Central America


Central America is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with the South American continent on the southeast.

South America is a continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the northern hemisphere.

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere.

A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth.

Central America: History and Heritage (clip) by phoenixfilmandvideo


Central America is bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a transcontinental country largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America.

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a federal republic in the southern half of North America.

The Caribbean is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands, and the surrounding coasts.



Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island.

Panama, officially called the Republic of Panama, is a country usually considered to be entirely in North America or Central America.

Belize, formerly British Honduras, is an independent country on the eastern coast of Central America.


The combined population of Central America is between 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.


Central America is a part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala through to central Panama.

Mesoamerica was a region and cultural area in the Americas, extending up there approximately from central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, within which pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries.

A biodiversity hotspot is a biogeographic region with significant levels of biodiversity that is threatened with destruction.

Biodiversity, a contraction of "biological diversity," generally refers to the variety and variability of life on Earth.


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.

The Central American Volcanic Arc is a chain of volcanoes which extends parallel to the Pacific coast line of the Central American Isthmus, from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and down to northern Panama.


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.

The Pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during the Early Modern period.


Soon after Christopher Columbus's voyages to the Americas, the Spanish began to colonize the Americas.

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, colonizer, and citizen of the Republic of Genoa.


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.

The Captaincy General of Guatemala, also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala, was an administrative division of the Spanish Empire in Central America, including the present-day nations of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Guatemala, and the Mexican state of Chiapas.

Mexico City, or City of Mexico, is the capital and most populous city of Mexico.


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 Federal Republic of Central America, also called the United Provinces of Central America in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America consisting of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain.


The seven states finally became independent autonomous states: beginning with Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala ; followed by El Salvador ; then Panama ; and finally Belize.


Even today, though, people in Central America sometimes still refer to their nations as though they are provinces of a Central American state.

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