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Central America

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

Images

Image Name
Trajes Mexicanos Soldados del sur 1855
Map of Central America
La Alameda de Mexico tomada en Globe
Pizarro, Almagro, and Luque
Mouth of the Chagres River and Castle of San Lorenzo
Gorgon Villa with a View of Grey Town, March 1860
Cathedral of Panama
Illustrated Title Page
Golden figures from the guacas of Chiriqui
Casa del Emperador Iturbide - Hoy Hotel de las Diligencias Generales
Nombre de Dios, in 1909
Triangular monument and Washington House, Colon
Map of Central America and the West Indies
Ancient stone bridge at Old Panama
Interior de la Alameda de Mexico (I)
Front Cover
Interior de la Catedral de Mexico
Sir Henry Morgan
Sloth
Plaza de Armas de Mexico
Plaza de San Agustin de las Cuevas Ciudad de Tlalpam (I)
Cruces, formerly called Yenta de Cruces
Chagres River near Gorgona
La Villa de Tacubaya tomada desde Chapultepec
Panciaco tells Balboa of the South Sea
La Ciudad de Mexico 1869
San Antonio Chimalistaca Entrance de Sn. Angel (I)
Railroad bridge over the Chagres at Barbacoas
Group of Indians
Delta of the River San Juan
Basalt tool
Palacio Nacional de Mexico
[Railroad Drawing]
Cathedral tower of Old Panama
Veracruz
Culebra Cut, in 1910
Columbus makes the egg stand on end
Estacion de Puebla Inauguracion del Camino de Fierro
Caledonia Bay and New Edinburgh
Plan of Port Fitzroy
Primeval Forest, Preparing for the Iron Road
Method of transporting horses
Decorated vase from Indian graves
Plan of Portobelo, in 1602
Book Display
La Calle de Roldan y su Desembarcadero
Carta General de la Republica Mexicana 1872
Birds-Eye View of the Panama Canal
Cascada de Tizapan Sn. Angel
El Mercado de Iturbide Antigua, Plaza de San Juan
Lacenta, chief of the Dariens, and retinue
Ascending the Chagres River
Central America - Port Realejo
Atrio del Convento de San Francisco 1860 (I)
Molino de Belen Lomas de Santa Fe Tacubaya
Title Page
Back Cover
Orizava
Gatun on the Chagres, in 1907
Plaza de San Agustin de las Cuevas Ciudad de Tlalpam (II)
Atrio del Convento de San Francisco 1860 (II)
Gorgon Bay
Bellin's map of the Isthmus, 1754
Trajes Mexicanos (IV)
Bronze statue of Columbus on Cristobal Point
Isthmian jungle
Map Shewing Lines of Communication via New Transmit Route Through Central America
View of Plantation just below Machuca Rapids, River San Juan
Indios Kikapoos presentados a Sm. Maximiliano 1865
Portobelo, in 1910
Restored Toscanelli chart of 1474
San Juan del Sur 1859
El Paseo de la Viga
Sea-wall of Panama at low tide
Street in village of Taboga
Casa Municipal o Disputacion
Trajes Mexicanos (III)
Title Page
Catedral de Mexico
Ruined Church of Santo Domingo, Panama
Plaza de Santo Domingo
Day-ak, a San Bias chief, from Rio Diablo
Piedra Pintada
Columbus encounters great storms off Veragua
Tree-dwelling Indians in the lowlands of Panama
Interior de la Alameda de Mexico (II)
Colegio de Mineria
Las Cadenas en Una Noche de Luna
Map of the Republic of Panama and of the Canal
Trajes Mexicanos (I)
El Sagrario de Mexico
Back Cover
La Villa de Guadalupe Tomada en Globo el Dia 13 de Diciembre
San Antonio Chimalistaca Entrance de Sn. Angel (II)
Chapultepec
La Fuente de la Tlaxpana

Maps

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

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