Central America is a land bridge that connects North and South America. It consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The region is bordered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, Colombia, and the Caribbean Sea.
The region was historically indigenous, most notably with Mayans and Aztecs. The primary language is Spanish, as most of this region was conquered by Spain in the 1500s.
There are many volcanoes in this region. As such, the soil is extremely rich in nutrients and there is some of the greatest biodiversity in the world. Another unifying feature is the groups of people.
Central Americans consist mainly of mestizos (a mixture of Spanish and indigenous peoples), small indigenous populations, Africans, and people of European descent.
Central Americans enjoy a rich abundance of fruits and vegetables, with corn, rice, meat, vegetables, and beans as major staples. There are many various culinary practices throughout the region, with more African influence in Belize and many areas retaining traditional recipes through oral traditions. Guatemala, formerly the core of Mayan civilization, keeps ancient traditions with corn and special beverages. Central America has become an internationally-renowned center for coffee production.
Central America has undergone a lot of political unrest in recent history. The region was under the governing power of New Spain, based in Mexico City, until New Spain gained independence from Spain in 1821.
Following, the Federal Republic of Central America was formed and lasted from 1823 to 1838. Their efforts to unite politically eventually failed, and there was political fragmentation throughout the region.
The seven autonomous nations emerged, beginning with Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Guatemala, and ending with Belize in 1981. Panama, the southernmost country, shares historical and cultural ties with South America. Nicaragua, once one of the richest countries in the region is currently the second poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.
There remains to be widespread poverty and violence persistent throughout the region.