Unit 5: Latin America. PreAp World Geography

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1 Unit 5: Latin America PreAp World Geography

2 MEXICO

3 Landforms Guiding Question-Why is the Mexican Plateau considered the heartland of Mexico?

4 Physical Geography of Mexico Landforms Mexico, along with Central America, joins the continents of North America and South America with a physical feature called a land bridge. A land bridge is a strip of land that connects two larger landmasses, enabling migration of plants and animals to both areas. There are a variety of landforms in Mexico that support large communities of people. The western side of Mexico is part of the Ring of Fire, a hotspot of seismic activity.

5 Water Systems Guiding Question-How does Mexico have few major rivers and natural lakes?

6 Physical Geography of Mexico Water Systems Northern Mexico has a dry climate with few permanent waterways. The Lerma River is one of Mexico's most important rivers. The Gulf of Mexico, along Mexico's east coast, is home to a wide variety of sea life. The Gulf of California, on the western side of Mexico, supports marine life such as whales, sea turtles, and sharks.

7 Climate, Biomes, and Resources Guiding Question-How does climate affect human activities in Mexico?

8 Physical Geography of Mexico Climate, Biomes, and Resources Three factors that influence Mexico's climates are regional high-pressure systems, northeast trade winds, and vertical climate zones. Vertical climate zones occur as elevation increases. Mexico has a variety of biomes that support various plant and animal life. Minerals, especially silver, are important to Mexico's economy. Mexico is a leading petroleum-producing country.

9 History and Government Guiding Question-What influenced Mexico s political and social structure?

10 Human Geography of Mexico History and Government Regional distinctions from Maya, Aztec, and nomadic people developed Mexican cultures seen today. In 1821 Mexico became the first Spanish territory to win its independence. The current Mexican government is a federal republic with power divided into three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. Over the past few decades, drug cartels have come to control different regions of Mexico, leading to internal warfare.

11 Population Patterns Guiding Question-What factor s have shaped Mexico s population patterns?

12 Human Geography of Mexico Population Patterns The Spanish used Catholic missions to spread Christian ideas and to expand communities in Mexico. Spanish landowners took advantage of indigenous communities, paying them little to work on their estates, known as haciendas. Rural-to-urban migration over time has greatly altered Mexico's population distribution; today 78 percent of Mexican citizens live in urban areas. Mexico City is the political capital of Mexico, as well as the cultural and economic center of Mexico.

13 Society and Culture Today Guiding Question-How does Mexican society and culture reflect the country s colonial past?

14 Human Geography of Mexico Society and Culture Today Mexican culture values family with many Mexican homes holding three to four generations. In Mexico, men dominate while women's primary obligation is the family. Mexico's arts are influenced by both the indigenous cultures of their ancient history and the new Spanish cultures. Murals are an important art form in Mexico with Diego Rivera being one of Mexico's most famous muralists.

15 Economic Activities Guiding Question-How has Mexico s place in the global economy changed over time?

16 Human Geography of Mexico Economic Activities Mexico has a higher standard of living than many Latin American countries, yet industry, transportation, and communication remain challenges. Mexico, the United States, and Canada signed NAFTA in 1992, improving Mexico's economy, yet keeping it reliant on foreign countries. The illegal drug trade remains an influential part of the Mexican economy.

17 Managing Resources Guiding Question-Why are Mexico s resources in jeopardy?

18 People and Their Environment: Mexico Managing Resources Mexico has many natural resources, yet obtaining these resources has led to environmental destruction. The growing population of Mexico demands more food and water resources, which in turn causes forests to be cut down and water to be in high demand. Today, 50 percent of Mexico's population lives in poverty as they struggle to find basic resources like clean water, electricity, and garbage removal.

19 Human Impact Guiding Question-How do human activities impact Mexico s environment?

20 People and Their Environment: Mexico Human Impact Rapid growth in urban areas has created a challenge for Mexico to keep up with basic infrastructures such as proper waste disposal and pollution. Toxic carbon emissions from cars has led to serious pollution problems in Mexico City, often leaving it in a gray haze. The government has made emissions regulations a priority, but air pollution remains a serious health concern in Mexico.

21 Addressing the Issues Guiding Question-How are governments in Mexico addressing environmental issues?

22 People and Their Environment: Mexico Addressing the Issues Recently, the citizens of Mexico have become more politically active, wanting better living conditions and environmental protection policies. New government regulations have slowed the destruction of natural resources, while supporting farms and local businesses. The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program reduces greenhouse gases. Muévete en Bici program protects the environment and reduces pollution by encouraging the use of bicycles.

23 CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

24 Landforms Guiding Question-Why is the majority of Central America s people concentrated in the Central Highlands?

25 Physical Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Landforms Central America has three distinct belts: the Pacific Lowlands, the Caribbean Lowlands, and the Central Highlands. The Isthmus of Panama is another distinctive feature of Central America. More than 7,000 islands are considered part of the mainland's Central Highlands.

26 Water Systems Guiding Question-How are Central American rivers and lakes important to the human systems of the area?

27 Physical Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Water Systems Inland lakes and waterways are important to Central America's growth and development, providing transportation, drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. One of the world's most important human-made waterways, the Panama Canal, allows ships to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans without having to travel around South America's Cape Horn. Commercial fishing and the use of other marine resources in the Caribbean Sea have increased international trade.

28 Climate, Biomes, and Resources Guiding Question-How does its location in the Tropics affect the climate of Central America and the Caribbean?

29 Physical Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Climates, Biomes, and Resources Much of Central America has a tropical wet climate with rainforests found in many of the regions. A tropical dry climate is found on many of the Caribbean islands. The climates and ecosystems of some parts of Central America are affected by elevation, resulting in vertical climate zones. Nickel, iron ore, fish, timber, and petroleum are important natural resources found and used throughout Central America.

30 History and Government Guiding Question-How did colonialism influence the history and government of Central America and the Caribbean?

31 Human Geography of Central America and the Caribbean European Conquests to Independence Christopher Columbus's voyages from 1492 to 1504 brought Spanish colonization. Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal also established colonies, wiping out much of the Native American population. During the 1800s, the fight for independence from European rulers began, resulting in new countries. Today, many Central Americans have demanded positive change in an effort to improve their economies and living conditions.

32 Population Patterns Guiding Question-How have migration and rapid growth affected the population?

33 Human Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Population Patterns Populations in this region blend many ethnic groups. Since 1900, the number of people migrating away from this region has risen because of the need to escape civil wars, poor economies, and instability. A majority of the Central American population lives in highland cities and towns, while the population density of the Caribbean is among the highest in Latin America. Despite economic difficulties and low life expectancy, Central America has one of the highest population growth rates in the world.

34 Society and Culture Today Guiding Question-How have the traditions and beliefs of indigenous people, Africans, and Europeans shaped society and culture in Central America and the Caribbean?

35 Human Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Society and Culture Today A blending of language, traditions, and art is found in Central America and the Caribbean. A majority of people are Roman Catholic, although other religions also exist, such as Protestantism, Hinduism, and Islam. The quality of education and health care varies greatly from country to country and from urban to rural areas. Artwork, music, and dance reflect the history of both native and European cultures.

36 Economic Activities Guiding Question-What economic factors have helped maintain an unequal distribution of wealth in Central America and the Caribbean?

37 Human Geography of Central America and the Caribbean Economic Activities Wealth is unevenly distributed in Central America and the Caribbean, with agriculture employing many of the workers. Many countries in the region are still considered developing countries. Recently, service and technology industries along with ecotourism have grown rapidly.

38 Managing Resources Guiding Question-How do growing human needs affect resources and the environment in Central America and the Caribbean?

39 People and Their Environment: Central America and the Caribbean Managing Resources The ability of the region to provide water to a growing population continues to be strained by water shortages, access to freshwater, and legal issues. Hydroelectric power supplies increase production and competitiveness in international trade; however, this type of energy threatens the natural environment. Although Central America has naturally fertile soil, slash-and-burn cultivation destroys the fertile land. Commercial logging contributes to deforestation, threatening plants and organisms key to medicines.

40 Human Impact Guiding Question-Why is soil erosion and soil decline such an issue in Central America and the Caribbean?

41 People and Their Environment: Central America and the Caribbean Human Impact Central American and Caribbean cities are experiencing rapid population growth resulting in pollution, lack of jobs, inadequate housing, and strained food and water supplies. The growing demand for food has increased agriculture and has, in turn, eliminated natural vegetation, leading to soil erosion and the use of fertilizers. Increased hotel construction for the tourism industry has lead to vegetation loss and soil erosion as well as greatly threatening the livelihood of coral reefs.

42 Addressing the Issues Guiding Question-Why is biodiversity protection so important in Central America?

43 People and Their Environment: Central America and the Caribbean Addressing the Issues Solving conflicts over natural resources and natural disaster preparation are challenges facing this region. Deforestation must be addressed quickly; it is predicted that rain forests may disappear within 40 years. Sustainable development and green businesses are solutions that can be more environmentallyfriendly while also boosting local economies. Governments, international agencies, and grass roots groups are implementing programs that limit migration to cities and help to improve cities' infrastructures.

44 SOUTH AMERICA

45 Landforms Guiding Question-How has South America s rugged landscape both attracted and isolated people?

46 Physical Geography of South America Landforms South America's diverse landscape is marked in the west by the high peaks of the Andes and in the east by broad plateaus and valleys. The cordillera established natural barriers that resulted in the development of isolated groups. Narrow, coastal lowlands rim the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Inland grasslands like the Ilanos and the pampas provide fertile soil and plains for cattle to graze.

47 Physical Geography of South America Water Systems The Amazon flows 4,000 miles through the heart of South America and is its longest river. Hundreds of smaller rivers join the Amazon to form the Amazon Basin. The Paraná, Paraguay, and Uruguay Rivers drain the rainy eastern half of South America. The Pantanal is one of the world's largest tropical wetlands. Lake Maracaibo and Lake Titicaca are South America s largest lakes.

48 Physical Geography of South America Climate, Biomes, and Resources Diverse climates make South America a region of contrasts. El Niño affects the climate in South America by creating unusually warm ocean currents, and can have negative effects on coastal weather, fishing, and agriculture. The Amazon rain forest shelters more species of plants and animals than anywhere else on Earth. The physical geography dictates each country s access to natural resources.

49 Human Geography of South America History and Government The Inca Empire s wealth and highly developed infrastructure attracted Spanish conquistadors. Portuguese, British, French, and Dutch settlers also established colonies, which drastically reduced indigenous populations. In the 1800s, independence movements led by Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín emerged. Dictatorships dominated the postcolonial period. Today, democratically elected governments struggle with economic and social justice issues.

50 Human Geography of South America Population Patterns The once-high population growth has moderated. Most people live in cities in the coastal regions where there is a favorable climate, fertile land, and access to transportation. Highly populated urban areas make finding jobs and affordable housing difficult for migrants. South America is experiencing brain drain to North America and Europe, which is the loss of many highly educated and skilled workers.

51 Human Geography of South America Society and Culture Today South America is a blend of native, European, Asian, and African languages and traditions. The majority of people are Roman Catholic, though less common religions include Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Shinto, Islam, and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The quality of education and health care varies greatly from country to country and from urban to rural areas. Indigenous crafts, art, and architecture reflect the history of the native cultures.

52 Human Geography of South America Economic Activities Oil resources, agriculture, and mining of the abundant natural resources all contribute to South America s economic development. Manufacturing is growing rapidly, but physical geography influences commercial activity. Many countries in the region are still considered developing countries. Increased cooperation between countries through trade partnerships and infrastructure is improving economic growth.

53 People and Their Environment: South America Managing Resources While the use of natural resources has advanced economic growth and increased stability, it has also damaged the environment and the biodiversity of South America. Deforestation has destroyed almost 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest, threatening nearly half of all animal and plant species on Earth. Monoculture and soil erosion contribute to decreased soil fertility and desertification, which reduces the area of nutrient-rich soils and grasses needed to grow crops or to feed livestock.

54 People and Their Environment: South America Human Impact Urban growth and industrialization have created environmental pollution. A lack of funding and organization often results in a city s lack of adequate plumbing infrastructure necessary to deliver clean water and remove sewage. Illegal mining activity has grown as the value of precious metals and raw materials has increased, exacerbating the pollution problem.

55 People and Their Environment: South America Addressing the Issues Reducing the human impact on the environment is critical to protecting biodiversity and preserving the livelihood of the population. Implementation of antideforestation laws and farming management practices are among the efforts underway to reduce drought and soil erosion. South America s countries are working together to address the problems related to urbanization, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to develop public transport systems, and to regulate the exportation of natural resources.

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