Competitive Exams: North America

  • Latitudinal extent 50 W to 170 W

  • Longitudinal extent 8 N to 83 N

  • Tropic of Cancer passes through Mexico and Bahamas Islands.

  • N America comprises Canada, USA (including Alaska), Mexico and the Central American countries including the Caribbean ones.

  • Central American countries (north to south) Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama.

  • Central American countries (west to east) Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama.

  • Central American counties (area wise) Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize.

  • Belize borders only the Caribbean Sea and El Salvador borders only the Pacific Ocean. Rest of the countries borders both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

  • Central American countries are known as the ‘banana republic’

  • Canada has three main physical divisions: The Canadian Shield, the interior plains and the Cordillera region.

  • Canadian Shield is an old shield and is also known as Laurentian shield.

  • Interior plains of Canada comprise mainly the prairie region and are drained by Mackenzie and Saskatchewan rivers.

  • Mount Logan (6050 m) lying in western most Canadian Rockies, is the highest peak in Canada.

  • Mount Waddington (404 1 m) in the southern region and Mount Robson (3954 m) on the border of Alberta and British Columbia provinces are other important peaks.

  • Apart from Great Lakes, important lakes in Canada are Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake and Athabasca Lake. Almost all the lakes in Canada are of glacial origin, especially the great lakes which were formed due to glacial expansion in the Pleistocene age and their subsequent retreat.

  • Quebec province of Canada is dominated by the French speaking people where as rest ofthe Canada is dominated by English speaking people.

  • Toronto (on NW shore of Lake Ontario) is the largest city of Canada followed by Montreal. Toronto is the capital of the province of Ontario and is the leading cultural and educational centre in Canada.

  • Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba is the wheat city of Canada.

  • Hamilton (lying on the western end of the Lake Ontario) is known as the ‘Pittsburgh of Canada’

  • Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia is an important icefree port in Canada.

  • Canada has the longest shoreline in the world.

  • The physiography of USA can be divided into the Western Cordilleras, the Central Lowlands and the Eastern or the Appalachian highlands.

  • Western Cordilleras comprises mainly the Rocky mountain system having the Front range in the Colorado province; Wyoming Basin or the Great Divide Basin, Uinta mountains, Wasatch range and the Big Horn basin in the middle region; and the Yellow stone national park, Great plains province, the Snake river plain and plain of the Columbia river in the northern Rockies of USA.

  • Columbia plateau is the largest lava plateau in the world. It is drained by Snake and Columbia Rivers.

  • Colorado plateau is a plateau of well stratified sedimentary rocks. Colorado River has cut a deep canyon known as the Grand Canyon (largest Canyon in the world) in the plateau region of Arizona.

  • Las Vegas (one ofthe largest casino centers in the world) lies west of Grand Canyon. The centre got developed in the wake of the construction of the Hoover or the Boulder dam on the Colorado River. The reservoir of this dam is called Lake Mead.

  • California is the largest state of USA both in area and the population.

  • California is marked by Mediterranean climate and is known for orchard farming.

  • Some of the largest city got developed on the western coast of USA as a result of the ‘Gold rush’

  • Hollywood, the film city is in Los Angeles. Around San Francisco in California there is a great fault zone known as the San Andreas Fault. It is a transform fault formed due to interaction of North American and Juan de Fucca plates.

  • Gulf of Mexico and the states lying along its coast including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are very rich in petroleum resources.

  • Cities like Houston, Baton Rouge and New Orleans have developed because of oil and the region is presently one of the wealthiest in USA.

  • Florida is most affected by hurricane (i.e.. The tropical cyclone). It is also known for oranges. The famous NASA center JFK in Cape Canaveral lies in Florida.

  • Mississippi and Missouri rivers meet at St. Louise in the Missouri state.

  • The Appalachian highlands cover a vast area that extends from Newfoundland to Alabama.

  • The highlands have distinct topographic regions including the Appalachian Plateau, the ridge and valley area, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the piedmont and the New England region.

  • Appalachian plateau is marked by well defined escarpment the Allegheny Front in the north and the Cumberland escarpment in the south.

  • The piedmont region lies to the immediate east of the Appalachian Mountains. The contact region between the piedmont and the coastal plain is known as the ‘Fall line’ having large number of falls and rapids and therefore it has huge potential for Hydro Electricity.

  • New England region comprises of extreme NE states including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

  • D C stands for the ‘District of Columbia’ in Washington D C

  • Com belt of USA comprises the region lying south of the Great Lakes. Chicago in Illinois, which is known as the windy city is the focal point of transport routes.

  • The region lying west of the great lakes including the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and others form the dairy belt.

  • Cotton belt lies in the southern USA mainly in the Texas province. Dallas in Texas, the city where John F. Kennedy was assassinated is known for cotton textile industries.