Nine Nations of North America

Nine Nations of North America

"The Nine Nations of North America" is a book written in 1981 by Joel Garreau. In it, Garreau argues that North America can be divided into nine regions, or "nations", which have distinctive economic and cultural features. He argues that conventional national and state borders are largely artificial and irrelevant, and that his "nations" provide a more accurate way of understanding the true nature of North American society.

One critic complained that Garreau did not take into account bioregionalism, but instead transhumanism; however, this same critic said that he accidentally stumbled on the former due to how the regions fitted with the regions of various American Indian patterns. [ [ The Anthropik Network » Nine Nations: Bioregionalism in North America ] ] Others have called it "a classic text on the current regionalization of North America". [ [ World Regional Geography & Anthropology: Notes ] ]

The Nine Nations

*New England (also called "New Britain" or "Atlantica") — an expanded version including not only Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut (although omitting the Connecticut suburbs of New York City), but also the Canadian Atlantic provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. Capital: Boston.

*The Foundry — the by-then-declining industrial areas of the northeastern United States and Great Lakes region stretching from New York City to Milwaukee, and including Chicago and Philadelphia as well as industrial Southern Ontario centering on Toronto. Capital: Detroit.

*Dixie — the former Confederate States of America (today the southeastern United States) centered on Atlanta, and including most of eastern Texas to Austin. Garreau's "Dixie" also includes Kentucky (which had both Federal and Confederate governments); southern portions of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana; and the "Little Dixie" region of southeastern Oklahoma. Finally, the region also includes most of Florida, as far south as the cities of Fort Myers and Naples. Capital: Atlanta.

*The Breadbasket — most of the Great Plains states and part of the Prairie provinces: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Oklahoma, most of western Missouri, western Wisconsin, eastern Colorado, parts of Illinois and Indiana, and northern Texas. Also included are some of Northern Ontario and southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Capital: Kansas City.

*The Islands — The South Florida metropolitan area, the Florida Keys, the Caribbean, and parts of Venezuela. Capital: Miami.

*Mexamerica — the southern and Central Valley portions of California as well as southern Arizona, the portion of Texas bordering on the Rio Grande, most of New Mexico and all of Mexico, centered on either Los Angeles or Mexico City (depending on whom you ask), which are significantly Spanish-speaking. Garreau's original book did not place all of Mexico within Mexamerica, but only Northern Mexico and the Baja California peninsula. Capital: Los Angeles.

*Ecotopia — the Pacific Northwest coast west of the Cascade Range, stretching from Alaska down through coastal British Columbia, Washington state, Oregon and into California just north of Santa Barbara. Capital: San Francisco.

*The Empty Quarter — most of Alaska, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Colorado from Denver west, as well as the eastern portions of Oregon, California, Washington, all of Alberta and Northern Canada (including Nunavut, although not yet created at that time), northern Arizona, parts of New Mexico, and British Columbia east of the Coast Ranges. Capital: Denver.

*Quebec — the primarily French-speaking province of Canada, whose legislature is called the National Assembly of Quebec, and which has held referendums on secession in 1980 and 1995, the latter of which the "separatists" lost narrowly. Capital: Quebec City.

Garreau also discussed several areas that he termed "aberrations":
* Washington, D.C. and its surrounding area, specifically referring to the area "inside the Beltway".
* Manhattan south of Harlem (he placed Harlem, and by extension the Manhattan neighborhoods to its north, clearly within The Foundry).
* Hawaii, which he considered an Asian aberration as much as a North American aberration.
* Northern Alaska, despite its categorization on the front cover as part of the Empty Quarter, was listed in the aberrations section of book.
* Although not included in the "Aberrations" chapter of his book, Southern West Virginia was named by Garreau as a region which had significant aspects of both Dixie (Appalachian geography and historical ties to Virginia) and The Foundry (coal-based and unionized economy closely tied to the fortunes of the Rust Belt), and could be placed in either nation. Garreau's conclusion about the region was "In good times, southeastern West Virginia can be considered an isolated part of the Foundry. In bad times, it is an isolated part of Dixie." Garreau placed the northern half of the state in The Foundry.

ee also

*North American Union


* [ "The Nine Nations of North America"]
* [ Garreau's original map and detailed statistics]
* [ Garreau's analysis summarized]
* [ Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth: The 10 Regions of US Politics]

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