North America, although a huge continent, is often confused with the US; which is but one country in this continent. Spread across, from almost the Arctic in the northern pole to the equator; this continent experiences extreme climates, with very cold winters in the north of the continent and warm and dry climate in the south. The third largest continent in the world, North America is home to over half a billion people.
Did you know how North America got its name? Find that and more!
There are many theories as to how North America got its name. The most accepted being it has been derived from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer, who first mentioned this huge land mass. There are also other stories about it being derived from the name of a Welsh merchant, Richard Amerike; and yet another that credits Amairick, a Spanish sailor.
Did you know that “North America” is sometimes referred to as a sub-continent? The northern and southern parts of this continent were considered one – the America. Initially, it was the southern part of this continent that was discovered and referred to by this name. Slowly, the name was extended to the northern land mass; which is now popularly known as North America.
North America has a land mass that covers an area of 9.5 million square miles. And it is believed to be the only continent that has every kind of climate. Extending across the northern and western hemisphere, it also comprises four major geographic divides – mountains, flat lands, plateaus and coastal plains.
Although the United States, Canada, Mexico and Greenland are the more popular countries of this continent, it actually houses around 23 countries in all. Many of these are island nations that include the more popular Jamaica, Haiti and The Bahamas; and the less popular Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Belize.
Did you know that most North Americans are multi-lingual? English, Spanish and French are the popular languages in this continent. Not sure whether to credit the many explorers who discovered this land or the many immigrants who now populate it!
Blessed with a mountainous terrain that rules the western part of this continent; North America houses the 2nd largest mountain ranges in the world – The Rocky Mountains. Its rocky terrain extends from Mexico through California and the Great Basin to Alaska. Mount McKinley in Alaska is its tallest point and Death Valley in California is its lowest.
The “Americas” is considered the land of dreams and even today many people look forward to a life here. One of the major reasons being the earning potential it offers; however, be careful what “dollars” you are earning. Except a few like Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Honduras; almost all countries in North America use the “dollar” as their currency, but their values differ and so do their “prefixes”!
The United States is the most populated country in this continent. Although Canada is the second largest country in the world, its population has only third place in this continent! Blame it on its extreme climate? However, the largest city in this continent is in neither of these aforementioned countries; it is in Mexico – Mexico City!
Although English is the most commonly used language in the United States, you would be surprised to know that this country does not actually have an official national language!
People habited this continent thousands of years before the European settlers arrived. The earliest recorded culture is that of the Clovis, which dates back to about 13,000 years.