Portal:North America

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Introduction

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands (most notably the Caribbean) are included.

Countries and territories

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

Featured article

Iroquois with western goods
The economy of the Iroquois originally focused on communal production and combined elements of both horticulture and hunter-gatherer systems. The tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy and other Northern Iroquoian-speaking peoples, including the Huron, lived in the region including what is now New York State and the Great Lakes area. The Iroquois Confederacy was composed of five different tribes — a sixth was added later — who had banded together shortly before European contact. While not Iroquois, the Huron peoples fell into the same linguistic group and shared an economy similar to the Iroquois. The Iroquois peoples were predominantly agricultural, harvesting the "Three Sisters" commonly grown by Native American groups: maize, beans, and squash. They developed certain cultural customs related to their lifestyle. Among these developments were ideas concerning the nature and management of property.

The Iroquois developed a system of economics very different from the now dominant Western variety. This system was characterized by such components as communal land ownership, division of labor by gender, and trade mostly based on gift economics. Contact with Europeans in the early 1600s had a profound impact on the economy of the Iroquois. At first, they became important trading partners, but the expansion of European settlement upset the balance of the Iroquois economy.

Featured picture

Livestock pens in Chicago 1947
Credit: NARA
Livestock comprises domesticated animals, that may be kept or raised in pens, houses, pastures, or on farms as part of an agricultural or farming operation, whether for commerce or private use. The picture shows the maze of livestock pens and walkways at Chicago's stockyards, ca. 1947.

Did you know...

Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro

  • ... that the Valley of Mexico has been one of the most heavily populated places on the planet for almost two millennia?

Selected biography

Charles Magoon
Charles Edward Magoon (December 5, 1861 – January 14, 1920) was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and administrator who is best remembered as a governor of the Panama Canal Zone and an occupation governor of Cuba. He was also the subject of several small scandals during his career. Magoon was born in Owatonna, Steele County, Minnesota.

As a legal advisor working for the United States Department of War, he drafted recommendations and reports that were used by Congress and the executive branch in governing the United States' new territories following the Spanish–American War. These reports were collected as a published book in 1902, then considered the seminal work on the subject. During his time as a governor, Magoon worked to put these recommendations into practice.

Selected quote

— Unknown Aztec poet, 1500

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