Portal:North America
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Portal:North America

The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as a northern subcontinent of the Americas, or America, in models that use fewer than seven continents. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the 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,[better source needed] 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, if nearby islands (most notably around the Caribbean) are included.

North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge approximately 40,000 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 Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, with the beginning of the transatlantic migrations--the arrival 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 and all of their descendants.

Owing to Europe's colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak European languages such as English, Spanish or French, and their states' cultures commonly reflect Western traditions.

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Victoria Cross (Canada) ribbon bar.png
The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest award of the United Kingdom honours system. It was previously awarded to Canada and other Commonwealth countries, most of which including Canada have established their own honours systems and no longer recommend British honours. Today, the Victoria Cross (French: Croix de Victoria), created in 1993 and named in honour of the British Victoria Cross is the highest award within the Canadian honours system, taking precedence over all other orders, decorations, and medals. It is awarded by either the Canadian monarch or his or her viceregal representative, the Governor General of Canada, to any member of the Canadian Forces or allies serving under or with Canadian military command for extraordinary valour and devotion to duty while facing hostile forces. Whereas in many other Commonwealth countries the relevant version of the Victoria Cross can only be awarded for actions against the enemy in a wartime setting, the Canadian government has a broader definition of the term enemy. In Canada, the Victoria Cross can be awarded for action against armed mutineers, pirates, or other such hostile forces without war being officially declared. Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters VC (for both English and French) and also to receive an annuity of C$3,000. The decoration has not been awarded since its inception. Read more...

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Oregon Convention Center
Opened in 1990, the Oregon Convention Center in Portland's Rose Quarter is Oregon's largest convention center. In the background lies Downtown Portland's skyline.

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Laura Secord in 1865

Laura Secord (née Ingersoll; 13 September 1775 - 17 October 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for having walked 20 miles (32 km) out of American-occupied territory in 1813 to warn British forces of an impending American attack. Her contribution to the war was little known during her lifetime, but since her death she has been frequently honoured in Canada. Though Laura Secord had no relation to it, most Canadians associate her with the Laura Secord Chocolates company, named after her on the centennial of her walk.

Laura Secord's father, Thomas Ingersoll, lived in Massachusetts and fought on the side of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). In 1795 he moved his family to the Niagara region of Upper Canada after he had applied for and received a land grant. Shortly after, Laura married Loyalist James Secord, who was later seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula, including Queenston. During the occupation, Secord acquired information about a planned American attack, and stole away on the morning of 22 June to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon in the territory still controlled by the British. The information helped the British and their Mohawk allies repel the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Her effort was forgotten until 1860, when Edward, Prince of Wales awarded the impoverished widow £100 for her service on his visit to Canada. Read more...

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Glacier National Park is part of a system of 43 parks and park reserves across Canada, and one of seven national parks in British Columbia. Established in 1886, the park encompasses 1,349 km2 (521 sq mi), and includes a portion of the Selkirk Mountains which are part of the larger grouping of mountains, the Columbia Mountains. It also contains the Rogers Pass National Historic Site.

The park's history is closely tied to two primary Canadian transportation routes, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), completed in 1885, and the Trans-Canada Highway, completed in 1963. Rogers Pass in the centre of the park eluded explorers until 1881. The railway brought with it tourism, the establishment of Glacier National Park and the construction of a popular alpine hotel. The heavy winter snows and steep, avalanche-prone valleys of the park have been a major obstacle to transportation, necessitating much railway engineering and avalanche control measures. Read more...

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Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro

  • ... that the Valley of Mexico has been one of the most heavily populated places on the planet for almost two millennia?

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Southwestern San Juan Mountains
Credit: Debivort
The San Juan Mountains are a rugged mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Colorado. The Rio Grande rises on the east side of the range. The San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forest cover a large portion of the San Juan Mountains.

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