• Unit 5: Middle America

    Middle America is the geographic realm between the United States and the South America. It consists of three main regions: the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. The Caribbean, which is the most culturally diverse of the three regions, consists of more than 7,000 islands that stretch from the Bahamas to Barbados.

    The four largest islands of the Caribbean are the Greater Antilles: Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico. Hispaniola is made up of two halves: Haiti in the west and the Dominican Republic in the east. The smaller islands, extending all the way to South America, make up the Lesser Antilles. Trinidad is farthest south, just off the coast of Venezuela. The Bahamas are closest to the mainland United States.

    Central America refers to the seven states south of Mexico: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. The Pacific Ocean borders Central America to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east. While most of these countries have a Caribbean and a Pacific coastline, Belize has only a Caribbean coast and El Salvador has only a Pacific coast.

    In this unit, we will begin with the exploration of the physical characteristics of Middle America. We will distinguish between the Mayan and Aztec Empires, and identify the effects of European colonialism, particularly the way that Spanish colonizers influenced urban development. We will also explore the physical and cultural characteristics of each region within Middle America. Finally, we will look at regional climatology, and focus on the development and movement of tropical cyclones.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

    • MapCheck: Middle America

    • 5.1: Introducing Middle America

    • 5.2: Mexico

    • 5.3: Central America

    • 5.4: The Caribbean

    • 5.5: Hurricanes