North America, the 3rd largest continent in the world, shares a border with the Arctic Ocean in the North and the Atlantic Ocean in the East. It consists of 23 countries and several territories. 7.5 percent of the total population of the world lives in North America.
Regions of North America
Broadly, North America can be divided into 6 regions – Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, United States, Canada and Greenland. So, in the North lie United States (a limited area), Canada and Greenland. These regions enjoy four different seasons i.e. spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Southern America lie in the southern hemisphere. The temperatures in these regions are mostly constant. They do have a dry and wet season.
History of North America
According to anthropologists, the initial inhabitants of North America arrived 40,000 years ago. The indigenous Americans were connected to Asians and there is scientific evidence that proves too. The dialects and blood types of the Americans were much similar to the population of North Asia. Before the arrival of the Europeans, multiple small groups were developed through the continent. At the time of the Christ, Arawak (brown-skinned people) migrated to the Lesser Antilles. Some of these groups settled in the South-Eastern Caribbean islands. Some reached the Greater Antilles and settled in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Cuba.
The Maya civilization made significant culture advances in the South. They progressed in language, architecture, mathematics, arts and astronomy. Societies of Native Americans hence continued to expand.
Geography of North America
The most interesting and dominating features of the geography of North America are the Great Plains and the Mississippi River System. The land of the Great Plains is smooth, with some river valleys (mostly shallow) and extensive treeless areas. The Mississippi River is the major river of not just North America but the United States also. When the river combines major tributaries, it becomes the 3rd largest river system of the world.
Largest countries in North America
Among all countries in North America, the largest ones are Canada, United States, Greenland, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Cuba and more.
Situated at the northern end of the continent, Canada is home to 10 provinces and 3 territories. It covers a land of 3.8 million square miles which makes it the largest country of all. It even has the third largest oil reserves as it is rich in natural resources. 35 million people live on this land. It is also among the favorite destinations of immigrants. In terms of economic growth, it is the second best country in North America. Apart from natural resources, the economy of the country is driven by services and manufacturing sectors.
- The United States
The United States is home to 50 states and these states collectively cover an area of 3.5 million square miles. When it comes to geography, it is pretty vast. You will see high mountain ranges, expansive lowlands, deserts, and tropical regions too. It has a population of 325 million, which makes it the largest North American countries of all. The USA is the top choice of immigrants from around the word. The country has the best performing economy in the world and it is rich in natural sources too.
Located at the South of North America, Mexico’s land stretches to 761,000 square miles. It is the second largest country in North America with respect to population. There are about 50 native tribes in Mexico which makes it a nation of diverse culture. Not many people know that it has the 3rd largest economy in the North American continent. The electronics manufactured in Mexico are appreciated throughout the world.
Interesting facts about North America
Learn more about the continent with these interesting facts:
- Although North America is the world’s third largest continent, but it is ranked fourth when it comes to population.
- There is an interesting story behind the word ‘America’. It is named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer, who was the first person to realize that Brazil and West Indies are not connected to Asia, they have their own landmass. There was a time when America was referred to South America only. When the landmass of North America was added to the maps, the original name was chosen for both North and South. The first mapmaker who chose the name ‘America’ for both North and South was Gerard Mercator.
- The Continent is bordered by the three largest oceans of the world i.e. the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
- Scientists, on the basis of mitochondrial evidence, concluded that the Native Americans came from a group of people during the last ice age period. This single group of population boomed for 1000 years and then spread into the Americas through the Pacific coast. It is believed that the first natives came from Asia via a land bridge that connected both the continents.
- Columbus actually discovered America (North & South) for Spain. It all started in the colonization era when the European nation took over the swaths of Americas. Britain, France and Spain started building their territories in North America. By the 19th century, these territories were successful in hosting the American War of Independence and other movements. It was because of these movements that several countries were formed. 13 British colonies were combined to form the USA whereas, Canada was formed when the French and British territories combined.
The table below shows a list of countries in North America:
|Sr. #||North American Countries||Capital City||Population|
|1||United States of America||Washington, D.C.||324,314,000|
|6||Dominican Republic||Santo Domingo||10,911,819|
|9||El Salvador||San Salvador||6,163,000|
|11||Costa Rica||San José||4,832,234|
|14||Trinidad and Tobago||Port of Spain||1,339,002|
|19||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||Kingstown||109,088|
|20||Antigua and Barbuda||St. John’s||88,057|
|22||Saint Kitts and Nevis||Basseterre||52,249|