Tropic of Cancer

The Tropic of Cancer is a latitude line that surrounds the Earth at approximately 23.5° north of the Equator parallel. This is the northernmost point on Earth. Also, it is one of the five main measurements that are made in degrees or latitude circles which divide the Earth, remember that the others are the Tropic of Capricorn, the Equator, the Arctic Circle and the Antarctic Circle. The Tropic of Cancer is very important for Geography which studies the Earth because, in addition to be the northernmost point where the sun's rays are shown directly, it also marks the northern limit of the tropics, which is the region that extends from the Equator to the north to the Tropic of Cancer and to the south to the Tropic of Capricorn.

Tropic of Cancer

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Tropic of Capricorn

What is the Tropic of Cancer?

The Tropic of Cancer is a latitude line that surrounds the earth at 23.5° north of the Equator's parallel. It is the northernmost point of the earth and one of the measurements used in degrees to divide the earth.

Tropic of Cancer’s history

During the June solstice or summer solstice, the sun pointed in the direction of the Cancer constellation, giving the new latitude line the name of Tropic of Cancer. However, we must mention that this name was assigned more than 2,000 years ago, and the sun is no longer found in Cancer constellation. It is now in Taurus constellation. However, for most references, it is easier to understand the Tropic of Cancer with its latitudinal location of 23.5° N.



The type of climate that prevails in the tropics is characterized by a fairly high temperature because there are almost no differences between the different seasons of the year. The rainy season is divided into two parts, the dry and rainy seasons and, curiously, the rainy season is the real summer season and the dry season during the winter.

Where it is located?

The Tropic of Cancer is located in the northern hemisphere and is one of the parallels of the planet. It is the parallel that is located at a latitude of 23º 26′ 14″1 towards the north of the Equator and according to the experts, the tropic is in a constant displacement towards the south.

Which countries it crosses?

The countries crossed by the Tropic of Cancer around the world are 16, 3 continents and 6 bodies of water in total. Below is a list of the countries with their respective continents and the different bodies of water or oceans that are crossed by it.

North America

Mexico, Bahamas (Archipelago)


Niger, Algeria, Mauritania, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Western Sahara


Myanmar, Oman, Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, China, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan

Water bodies

Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Taiwan Strait, Red Sea, Gulf of Mexico

It is important to mention that the Tropic of Cancer also crosses the territory of Western Sahara. Despite this, the place is not yet included in the list because it is not yet declared an official country. This country is currently undergoing a process of decolonization.

What is the Tropic of Cancer for?

It contains approximately 95% of the planet’s mangrove area and 99% of mangrove species are found in tropical regions, making it a good place for animal and plant life. In addition, the Tropic of Cancer plays a very important role in biodiversity because it is one of the points closest to the Earth with the most humidity, including all places between the Tropics.

Why it is called Tropic of Cancer

The origin of the tropical name of Cancer originated because during the ancient times, when the summer solstice occurred in the northern hemisphere, the Sun was in the constellation of Cancer.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Tropic of Cancer. Recovered on 24 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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