Lecture. Theme: Geographical Survey. Economy.

Plan: 1 Geographical Position (Territory and structure. Relief, mountains. Climate).

2 The largest rivers, lakes.

3 Mineral resources and their deposits.

4 Economic peculiarities of the regions; characteristics of the greatest cities. Chief industries.

 

The aim of the lecture:To get acquainted with the geographical position, climate, inland waters and natural conditions. Economy.

The content of the lecture:

The United States owes much of its national character -- and its wealth -- to its good fortune in having such a large and varied landmass to inhabit and cultivate. Yet the country still exhibits marks of regional identity, and one way Americans cope with the size of their country is to think of themselves as linked geographically by certain traits, such as New England self-reliance, southern hospitality, Midwestern wholesomeness, western mellowness.

This lecture examines American geography through the filters of six main regions:

· New England, made up of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

· The Middle Atlantic, comprising New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

· The South,which runs from Virginia south to Florida and west as far as central Texas. This region also includes West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, and parts of Missouri and Oklahoma.

· The Midwest, a broad collection of states sweeping westward from Ohio to Nebraska and including Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, parts of Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, and eastern Colorado.

· The Southwest, made up of western Texas, portions of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and the southern interior part of California.

· The West, comprising Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Note that there is nothing official about these regions; many other lineups are possible. These groupings are offered simply as a way to begin the otherwise daunting task of getting acquainted with the United States.

NEW ENGLAND

The smallest region, New England has not been blessed with large expanses of rich farmland or a mild climate. Yet it played a dominant role in American development. From the 17th century until well into the 19th, New England was the country's cultural and economic center. The earliest European settlers of New England were English Protestants of firm and settled doctrine. Many of them came in search of religious liberty. They gave the region its distinctive political format -- the town meeting (an outgrowth of meetings held by church elders) in which citizens gathered to discuss issues of the day. Only men of property could vote. Nonetheless, town meetings afforded New Englanders an unusually high level of participation in government. Such meetings still function in many New England communities today. New Englanders found it difficult to farm the land in large lots, as was common in the South. By 1750, many settlers had turned to other pursuits. The mainstays of the region became shipbuilding, fishing, and trade. In their business dealings, New Englanders gained a reputation for hard work, shrewdness, thrift, and ingenuity. New England also supported a vibrant cultural life. The critic Van Wyck Brooks called the creation of a distinctive American literature in the first half of the 19th century "the flowering of New England." Education is another of the region's strongest legacies. Its cluster of top-ranking universities and colleges -- including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Wellesley, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Williams, Amherst, and Wesleyan -- is unequaled by any other region.

 

MIDDLE ATLANTIC

The Middle Atlantic region was settled by a wider range of people than New England. Dutch immigrants moved into the lower Hudson River Valley in what is now New York State. Swedes went to Delaware. English Catholics founded Maryland, and an English Protestant sect, the Friends (Quakers), settled Pennsylvania. In time, all these settlements fell under English control, but the region continued to be a magnet for people of diverse nationalities. Early settlers were mostly farmers and traders, and the region served as a bridge between North and South. Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, midway between the northern and southern colonies, was home to the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates from the original colonies that organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787.As heavy industry spread throughout the region, rivers such as the Hudson and Delaware were transformed into vital shipping lanes. Cities on waterways -- New York on the Hudson, Philadelphia on the Delaware, Baltimore on Chesapeake Bay -- grew dramatically. New York is still the nation's largest city, its financial hub, and its cultural center. Like New England, the Middle Atlantic region has seen much of its heavy industry relocate elsewhere. Other industries, such as drug manufacturing and communications, have taken up the slack.

 

THE SOUTH

The South is perhaps the most distinctive and colorful American region. The American Civil War (1861-65) devastated the South socially and economically. Nevertheless, it retained its unmistakable identity. Like New England, the South was first settled by English Protestants. But whereas New Englanders tended to stress their differences from the old country, Southerners tended to emulate the English. Even so, Southerners were prominent among the leaders of the American Revolution, and four of America's first five presidents were Virginians. After 1800, however, the interests of the manufacturing North and the agrarian South began to diverge. Especially in coastal areas, southern settlers grew wealthy by raising and selling cotton and tobacco. The most economical way to raise these crops was on large farms, called plantations, which required the work of many laborers. To supply this need, plantation owners relied on slaves brought from Africa, and slavery spread throughout the South. It took a long, concerted effort by African Americans and their supporters to end segregation. In the meantime, however, the South could point with pride to a 20th-century regional outpouring of literature by, among others, William Faulkner, Thomas Wolfe, Robert Penn Warren, Katherine Anne Porter, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor.

THE MIDWEST

The Midwest is a cultural crossroads. Starting in the early 1800s easterners moved there in search of better farmland, and soon Europeans bypassed the East Coast to migrate directly to the interior: Germans to eastern Missouri, Swedes and Norwegians to Wisconsin and Minnesota. The region's fertile soil made it possible for farmers to produce abundant harvests of cereal crops such as wheat, oats, and corn. The region was soon known as the nation's "breadbasket." Most of the Midwest is flat. The Mississippi River has acted as a regional lifeline, moving settlers to new homes and foodstuffs to market. The river inspired two classic American books, both written by a native Missourian, Samuel Clemens, who took the pseudonym Mark Twain: Life on the Mississippi and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The region's hub is Chicago, Illinois, the nation's third largest city. This major Great Lakes port is a connecting point for rail lines and air traffic to far-flung parts of the nation and the world. At its heart stands the Sears Tower, at 447 meters, the world's tallest building.

THE SOUTHWEST

The Southwest differs from the adjoining Midwest in weather (drier), population (less dense), and ethnicity (strong Spanish-American and Native-American components). Outside the cities, the region is a land of open spaces, much of which is desert. The magnificent Grand Canyon is located in this region, as is Monument Valley, the starkly beautiful backdrop for many western movies. Monument Valley is within the Navajo Reservation, home of the most populous American Indian tribe. To the south and east lie dozens of other Indian reservations, including those of the Hopi, Zuni, and Apache tribes.

THE WEST

The West is a region of scenic beauty on a grand scale. All of its 11 states are partly mountainous, and the ranges are the sources of startling contrasts. To the west of the peaks, winds from the Pacific Ocean carry enough moisture to keep the land well-watered. To the east, however, the land is very dry. Parts of western Washington State, for example, receive 20 times the amount of rain that falls on the eastern side of the state's Cascade Range. In much of the West the population is sparse, and the federal government owns and manages millions of hectares of undeveloped land. Americans use these areas for recreational and commercial activities, such as fishing, camping, hiking, boating, grazing, lumbering, and mining. Alaska, the northernmost state in the Union, is a vast land of few, but hardy, people and great stretches of wilderness, protected in national parks and wildlife refuges. Hawaii is the only state in the union in which Asian Americans outnumber residents of European stock. Beginning in the 1980s large numbers of Asians have also settled in California, mainly around Los Angeles.

Los Angeles -- and Southern California as a whole - bears the stamp of its large Mexican-American population. Now the second largest city in the nation, Los Angeles is best known as the home of the Hollywood film industry. The western economy is varied. California, for example, is both an agricultural state and a high-technology manufacturing state.

RELIEF AND MOUNTAINS

About half the USA territory is covered by plateaus and mountains. The eastern part of the country is occupied by the Appalachian Mountains, which in the north come close to the Atlantic coast and in the south are separated from it by the Atlantic Lowland. West of the Appalachians stretch the Central Plains, the Great Plains, and the Mexican Lowland. The Central Plains are 500-400 m high and have a hilly moraine relief in the north and a more gentle erosional relief in the middle and southern parts. The Great Plains are a deeply cut plateau with the heights of 500m in the east to 1600m at the Cordillera foothills. The flat Mexican Lowland, with the height of up to 150m, is swampy along the Gulf coast and fringed by a strip of marshes. The Cordilleras consist of rows of mountains ranges with the heights of up to 3000-5000m and a broad strip of inter mountain tablelands and plateaus. In Alaska the mountain ranges stretch in the west-east direction and include the Brooks Range, the Yukon Tableland, the Aleutian Range with Mount McKinley, 6193m –the highest peak of the USA and the whole of North America. Rocky Mountains, this system of parallel mountain ranges stretches down the western side of North America from to New Mexico. For long the Rockies cut off the Pacific seaboard of Canada and the United States from the rest of the North America. In the early 19th century they were visited only by bear puma deer, and other fur - bearing animals. Within the Rocky Mountains there are many national parks were trees plants animals and birds are protected. The largest of these is the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with its great Geysers, its herds of bison, deer, and antelope. Among all the wonders and curiosities of the Rockies, two perhaps deserve mention. One is the grizzly bear, now a rather rare inhabitant, whose fierceness and shyness great size and extreme deftness in moving have made him almost a legendary animal. The other is the great redwood tree with its amazingly tall, straight trunk, branchless for hundreds of feet from the ground. Several great rivers rise in the Rocky Mountains including the Colorado the Columbia the Rio Grande, and several of the Great summit areas and the rainfall on the windward eastern slopes of the mountains supply these rivers abundantly with water.

 

CLIMATE

North America’s climate is changeable. There are places that are warm all the year round and there are places covered with ice and snow where summer never comes.

The United States occupies a large area in the central part of the North American Continent. Winters in the northern part of the country are long and cold. In the South winters are much shorter. Average temperature in January is mild. As the northern part of the country has such long winters the growing season is quite short.

In the South the growing season is much longer. In fact in some of the states it is nine month long . The climate of these places is affected by other things besides the distance from the Equator. Landforms also affect climate. For example a great belt of mountainous land stretches along the western edge of north America from Alaska south to Panama. Some of these mountains are so high that snow can be seen on their peaks even in summer. Summer days are often bright and warm in the mountains but the nights are cold. The growing season is far shorter than in the lowlands .

Oceans also affect climate Winters are colder in the interior than along the coasts and summers are warmer. Parts of the Pacific Coast are very wet. The high mountains of this region are responsible for all this rain. They catch the moist air that blows in from the Pacific Ocean.

To the east beyond the mountains there is a vast dry region. This dry land extends from Canada Mexico. But still farther east in the Southeastern United States you can find another wet region. Here warm moist air blows inland from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This all brings plenty of rain to the Southeastern States. The Northern States east of the Mississippi also receive ample moisture.

 

INLAND WATERS

The longest river in the US is the Mississippi with its tributary of Missouri (7,300km long). The other main tributary of the Mississippi, flowing into it from the east, is the Ohio River. The Mississippi flows to the south and empties into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans.

Another important river of the UEA is the Hudson River which flows across the north-eastern part of the country and empties into the Atlantic Ocean at New York. The rivers in the west of the country are unsuitable for navigation because they flow through deep canyons and are cut by numerous rapids, which fact, however, makes them a good source of electric power. These rivers start in the Cordilleras and empty into the Pacific Ocean. The largest among them are the Columbia River and the Colorado River.

World – famous is the region of the Great Lakes, situated in the north-east of the United States bordering Canada. It is a system of five great lakes, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, joined together by natural channels. The Niagara Falls, great rapids situated on the short Niagara river joined Lakes Erie and Ontario, are famous all over the world and attracts lots of tourists. Buffalo, at the northern end of Lake Erie is the fourth largest port and the seventh industrial city in the United States of America. The lakes can be used only between the months of April and December, as they freeze in winter. The importance of the Lakes is not only commercial: along their shores are vast stretches of forest, meadowland , and grassland ,as well as towns, camps, and small country towns.

 

MINERAL RESOURCES

The USA is rich in coal, iron and oil. There are coal-mines in the Cordillera Mountains, in the Kansas City region and in the east near Birmingham and Pittsburgh. Iron is mined near the Great Lakes and in the Birmingham, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. In California and Texas there are rich oil-fields. There are also deposits of silver and gold.

 

ECONOMY

The USA is a country of highly developed economy. Heavy industry includes such branches as mining, metallurgical engineering and chemical industries. Detroit is a large motor-car industry centre. Shipbuilding is developed along the Atlantic coast and in San Francisco on the Pacific coast.

Textile industry is also well-developed, especially in the South near large cotton plantations.

Agriculture is very wide-spread, above all in the prairie regions, where wheat and other grain crops are grown.

Cotton is grown in the Mississippi Valley, tobacco in Maryland and Virginia. California is famous for its fruit plantations, and the West-for its cattle-farming. Poultry-farming is wide-spread in the countryside near all big cities.

North America was rich in animal species until explorers from Europe began to visit and set up the feather trade. By the 20th century 70 or more species of animals that had been common disappeared. Bison which were numerous when the Spanish and the French arrived were annihilated in the east by 1825 .When railways were built in 1869 vast herds were also killed off in the west. As the Indians depended on their food and skins the white men felt they were killing two birds with one stone the elimination of the bison would make life hard for the Indians. By 1900 there were only 39 bison in Kansas. The feather trade concentrated mainly on egrets. The plumes were taken as the parents returned to the nests with food for the young which were left to starve thus increasing the number of deaths.

The use of pesticides and modern farming methods has added to the destruction, so in recent , active steps have been taken to reestablish threatened species.

 

Control questions:

1.Natural characteristics of the main geographic regions in the USA: New England, Middle Atlantic, South, Midwest, Southwest, West.

2. Describe the climate of the USA? Which parts of the USA have a continental climate? What is characteristics of this climate?

3 The main economic regions of the USA. Mineral resources and their deposits.

4 The role of the USA in the World Economy.









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