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

The new 7 World Trade Center
7 World Trade Center is a building in New York City located across from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The name "7 World Trade Center" has referred to two buildings: the original structure, completed in 1987, and the current structure. The original building was destroyed on September 11, 2001 and replaced with the new 7 World Trade Center, which opened in 2006. Both buildings were developed by Larry Silverstein, who holds a ground lease for the site from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.The original 7 World Trade Center was 47 stories tall, clad in red exterior masonry, and occupied a trapezoidal footprint. An elevated walkway connected the building to the World Trade Center plaza, the building was situated above a Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) power substation, which imposed unique structural design constraints. When the building opened in 1987, Silverstein had difficulties attracting tenants; in 1988, Salomon Brothers signed a long-term lease, and became the main tenants of the building. On September 11, 2001, 7 WTC was damaged by debris when the nearby North Tower of the WTC collapsed. Its structural integrity was further compromised by fires that burned throughout the afternoon and the building collapsed completely at 5:20 p.m. Investigators are currently trying to determine exactly how the combination of local structural damage and fire caused the collapse of the whole structure. A final report is expected in or after July 2008.

Featured picture

Federal Art Project poster
Credit: Frank S. Nicholson
A poster for the United States National Park Service, showing a deer drinking from a stream in the forest. This was one of more than 200,000 works created as part of the Federal Art Project, which was the visual arts arm of the Great Depression-era New Deal WPA Federal One program. FAP artists created posters, murals and paintings; some of which stand among the most significant pieces of public art in the country.

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Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro

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

Palindrome by Leigh Mercer, November 13, 1948

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