Portal:North America

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The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent in the Earth's northern hemisphere and western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by the North Pacific Ocean; South America lies to the southeast. It covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 4.8% of the planet's surface or about 16.5% of its land area. As of July 2008, its population was estimated at nearly 529 million people, it is the third-largest continent in area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth in population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. North America and South America are collectively known as the Americas or simply America.

Satellite imagery of North America

North and South America are generally accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, and was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies. Scientists have several theories as to the origins of the early human population of North America. The indigenous peoples of North America themselves have many creation myths, by which they assert that they have been present on the land since its creation. Before contact with Europeans, the natives of North America were divided into many different polities, from small bands of a few families to large empires. They lived in several "culture areas", which roughly correspond to geographic and biological zones and give a good indication of the main lifeway or occupation of the people who lived there.

Countries and territories

Territories, dependencies, and subnational entities of a country not located primarily in North America are italicized.

Featured article

Elderly Instruments in Lansing, Michigan
Elderly Instruments is a musical instrument retailer in Lansing, Michigan, United States, with a reputation as a "megastore", a repair shop and a locus for folk music including bluegrass and "twang". Specializing in fretted instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, mandolins, and ukuleles, Elderly maintains a selection of odd or rare instruments. Elderly is known as the premier repair shop for fretted instruments, as one of the larger vintage instrument dealers in the United States, and as a major dealer of Martin guitars in particular.

Industry publications, music retail trade, and bluegrass music journals have featured articles about the Elderly repair staff, the company also provides consignment services for rare and vintage instruments. Since its founding in 1972, Elderly has undergone two major expansions: into mail order in 1975 and then into Internet sales in the 1990s; in 2005 it was the subject of a lawsuit by Gibson Guitar Corporation concerning trademark infringement. Today it is recognized internationally for its services and products; its mail order and Internet business account for 65–70 percent of its total revenue. Elderly grossed $12 million in 1999 and by 2007 was grossing $17 million annually.

Featured picture

Armadillo Aerospace Pixel
Credit: Armadillo Aerospace, Matthew C. Ross
Captive test flight of Armadillo Aerospace's Pixel rocket before the 2006 X PRIZE Cup

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Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery

Selected biography

Louis Riel
Louis Riel (/ˈli rˈɛl/; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence, he is regarded by many as a Canadian folk hero today.

The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel was forced into exile in the United States as a result of the controversial execution of Thomas Scott during the rebellion, despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons, although he never assumed his seat, he married in 1881 while in exile in Montana, and fathered two children.

Selected quote

Sitting Bull June 19, 1868

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