Thursday, September 1, 2016
On the subject of Medival America's new, or condensed "Grain Belt", I began thinking about other "belt regions", like the Rust Belt or Bible Belt of industrial belt. Most of these will be defined by the ability to produce goods, though natural and cultural belts do exist. (And it can be said industry can have an influence on culture and politics) To qualify as a belt, they have to fit these criteria.
1) More narrow than not.
2) At least three million people.
3) At least somewhat contiguous.
4) Transcends a single nation state.
So for instance, there's not necessarily a "Sheep Belt" because shepherds make up isolated pocket communities. California has a "Fruit Belt" inside of it, but it's not part of a fruit belt, because its orchards and wineries are largely in one Nation State.
Of the already established belts, there's the naturally occurring Snow/Frost Belt. The Sun Belt may or may not be extant, as eastern and western united states are a lot more separate (than they used to be. There's also still a Cotton Belt in southeast, inland America. (Historically this was sometimes called the Black Belt because of its soil and populace, but this is somewhat obsolete now). There's also a somewhat smaller Tobacco Belt.
The Rust Belt is one of the more famous terms to describe Industrial America. Nobody is going to be manufacturing cars anytime soon, but jobs can't be shipped overseas, so any metalworking that's done is going to be done at home. The Rust Belt has regained its luster and become a Steel Belt once more, albeit one that only reaches as far as the Grain belt begins.
The traditional Bible Belt is gone, as almost everybody is an avid churchgoer these days, (And if anything, the southern United States are probably relatively more hedonistic) but one should note the tight cluster of District Headquarters for Non-Denominational Church in the Northeast. This may be a new Bible Belt, owing to what looks like a thriving book industry in the Northeast. An inordinate percentage of the population are probably members and thus, literate. And the most read book would be the Bible. Therefore, "Bible Belt" would would not be about the peculiarity of adherence to Scripture, but of reading at all. It's quite possible it would be called the "Court Belt" due to concentration of Supreme Court politics, and that its republican structure means they're not settling their beefs on the battlefield.
Speaking of beef..while the great Plains are no longer the continent, there is a Cow Belt which largely makes up the New Israelite World, although some of it extends into the Rocky Mountains as well.
The Gulf Coast of the United States has three things that are unique to it 1) The practice of Voodoo, 2) The Secretarial States, and 3) Sugar being grown as a cash crop. This means the Gulf can be called all three things simultaneously, but names that may indicate all three would include rather deogatory names like the "Blood Belt", "The Witch Queen Belt" or the "Candy Belt".
A good way to look at the change in the difference between Industrial and Medieval America is something I like to call the Sinkhole Effect, or the anti-sprawl. As cities become smaller, they support less and less suburbs, and so America, in many places, will resemble its most rural aspects. In colonial times, Maryland largely resembled Virginia and much of the tidewater coast of the country. With the building of Washington, and the chain of major cities like New York and Philadelphia expanding, Maryland eventually became culturally part of the Northeast--and at least in electoral terms, Virginia and North Carolina may eventually follow suit. But megalopoli no longer being a thing, that would recede, and Dixie culture would absorb Yankee culture. (Maryland is still a little bit culturally Northeast, however. This is become the South is not particularly Maritime, and because it's the epicenter of the Non-Denominational Church, it has a lot in common with a region where Church hubs aren't usually more than 75 miles apart or so.
This map is the Corn/Grain Belt of the United States as it is today. The highest concentration is mostly west of the Mississippi, but it's harder to grow crops out there between the lack of machines and the Herdsmen always coming down on peasants. Therefore the grain belt is moved southeast. (Replacing the rust belt, or least cutting it in half) Grain production is no longer industrialized (And needs to feed considerably less people), so the less, but still decently fertile area around the great lakes is where all the farming is done. This is the sinkhole effect.
Another case is the non-white population. Even the biggest city in Medieval America isn't going to to be as cosmopolitan as a mid-sized city in Modern America. Immigration to large population centers is going to more likely come relatively locally, than across the sea. Can you imagine a wealthy merchant in Philadelphia saying the Adirondack Mountains aren't sending their best, their brightest, but their murderers and rapists? Asa result the gene pool is much more homogeneous, though people of color are still plentiful in the South, (Which has a large black in most of its counties, and is adjacent to the Caribbean) Southwest (Which had a much older, non-white population who were there before it became a part of the United States, and the Mid-Atlantic (Where the urban sprawl was so vast, that population was still pretty diverse, even when near-decimated)