America's Western Region

The states depicted in dark red are typically included, while the states depicted in stripes may or may not be included in modern-day western…

Definitions can vary by region depending on the reference. The dark red states are almost always included, and the striped states, or at least parts of them, may or may not be included in the modern western United States.

For the most part, the Western United States (also known as the American West or simply The West) refers to the region of the United States that lies to the country's westernmost point. In light of the westward expansion of the United States since its inception, the concept of "the West" has also changed. Many people consider the Mississippi River to be the easternmost possible limit of the West.

A portion of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase is included, as well as the majority of the land ceded by Britain in 1818, a portion of the land acquired with the incorporation of the Republic of Texas, all of the land ceded by Britain in 1846, and all of the land ceded by Mexico in 1848. and all of Gadsden's Acquistion

Throughout American history, the "West" played a significant role, and today, the American West is ingrained in the nation's popular culture.

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming make up what the Census Bureau calls the "Western United States."

Geography

The St. Louis Gateway Arch St. Louis, Missouri, celebrates the westward expansion of the United States and is often called the "Gateway to the West."

More than half of the United States' total land area is located in the western part of the country. It also includes the most varied landscapes, including the Pacific Ocean, the temperate rainforests of the Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, the majority of the tall-grass prairie eastward to Illinois, the western Ozark plateau, the western portions of the southern forests, the Gulf Coast, and much of the Southeast. in addition to the entire American desert landscape (including the Sahara, the Great Basin, the Sonoran, and the Chihuahuan)

Distinct regional styles and variations

Due to its size and diversity, the Western United States is often divided into subregions. Southwest can refer to all or part of Arizona, Colorado, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, while Northwest can refer to all or part of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Other than Wyoming, the eastern parts of Montana and Idaho, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, these states and territory make up the Pacific Northwest.

Most people only consider the states of California, Oregon, and Washington when they think of the West Coast. Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are known collectively as the Mountain States. Alaska and Hawaii are often included in the West despite their isolation from the rest of the region and their lack of resemblance to the other western states.

Some states in the West are paired with those in the East to form regions. The Midwest is commonly defined as the region encompassing the Great Lakes and the Great Plains, which includes the states of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Many people place Texas and Oklahoma in the Southwest, while others place Texas and Louisiana in the South.

Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin (and a small portion of northeastern Minnesota) were all a part of the Northwest Territory, an early and significant part of the United States.

Mountains

Located in Idaho, Snake River, Idaho Falls

The Coast Ranges are located along the west coast of the United States and are a formidable mountain range despite their smaller size compared to the Rockies. They soak up a sizable quantity of the oceanic fog that floats in on the wind. The Coast Ranges extract enough moisture from the air to allow redwoods to thrive in the relatively dry climate of central California. Several fertile valleys, including California's San Joaquin Valley and Oregon's Willamette Valley, can be found to the east of the Coast Ranges.

The Sierra Nevada to the south and the Cascades to the north can be seen beyond the valleys. The United States is home to some of the world's tallest mountains, including these. The Sierra Nevada are home to Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the lower 48 states at 14,505 feet (4,421 meters). Volcanic activity has also formed the Cascades. The altitude of Washington's Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet (4,392 m). In 1980, the Cascades volcano Mount Saint Helens had an extremely destructive eruption. In roughly 4,860 B.C., Mount Mazama experienced a devastating volcanic eruption. C E caused Crater Lake to be formed Heavy rains fall on these mountains, causing a rain shadow to form to the east over previously wetter areas. Large portions of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona can be found within these arid regions. Here you can find a variety of deserts, including the Mojave Desert and the Sonoran Desert.

The Rocky Mountains are beyond the deserts. Towards the north, they can be found running due east of the Cascade Range, preventing the desert from extending all the way to the Canadian border. From New Mexico to Alaska, the Rockies span hundreds of miles in width. The highest points in the Rockies, several of which are over 14,000 feet in altitude (c The Continental Divide (4,250 m), in the heart of Colorado

Rivers

Many of the west's lengthy rivers flow into the Pacific, while the east's rivers drain into the Gulf of Mexico. Today, the Mississippi River marks the far eastern limit of the Western Hemisphere. From its source in the Rocky Mountains, the Missouri River flows east across the Great Plains, a vast grassy plateau, before gradually descending into the forests and eventually the Mississippi.

The Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River as it meandered through the Rocky Mountains. Many reservoirs, including Hoover Dam, are formed along the Colorado River, which is a significant source of water for the Southwest. Due to increased demand for domestic use and agricultural irrigation in the West, the Colorado River is unable to supply its usual flow of water to the Gulf of California in some years. The Pacific Northwest is nourished by the Columbia River and its tributary, the Snake River, the two largest rivers in North America that empty into the Pacific. The Platte, which flows through Nebraska, is a mile (1.6 km) wide but only a centimeter (0.5 in) deep. The Rio Grande flows north to divide New Mexico in two, initially at its junction with Texas and Mexico.

  • National Park of the Angels at Zion

  • The Pacific Ocean, near Pebble Beach, California

  • Northwest New Mexico, on the Colorado Plateau.

  • Mexico-United States frontier

  • The highest point in North America is Mount McKinley in Alaska.

Agriculture and the weather

Divisions of the Bureau of Reclamation
The Rocky Mountain System (areas 16–19 on map), the Intermontane Plateaus (areas 20–22), and the Pacific Mountain system (areas 23–25) are the three major physiographic divisions that make up the geography of the western United States.

Seasonal temperature swings are typically quite large in the West. It rains more heavily every year in the east, and then less heavily until it reaches the west coast, where it picks up again. In fact, the Pacific Northwest coast receives the majority of the United States' annual precipitation. In the Rockies, we get the heaviest snowfalls in the United States. The West experiences significantly more frequent droughts than the rest of the United States, with Death Valley, California, being the driest location on record.

East of the Rockies, severe thunderstorms are common. Every year in the spring, the southern plains experience a rash of tornadoes, the worst of which tend to form in a region known as "Tornado Alley," which stretches from the eastern part of the West (Texas to North Dakota) to the states in the middle and further east.

Rainfall, irrigation, soil, altitude, and temperature extremes all play a role in how crops are grown. Grazing livestock, especially beef cattle, are the main sources of income in the dry areas. The majority of the United States' wheat and soybeans come from the wheat belt, which stretches from Texas to the Dakotas. S additionally expanding international exports Large quantities of fruits, nuts, vegetables, grains, hay, and flowers can all be grown thanks to the region's access to irrigation. In addition to being the largest cotton producer in the country, Texas is also a major cattle and sheep raising area. Apples are a specialty in Washington, while Idaho is well-known for its potatoes. Citrus is grown extensively in California and Arizona, but much of the farmland in these states is being consumed by the expansion of cities.

After several surveys were conducted at the end of the nineteenth century, local state and government officials began to realize that only federal action could provide the water resources needed to support the development of the West. Water development projects in 17 western states were placed under the purview of the Bureau of Reclamation after Congress passed a series of acts beginning in 1902.

Several states in the West that had previously relied on agriculture for their economic survival saw their economies boom thanks to dams and irrigation projects that made it possible for crops to flourish in the dry climate. Cities in the West saw a postwar population and economic growth. Southwest population growth has put a strain on water and power supplies, with water being diverted from agricultural uses to major population centers like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Geology

Sedimentary rock from the Upper Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic epochs form the bedrock beneath the majority of the plains that make up the eastern half of the West. Both Precambrian and Post-Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rock are on display in the Rocky Mountains. Wide areas of Cenozoic-era volcanic rock can be found in the Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest. Large inland seas once covered much of the present-day Western Hemisphere, as evidenced by the region's numerous salt flats and salt lakes.

Most of the United States' seismicity occurs in the Pacific states. The state of California suffers severe damage from earthquakes every few years. Although most volcanic activity occurs in the Pacific states, the western half of the West is dotted with dormant volcanoes and lava flows.

Demographics

U.S. Census Bureau data divide the Western region into two subregions consisting of 13 states each:

  • These are the Mountain States: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.
  • Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii make up the Pacific Maritime States.

It's possible, though, that the West it describes differs from the West that historians or cultural experts would identify as such. All of the Western United States is replete with examples of Asian, Native American, and Latino culture's profound impact on American society.

One of the least populated regions of the United States is the West. Los Angeles, California, on the West Coast, is the largest city there. Cities like San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland can also be found on the West Coast. Major metropolitan areas in the Mountain States include: Denver, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.

Federal agencies own and manage large swaths of land in the West because development had not yet reached the region at the time conservation became a national issue. (The Interior Department's National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management are the most well-known of these, while the U. S The Agriculture Department's Forest Service )

While fishing, camping, hiking, and boating are strictly prohibited in national parks, commercial ranching, logging, and mining are permitted on other government lands. Some locals who depend on federal land for their livelihoods have clashed with the land's managers in recent years because of the latter's responsibility to limit land use to sustainable levels.

Culture

In the United States, the film industry has long had its symbolic heart in Hollywood.
Petroglyphs from the earliest inhabitants of the American Southwest can be found at Utah's Newspaper Rock Historic Monument.

The West, which includes the area between the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican border, has been shaped by a number of different cultural traditions. As a result, Asian Americans outnumber European Americans only in Hawaii. Since the 1800s, numerous waves of Asian immigration have settled in California and other coastal states, bringing with them talents in a wide variety of fields, including the agricultural revolution, the construction of the transcontinental railroad, and the information technology revolution.

There are a lot of Mexican Americans living in the four southwestern border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, and the region's history as Mexican territory is reflected in the region's many Spanish place names.

Native Americans make up a sizable portion of the Western population, especially in the expansive reservations found in the arid and mountainous states.

Texas, a former slave state, is home to a sizable African-American population, many of whom have never left the state and live in rural areas, especially in the eastern half of the state.

The largest state in the Union, Alaska, is largely made up of protected wilderness areas such as national parks and wildlife refuges. Hawaii is strategically placed between the United States and S and Asia, and a major tourist attraction

The Pacific Coast states are characterized by vast stretches devoid of human habitation, with only a scattering of small towns, farms, and forests broken up by a few large port cities that have become global media and technology hubs. Now the second largest city in the nation, Los Angeles is best known as the home of the Hollywood film industry; the area around Los Angeles also was a major center for the aerospace industry by World War II, though Boeing, located in Washington state, would come to lead the aerospace industry California's rise to prominence as the nation's most populous state can be directly attributed to the city of Los Angeles, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area and its environs (including Silicon Valley). The booming aerospace and software industries in Washington and Oregon have been joined by the expanding agricultural and mining sectors.

Low population densities are a result of the desert and mountain states' history as rural, resource-based economies. They tend to value individuality quite highly, as evidenced by the fact that many of them have struck a delicate cultural balance between the needs of urbanization, leisure, and nature.

The large Mormon population in southeast Idaho, Utah, northern Arizona, and Nevada, the opulent casino resort towns of Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, and the many Native American tribal reservations are all examples of culturally distinctive points.

As automobiles became more common, ordinary Americans could travel across the country and explore the American West. The West was connected to the rest of the country by a network of interstate highways that crisscrossed the continent.

Western U.S.A.

By the 1840s, easterners had begun to rapidly colonize the western territories. due in large part to the Oregon Trail and the California Gold Rush of 1849, California experienced such rapid growth in a few months that it was admitted to statehood in 1850 without the usual transitory phase as an official territory. Political controversies arose in the 1850s over national issues that eventually led to the Civil War. Having been founded as a slave-free state, California was too far removed from the conflict's major battles to have a significant impact on the outcome. Many anti-Unionists and partisans from the Confederacy fled to the West during Reconstruction.

Tough American cowboy, c. 1887

In American literature and film, the history of the American West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries has taken on a mythic quality. Since at least the 1920s, the myth of the West embodied by the cowboy, the homesteader, and westward expansion has influenced American culture.

Various authors, including Mark Twain, Bret Harte, and Zane Grey, praised or mocked cowboy culture, and artists, including Frederic Remington, created western art to document the Westward Expansion. The Western film genre originated in the United States and often serves as a metaphor for the value of independence. The cowboy ethos is now a ubiquitous part of the American psyche. country and western music and the art of Georgia O'Keefe are just two examples of how modern forms have praised the "sense of isolation and independence of spirit" that residents of the region are said to feel due to the sparse population and harsh environment.

Many migrants seeking a fresh start were drawn to the area during the various periods of rapid growth. While some emigrants sought political asylum, others sought economic opportunity in the host nation. As communities whose residents had no prior connection or common set of ideals and allegiances were formed, a strong ethos of individualism and freedom emerged in the region. An ethic of tolerance for the values and goals of others emerged as a result of the region's open land allowing people to live at much greater distances from one another than had been possible in eastern cities. Both the 1849 and 1879 California state constitutions were largely drafted by groups that prioritized individual property rights and personal freedom over communal ideals.

Cities with a lot of people

  • In the city of San Francisco, California

  • Denver, Colorado

Politics

The Western world is extremely diverse. Major urban centers along the Pacific Coast, with the exception of Orange County and San Diego, tend to vote Democratic. Seattle is one of the few American cities to have a monument to communist Vladimir Lenin, and it has a long history as a hotbed of radical left-wing politics.

Republican support is stronger in the interior, especially in the Rocky Mountain region. To generalize, conservative evangelical Christians have less of an impact on the Republican Party in the West than they do in other parts of the country.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority in the country, making them a target for both major political parties.

References

Funding for NWE is provided by referral fees earned through use of inbound ISBN links.

  • Warren A. Beck Tnez D Haase Western United States in Time-Honored Cartography Published by the University of Oklahoma Press at Norman in 1989. ISBN 0806121939
  • Senator Lamar (Howard R.) The All-New Cyclopedia of the American West Edition published by Yale University Press in 1998 ISBN 03000708881
  • To cite: Milner, Clyde A. A. Carol II And Martha A. O'Connor (eds.) Sandweiss ) This is the Oxford History of the American West. The Oxford Press, 1996 ISBN 01951121211
  • Charles Phillips and Alan Axlerod, editors ) Encyclopedia of the American West Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996 ISBN 00289749561
  • Richard E. White A Reassessment of the American West from the Perspective of "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own" Press of the University of Oklahoma, 1993 ISBN 08061256751

Web Resources

Information retrieved from all links: November 9, 2022

  • Frontier America
  • Exploration and Mining in the Western Hemisphere
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