Over 153 million people live in the Middle American and Caribbean culture areas, which are divided primarily between the Middle American mainland cultures and the Caribbean cultures of the West Indian islands and Bermuda.
Middle America is the region south of the United States and north of South America. It includes Mexico and Central America. A subarea of Middle America in which stratified societies, settled agricultural communities, and urban centers had evolved before contact with Europeans, has been labeled 'Mesoamerica." Paul Kirchhoff (1943) first used the term "Mesoamerica" to describe this region of high civilization. The precise boundaries of Mesoamerica have never been fixed because it is a cultural concept rather than a geographical one. The approximate location of Mesoamerica is shown in fig. 1.
Bermuda is considered part of the Caribbean culture area, despite its geographic location outside the West Indies, because its cultural connections are with the Caribbean. The Caribbean culture area covers the West Indies and Bermuda. Bermuda has been included because it is culturally connected to the Caribbean, although it is geographically outside the West Indies. The main island groups in the West Indies are the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. The largest populations are found in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Trinidad.