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Facts About Central America For Kids


Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. Central America is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, which extends from northern Guatemala through central Panama.

  • It is bordered by Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, the North Pacific Ocean to the west, and Colombia to the south-east.
  • Central America has an area of 524,000 square kilometers (202,000 sq mi), or almost 0.1% of the Earth’s surface.
  • The Native American societies of Mesoamerica occupied the land ranging from central Mexico in the north to Costa Rica in the south.
  • The pre-Columbian cultures of Panama traded with both Mesoamerica and South America, and can be considered transitional between those two cultural areas.
  • Following Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas for Spain, the Spanish sent numerous expeditions to the region, and they began their conquest of Maya lands in the 1520s.
  • In 1540, Spain established the Captaincy General of Guatemala, which extended from southern Mexico to Costa Rica, and thus encompassed most of what is currently known as Central America, with the exception of British Honduras (present-day Belize).
  • After the dissolution of Spanish authority, the former Captaincy General remained intact as part of the short-lived First Mexican Empire.
  • Central America then emerged as a distinct political entity upon the independence of the Federal Republic of Central America a representative democracy with its capital at Guatemala City.
  • This union consisted of the present day nations of Guatemala (which included the former state of Los Altos), El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica (which included a region which is now part of Panama, and the Guanacaste Province which was once part of Nicaragua), and Soconusco, a portion of the modern Mexican state of Chiapas.
  • Physiographically, Central America is the tapering isthmus of southern North America, with unique and varied features extending from the north-western borders of Belize and Guatemala southeastward to the Isthmus of Panama where it connects to the Colombian Pacific Lowlands in northwestern South America.
  • Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, was devastated by earthquakes in 1931 and 1972, the last one killed about 5,000 people.
  • However the southern countries (Costa Rica and Panama) of the region have more biodiversity than the northern countries (Guatemala and Belize), meanwhile the central countries (Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador) have least biodiversity.
  • In 1951 the integration process continued with the signature of the San Salvador Treaty, which created the ODECA, the Organization of Central American States.
  • However, the unity of the ODECA was limited by conflicts between several member states.
  • In 1991, the integration agenda was further advanced by the creation of the SICA, Sistema para la Integración Centroamericana or System for the Central American Integration.
  • The SICA membership includes the 7 nations of Central America plus the Dominican Republic, a state that is traditionally considered part of the Caribbean.
  • On December 6, 2008 SICA announced an agreement to pursue a common currency and common passport for the member nations.

List Of Countries In Central America

  • Belize
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama