Appalachia Region

Appalachia Region Appalachia Region By: Wesley Mark Whitworth To look at, and understand the attitudes toward the people of this area it would be good to start with the type of people that migrated into this region. The people of this area did not totally arrive until the English had colonized the coast of the eastern seaboard forcing the now Appalachian people westward to the interior mountains. The main influx of people came in on the second wave of migrants. This people were of Scotch Irish, German, Welsh, French and Swiss decent. These people from the start were rugged mountain people that were very self sufficient and mainly lived from farming as there means of survival.

In the beginning there was no Appalachian culture because every one was from different areas. It took well over a hundred years of interaction with each other and isolation from other parts of the country to develop there culture. The major reason this region developed separately is because of the isolation from the outside world for so long. The reason that isolation occurred is do to topography of the land. These people lived in the mountains were outsiders from the seaboard could not or would not go.

The first real time the people of Appalachia came into large contact with the other groups of the country was world war 2. At this time many men were drafted and came into contact with other groups. This is probably when some of the early stereotypes began to evolve about hillbillies red neck and many other interesting names. People in developed areas of the states thought primitive substandard people was what lived in the Appalachian region, and this was because they did not understand there culture. The fact that they were different then them was reason enough to make fun.

The truth being that they developed the way they did because it best suited the environment in which they lived. Also,. they did not have much if any culture diffusion with the rest of the country. They were only different not worse then the rest of the population. They were probably harder works and had stronger family ties then the people the thought bad of them.

The main thing that brought these people out of the mountains in the 1960’s was the construction of the highway systems throughout the region. This in able these people to come down from there homes in the mountains and work in the cities. They were then in contact with people other then there own culture. Over the next thirty years they were still stereotyped and it was not totally unfounded because they were different but not in a bad way. Today there are still red necks and hillbillies and I consider myself to somewhat fit that profile, but with the new age of communication culture diffusion has had a large effect on this culture as well as the one’s it came into contact with. People do not look at country people the same as in the beginning, they look at them in better and even envious way.

Throughout the twenty century the environment of this region has been exploited for profit by lumber and mining companies that do not live here. Many of these companies did not consider the people and thus they stayed or got poor while the companies became rich. Things have change for the better over the years but we still have lower levels of income the most of the country. To discuss Appalachia as a region you first need to look at all the physical aspects. Appalachia is considered a region primary because it is a area of highlands.

The topography of this region consists of four physiographic provinces which are the Piedmont, Blue ridge, Ridge and Valley, and the Plateau provinces. This region runs from 32 to 42 degrees latitude which is approximately 700 miles. The piedmont is the province closest to the Atlantic ocean. This province also has the lowest elevation which also runs into the fall line of the coastal plains. This is the defining point of where the Appalachia region begins. The next province westward is the blue ridge province.

This province is the smallest of the four. The blue ridge on average has the highest elevation which goes up to nearly 6000 feet. Some characteristics of this province is steep mountain slopes and narrow valleys. Going westward you come into the ridge and valley. This ridge and valley province is anywhere between 5000 to 1000 feet in elevation.

It is also the second largest province in Appalachia with many of the same characteristics as the blue ridge. The topography of the land is much like its name, many ridges as well as valleys. The fourth and final province the plateau has the lowest elevation of the four and is also the largest. Its characterized by flat lands or small rolling hills. The Appalachian region was formed 600 million years ago when a continent called pangea separated.

Throughout geological time this area has went through several uplifts and erosion time periods. This mountain chain is one of the oldest in the world. The Appalachia region has a high diversity of geological features. Since the area of Appalachia is mostly mountainous or hilly, there are many features. Some of the features that are shown throughout this region are anticlines which are upfolds and synclines which are down folds.

Within the mountains there are many different levels of strata which consist of sedimentary rock, metamorphic rock, and some igneous rock. All of the features are fairly typical for any mountain chain. Most of this region was as one time the ocean floor as can be seen in the shell fossils on the mountain tops. There are three primary soils in this region. They are ulfisol, alfisol, and incepfisol. Incepfisol is the most common type of soil found in Appalachia and they are found primarily on steep slopes.

These are also the most fertile soils. The second most fertile soil is the ulfisol although they are not very fertile and are in warm soil areas. Alfisols are the least fertile and are in the ridge and valley province. The most fertile soils of the three is the one where farming is the most difficult, but it has been utilized somewhat by the people. There are three forms of precipitation that occur in this region.

The three types of precipitation are convectional which is when warm air moves upward into cooler air and rain falls ,primarily in the summer. The second is orographic which is when air is pushed up and over mountains into cooler air creating precipitation. The third consists of two which is cyclonic or frontal. Cyclonic being tropical storms that occur in late summer which produce enormous amounts of rainfall. Frontal is the most common for the region, this is a weather pattern that moves from west to east and happens year round. Appalachian vegetation is not homogenous.

This area contains three types of plant life: hygrophytes, mesophytes, and tropophytes. Most of the vegetation Appalachia has is tropophytes – many types of trees and bushes. These trees are either conifer or deciduous. The people in Appalachia are a different culture within themselves. They are dependent not on big business, but on local industries.

The job levels are in several different levels primary (fishing, mining, timber), secondary (making products), tertiary (services), quatrinary (managers), and few quintary (high level decision makers. Most jobs in Appalachia are primary and secondary, less paying jobs. The Appalachia region is governed like any other in America, but has less people. The tax base is bad due to the low population. Education and health care is sub-par to higher populated areas with more money.

Family is a better institute in this area compared to most cities. This is because of the strong religious background which helps lead to better family values. The culture in Appalachia does differ from the rest of the country because it started off with a different group of people to begin with, and it has evolved over the years. The cultural hearth of the culture is midatlantic this is the starting point of a culture. As different as this area may be it as time goes along is becoming more main stream with the rest of the US because of the availability of information. I think one day as population grows we will diffuse into one large culture with every one else.

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