North America

North America is the third largest land expanse in the world with a unique and diverse landscape. The miracle of this continent is that all its treasures come in a gorgeous natural package of majestic mountains, placid lakes, idyllic islands, splendid cities and wonderful countryside. From the fascinating Rocky Mountains decorated with an array of snow-covered peaks to the scorching heat of the Death Valley, North America is full of mind-boggling contrasts. Trek in the rainforests of Mexico, go for skiing in the slopes of Alaska or try river rafting in Canada, no matter what your interests are you pursue it in this continent. The glitz of Toronto, glamour of Hollywood, thrilling nightlife and casinos of Las Vegas, pure entertainment at Disneyland and electrifying ambience of Mexico City lures in travellers and revellers from all parts of the world. The continent offers you to have a nice time out with outdoor sports of all kinds, including canoeing, golfing, mountain biking, hiking, dog sledding, fishing, swimming, sailing and skiing. For those who like less physical pursuits, can shop at world-class designer malls, attend blues and jazz festivals, watch the best of auto racing, sunbathe and watch the sunsets by serene beaches, roam around the vibrant cities and sightsee in historical and impressive sites of the American-Indian culture. North America invites you to experience the vast array of activities in its bubbling cosmopolitan cities with their varied history and cultural backdrops.
North America is the northern half of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. This continent is also part of the northern hemisphere and enjoys proximity to the polar ends. Mainly, North America comprises of the independent nations of Canada, United States of America, Mexico and numerous smaller islands and dependencies off its coast. However, physiological and political theories for demarcation of North American land area often differ from each other. Geographically, some consider the starting point of North American territories from the narrow Isthmus of Panama, which serves as the linking point for North and South American continents. On the contrary, from political point of view, the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico is regarded as the terminal point of the continent. This leaves out the nations on the Caribbean Plate and is addressed as the continent of Central America. The same applies for the northern most nation of the world, Greenland; as geographical statistics suggest that it shares the North American tectonic plate but politically it doesn’t come under the continent’s jurisdiction. Another classification of the continent comes as the Anglo-American region, taking into consideration the regions of Canada, United States of America and other English speaking countries. Following maritime features, North America is bounded by the Arctic Ocean on the north, the North Pacific Ocean on the west, the North Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea on the southeast side. Its coastline is long and irregular and other aqua bodies that surround the nation from different sides are the Bering Sea, the Hudson Bay, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Gulf of California.


Spread over an area of approximately 24,500,000 sq km (9,460,000 sq mi), the topography of North America varies widely in different parts. Taking away nearly 4.8% of the earth crust, this continent is home to some of the greatest geological wonders. Be it the height of the Rocky Mountains in the west or the fresh waters from the Great lakes in central region, the terrain of North America is dotted with several natural marvels. Broadly, the surface features of the continent can be divided into four sections. To start with, a vast fertile land that stretches across the middle of North America is known as the Great Plains. Apart from this flat central part, there are some narrow plain lands by the coastal strips of the continent too. This region is washed and enriched by the Mississippi- Missouri river system, the longest in North America, and consists of basins of other major rivers like Ohio, Colorado, Columbia, Delaware, Mackenzie, Nelson, Rio Grande, St. Lawrence and Yukon. The Great Lakes of North America are situated on the eastern side of the continent and consists of the Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and lake Superior, the last being the largest one. The combined Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system is the largest fresh-water system in the world. On the west side of the North American continent the complex belt of geologically young mountains and associated plateaus and basins comes. The Rocky Mountains are the most prominent feature of this region. On the eastern frontier, the Appalachian Mountains and the Florida peninsula dominate the terrain. Down south, around the regions of Mexico, North America comprises of the coastal plain and the main belts of the North American Cordillera. Denali in Alaska is the highest point in North America and the lowest point is in Death Valley of California. The continent enjoys different climatic conditions throughout its entire landscape. While the northern most parts in Canada freeze under chilly polar weather conditions, temperatures gradually rise with its journey towards the middle half near United States. In the southern region, that is areas under Mexico, the climate is hot and humid like tropical ones. North America is also prone to several natural hazards like tornadoes and floods. Earthquakes are also common here as the Pacific Plate meets the North American Plate near California and western Mexico.
Following human population count, North America ranks fourth among the other continents of the world with an estimated population of more than 514,600,000 people. However, before the Europeans landed on its shores, the continent was sparsely inhabited by the tribal groups of Aztec, Maya, Huron, Mohawk, Apache, Cherokee, Sioux, Mohegan, Iroquois and Inuit. Though it was Vikings who touched the shores of this Newfoundland for the first time, it came into popular knowledge after Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492. Gradually, the Spanish, the French, and the English empires spread their tentacles all over present day North, Central and South America. These continents got their name after Amerigo Vespucci who first distinguished America from East Indies. During the sixteenth century, the Native Americans were outnumbered by the huge influx of migrants from Europe. The American Revolutionary War of eighteenth century brought an end to British Imperial rule and the United States of America came into being with 13 Colonies. The Mexican-American War and the Lower Canada Rebellion are the other major historical events of North America.
Leaving aside the dark days of civil wars and racial discriminations, the nations of North America today flaunt one of the best democratic structures in the world. It is home to the most prosperous and powerful economy in the world, the United Sates of America. North America symbolises the latest trends in scientific innovations, technological advancement and educational progress. Though Mexico lags behind comparatively in terms of financial prosperity from United States and Canada, it has also developed as a major hub of tourism. On other side, Canada with its abundance of resources and lack of human resource strength encourages migrations to its land. However, it is the United States of America, which with its technological and financial power has become synonymous to the identity of North America.


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