France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Geography of Chile
The geography of Chile is diverse as the country extends from a latitude of 17° South to Cape Horn at 56° and from the ocean on the west to Andes on the east. Chile is situated in southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean and a small part of the South Atlantic Ocean. Chile's territorial shape is among the world's most unusual. From north to south, Chile extends 4,270 km, yet it only averages 177 km east to west. Chile reaches from the middle of South America's west coast straight down to the southern tip of the continent, where it curves eastward. Diego Ramírez Islands and Cape Horn, the southernmost points in the Americas, where the Pacific and Atlantic oceans meet, are Chilean territory. Chile's northern neighbors are Peru and Bolivia, its border with Argentina to the east, at 5,150 km, is the world's third longest; the northern two-thirds of Chile lie on top of the telluric Nazca Plate, moving eastward about ten centimeters a year, is forcing its way under the continental plate of South America.
This movement has resulted in the formation of the Peru–Chile Trench, which lies beyond a narrow band of coastal waters off the northern two-thirds of the country. The trench is about 150 km wide and averages about 5,000 m in depth. At its deepest point, just north of the port of Antofagasta, it plunges to 8,066 m. Although the ocean's surface obscures this fact, most of Chile lies at the edge of a profound precipice; the same telluric displacements that created the Peru-Chile Trench make the country prone to earthquakes. During the twentieth century, Chile has been struck by twenty-eight major earthquakes, all with a force greater than 6.9 on the Richter scale. The strongest of these occurred in 2010 and in Valdivia 1960; this latter earthquake occurred on May 22, the day after another major quake measuring 7.25 on the Richter scale, covered an extensive section of south-central Chile. It caused a tsunami that decimated several fishing villages in the south and raised or lowered sections of the coast as much as two meters.
The clash between the Earth's surface plates has generated the Andes, a geologically young mountain range that, in Chilean territory alone, includes about 620 volcanoes, many of them active. Sixty of these had erupted in the twentieth century by the early 1990s. More than half of Chile's land surface is volcanic in origin. About 80 percent of the land in Chile is made up of mountains of other. Most Chileans live on these mountains; the majestically snowcapped Andes and their precordillera elevations provide an ever-present backdrop to much of the scenery, but there are other, albeit less formidable, mountains as well. Although they can appear anywhere, the non-Andean mountains form part of transverse and coastal ranges; the former, located most characteristically in the near north and the far north natural regions, extend with various shapes from the Andes to the ocean, creating valleys with an east-west direction. The latter are evident in the center of the country and create what is called the Central Valley between them and the Andes.
In the far south, the Central Valley runs into the ocean's waters. At this location, the higher elevations of the coastal range facing the Andes become a multiplicity of islands, forming an intricate labyrinth of channels and fjords that have been an enduring challenge to maritime navigators. Much of Chile's coastline is rugged, with surf that seems to explode against the rocks lying at the feet of high bluffs; this collision of land and sea gives way every so to lovely beaches of various lengths, some of them encased by the bluffs. The Humboldt Current, which originates northwest of the Antarctic Peninsula and runs the full length of the Chilean coast, makes the water frigid. Swimming at Chile's popular beaches in the central part of the country, where the water gets no warmer than 15 °C in the summer, requires more than a bit of fortitude. Chilean territory extends as far west as Polynesia; the best known of Chile's Pacific Islands is Easter Island, with a population of 2,800 people. Located 3,600 km west of Chile's mainland port of Caldera, just below the Tropic of Capricorn, Easter Island provides Chile a gateway to the Pacific.
It is noted for its 867 monoliths, which are huge and mysterious, expressionless faces sculpted of volcanic stone. The Juan Fernández Islands, located 587 km west of Valparaíso, are the locale of a small fishing settlement, they are famous for their lobster and the fact that one of the islands, Robinson Crusoe Island, is where Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's novel, was marooned for about four years. Since Chile extends from a point about 625 km north of the Tropic of Capricorn to a point hardly more than 1,400 km north of the Antarctic Circle, a broad selection of the Earth's climates can be found in this country. Therefore, the country can be divided into many different parts, it is divided by geographers into five regions: the far north, the near north, central Chile, the south, the far south. Each has its own characteristic vegetation, climate, despite the omnipresence of both the Andes and the Pacific, its own distinct topography; the far north, which extends from the Peruvian border to about 27° south latitude, a line paralleled to the Copiapó River, is arid.
Geography of Singapore
Singapore is a small urbanised, island city-state in Southeast Asia, located at the end of the Malayan Peninsula between Malaysia and Indonesia. Singapore has a total land area of 721.5 square kilometres. The Singapore area comprises other islands; the mainland of Singapore measures 50 kilometres from east to west and 27 kilometres from north to south with 193 kilometres of coastline. These figures are based on 2.515 metres High Water Mark cadastral survey boundaries. Singapore is separated from Indonesia by the Singapore Strait and from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor. Singapore's main territory is a diamond-shaped island, although its territory includes surrounding smaller islands; the farthest outlying island is Pedra Branca. Of Singapore's dozens of smaller islands, Jurong Island, Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and Sentosa are the larger ones. Most of Singapore is no more than 15 metres above sea level; the highest point of Singapore is Bukit Timah Hill, with a height of 165 m and made up of igneous rock, granite.
Hills and valleys of sedimentary rock dominate the northwest, while the eastern region consists of sandy and flatter land. Singapore has no natural lakes, but reservoirs and water catchment areas have been constructed to store fresh water for Singapore's water supply. Singapore has reclaimed land with earth obtained from its own hills, the seabed, neighbouring countries; as a result, Singapore's land area has grown from 581.5 km² in the 1960s to 723.2 km² today, may grow by another 100 km² by 2033. Singapore is one-and-a-half degrees north of the equator, lying between the 1st and 2nd parallels. Singapore's climate is classified with no true distinct seasons. Owing to its geographical location and maritime exposure, its climate is characterized by uniform temperature and pressure, high humidity and abundant rainfall. Therefore, it is always warm and wet; the average annual rainfall is around 2,340 mm. The highest 24-hour rainfall figures recorded in history were 512.4 mm at Paya Lebar, 467 mm and 366 mm.
The temperature hovers around a diurnal range of a minimum of 25 °C and a maximum of 33 °C. April is the hottest month of the year in Singapore, followed by May; this is due to strong sunshine during those months. The highest recorded temperature is 37.0 °C on 22 December 2018 at Tiong Bahru. The lowest recorded temperature was 19.4 °C in 14 February 1989 at Paya Lebar. Temperature goes above 33.2 °C and can reach 35 °C at times. Relative humidity has a diurnal range in the high 90s in the early morning to around 60% in the mid-afternoon, but does go below 50% at times. In May 2009, the average relative humidity was 81%, an increase over the figure of 77.1% in May 2008. During prolonged heavy rain, relative humidity reaches 100%. There is much more rainfall on the western side of the island than on the eastern portion of Singapore, owing to a rain shadow effect. Thus, the eastern side of Singapore is much drier and hotter than western Singapore; this can cause slight weather disparities from one side of the island to the other.
This is significant to note because a small hill such as Bukit Timah Hill can cause this phenomenon. Despite Singapore's small size, there may be sunshine on one side. Further contrasts that prevent true all-year uniformity are the monsoon seasons which happen twice each year; the first one is the Northeast Monsoon. The second is the Southwest Monsoon season. Periods between monsoon seasons wind. During the Northeast Monsoon, northeast winds prevail, sometimes reach 20 km/h. There are cloudy conditions in January with frequent afternoon showers. Spells of widespread moderate to heavy rain occur lasting from 1 to 3 days at a stretch, it is dry in February till early March although rainfall still exceeds 120mm. It is generally windy with wind speeds sometimes reaching 30 to 50 km/h in the months of January and February. During the Southwest Monsoon season, southeast winds prevail. Isolated to scattered showers occur in the late morning and early afternoon. Early morning "Sumatra" squall lines are common.
Although Singapore does not observe daylight saving time, it follows the GMT+8 time zone, one hour ahead of the typical zone for its geographical location. Igneous rocks are found in Woodlands and Pulau Ubin island. Granite makes up the bulk of the igneous rock. Gabbro is found in the area and is found in an area called Little Guilin named for its resemblance to Guilin in Southern China; this area is in Bukit Gombak. Sedimentary rocks are found on the western part of Singapore and is made of[sandstone and[mudstones, it includes the southwestern area. Metamorphic rocks are found in the northeastern part of Singapore and on Pulau Tekong off the east coast of Singapore; the rocks are made up of quartzite and make up the Sajahat Formation. Singapore is safe from seismic activity in the region, as the nearest major active faults are hundreds of kilometres away in Indonesia. However, the population and buildings are prone to being only slightly affected by any activity as tremors, not uncommon, but does not do any harm and is limited to small amounts of swaying or vibration of objects.
In late 2004, several parts of Asia and Africa were struck by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
Geography of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is located on the Central American Isthmus, surrounding the point 10° north of the equator and 84° west of the prime meridian. It borders both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, with a total of 1,290 km of coastline. Costa Rica shares a border with Nicaragua with Panama to the south; the area of Costa Rica is 51,100 km² of which 51,060 km² is land and 40 km² is water, making it smaller than the U. S. state of West Virginia. The nation's terrain is a coastal plain separated by rugged mountains, the Cordillera Central and the Cordillera de Talamanca, which form the spine of the country and separate the Pacific and Caribbean watersheds. Costa Rica claims an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles; the spine of the country produces many major river systems. Rivers draining into the Caribbean include: Colorado River Pacuare River Reventazón River Reventazón River Sixaola River Rivers draining into the Lake Nicaragua or the San Juan River, whose waters drains into the Caribbean, include: Sapoá River Frío River San Carlos River Sarapiquí River Rivers draining into the Pacific Ocean include: Abangares River Guacimal River Sierpe River Tempisque River Térraba River In the eastern half of the country, the San Juan River forms the northern border with Nicaragua.
The Tilaran Range is part of the Continental Divide east of Lake Arenal and the nearby active volcano Arenal, running into the Cordillera Central range further east. It is located in the Abangares district of the province of Guanacaste. At the edge of the range is the Monteverde cloud forest preserve, a major ecotourism destination; the Central Range continues the Continental Divide east of Cordillera de Tilarán. It has four large volcanoes: Poás, Irazú and Turrialba; the highest peak is Irazú at 3,432 m. The Guanacaste Range is in northern Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua; the range forms part of the southern region of the Continental Divide, the highest peak being the extinct stratovolcano Miravalles at 2,028 m. Peaks include: Tenorio Volcano Miravalles Volcano Orosí Volcano Rincón de la Vieja Volcano Arenal Volcano Much of the Talamanca Range is included in the La Amistad International Park, shared between Costa Rica and Panama; the country's highest peaks lie in this mountain range: the Cerro Chirripó and the Cerro Kamuk.
Much of the region is covered by the forest. The Cerros de Escazú borders the Central Valley to the south and is considered the northernmost portion of the Cordillera de Talamanca. Costa Rica´s climate is tropical and subtropical. Like all Central American countries, Costa Rica is considered a biodiversity hotspot. According to the INBio, about 4.5% of the world's biodiversity can be found in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is home to about 12,119 species of plants. There are more than 1,400 types of orchids. A half of the country's land is covered by forests, though only 3.5% is covered by primary forests. Deforestation is a devastating process, with more than 8,100 ha of forest being lost annually; the main reason for such high deforestation levels is to make plains for cattle ranching. Wildlife diversity is high. Costa Rica has high levels of endemism. However, many species are endangered. According to the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 209 species of birds, reptiles and plants are endangered; some of the country's most endangered species are the Harpy eagle, the Giant anteater, the Golden toad and the Jaguar.
IUCN reports the Golden toad as extinct. Costa Rica is famous for more than 160 protected areas; the other types of protected areas in Costa Rica are National Wildlife Refuges, Biological Reserves, Protection Zones, Absolute Nature Reserves. Together the protected areas comprise over one-fourth of Costa Rican territory. 9.3% of the country is protected under IUCN categories I-V. The creation of the Tortuguero National Park in 1970 gave much needed protection to one of the region's most important and unique natural resources: a 22 km stretch of shoreline that serves as the principal nesting site for sea turtles. Environmental issues include deforestation a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching. Costa Rica is party to many environmental treaties, including the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Environmental Modification, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Montreal Protocol, the Ramsar Convention, the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, the Desertification Convention, the Endangered Species Convention, the Basel Convention, the Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Marine Dumping, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
It not ratified the Convention on Marine Life Conservation and the Kyoto Protocol. Total: 51,100 sq km Land: 50,660 sq km Water: 440 sq km Total: 661 km Border countries: Nicaragua 313 km, Panam
Maritime Southeast Asia
Maritime Southeast Asia is the maritime region of Southeast Asia as opposed to mainland Southeast Asia and comprises what is now Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor-Leste. The local Malayo-Polynesian name for the region is Nusantara. Maritime Southeast Asia is sometimes referred to as "island Southeast Asia" or "insular Southeast Asia"; the 16th-century term East Indies, the 19th-century term Malay Archipelago refers to a similar area. The main demographic difference that sets Maritime Southeast Asia apart from Indochina is that its population predominantly belongs to the Austronesian groups, although through trade with neighbouring groups from the Asian mainland like the Tai-Kadai, Austroasiatic, or Chinese, as well as other Oceanic groups like Papuans and Negritos there has been significant intermixing and cultural exchange; the prevailing cultures of this region are maritime-based and predominantly non-sinicized. Kingdoms based on Java and Sumatra such as Srivijaya and Majapahit spread similar cultural motifs throughout the subregion’s five countries.
Maritime Southeast Asia makes up the oldest bloc within Austronesia, with the Philippine archipelago representing the urheimat of all Malayo-Polynesians. As of 2017, there were over 540 million people live in the region, with the most populated island being Java; the people living there are predominantly from Austronesian subgroupings and correspondingly speak western Malayo-Polynesian languages. This region of Southeast Asia shares social and cultural ties with the peoples of mainland Southeast Asia and with other Austronesian peoples in the Pacific. Islam is the predominant religion, with Christianity being the dominant religion in the Philippines and Timor Leste. Buddhism and traditional Animism are practiced among large populations; the region has been referred to as part of Greater India, as seen in Coedes' Indianized States of Southeast Asia, which refers to it as "Island Southeast Asia". Historians have emphasized the maritime connectivity of the Southeast Asian region whereby it can be analyzed as a single cultural and economic unit, as has been done with the Mediterranean basin.
This region stretches from the Yangtze delta in China down to the Malay Peninsula, including the South China Sea, Gulf of Thailand and Java Sea. It is argued that many of the peoples connected in this trade network had more in common with one another than their inland neighbors, thus the utility of analyzing it as a single cultural and economic unit. However, this maritime Southeast Asian region differed from the Mediterranean in that there was a single dominant political and economic power driving trade and exchange, China. Historian Anthony Reid argues that this Southeast Asian region entered an ‘age of commerce’ between the early 1400’s and the 1600’s; this age of commerce sparked the multicultural and transnational dynamics which forged the region into a single maritime unit. Demand for Southeast Asian products and trade was driven by the increase in China’s population in this era, whereby it doubled from 75 to 150 million; the naval expeditions of Zheng He between 1405 and 1431 played a critical role in opening up the Southeast Asian region to increased trade.
China’s role in Southeast Asian maritime trade can be seen in the growing Hokkien diaspora which emigrated to various cities in the region throughout this period. Despite not having the official sanction of the Chinese government these communities formed business and trade networks between cities such as Melaka, Hội An and Ayutthaya. Sino-Southeast Asian trade had been going on since at least the 9th century, but their prominence in Southeast Asian port cities expanded in this era. Many of these Chinese businesspeople integrated into their new countries, becoming political officials and diplomats. East Indies East Malaysia Farther India Greater India Greater Indonesia Mainland Southeast Asia Malay Archipelago Malay Peninsula Malay race Malay world Malesia Nanyang Nusantara Peninsular Malaysia Domesticated plants and animals of Austronesia Art of Island Southeast Asia, a full text exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Geography of Vietnam
Vietnam is located on the eastern margin of the Indochinese peninsula and occupies about 331,211.6 square kilometers, of which about 25% was under cultivation in 1987. It borders the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, Pacific Ocean, along with China and Cambodia; the S-shaped country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 km and is about 50 km wide at the narrowest point. With a coastline of 3,260 km, excluding islands, Vietnam claims 12 nautical miles as the limit of its territorial waters, an additional 12 nautical miles as a contiguous customs and security zone, 200 nautical miles as an exclusive economic zone; the boundary with Laos, was settled on both an ethnic and geographical basis, between the rulers of Vietnam and Laos in the mid-seventeenth century. The Annamite Range as a reference, was formally defined by a delimitation treaty signed in 1977 and ratified in 1986; the frontier with Cambodia, defined at the time of French annexation of the western part of the Mekong Delta in 1867, remained unchanged, according to Hanoi, until some unresolved border issues were settled in the 1982-85 period.
The land and sea boundary with China, delineated under the France-China treaties of 1887 and 1895, is "the frontier line" accepted by Hanoi. China agreed in 1957-58 to respect that border line. However, in February 1979, following the Sino-Vietnamese War, Hanoi complained that from 1957 onward China had provoked numerous border incidents as part of its anti-Vietnam policy and expansionist designs in Southeast Asia. Among the territorial infringements cited was the Chinese occupation in January 1974 of the Paracel Islands, claimed by both countries in a dispute left unresolved in the 1980s; the country is divided into the Red River Delta in the north. Vietnam is a country of tropical lowlands and densely forested highlands, with level land covering no more than 20% of the area; the spectacular Bản Giốc Waterfall is 272 km north of Hanoi and few tourists are seen there. The Red River Delta, is a flat, triangular region of 15,000 square kilometers, is smaller but more intensely developed and more densely populated than the Mekong Delta.
Once an inlet of the Gulf of Tonkin, it has been filled in by the enormous alluvial deposits of the rivers over a period of millennia, it advances one hundred meters into the Gulf annually. The ancestral home of the ethnic Vietnamese, the delta accounted for 70% of the agriculture and 80% of the industry of North Vietnam before 1975; the Red River, rising in China's Yunnan Province, is about 1,200 kilometers long. Its two main tributaries, the Sông Lô and the Sông Đà, contribute to its high water volume, which averages 4,300 cubic meters per second; the entire delta region, backed by the steep rises of the forested highlands, is no more than three meters above sea level, much of it is one meter or less. The area is subject to frequent flooding. For centuries flood control has been an integral part of the delta's economy. An extensive system of dikes and canals has been built to contain the Red River and to irrigate the rich rice-growing delta. Modeled on that of China's, this ancient system has sustained a concentrated population and has made double-cropping wet-rice cultivation possible throughout about half the region.
The highlands and mountain plateaus in the north and northwest are inhabited by tribal minority groups. The Dãy Trường Sơn originates in the Tibetan and Yunnan regions of southwest China and forms Vietnam's border with Laos, it terminates in the Mekong River Delta north of Hồ Chí Minh City. These central mountains, which have several high plateaus, are irregular in form; the northern section is narrow and rugged. The southern portion has numerous spurs that divide the narrow coastal strip into a series of compartments. For centuries these topographical features not only rendered north-south communication difficult but formed an effective natural barrier for the containment of the people living in the Mekong basin. Within the southern portion of Vietnam is a plateau known as the Central Highlands 51,800 square kilometers of rugged mountain peaks, extensive forests, rich soil. Comprising 5 flat plateaus of basalt soil spread over the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, the highlands account for 16% of the country's arable land and 22% of its total forested land.
Before 1975, North Vietnam had maintained that the Central Highlands and the Giai Truong Son were strategic areas of paramount importance, essential to the domination not only of South Vietnam but of the southern part of Indochina. Since 1975, the highlands have provided an area in which to relocate people from the densely populated lowlands; the narrow, flat coastal lowlands extend from south of the Red River Delta to the Mekong River basin. On the landward side, the Dãy Trường Sơn rises precipitously above the coast, its spurs jutting into the sea at several places; the coastal strip is fertile and rice is cultivated intensively. The Mekong Delta, covering about 40,000 square kilometers, is a low-level plain not more than three meters above sea level at any point a
The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they comprise the New World. Along with their associated islands, they cover 8% of Earth's total surface area and 28.4% of its land area. The topography is dominated by the American Cordillera, a long chain of mountains that runs the length of the west coast; the flatter eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the Amazon, St. Lawrence River / Great Lakes basin, La Plata. Since the Americas extend 14,000 km from north to south, the climate and ecology vary from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America. Humans first settled the Americas from Asia between 17,000 years ago. A second migration of Na-Dene speakers followed from Asia; the subsequent migration of the Inuit into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is regarded as the settlement by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The first known European settlement in the Americas was by the Norse explorer Leif Erikson.
However, the colonization never became permanent and was abandoned. The Spanish voyages of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1502 resulted in permanent contact with European powers, which led to the Columbian exchange and inaugurated a period of exploration and colonization whose effects and consequences persist to the present. Diseases introduced from Europe and West Africa devastated the indigenous peoples, the European powers colonized the Americas. Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of indentured servants, importation of African slaves replaced the indigenous peoples. Decolonization of the Americas began with the American Revolution in the 1770s and ended with the Spanish–American War in the late 1890s. All of the population of the Americas resides in independent countries; the Americas are home to over a billion inhabitants, two-thirds of which reside in the United States, Brazil, or Mexico. It is home to eight megacities: New York City, Mexico City, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, Lima.
The name America was first recorded in 1507. Christie's auction house says a two-dimensional globe created by Martin Waldseemüller was the earliest recorded use of the term; the name was used in the Cosmographiae Introductio written by Matthias Ringmann, in reference to South America. It was applied to both North and South America by Gerardus Mercator in 1538. America derives from the Latin version of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci's first name; the feminine form America accorded with the feminine names of Asia and Europa. In modern English and South America are considered separate continents, taken together are called America or the Americas in the plural; when conceived as a unitary continent, the form is the continent of America in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular America in English refers to the United States of America. In the English-speaking world, the term America used to refer to a single continent until the 1950s: According to historians Kären Wigen and Martin W. Lewis, While it might seem surprising to find North and South America still joined into a single continent in a book published in the United States in 1937, such a notion remained common until World War II.
By the 1950s, however all American geographers had come to insist that the visually distinct landmasses of North and South America deserved separate designations. This shift did not seem to happen in Romance-speaking countries, where America is still considered a continent encompassing the North America and South America subcontinents, as well as Central America; the first inhabitants migrated into the Americas from Asia. Habitation sites are known in Alaska and the Yukon from at least 20,000 years ago, with suggested ages of up to 40,000 years. Beyond that, the specifics of the Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. Widespread habitation of the Americas occurred during the late glacial maximum, from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago; the traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska around 40,000–17,000 years ago, when sea levels were lowered during the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age. Both routes may have