PEOPLE & CULTURE
Throughout its history, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. The population is diverse with people from all over the world seeking refuge and a better way of life.
The country is divided into six regions: New England, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the West. European settlers came to New England in search of religious freedom. These states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The mid-Atlantic region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and the city of Washington, D.C. These industrial areas attracted millions of European immigrants and gave rise to some of the East Coast's largest cities: New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
The South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, all of which struggled after the Civil War, which lasted from 1860-1865.
The Midwest is home to the country's agricultural base and is called the "nation's breadbasket." The region comprises the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska,North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The Southwest is a beautiful stark landscape of prairie and desert. The states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas are considered the Southwest and are home to some of the world's great natural marvels, including the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns.
The American West, home of rolling plains and the cowboy, is a symbol of the pioneering spirit of the United States. The West is diverse, ranging from endless wilderness to barren desert, coral reefs to Arctic tundra, Hollywood to Yellowstone. The states of the West include Alaska, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
Llanos, (Spanish: “Plains”) wide grasslands stretching across northern South America and occupying western Venezuela and northeastern Colombia. The Llanos have an area of approximately 220,000 square miles (570,000 square km), delimited by the Andes Mountains to the north and west, the Guaviare River and the Amazon River basin to the south, and the lower Orinoco River and the Guiana Highlands to the east.
The elevations of the Llanos, rising from the Llanos Bajos (“Low Plains”) west of the Orinoco River to the Llanos Altos (“High Plains”) below the Andes, rarely exceed 1,000 feet (300 metres). The Llanos Altos form extensive platforms between rivers and rise 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 metres) above the valley floors. The Llanos are drained by the Orinoco and its western tributaries, including the Guaviare, Meta, and Apure rivers. Annual precipitation is concentrated between April and November and ranges from 45 inches (1,100 mm) in Ciudad de Nutrias in the central plains to 180 inches (4,570 mm) in Villavicencio near the Andes. Mean daily temperatures in the Llanos exceed 75 °F (24 °C) throughout the year.
Most of the Llanos is treeless savanna that is covered with swamp grasses and sedges in the low-lying areas and with long-stemmed and carpet grasses in the drier areas. Much of the Llanos Bajos is subject to seasonal flooding. Trees are concentrated along rivers and in the Andean piedmont; trees scattered on the open savanna include scrub oak and dwarf palm. Most mammals nest in the gallery forests and feed on the grassland; among these are included several species of deer and rabbit, as well as the anteater, armadillo, tapir, jaguar, and capybara, which is the world’s largest living rodent.
The raising of cattle has long been the mainstay of the Llanos’ economy, since Spanish colonial days. Since the 1950s there has also been considerable small farming. The economic importance of the region has been greatly enhanced by the oil fields in the Venezuelan Llanos at El Tigre and Barinas.