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North America North America is the third largest continent in area and the fourth ranked in population. It is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the North Pacific Ocean. It covers an area of 9,355,000 square miles (24,230,000 square kilometres). In 2001 its population was estimated at 454,225,000.
North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the
New World, the Western Hemisphere, or simply the Americas. North America's only land connection is to South America at the narrow Isthmus of Panama. According to some authorities, North America begins not at the Isthmus of Panama but at the narrows of Tehuantepec, with the intervening region called Central America.
On the main continent itself can be found three large and relatively populous countries:
Canada (some other large islands off the shore of North America and belonging to Canada include Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands on the west, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island on the east, and Ellesmere Island, Baffin Island, and Victoria Island in the north); Mexico (including the Baja California peninsula); and the United States (includes the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and Hawaii, in the Pacific Ocean)
At the extreme southern end of the continent, in a relatively small area called
Central America, are the countries Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, site of the Panama Canal.
The United States and Canada are sometimes grouped under the term
Anglo-America while the rest of North America and South America are grouped under the term Latin America.
It should be noted that the term "North America", when employed in a context other than geography, may mean different things to different people. To many
Americans and Canadians the term, in common usage, is often taken to mean "The United States of America and Canada, excluding Mexico", unless the context makes it clear that Mexico is to be included (for instance, when talking about NAFTA). This is due to the fact that culturally and economically, the USA and Canada are more alike to each other than they are to Mexico. Mexicans, however, feel that Mexico is a part of North America and object to the above usage.
At the extreme southeastern end of the continent, lies a chain of islands territories called the
Antilles, the Caribbean or the West Indies, which include:
Lying in the
Atlantic Ocean but considered part of the continent are Bermuda, a ( British dependency); Greenland, a self-governing dependency of Denmark, the largest island in the world, located in the far north of the continent, to the east of Canada's Nunavut Territory; Saint Pierre and Miquelon, found off the coast of Canada, it is the last of France's once vast North American possessions.
Puerto Rico (US)
U.S. Virgin Islands (US)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Netherlands Antilles (Neth.)
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
British Virgin Islands (UK)
Cayman Islands (UK)
Turks and Caicos Islands (UK)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Fr.)
1931 Rugby, North Dakota has officially been recognised as being at the geographic center of North America. The location is marked by a 4.5 metre (15 foot) field stone obelisk.
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