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
Countries
DependenciesFlag of San Andrés y Providencia.svg Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina (belonging to  Colombia)
LanguagesSpanish, English, Mayan languages, Garifuna, Kriol, and other languages of Mesoamerica
Time zonesUTC -6:00 to UTC -5:00
Largest cities
UN M49 code013 – Central America
419Latin America
019Americas
001World

Central America (Spanish: América Central, pronounced [aˌmeɾika senˈtɾal] (About this soundlisten), Centroamérica pronounced [sentɾoaˈmeɾika] (About this soundlisten)) is a region found in the southern tip of North America and is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas.[1] This region is 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 is estimated to be between 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 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, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which has resulted in death, injury and property damage.

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. Following the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus' voyages to the Americas, Spain began to colonize the Americas. From 1609 to 1821, the majority of Central American territories (except for what would become Belize and Panama, and including the modern Mexican state of Chiapas) were governed by the viceroyalty of New Spain from Mexico City as the Captaincy General of Guatemala. On 24 August 1821, Spanish Viceroy Juan de O’Donojú signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which established New Spain's independence from Spain.[4] On 15 September 1821, the Act of Independence of Central America was enacted to announce Central America's separation from the Spanish Empire and provide for the establishment of a new Central American state. Some of New Spain's provinces in the Central American region (i.e. what would become Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) were annexed to the First Mexican Empire; however, in 1823 they seceded from Mexico to form the Federal Republic of Central America until 1838.

In 1838, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala became the first of Central America's seven states to become independent autonomous countries, followed by El Salvador in 1841, Panama in 1903 and Belize in 1981[citation needed]. Despite the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America, there is anecdotal evidence that demonstrates that Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Costa Ricans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Panamanians and Belizeans continue to maintain a Central American identity. For instance, Central Americans sometimes refer to their nations as if they were provinces of a Central American state. It is not unusual to write "C.A." after the country's name in formal and informal contexts. Governments in the region sometimes reinforce this sense of belonging to Central America in its citizens. For example, automobile licence plates in many of the region's countries include the moniker, Centroamerica, alongside the country's 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.[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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.[citation needed]
  • 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. Indeed, the Dominican Republic is a full member of the Central American Integration System.[citation needed]
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
kalaallisut: Amerika Qilerleq
Kapampangan: Kalibudtang Amerika
kernowek: Amerika Gres
latviešu: Centrālamerika
Limburgs: Midde-Amerika
Lingua Franca Nova: America Sentral
македонски: Средна Америка
Bahasa Melayu: Amerika Tengah
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