North America | engleski leksikon

1. North America


A continent (the third largest) in the western hemisphere connected to South America by the Isthmus of Panama.
Third largest of the continents (when including Central America)
area 9,500,000 sq mi/24,000,000 sq km
largest cities (over 1 million) Mexico City, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montreal, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Philadelphia, Houston, Guatemala City, Vancouver, Detroit
million; the aboriginal Native American, Eskimo, and Aleut peoples are now a minority within a population predominantly of European immigrant origin. Many Africans were brought in as laborers by the slave trade. Asians were also brought in as laborers, and today immigration from Asia and Latin America is on the increase physical mountain belts to the E (Appalachians) and W (see Cordilleras), the latter including the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Madre; coastal plain on the Gulf of Mexico, into which the Mississippi River system drains from the central Great Plains; the St Lawrence River and the Great Lakes form a rough crescent with the Great Bear and Great Slave lakes and Lakes Athabasca and Winnipeg around the exposed rock of the great Canadian/Laurentian Shield, into which Hudson Bay breaks from the N
features wide climatic range, from arctic in Alaska and N Canada (only above freezing June–Sept) to the tropical in Central America, and arid in much of the W US; also, great extremes within the range, due to the vast size of the landmass
products the immensity of the US home market makes it less dependent on imports; the industrial and technological strengths of the US automatically tend to exert a pull on Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The continent is unique in being dominated in this way by a single power, which also exerts great influence over the general world economy language predominantly English, Spanish, French religion predominantly Christian
history according to archeological evidence, human settlement in North America began 100,000 to 40,000 years ago, when Mongoloid peoples from Asia migrated, over the Bering land bridge and E of the Brooks range in Alaska into the heart of the continent. Settlement by these ancestors of the North Native Americans then proceeded S and E. These Stone Age people lived by hunting, fishing, and harvesting fruits, nuts, and the seeds of wild plants. By 7000 BC, however, agriculture was known in Mexico and upper Central America, and by 1400 BC, civilization had developed in these areas. Among the pre-Columbian civilizations were those of the Olmecs (1400–400 BC), Maya (1200 BC–AD 1521), and Aztecs (1325–1521). The first-known European settlement in North America was by Vikings in what they called Vinland; a Norse settlement, dating from about 1000, has been found at L’Anse-aux-Meadows, Newfoundland. But permanent settlement came only after Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the West Indies in 1492. In 1521 the Spanish,
under Hernándo Cortés, destroyed the Aztec empire and imposed their rule on Mexico. The Spanish also colonized Central America and parts of what is now the S US, but most of the present US and Canada was claimed and explored by traders, trappers, and colonizers from the Netherlands, France, and England. The American Revolution 1775–83 ended in the emergence of the US, stretching from the Atlantic west to the Mississippi River; its area was doubled by the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. Mexico and Central America won their independence from Spain in 1821. The US reached its present continental extent by acquiring its Southwest in 1848 and 1851 as a result of war with Mexico, and by purchasing Alaska from Russia in 1867. N of the US, a Canadian confederation, with continuing links to Great Britain, was formed in 1867. Geographically, North America (including the West Indies) now consists of 22 independent nations; several British, Dutch, French, and US island dependencies; and the Danish territory of Gr

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