecs • Intermontane highland zone of Mexico ‒ Teotihuacan • North of Mexico City • First true urban center in the Western Hemisphere • Valley of Mexico ‒ Tenochtitlan • Functioning city and ceremonial center • Domesticated corn (maize), sweet potato, cacao bean, tobacco Spanish Conquest Introduced • Cattle and sheep • Wheat • Spanish town ‒ Plaza or market square ‒ Gridiron street pattern Ethnicity and Class • Social stratification ‒ Closely linked with ethnicity, as result of colonial times ‒ Rankings • Europeans • Hispanics • Mixed European-African (mulatto) • Afro-Caribbean • Minorities hold power and exert influence ‒ Perpetuation of historic advantage Collision of Cultures • Amerindian • Spanish ‒ Central America to Mexico • Other European ‒ British, Dutch, French • Islands and Caribbean coasts • Sugar trade • United States—later ‒ Banana plantation agriculture • African Political and Independence • Mexico—1821 • Central America republics—end of 1820s • Spanish-American War—1898 ‒ Cuba—independent ‒ Puerto Rico—under U.S. flag • Trinidad and Tobago—1962 • Jamaica--1962 Economic Fragmentation • 1823 – United States introduces the Monroe Doctrine • Recent independence in former Spanish colonies; European powers want to expand influence in New World • Monroe Doctrine: the Americas may not be colonized by European countries and will be in the American sphere of influence “With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” • 1845 – Monroe Doctrine used to justify westward US settlement and eventually annexation of Hawaii(Manifest Destiny) • 1904 – Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine • United States may intervene in Latin American countries in cases of “flagrant and wrongdoing” by governments to preempt European intervention Mainland • Euro-Amerindian—Mestizo • Mexico to Panama • Hacienda legacy Redistribution of land (1917) • Haciendas give way to Ejidos • Ejidos—government-held farmlands parceled to village communities and individuals ‒ Amerindian legacy ‒ Half of Mexican lands are “social landholdings” ‒ Reforms did not increase production ‒ Fragmented lands result in low yields and rural poverty Tropical Deforestation • Only 10% of tropical rainforest remains • Leading causes ‒ Clearing rural lands for cattle pasture ‒ Rapid logging of tropical woodlands ‒ Population explosion • Peasants must extract subsistence from inferior lands • Cutting trees for firewood and crop-raising space Is Small Beautiful? Small-island developing economies • Limited natural resources and heavy reliance on imports • Cost of government is relatively high on per capita basis • Specialized services brought in from elsewhere • Local production cannot really benefit from economies of scale ‒ Local producers put out of business by cheaper imports ‒ Unemployment Small-island developing economies • Caribbean tourism ‒ Money-maker for islands ‒ Rising local resentment ‒ Debases local culture ‒ Can remove opportunities from local entrepreneurs in favor of large operators and major resorts The Push for Regional Integration • Poorly connected • Heavily dependent on major outside countries, particularly the United States • Economic Integration ‒ CAFTA—Central American Free Trade Agreement (2005) with the United States ‒ CARICOM—Caribbean Community (1989) • 15 members • In 2009 introduced common passport NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) ‒ Canada, United States, and Mexico (1994) Maquiladoras—foreign-owned factories that assemble imported raw materials and components and then export finished products back to the United States • More than one-fifth of Mexico’s industrial jobs • Long hours for low wages with few benefits • No job security ‒ Great Recession in the U.S. ‒ Plants relocated to Southeast Connections Matter Connectivity—direct links between locations • Connections and the correlation to economic development ‒ Higher GDP • Mexico’s connection with the United States • Panama’s connection to world economy


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