Latin America Physical Geography **Our Test is on Monday 4/29, this is different than what the Geographer says**
The Landscape • Defining the realm • Latin America: • Includes Middle and South America. • Mexico: • The most substantial landmass. • Central America: • Narrowing strip of land to 40 miles wide in Panama. • Caribbean islands. • Major geographic qualities of Middle America • Fragmented - physically and politically. • Culturally diverse : • Less Latin (European) than South America. • Importance of pre-Columbian and African cultures. North America Central America Caribbean South America
Regions of Middle America Atlantic Ocean Lesser Antilles Greater Antilles Mexico Puerto Rico Cuba Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica Belize Caribbean Sea Honduras Guatemala Nicaragua El Salvador Pacific Ocean Costa Rica Panama Central America
Major Physical Features • Land bridge • Isthmus of Panama • A link (isthmus) between two major continental masses. • A shortcut between two major oceans. • Archipelago • About 7000 islands. • Greater Antilles: • The four large islands; Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. • Lesser Antilles: • Numerous small islands; Bahamas, Martinique, etc. • Natural hazards • Earthquakes. • Volcanoes. • Hurricanes.
Natural Bad Times • Hurricanes • Violent tropical storms. • Form during the summer and early fall. • About 96 tropical cyclones are reported annually. • Spiral shape and curved paths: • Formed 5 degrees north and south of the equator. • In the north, storms follow clockwise paths. • In the south, storms follow a counterclockwise path. • Heat is the critical factor in the formation of tropical storms
Volcanoes • In Mexico • Paricutin • Began in 1943, only volcano observed at creation • Montserrat: • Major volcanic eruption in 1995; ongoing to 2010. • Evacuation of 7,000 out of the 10,500 population. • More than half the island now inhabitable Parícutin 1943
Tectonic Plates in Middle America North American Plate Caribbean Plate Cocos Plate Pacific Plate
Regions of Mexico Mexamerica Club Mex New Spain Metromex South Mexico Club Mex
The Regions of Mexico • Mexamerica • Extends north of the Rio Grande into Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. • Northern half of Mexico. • The most integrated with the US economically and culturally. • Source of most migration to the US. • Largely a dry land of great ranches.
The Regions of Mexico • New Spain • Mexico's breadbasket and its historic colonial hearth. • Region of old cities and tradition. • Most conservative and traditionally Catholic region. • Metromex • Mexico City and its surrounding area. • One of the world's largest city (25 million). • A quarter of the national population. • Growing at the estimated rate of 500,000 per year through both natural increase and immigration. • Dominates the national economy, the national political life, and its modern cultural life. • Significant environmental problems.
The Regions of Mexico • South Mexico • Major areas of continued habitation by large indigenous populations: • The states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and of the Yucatán Peninsula. • 20% of the Mexican population of Amerindian origin. • Many unassimilated groups, particularly in highland areas. • The poorest region of the country. • Least affected by development. • Chiapas rebellion of 1994: • Revolt against landowners.
The Regions of Mexico • Club Mex • Capture the essential international flavor of Mexico's areas of concentrated resort tourism development. • Tourism as economic development: • Pursued by the government. • Mostly in areas of relatively limited industrial development. • Created the necessary infrastructure (particularly airports). • Allow foreign investors to have access to rather remote regions (note Cancún, Ixtapa, Puerto Escondido). • Construction of hotels, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. • Club Mex is much less Mexican than other parts of the country.
South America • Physiography • Dominated by the Andes mountains and the Amazon basin. • Population • Concentrated along the eastern coast. • Cultural diversity • Exists in most countries and is expressed regionally. • A mix of pre-Columbian, African and European cultures. • Regional economic interaction • Been minimal in the past. • Attributed to colonialism.
Amazonian Basin Brazilian Highlands Andes Pampas
Caribbean Sea Angel Falls Lake Maracaibo Atlantic Ocean Guiana Highlands Galapagos Islands Amazon River Basin Andes Mountains Pacific Ocean Lake Titicaca
Lake Titicaca Atacama Desert Gran Chaco Atlantic Ocean Pacific Ocean Pampas Andes Mountains Patagonia Falkland Islands South Georgia Islands Tierra del Fuego Strait of Magellan Drake Passage
Tropical plantation Resembles Middle America’s Rimland. Locations, soils, & tropical climates favor plantation crops, especially sugar. Initially relied on African slave labor. European commercial The most “Latin” part of South America. Population of European descent. Includes the Pampas - temperate grasslands. Economically most advanced. Good transportation networks and quality of life. Amerind subsistence Correlates with the former Inca Empire. Feudal socioeconomic structure persists. Includes some of South America’s poorest areas. Subsistence agriculture must contend with difficult environmental challenges (high altitude). Mestizo-transitional Surrounds the Amerindian-subsistence region. A zone of mixture, culturally & agriculturally. Transitional economic connotations. Undifferentiated Sparsely populated. Isolation and lack of change. Development of Amazonia may prompt significant changes.
Regional Divisions • Guyanas • Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana. • Borders the Caribbean Sea. • Limited population (less than one million each) and development. • Poor agricultural land. • French Guyana • Controlled by France • serves as a launching pad for the Arianerockets • Part of Eurozone
Regional Divisions • Andean group • Including Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia. • Andes • Highest mountain range in the Western Hemisphere • Many peaks reaching over 20,000 feet in elevation. • Mainly native population with some European and Asian influence. • Vast array of mineral resources. • Large oil reserves: • Venezuela (world’s 7th largest), Columbia and Ecuador. • Income used to fund socialist policies.
Regional Divisions • Semi-arid coastal plain • Cities located next to rivers. • Fisheries very important due to maritime currents. • Altiplano region • aka Andean Plateau • Long corridor linking Peru and Bolivia. • Plateaus bordered by mountain chains. • Average 4,000 meters of altitude. • Highest inhabited region of the world. • Several minerals.
Regional Divisions • Southern Cone countries • Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. • Agriculture • Important cattle producers and agricultural exports. • Pampas zone for grazing; fertile plains in southeast • Region of rich soils and produces vast amounts of wheat and other grains, corn, alfalfa, beef, wool, and hides. • One of the major areas of surplus agriculture in the world. • Opposite seasons are a significant advantage to export food to the northern hemisphere. • 95% of the population of white background. • The most European part of Latin America (Buenos Aires and Montevideo).
Physical Features • Amazon Basin • River system drains about 40% of S.A. • Largest tropical rainforest, 2 million square miles (half the size of the US) • Vast biodiversity • 14,ooo mammals, 15oo birds, 1000 reptiles, 22oo fish, and 1 square mile of the rainforest has 50,000 species of insects • Extensive deforestation
Other Physical Features • Patagonia* • Southern end of Andes mountains and large flat plains rising in terraces to the Andes • Hollowed out lakes • Colder climate than rest of South America • Especially in higher altitudes • Ice fields and glaciers • Llanos • Tropical grassland plain in Venezuela and Colombia • Extremes: floods during wet season • Atacama Desert • Plateau in Andes (on the bend of SA) • Made of salt lakes, lava flows, and sand • Driest place on earth
Interesting… • The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed the Patagons were actually Tehuelches with an average height of 180 cm (~5′11″) compared to the 155 cm (~5′1″) average for Europeans of the time • (This is directly copied from Wikipedia)
Brazil: The South American Giant • Context • Sub-continent, the fifth largest territorial state on Earth. • 50% of the South American territory. • Large agricultural producer. • The sixth most populous country (175 million). • physical and cultural diversity
Brazil: Agriculture • World's largest exporter of beef, chickens, orange juice, sugar, coffee and tobacco. • Large amounts of cheap land. • Well-drained tropical savanna (cerrado): • Traditionally considered as low fertility. • Application of small quantities of fertilizers increase significantly productivity. • Growing exports to China.
Brazil: Population • People • Considered by some to be the most diverse population on Earth. • Relative harmony, though with vast inequalities. • Indigenous groups: • Many of whom are still unassimilated. • Primarily in Amazonia, many who earlier were incorporated into various mixed races through intermarriage with other groups. • Africans: • Slaves in the mid-16th century to work on the sugar plantations in the Northeast. • Many aspects of African culture have been preserved: Brazilian music, food, and religion. • Europeans: • Mostly from Portugal during the colonial period. • Between 1822 and World War II, Italy (34%), Portugal (30%), Spain (12%), and Germany (3%) were the primary sources. • Japanese: • Brazil also counts more than 750,000 Japanese, most of whom are Brazilian born.
Brazil: Culture • Carnival! • Football • 2014 World Cup • Olympics The stadium’s power will come from a ring of solar PV panels on the roof, which will also have a “photocatalytic membrane.” That membrane is able to capture air pollution, break down the chemicals and remove them them from the atmosphere
Brasilia • Capital of Brazil; population close to 2 million. • Constructed between 1956 and 1960. • A symbol of Brazil’s development. • Located in the interior. • Moving development away from the coast. • Part of a national plan to stimulate the development of the interior.
Brazil: Disparity • Inequalities • Brazil is the least equal society on Earth. • The poorest distribution of wealth. • Yields a society of extreme contrasts: fabulous wealth, grinding poverty. • Contains the potential for instability. • GNP per capita-$7,300; Largest income gap in the realm • Wealthiest 10% of the population: • Own 2/3 of the land. • Control over 50% of the country’s wealth. • Poverty has increased by 50% since 1980