Central America

Central America
Central America (orthographic projection).svg
Area521,876 km2 (201,497 sq mi)
Population47,448,333 (2016 estimate)
Population density91/km2 (240/sq mi)
GDP (nominal)$203.73 billion (exchange rate) (2013)
$370.52 billion (purchasing power parity) (2013).
GDP per capita$4,783 (exchange rate) (2013)
$8,698 (purchasing power parity) (2013).
DemonymCentral American
LanguagesSpanish, English, Mayan languages, Garifuna, Kriol, and other languages of Mesoamerica
Time zonesUTC -6:00 to UTC -5:00
Largest cities
UN M.49 code013 – Central America
419Latin America

Central America (Spanish: América Central, pronounced [aˌmeɾika senˈtɾal], Centroamérica [sentɾoaˈmeɾika]) is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas,[1] bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 (2009 estimate)[2] and 42,688,190 (2012 estimate).[3]

Central America is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala through to central Panama. Due to the presence of several active geologic faults and the Central America Volcanic Arc, there is a great deal of seismic activity in the region. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur frequently; these natural disasters have resulted in the loss of many lives and much property.

In the Pre-Columbian era, Central America was inhabited by the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica to the north and west and the Isthmo-Colombian peoples to the south and east. Soon after the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus's voyages to the Americas, the Spanish began to colonize the Americas. From 1609 until 1821, most of the territory within Central America—except for the lands that would become Belize and Panama—was governed by the Viceroyalty of New Spain from Mexico City as the Captaincy General of Guatemala. After New Spain achieved independence from Spain in 1821, some of its provinces were annexed to the First Mexican Empire, but soon seceded from Mexico to form the Federal Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1823 to 1838. The seven states finally became independent autonomous states: beginning with Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala (1838); followed by El Salvador (1841); then Panama (1903); and finally Belize (1981). Even today, people in Central America sometimes refer to their nations as if they were provinces of a Central American state. For example, it is not unusual to write "C.A." after the country names in formal and informal contexts and the automobile licence plates of many of the countries in the region show the legend "Centroamerica" in addition to the country name.

Different definitions

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize are historically the seven nations in Central America politically, geographically and culturally.

"Central America" may mean different things to various people, based upon different contexts:

  • The United Nations geoscheme for the Americas defines the region as all states of mainland North America south of the United States and specifically includes all of Mexico.[4]
  • Middle America is usually thought to comprise Mexico to the north of the 7 states of Central America as well as Colombia and Venezuela to the south. Usually, the whole of the Caribbean to the northeast, and sometimes the Guyanas, are also included.
    According to one source, the term "Central America" was used as a synonym for "Middle America" at least as recently as 1962.[5]
  • In Ibero-America (Spanish and Portuguese speaking American countries), the Americas is considered a single continent, and Central America is considered a subcontinent separate from North America comprising the seven countries south of Mexico and north of Colombia.[1]
  • For the people living in the five countries formerly part of the Federal Republic of Central America there is a distinction between the Spanish language terms "América Central" and "Centroamérica". While both can be translated into English as "Central America", "América Central" is generally used to refer to the geographical area of the seven countries between Mexico and Colombia, while "Centroamérica" is used when referring to the former members of the Federation emphasizing the shared culture and history of the region.
  • In Portuguese as a rule and occasionally in Spanish and other languages, the entirety of the Antilles is often included in the definition of Central America (the Portuguese Wikipedia article for the Antilles offers, in fact, América Central Insular as an alternative name), which is its own region to be distinguished from North America and South America alike. Indeed, the Dominican Republic is a full member of the Central American Integration System.
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Sentraal-Amerika
aragonés: America Central
asturianu: América Central
Avañe'ẽ: Mbyteamérika
azərbaycanca: Mərkəzi Amerika
bamanankan: Cema Amerika
Bân-lâm-gú: Tiong Bí-chiu
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Цэнтральная Амэрыка
भोजपुरी: मध्य अमेरिका
brezhoneg: Kreizamerika
dolnoserbski: Srjejźna Amerika
Esperanto: Centra Ameriko
føroyskt: Miðamerika
ГӀалгӀай: Юкъера Америка
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Chûng Mî-chû
hornjoserbsce: Srjedźna Amerika
Bahasa Indonesia: Amerika Tengah
interlingua: America central
íslenska: Mið-Ameríka
Kapampangan: Kalibudtang Amerika
kernowek: Amerika Gres
latviešu: Centrālamerika
Limburgs: Midde-Amerika
Lingua Franca Nova: America Sentral
македонски: Средна Америка
Bahasa Melayu: Amerika Tengah
Baso Minangkabau: Amerika Tangah
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Dṳ̆ng Mī-ciŭ
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဗဟိုအမေရိက
Nederlands: Centraal-Amerika
Norfuk / Pitkern: Sentril Merika
norsk nynorsk: Mellom-Amerika
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Markaziy Amerika
Papiamentu: Amerika Sentral
ភាសាខ្មែរ: អាមេរិក កណ្ដាល
Tok Pisin: Sentrel Amerika
português: América Central
Qaraqalpaqsha: Orayliq Amerika
Runa Simi: Chawpi Awya Yala
русиньскый: Середня Америка
саха тыла: Орто Америка
Gagana Samoa: Central Amelika
Simple English: Central America
slovenčina: Stredná Amerika
slovenščina: Medmorska Amerika
Soomaaliga: Bartamaha Ameerika
српски / srpski: Средња Америка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Centralna Amerika
татарча/tatarça: Үзәк Америка
Türkçe: Orta Amerika
Tiếng Việt: Trung Mỹ
吴语: 中美洲
粵語: 中美洲
žemaitėška: Cėntrėnė Amerėka
中文: 中美洲