中美洲

中美洲(Central America)

北美洲的南部一個區域。北從墨西哥南部邊界,南到哥倫比亞西北界,西從太平洋,東到加勒比海。包括瓜地馬拉、貝里斯、巨集都拉斯、薩爾瓦多、尼加拉瓜和哥斯大黎加和巴拿馬等國。一些地理學家也把墨西哥的五個州也納入中美洲範圍內,即金塔納羅奧、猶加敦、坎佩切、塔瓦斯科和恰帕斯。面積523,865平方公里,2/3的人口是美洲印第安人和西班牙人的混血種。語言:西班牙語(官方語),只有貝里斯(以英語為官方語)除外,也通行美洲印第安語。宗教:主要是天主教。此區多丘陵或山脈,沿海則散佈著潮溼的沼澤地和低地。瓜地馬拉西部的塔胡穆爾科火山是中美洲最高峰。此區約有四十多座火山,其中很多現在仍活躍,也常發生地震。火山帶有肥沃的土壤和富饒的農業區。長久以來,印第安原住民世代居於此區,包括馬雅人,直至16世紀西班牙人到來並征服他們,統治期長達三百年。哥倫布曾在1502年從巨集都拉斯繞著大西洋海岸到達連灣,1510年在此灣建立第一個歐洲人殖民地。1560年左右西班牙人把此區納入瓜地馬拉總督的管轄範圍(恰帕斯和巴拿馬除外)。英國人在17世紀時抵此,建立後來的英屬巨集都拉斯(今貝里斯)。1821年脫離西班牙獨立後,他們在1823年組成中美洲聯合省(瓜地馬拉、巨集都拉斯、薩爾瓦多、尼加拉瓜和哥斯大黎加)。英屬巨集都拉斯仍是英國殖民地,未加入聯邦。1824年聯邦採用一部憲法,但在1838年巨集都拉斯、尼加拉瓜和哥斯大黎加紛紛退出,結束了聯邦。1923年中美洲各國舉行了華盛頓會議,起草了敦親睦鄰條約。1960年建立中美洲共同市場,創造了一個關稅同盟,並促進經濟合作關係。

English version:

Central America

Southern portion of North America (pop.,1993 est.: 30,610,000). It extends from the southern border of Mexico to the northwestern border of Colombia and from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. It includes Guatemala,Belize,Honduras,El Salvador,Nicaragua,Costa Rica,and Panama. Some geographers also include five states of Mexico: Quintana Roo,Yucatan,Campeche,Tabasco,and Chiapas. Area: 202,000 sq mi (523,000 sq km). Two-thirds of the population is of mixed American Indian and Spanish ancestry. Language: Spanish (official),except Belize (English,official); also American Indian languages. Religion: chiefly Roman Catholicism. The region is largely hilly or mountainous,with humid swamps and lowlands extending along both coasts. Tajumulco Volcano,western Guatemala,is the highest point. The region has some 40 volcanoes,many of them active,and it has frequent earthquakes. The volcanic zones have fertile soil and are productive agricultural areas. The area was long inhabited by indigenous peoples,including the Maya,before the Spanish arrived and conquered the region in the early 16th century; they continued to rule for about 300 years. Christopher Columbus skirted the Atlantic coast from Honduras to the Gulf of Darien in 1502; the first European settlement (1510) was on the gulf. Spain organized the region (except Chiapas and Panama) into the captaincy general of Guatemala c. 1560. The English arrived in the 17th century,settling what became British Honduras (Belize). Independence from Spanish rule came in 1821,and in 1823 the United Provinces of Central America was formed (Guatemala,and Costa Rica). British Honduras,still a colony,did not join the federation,and Panama remained part of Colombia. In 1824 the federation adopted a constitution,but in 1838 Costa Rica,and Nicaragua seceded,thus effectively terminating the federation. Treaties of amity were drawn up by a Washington conference of Central American states in 1923. The Central American Common Market was established in 1960 to create a customs union and promote economic cooperation. For further information,see individual countries.

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