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

Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View
Yosemite National Park (/jˈsɛmɪt/ yoh-SEM-it-ee) is a United States National Park spanning eastern portions of Tuolumne, Mariposa and Madera counties in the central eastern portion of the U.S. state of California. The park, which is managed by the National Park Service, covers an area of 747,956 acres (3,026.87 km2) and reaches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain chain. Over 3.7 million people visit Yosemite each year: most spend their time in the seven square miles (18 km2) of Yosemite Valley. Designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, Giant Sequoia groves, and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Yosemite was central to the development of the national park idea. First, Galen Clark and others lobbied to protect Yosemite Valley from development, ultimately leading to President Abraham Lincoln's signing the Yosemite Grant in 1864. Later, John Muir led a successful movement to establish a larger national park encompassing not just the valley, but surrounding mountains and forests as well - paving the way for the United States national park system.

Featured picture

Vietnam Veterans Memorial design
Credit: Maya Lin
Maya Lin's original competition submission for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.. Originally designed as a student project at Yale University's School of Architecture in 1981, the memorial is a black granite wall, in the shape of a V, on which the names of American servicemen killed or missing in action from the Vietnam War are inscribed. The architect hoped that "these names, seemingly infinite in number, [would] convey the sense of overwhelming numbers, while unifying these individuals into a whole."

Did you know...

Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery

Selected biography

Teddy Roosevelt, 1904
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. He had been the 25th Vice President before becoming President upon the assassination of President William McKinley. Inaugurated at the age of 42, Roosevelt became the youngest President in U.S. history. Within the Republican Party, he was a reformer who sought to bring the party's conservative ideals into the 20th century. He broke with his friend and successor William Howard Taft and ran as a third party candidate in 1912 on the Progressive Party ticket. Before his presidency, Roosevelt served as a New York State assemblyman, Police Commissioner of New York City, U.S. Civil Service Commissioner, and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. As a colonel, he commanded his famous all-volunteer First U.S. National Cavalry regiment, the "Rough Riders" during the Spanish–American War. Roosevelt also served a successful term as Governor of New York. He was a famous historian and naturalist; his 15 books include works on outdoor life, natural history, U.S. Western and political history, an autobiography and a host of other topics. In his lifetime, he was considered a foremost authority on North American big game animals and Eastern birds.

Selected quote

Palindrome by Leigh Mercer, November 13, 1948

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