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

Ribbon bar
The Victoria Cross of Canada is a military award for extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing a hostile force. It can be awarded to members of the Canadian Forces of any rank in any service, and to allies serving under or with Canadian military command; it is the highest honour in the Canadian honours system, placed before all other orders, decorations and medals, including the Order of Canada, in the Order of Precedence. Whereas in many other Commonwealth countries, the Victoria Cross can only be awarded for actions against the enemy in a wartime setting, the Canadian government has a broader definition of the term "enemy," and so the Victoria Cross can be awarded for action against armed mutineers, pirates or other such hostile forces without war being officially declared. The recipient is entitled to an annuity of CAD$3,000 a year.

The Canadian medal is based on the original Victoria Cross, instituted in 1856, although the Canadian version has several small changes in its appearance. It is presented to the recipient by the Monarch or the Governor General of Canada. It can be awarded more than once, but no one has received the award since its creation in 1993.

Featured picture

La Catrina
Credit: Tomas Castelazo
Two Catrina figurines, approximately 38 cm (15 in) tall in the City Museum of León, Guanajuato, Mexico. Popularized by José Guadalupe Posada, the Catrina is the skeleton of an upper class woman and one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebrations, which occur across two days, on November 1–2, corresponding with the Catholic holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. It has its origins in an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, which is represented by the Catrina.

Did you know...

Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery

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

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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