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By Kristi L. Desaulniers, Charles F. Gritzner

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Spain and later Mexico eventually lost political control of these lands, but the Hispanic cultural imprint remains strong throughout much of that region. THE PLANTATION SOUTH In the American South, ample moisture and a long, hot growing season were favorable for cultivation of plantation crops such as tobacco and cotton. North Europeans, primarily from the British Isles, were not accustomed to working in the sweltering heat and humidity, and Native Americans proved to be unsatisfactory as laborers.

Macdonald, was completed in 1885. As was the case in the United States, Chinese workers provided much of the labor. S. and Canadian cities. Another important development was the introduction of Marquis wheat by Sir Charles Saunders in 1903. This strain of wheat was very well suited to Canada’s shorter growing season and also could resist the strong winds that blow endlessly across the prairies. Just as the rails drew immigrants westward, so did this well-adapted crop. Thousands of people began to move into the interior to profit from agricultural expansion.

On the island of Kauai, one can stand in an area of short grasses, scattered cacti, and less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of annual rainfall and gaze on the world’s wettest spot—Mount Waialeale (annual average 460 inches [1,168 centimeters] of rainfall)—only a few miles away! The far north is a region of short summers and very long harsh winters. Moisture is scant, but evaporation is low. A broad band of taiga (also called “boreal forest”) extends from interior Alaska to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean north of the St.

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