Portal:North America

The North America Portal

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North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. Because it is on the North American Tectonic Plate, Greenland is included as a part of North America geographically.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometres (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of Earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third-largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population. In human geography and in the English-speaking world outside the United States, particularly in Canada, "North America" and "North American" can refer to just Canada and the United States together.

North America was reached by its first human populations during the Last Glacial Period, via crossing the Bering land bridge approximately 20,000 to 17,000 years ago. The so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Archaic or Meso-Indian period). The classic stage spans roughly the 6th to 13th centuries. The first recorded Europeans to visit North America (other than Greenland) were the Norse around 1000 AD. Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1492 sparked a transatlantic exchange which included migrations of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the early modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves, immigrants from Europe, Asia, and the descendants of these groups.

Owing to Europe's colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak European languages such as English, Spanish or French, and their cultures commonly reflect Western traditions. However, in parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Central America, there are indigenous populations continuing their cultural traditions and speaking native languages. (Full article...)

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Fires approach the Old Faithful Complex on September 7, 1988

The Yellowstone fires of 1988 collectively formed the largest wildfire in the recorded history of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Starting as many smaller individual fires, the flames quickly spread out of control due to drought conditions and increasing winds, combining into several large conflagrations which burned for several months. The fires almost destroyed two major visitor destinations and, on September 8, 1988, the entire park was closed to all non-emergency personnel for the first time in its history. Only the arrival of cool and moist weather in the late autumn brought the fires to an end. A total of 793,880 acres (3,213 km2), or 36 percent of the park, burned at varying levels of severity.

At the peak of the firefighting effort, more than 9,000 firefighters were assigned to the fires in the park, assisted by dozens of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft which were used for water and fire retardant drops. With fires raging throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and other areas in the western United States, the staffing levels of the National Park Service and other land management agencies were inadequate for the situation; more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel were soon brought in to assist in wildfire suppression efforts. The firefighting effort cost $120 million ($270 million in 2022). Structure losses were minimized by concentrating firefighting efforts near major visitor areas, and eventually totaled $3.28 million ($8 million as of 2022). No firefighters died while fighting the Yellowstone fires, though there were two fire-related deaths outside the park. (Full article...)

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John F. Kennedy Library
Credit: Eric Baetscher
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, at dusk. This is the official repository for original papers and correspondence of the John F. Kennedy administration, as well as special bodies of other materials, such as books and papers by and about Ernest Hemingway.

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Emerson "Bud" Dunn (May 15, 1918 – January 11, 2001) was a Tennessee Walking Horse trainer from Kentucky who spent most of his career in northern Alabama. He trained horses for over forty years and won his first Tennessee Walking Horse World Grand Championship at age 74 with Dark Spirit's Rebel; at the time, he was the oldest rider to win the honor. He was inducted into the Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame in 1987 and named trainer of the year in 1980 and 1991. In 1999 at age 81, Dunn surpassed his own record for the oldest winning rider by winning his second World Grand Championship, riding RPM. He died of a heart attack in January 2001. (Full article...)

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The American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a species of wading bird in the heron family. It has a Nearctic distribution, breeding in Canada and the northern and central parts of the United States, and wintering in the U.S. Gulf Coast states, all of Florida into the Everglades, the Caribbean islands and parts of Central America.

It is a well-camouflaged, solitary brown bird that unobtrusively inhabits marshes and the coarse vegetation at the edge of lakes and ponds. In the breeding season it is chiefly noticeable by the loud, booming call of the male. The nest is built just above the water, usually among bulrushes and cattails, where the female incubates the clutch of olive-colored eggs for about four weeks. The young leave the nest after two weeks and are fully fledged at six or seven weeks. (Full article...)
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Air pollution over the City of Los Angeles
Credit: Diliff
Los Angeles is the second-largest city in the United States, with an estimated population of 3.85 million people. Los Angeles is one of the cultural, economic, scientific and entertainment centers of the country.

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