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Central America

Subregion of the Americas / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Central America[lower-alpha 2] is a subregion of the Americas.[2] Its political boundaries are defined as bordering Mexico to the north, Colombia to the south, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Central America is usually defined as consisting of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. Within Central America is 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 high amount of seismic activity in the region, such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which has resulted in death, injury, and property damage.

Quick facts: Area, Population, Population density, GDP (PP...
Central America
Area523,780 km2 (202,230 sq mi)[1]
Population52,700,000 (2023)[1]
Population density100.6/km2 (260.6/sq mi) (2023)
GDP (PPP)$738.8 billion (2023)
GDP (nominal)$362.62 billion (exchange rate) (2023)
GDP per capita$6,880 (exchange rate) (2023)
$14,019 (PPP) (2023)
DemonymCentral American[lower-alpha 1]
DependenciesFlag_of_San_Andr%C3%A9s_y_Providencia.svg San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia)
Time zonesUTC−06:00 to UTC−05:00
Largest cities
UN M49 code013 – Central America
419Latin America and the Caribbean

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.[3] 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.[4]

In 1838, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua became the first of Central America's seven states to become independent countries, followed by El Salvador in 1841, Panama in 1903, and Belize in 1981.[5] Despite the dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America, countries like Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua continue to maintain a Central American identity.[6] The Belizeans are usually identified as culturally Caribbean rather than Central American, while the Panamanians identify themselves more broadly with their South American neighbors.[citation needed]

The Spanish-speaking countries officially include both North America and South America as a single continent, América, which is split into four subregions: North America (Northern America and Mexico), Central America, South America, and Insular America (the West Indies).[7]

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