Portal:North America
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Portal:North America

The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern subcontinent of the Americas. 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 part of North America geographically.

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, 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.

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 of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the early modern period. However, the first recorded European references to North America (other than Greenland) are around 1000 AD in Norse sagas in which it is referred to as Vinland. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves, immigrants from Europe, Asia, and South 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 their own languages. (Full article...)

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Bald eagle preparing to fly at Kachemak Bay, Alaska, United States

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla). Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The bald eagle is an opportunistic feeder which subsists mainly on fish, which it swoops down and snatches from the water with its talons. It builds the largest nest of any North American bird and the largest tree nests ever recorded for any animal species, up to 4 m (13 ft) deep, 2.5 m (8.2 ft) wide, and 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) in weight. Sexual maturity is attained at the age of four to five years. (Full article...)

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Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon located in southwestern Utah in the United States. Despite its name, this is not actually a canyon, but rather a giant natural amphitheater created by erosion along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

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Solomon Porcius Sharp (August 22, 1787 - November 7, 1825) was an American attorney and politician, serving as attorney general of Kentucky and a member of the United States Congress and the Kentucky General Assembly. His murder by Jereboam O. Beauchamp in 1825 is referred to as the Beauchamp-Sharp Tragedy or "The Kentucky Tragedy."

Sharp began his political career representing Warren County, in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He briefly served in the War of 1812, then returned to Kentucky and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1813. He was re-elected to a second term, though his support of a controversial bill regarding legislator salaries cost him his seat in 1816. Allied with Kentucky's Debt Relief Party, he returned to the Kentucky House in 1817; in 1821, he accepted Governor John Adair's appointment to the post of Attorney General of Kentucky. Adair's successor, Joseph Desha, re-appointed him to this position. In 1825, Sharp resigned as attorney general to return to the Kentucky House. (Full article...)

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1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, one of the most iconic autos of the era

The 1950s were pivotal for the American automobile industry. The post-World War II era brought a wide range of new technologies to the automobile consumer, and a host of problems for the independent automobile manufacturers. The industry was maturing in an era of rapid technological change; mass production and the benefits from economies of scale led to innovative designs and greater profits, but stiff competition between the automakers. By the end of the decade, the industry had reshaped itself into the Big Three, Studebaker, and AMC. The age of small independent automakers was nearly over, as most of them either consolidated or went out of business.

A number of innovations were either invented or improved sufficiently to allow for mass production during the decade: air conditioning, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, seat belts and arguably the most influential change in automotive history, the overhead-valve V8 engine. The horsepower race had begun, laying the foundation for the muscle car era. (Full article...)

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New York City
Credit: Daniel Schwen
New York City, nicknamed the "Big Apple", is the most populous city in the United States and the most densely populated major city in North America. The city proper consists of five boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

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