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Location North America.svg

North America is a continent in the Earth's northern hemisphere and western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by the North Pacific Ocean; South America lies to the southeast. It covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 4.8% of the planet's surface or about 16.5% of its land area. As of July 2008, its population was estimated at nearly 529 million people. It is the third-largest continent in area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth in population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. North America and South America are collectively known as the Americas or simply America.

Satellite imagery of North America

North and South America are generally accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, and was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies. Scientists have several theories as to the origins of the early human population of North America. The indigenous peoples of North America themselves have many creation myths, by which they assert that they have been present on the land since its creation. Before contact with Europeans, the natives of North America were divided into many different polities, from small bands of a few families to large empires. They lived in several "culture areas", which roughly correspond to geographic and biological zones and give a good indication of the main lifeway or occupation of the people who lived there.

Countries and territories

Featured article

US Demand Notes
A Demand Note is a type of United States paper money that was issued between August 1861 and April 1862 during the American Civil War in denominations of 5, 10, and 20 dollars. Original legislation referred to the currency as "treasury notes". The term Demand Note was applied retrospectively due to the fact that the notes were redeemable on demand for gold coin. The notes were created to serve as a means of monetary exchange in place of gold and silver coins. The U.S. government used Demand Notes to pay expenses and salaries. Once the public learned the notes were redeemable in gold coin, the notes began to circulate as widely as gold and silver coins previously did.

Because of the distinctive green ink used on the reverse of all Demand Notes, the notes were nicknamed "greenbacks".The obverse of the notes contained familiar elements such as a Bald Eagle, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton; however, the portraits used on Demand Notes are different than the ones seen on U.S. currency today. After Demand Notes were discontinued, they were replaced with Legal Tender Notes. Legal Tender Notes of the time, however, were not redeemable in coin like Demand Notes, and thus Demand Notes took precedence. As a result, many more Demand Notes were redeemed and not as many notes exist today.

Featured picture

Emblems of USA 1876 (original).jpg
Credit: A.J. Connell, Library of Congress
A lithograph from 1876, showing the seals of the then-47 U.S. states and territories as well as the District of Columbia. Some of these seals have changed since this image was created.

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Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro

Selected biography

Ina Garten at a book signing
Ina Rosenberg Garten, EYE-nə) (born February 2, 1948) is an American author and host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa. Known for creating fine cuisine foods with an emphasis on quality ingredients and timesaving tips, she has been championed by Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Patricia Wells as an authority on cooking and home entertaining.

Garten had no formal training; she taught herself culinary techniques with the aid of French and New England cookbooks. Later, she relied on intuition and feedback from customers and friends to refine her recipes. She was mentored chiefly by Eli Zabar, of Eli's Manhattan and Eli's Breads fame, and domestic maven Stewart. Among her hallmark dishes are cœur à la crème, celery root remoulade, pear clafouti, and a simplified version of bœuf bourguignon. Her culinary career began with her gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa; Garten parlayed this success into a string of best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded convenience foods, and a popular Food Network television show.

Selected quote

Theodore Roosevelt Minnesota State Fair, 3 September 1901

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