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Middle America Terms

Primate City A country’s largest city—ranking atop its urban hierarchy—most expressive of the national culture and usually the capital city as well.
NAFTA The free-trade area launched in 1994 involving the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Maquiladoras The term given to modern industrial plants in Mexico’s U.S. border zone. These foreign-owned factories assemble imported components and/or raw materials, and then export the finished products, mainly to the United States.
Land bridge A narrow link/strip of land between two large landmasses. They are temporary features subject to appearance and disappearance as the land or sea level rises and falls.
Archipelago A set of islands grouped closely together, usually elongated into a chain.
Hurricane Alley The most frequent pathway followed by tropical storms and hurricanes over the past 150 years in their generally westward movement across the Caribbean Basin. Historically, hurricane tracks have bundled tightly in the center of this route.
Altitudinal Zonation Vertical regions defined by physical-environmental zones at various elevations, particularly in the highlands of South and Middle America.
Tropical deforestation The clearing and destruction of tropical rainforests in order to make way for expanding settlement frontiers and the exploitation of new economic opportunities.
Culture hearth Heartland, source area, or innovation center; place of origin of a major culture.
Mestizo Derived from the Latin word for mixed, refers to a person of mixed European (white) and Amerindian ancestry.
Hacienda A large estate in a Spanish-speaking country.
Plantation A large estate owned by an individual, family, or corporation and organized to produce a cash crop. Almost all plantations were established within the tropics.
Small-island developing economies The disadvantages faced by lower-income island-states because of their small territorial size and populations as well as overland inaccessibility. Limited resources require expensive importing of many goods and services.
Acculturation Cultural modification resulting from intercultural borrowing. The term refers to the change that occurs in the culture of indigenous peoples when contact is made with a society that is technologically superior.
Transculturation Cultural borrowing and two-way exchanges that occur when different cultures of approximately equal complexity and technological level come into close contact.
Ejidos Mexican farmlands redistributed to peasant communities after the Revolution of 1910–1917. The government holds title to the land, but user rights are parceled out to village communities and then to individuals for cultivation.
Remittances Money earned by emigrants that is sent back to family and friends in their home country, mostly in cash; forms an important part of the economy in poorer countries.
Offshore banking financial havens for foreign companies and individuals, who channel their earnings to accounts in a country (usually an “offshore” island-state) to avoid paying taxes in their home countries.
Social stratification In a layered or stratified society, the population is divided into a hierarchy of social classes. In an industrialized society, the working class is at the lower end, elites that possess capital and control the means of production are at the upper level.
Mulatto A person of mixed African (black) and European (white) ancestry.
Created by: Charlotte101