The folks over at Geo-Mexico point out, “Mexican rivers are not well suited for navigation and thus have had only a minor influence on Mexico’s historical development.” For some reason, despite my propensity to nerd out on both Mexican and US history, it never occurred to me to contemplate that vital difference. So much of US commerce and culture has evolved around our rivers as major thoroughfares. For example, as J.C. Furnas writes in his excellent book, The Americans: A Social History of the United States, “This intimate relation between the newest part of the new nation and the Mississippi waterway was dramatized in 1802 when the Yankees of Marietta, Ohio, sent a cargo direct to Jamaica in a seagoing vessel built right there on the Ohio some 600 feet above sea level.”
Food for thought. For a great overview of Mexico’s inland waterways, check out the rest of the Geo-Mexico post, which is actually an excerpt from Geo-Mexico: The Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico.