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U NIT 9: C ENTRAL A MERICA AND THE C ARIBBEAN. C ENTRAL A MERICA Central America faces major challenges, such as a large gap between the rich and the.

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Presentation on theme: "U NIT 9: C ENTRAL A MERICA AND THE C ARIBBEAN. C ENTRAL A MERICA Central America faces major challenges, such as a large gap between the rich and the."— Presentation transcript:


2 C ENTRAL A MERICA Central America faces major challenges, such as a large gap between the rich and the poor and a high unemployment number. Since gaining freedom from Spain in 1821, most Central American countries have struggled to develop democratic governments. What are some challenges Central America faces?

3 G OVERNMENT Costa Rica is the only country in the region that has been a democracy since the early 1900s. Style of Government- Nearly all other Central American countries are ruled by a dictator. A dictator is a leader with complete control over their government. Government since the 1990s- many Central American countries have developed a democratic form of government in which citizens can participate to some extent.

4 E CONOMY Today, farming is the main economic activity in Central America. Large plantations produce crops, mainly bananas, sugar cane and coffee, for export to other countries. However, most farming consists of subsistence farming, in which poor farmers grow a variety of crops to feed their own family.

5 E CONOMY Timber is also an important economic activity in forested areas, such as Costa Rica. Tourism is also a major industry, especially in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Maquiladoras in Guatemala and Honduras produce goods such as clothing to export.

6 P ROMOTING I NTERNATIONAL T RADE The Panama Canal is the crossroads for goods that travel between the western and eastern hemispheres. Economies depend on the canal for shipping and receiving goods.

7 Today, Central American Nations are trying to increase trade with other countries. CAFTA = C entral A merica F ree T rade A greement CAFTA- The United States, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have signed to increase trade with other countries

8 CAFTA will lower tariffs, or taxes, and make trade easier among member nations. The Central American nations hope the flow of money will help develop more jobs and develop their economies. Question : Why is CAFTA important to the economies of the United States and Central America?

9 P EOPLE AND C ULTURE The cultures of Central American countries are a blend of Spanish, Indian and African cultures. Mestizos, a person mixed with European and Indian ancestry, make up 2/3 of Central Americans. Religion: Most Central Americans are Roman Catholic. Language: Spanish is the official language in every country except for Belize, where English is the official language.

10 P EOPLE AND C ULTURE : R URAL VS. U RBAN Many people living in rural areas live in small villages built on mountainsides. Rural schools are poorly equipped and many children are needed to work on family farms instead. Half of Central America’s population lives in urban areas. Children are required to attend school for 9 years. Rural school in Nicaragua. RURALURBAN

11 D AILY L IFE IN C ENTRAL A MERICA Family is important in Central American life. A Central American family unit includes grandparents, parents, children, aunts and uncles who often live in houses built near one another. Corn is the main ingredient in many Central American foods, such as tortillas. Artisans, which are people skilled in making things with their hands, are what Central American countries are known for. MUSIC: Popular music in Central America include salsa and calypso.

12 Artwork Calypso Band Traditional Meal: Tortilla, Beans and Rice Artisans

13 R EVIEW Q UESTIONS 1. What is the main economic activity in Central America? Agriculture, or farming, is the main economic activity. 2. What 5 Central American countries signed CAFTA? Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. 3. How is present day Central America a blend of different cultures? The cultures of Central America are a blend of Indian, African and Spanish cultures.

14 T HE C ARIBBEAN Although Spain ruled most of Central America, several European nations claimed the Caribbean islands. Because of this, the islands are a blend of many different cultures. Countries such as Britain, Spain, France and Denmark had a claim to parts of the Caribbean. In 1804, Haiti was the 1 st island to achieve independence. History

15 Today, only a few islands are under the direction of European nations and the United States. A dependency is a place governed by or closely connected to another country but not officially a part of that country. Puerto Rico is an example of this.

16 E CONOMY The economy of the islands focused mainly on producing sugar cane. Sugar was very profitable to Europeans. This type of economy is called a one-crop economy, meaning a country depends on a single crop of most of its income. This is a very unstable plan for an economy. Why?

17 E CONOMY In the late 1800s, the sugar industry was in trouble. Other countries began to produce sugar and charged lower prices for it. Therefore, the Caribbean's had to raise other crops. Their new economy began to depend on crops such as bananas, pineapples and citrus fruits. They also developed industries for fishing, mining and tourism. Several Caribbean nations are members of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), which is similar to NAFTA.

18 G OVERNMENT : T WO DIFFERENT S YSTEMS Most Caribbean nations have, at some time, been under the rule of a dictator. Today, most islands have a democracy, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico. Spain controlled Cuba until the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish- American War in 1898. Cuba became an independent country in 1902. Cuba

19 C UBA : G OVERNMENT Fidel Castro- Became the leader of Cuba after overthrowing an unpopular dictator. Castro established a communist form of government. Castro and his political party control all of Cuba. Castro rules Cuba like a dictator would; meaning he has denied Cubans many basic rights and freedoms. Biography: Fidel Castro

20 P UERTO R ICO : G OVERNMENT Like Cuba, Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony until 1898 when it became a U.S. territory. In 1952, Puerto Ricans approved a constitution that made them a commonwealth of the United States. A commonwealth is a self-governing place that is associated with another country. Puerto Ricans are US citizens, but can not participate in presidential elections.

21 C ARIBBEAN : C ULTURE The cultures of the Caribbean reflect Indian, African and European influences. Because the region was a center for the slave trade, African influences have left a mark on the Caribbean culture. People in the islands speak a variety of languages, including French, Spanish and English. Music also reflects the blend of cultures. Steel drums, reggae and calypso music are popular. They celebrate Carnival and play sports such as soccer and baseball.

22 C ULTURE Steel Drum Music Celebrating Carnival! Artisan working on the beach.

23 Q UESTIONS 1. What was the main economic activity in the Caribbean islands during colonial times? The sugar cane industry. 2. What is the difference between Cuba and Puerto Rico’s governments? Cuba is an independent communist nation; Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the US. 3. Why do people in the Caribbean Islands speak a variety of languages? They speak different languages because the islands were settled by several European nations.

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