North American industrial regions

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North American industrial regions

Boston textile magnate Amos A. Lawrence, 1856

Despite a somewhat later start in industrialization than Europe, North America has achieved greater industrial and technological advances. The U.S.A. is now the wealthiest and most highly developed nation in the world. Southern Canada is also well developed. The reasons for this are:

  • 1. North America forms a vast continent, twice the size of Europe, which has a varied range of relief and climate and therefore of agricultural products, which form raw material base for many industries.

  • 2. North America has reserves of practically every known mineral and fuel. North America produces 13 per cent of the world's petroleum, 40 per cent of its natural gas, a quarter of its coal and a third of its electricity. The population of North America was originally made up of immigrants from the many advanced European nations, especially the British, the French and the Germans. These people brought with them the experience, skill and technical know-how of their mother countries and applied them in their new homes. North America thus had a ready made skilled labour force for industrial development. This advantage has been maintained by adequate educational and training facilities and a technologically biased education a system. It also attracts skilled scientists and technologists who migrate from countries where industrial progress is slower. The 'brain-gain' helps to give the U.S.A a lead in scientific modern industries such as electronics, computers and so on.

  • (a) Southern New England: This part of northeastern U.S.A centered at Boston, was the earliest to be developed by settlers from England. The two dominant industries have traditionally been shipbuilding (at Boston and Quinoy) and textiles (including footwear). The engineering industry produces specialized goods, such as electrical machinery at Springfield, aircraft and armaments at Hartford, instrument making at Bridgeport and textile-machinery manufacture at Worcester, Lowell and New Bedford. Two towns, Boston and Beverly, are specialists in footwear machinery and the former is a shoe-making centre.
  • (b) The Mid-Atlantic States: The most densely populated part of the United States and also one of the most heavily industrialized is the Mid-Atlantic region, including the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. This region has adversity in manufacturing. Coal and oil from the Appalachians as well as steady supply of immigrants forming a vast, relatively skilled labour force, were the basis for the growth of an enormous industrial conurbation from New York to Baltimore. The vast conurbation has been called a Megalopolis The industries of the region include all aspects of iron and steel, engineering, printing, electrical goods, wearing-apparel and consumer goods industries.
  • (c) The Pittsburgh-Lake Erie Region: From Pittsburgh to Lake Erie are a number of industrial towns which once drew coal from the Northern Appalachian coalfield, and iron from the Mesabi Ranges via the Great Lakes, as the basis for a prosperous iron and steel industry. The region has an excellent location between the Great Lakes and the metropolis of New York and is the core of the U.SA heavy industry. Pittsburgh became the 'iron and steel capital' of the world.
  • (d) The Detroit Industrial Region: At the Western end of Lake Erie is the greatest automobile-manufacturing region of the U.S.A., centered at Detroit.

    Next: North American industrial regions 2

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