1902 Encyclopedia > Central America

Central America

CENTRAL AMERICA, as a geographical division, would naturally include the whole stretch of territory from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec to the Isthmus of Darien, which forms the nexus between the two great masses of North and South America ; but political arrangements have so affected the use of the name that it only includes the portion corresponding to the five independent North American republics of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, San Salvador, and Guatemala, while the Isthmus of Panama is assigned to South America as a part of New Granada, and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the Peninsula of Yucatan are incorporated with North America as parts of Mexico. Central America thus lies between 7° and 18° of N. lat., extends about 800 or 900 miles in length, and has a varying breadth of from 30 to 300 miles. or details the reader is referred to separate articles on the five republics mentioned above, which formed a federal republic from 1823 to 1839, and have frequently endeavoured since then to effect a restoration of their union.

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