(IGP) GS Paper 1 – India & World Geography – “Middle America”

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS

Subject – India & World Geography
Chapter : Middle America

Middle America:

Middle America consists of that stretch of land that extends southward from
the southern border of the United States to Colombia in South America. It

  1. Mexico, the largest country in area and population;
  2. The small Central countries; and
  3. Numerous islands, large and small in the Caribbean Sea or near it.

Central America:

South-east of Mexico, the North American continent tapers
southwards through a narrow isthmus which connects North and South America and
embraces seven small countries known collectively as Central America. Five of
the countries Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama have sea
coast on both the sides— the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean
Sea). The other two countries have coasts on the one side only. EL Salvador has
coast on the Pacific side and Belize on the Atlantic side. Geographic
fragmentation is the major characteristic of Central America.


  • Mexico is a triangular shaped country which is situated next to the
    compact bulk of the continuous United States. It looks comparatively small
    on a world map but its area is nearly eight times that of United Kingdom and
    is the largest of the Middle American Countries.
  • Minerals : Mexico is the leading producer of silver, sulphur and
    fluorite and is also one of the main producer and exporter of petroleum.
  • Mexico City
  • Country’s capital is situated in a high leel basin.
  • The largest metropolitan city in the world, and the most polluted

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Capital : Tegucigalpa D.C.

  • Situated between Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. It is similar in
    structure of Guatemala but the Atlantic coastline is long and the Pacific
    coastline on the Gulf of Fonseca is short.
  • One of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere.


Capital : Managua

  • The republic of Nicaragua is situated between Honduras in the north and
    Costa Rica in the south, in the heart of Central America.
  • It is the largest but most sparsely populated country of Central


Capital : Panama City

  • The southernmost country of Central America is situated between Costa
    Rica and Colombia. It was once a part of the South American country of
    Colombia but became a republic in 1903.

Panama City

  • Only capital city of a Central American country which is located at the


Capital : San Jose

  • Situated between Nicaragua in the north and Panama in the south. It is a
    narrow country between the Atlantic and Pacific coast.

San Jose

  • Capital city, lies in the mountains on the Pacific side.
  • Linked to Limon on the Atlantic side by railway.

Caribbean Islands:

  • The West Indies or Caribbean Islands are hundreds of
    islands, large and small. They are sometimes referred to as the AnAntilles.
    The Antilles themselves are subdivided into Greater Antilles and Lesser
    Antilles. Many of the islands have become independent countries.


Capital : Nassau

  • The Commonwalth of the Bahamas is an archipelago, extending from Florida
    up to 1200 km in south eastwards direction.
  • Andoras is the largest island, but New Providence is the most important
    and most populous island.
  • The capital Nassau is situated in the New Providence Island.


  • Cuba, the largest island in the Greater Antilles and most westerly
    located of all the Caribbean islands.
  • Cuba ranks as the world’s largest sugar producer.
  • The capital Havana is the main sea port with an international air port.


Capital : Santo Domingo

  • The Dominican Republic extends over the eastern two thirds of
    Hispaniola, is the second largest island of Greater Antilles.
  • Agriculture is the chief economic activity and sugar is the main cash


Capital : Kingston

  • An island in the Greater Antilles, is the third largest Caribbean
    island, lying 150 km. south of Cuba.
  • has rich bauxite deposits and ranks as the world’s second largest
    producer of bauxite and alumina.
  • Important producer of sugarcane in the world.
  • Most parts have karst features. (limestone topography).


Capital : Port-au-Prince

  • Haiti occupying the wester part of Hispaniola, is a mountinous country
    lying between Cuba in the west and Puerto Rico in the east.
  • Probably the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.


Capital : Hamilton

  • The British colony of Bermuda is situated in the western Atlantic,
    11,120 km. south east of New York.
  • It consists of some 300 small coral islands of which Great Bermuda is
    the largest.


Capital : Port of Spain

  • Trinidad lies 11 km off Venezuela and Tobago is situated 32 km north
    east of Trinidad.
  • They are southern most islands of the Caribbean archipelago and
    geologically an extension of South American Continent.
  • Has one of the strongest economics in the Caribbean area which is
    supported by offshore oil and oil refineries.

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