What Comprises Central America?
Central America constitutes the southernmost region of North America. It also acts as a bridge between the northern and southern America. Central America is not a continent, but a region within North America. Central America comprises seven countries: Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Panama. Its population is estimated to be 179,144,396. Occasionally Mexico is included in Central America, but most Geographers do not consider Mexico to be part of Central America.
Central America is bordered by both ocean and land. At north, it is bordered by Mexico, at southeast by Colombia, at east by the Caribbean Sea, and at west by the Pacific Ocean.
The Central American region consists of Volcanic Arc and a number of active geologic faults and, therefore, receives intense seismic activity. Over the years, the natural disasters like Earthquakes and Volcanic activities have caused a great deal of harm to life and property.
There have been numerous developments in the history of the region which makes Central America what it is today. Christopher Columbus undertook four voyages to the Americas, which resulted in Spain colonizing this part of the World. The region was given the name ‘New Spain’ and a Viceroy was appointed by the Spanish Kingdom to administer it. This form of administration lasted from 1609 to 1821. In 1821, New Spain got its independence from Spain and soon some of the provinces united to form the Federal Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1823-1838. The 7 states finally became independent autonomous states, starting from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala, which became free in 1838. El Salvador was the next one to be independent in 1841, followed by Panama in 1903. Belize was the last one to become a sovereign nation in 1981.
Central America is rich in terms of ethnic diversity, with Mestizo being the largest ethnic group. A sizable population of Whites and Mayan is also there. Immigration of Jews, Arabs, Europeans, Chinese and other groups over time have added to the ethnic diversity of the region.
The official language in the majority of Central America is Spanish. However, in Belize, it is English. In Guatemala, Mayan languages are prominent. Garifuna and Xinca are also spoken in some of the Central American countries.