Central America comprises all of the mainland lying south of Mexico to the South American Continent, divided among five independent republics and the British colony of Balize, area and populations of which were given in the general list of republics at the beginning of the article on the American Continent.

Guatamala, the most northern of the states, is about the size of Ohio. It has little trade, and is known as "Uncommercial Guatamala." Some interesting ruins of old cities are in this republic. Honduras has high mountains and dense forests of valuable woods.

Salvador is the smallest but most densely populated Central American country, and has eleven volcanoes within its limits, Nicaragua is the longest Central American state. The attention of the world has been attracted to it by the proposed ship canal across that country.

Costa Rica is the most southerly of these little republics. Valuable forests cover its surface and mother-of-pearl is found in abundance along its shores.

Balize, or British Honduras, is the only part of Central America that belongs to a foreign power.

The population of this whole Central American country is principally composed of the descendants of Spaniards and of Indians and negroes, and mixed breeds of these with white men who have gone there to cut valuable timber in which the land abounds, or to engage in mining. The people more closely resemble those of Mexico than any other, and the Spanish language prevails as does also the Roman Catholic religion.

The Governments are Republican, modeled after the United States, but revolutions are frequent and government is unstable.