Native Americans lived in North America for thousands of years before the first European explorer, Christopher Columbus arrived on their shores in 1492. The Native Americans are normally referred to as American Indians or just Indians. The reason for this, is because when Christopher Columbus first arrived in North America he actually taught he had arrived on islands off the coast of East Asia.
The Aztecs and the Mayan were the most advanced of the Native Indians living in North America before the arrival of the European explorers. Unfortunately as the Europeans arrived, they also brought diseases with them, leading to a massive drop in the population of the natives in the coming years.
In addition to diseases, violent wars also led to the destruction of many native societies. With the news spreading across Europe of this New World, it led to an era of colonization by major forces from Spain, France and Britain. By the late 18th and early 19th century, these countries were all involved in power struggles, which later led to the creation of the different states.
As these states were being formed, European immigrants came in there droves, and fast forward to today and you will find most people living in North America are descendants of immigrants from France, England, Spain, Italy and other European countries.
SHORT FACTS ON NORTH AMERICA
North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and nearly all within the Western Hemisphere.
North America is the third largest of the seven continents in size , ranking just below Asia and Africa.
The seven continents of the world are, Europe , Asia, Australia, Africa, Antarctica, South America and North America.
North America is the fourth most populated continent, with an estimated 579 million inhabitants.
North America is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
There are 23 countries in North America. They are in alphabetical order, Antigua and Barbados, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States.
Greenland, the world’s largest island, is also in North America, however it belongs to the European country of Denmark.
More than half of the whole population of North America lives in the United States of America. Nowadays it has a population of over 327.2 million inhabitants.
The main languages spoken in North America is English, Spanish and French.
Christianity is the predominant religion in the 23 dependent countries in North America.
The word “Americas” originates from the name of Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. He realized what Columbus didn’t, that North America was not part of Asia, and that is was a completely different landmass of it’s own.
North America covers an area of 9.54 million square miles or 24.71 million square kilometers.
North America takes up 16.3 percent of total land area on Earth.
North America experiences every climate there is imaginable. It’s terrain has such a wide variety of features, such as, hot tropical regions, frozen ice caps, huge mountain ranges, deserts, rainforests, grasslands and coral reefs.
In addition, the west coast of North America is the site of a lot of seismic activity, making it a high risk Earthquake zone.
Mexico is the most earthquake prone country in North America.
North America is dominated by it’s three largest countries, Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The Largest country in North America is Canada, it is only slightly larger than the United States. The largest country in the world is Russia.
Canada not only has North America’s longest coastline, it has the longest in the world, it stretches 243,797 kilometers (151,488 miles) long.
Mexico City is the most populous city in North America. The capital of Mexico has a population of over 21.2 million inhabitants.
The smallest nation in North America is Grenada, with a population of only 107,825 inhabitants.
The highest peak in North America is Mount Mckinley (also known as Denali). It is located in the state of Alaska, in the U.S.A. It’s summit is 20,237 feet (6,168 meters) above sea level.
The lowest point in North America is Death Valley. This is a desert in Eastern California, that has a floor elevation of -86 meters (-282 feet). It is described as the continent’s driest region, and one of the hottest places in the world during the height of summer.
The Missouri River in the U.S.A is the longest river in North America. It stretches 3,767 meters (2,341 miles) long as it flows through the seven states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
The biggest lake in North America, Lake Superior, is shared by both Canada (to the north) and the U.S.A (to the east,south and west). It’s surface area is 31,700 square miles (82,100 square kilometers), and is also the third largest lake in the world.
The major mountain ranges in North America are the, Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada.
North America is home to an abundance of wildlife, some of the most important animals include, the American Beaver, the American Alligator, the American Moose, the Brown Bear, the Monarch Butterfly, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, the Tufted Titmouse, the Arctic Wolf, the Gila Monster, the Caribou, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and the Black-Footed Ferret.
North America has hosted the Olympics games on twelve occasions, the first was the U.S, in 1904. It also has won the most number of medals so far.
The Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Empire State Building are some examples of famous landmarks and tourist attractions in North America.
North America produces about half of the world’s corn, and about one-fifth of the world’s wheat.