Regional Geography 105
Middle America


Middle America

Middle America is a fragmented realm
Characterized by a rich cultural heritage, and numerous indigenous populations.
Ancient civilizations include the Zoque, Olmecs, Toltecs, Aztecs and Mayans.

Cultural Hearths

Major world cultural hearths include:
- Mesoamerica
- Andean America
- West Africa
- Nile River Valley
- Mesopotamia
- Indus River Valley
- Ganges River Valley and Delta
- Wei/Huang Rivers

Environmental Determinism

Theory noted:
Early cultural hearths located in low latitudes.
Concentration of wealth/power in mid-latitudes.

Theory stated:
Tropical heat/humidity inhibit cultural progress.
Midlatitude climates stimulate achievement.

Concluded:
Natural environment dictates development of a civilization.

According to Ellsworth Huntington,

Progress is based on climate, heredity and culture.

What are the logical failings of this theory?

Physiography - Environment of Middle America

Waterways
Mainland
Islands
Climate
Vegetation

Environmental Determinism Revisited

Mayan Civilization example of adaptation to environment

Cultural Landscapes

Multiple influences have overprinted the indigenous cultures.
Four main colonial influences
Spanish - dominant on the inland portions of the mainland and large islands.
British - coastal areas of the mainland and islands
French - islands
Dutch - islands

Mainland-Rimland Framework

Middle America regions based on cultural influences - proposed by John Augelli in 1962.
Euro-Amerind Mainland - Spanish and native cultures dominate interior portions of mainland.
Euro-African Rimland - coastal areas and islands of the Caribbean.
Overprinting:

Agriculture in Middle America

Slash and Burn Agriculture
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Hillside Agriculture

Plantations

Characteristics:
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Haciendas

Characteristics:
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Banana Republic

Original Definition: Banana producing country in Middle America that was or is controlled economically and politically by foreign fruit producers, who own and control the banana plantations.
Original Banana Republic:
Modern Definition: