(IGP) GS Paper 1 - India & World Geography - "Middle America"

Integrated Guidance Programme of General Studies for IAS (Pre)

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 includes:

  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 city.

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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 America.


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 coast.


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 crop.


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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