North America covers an area of about 9.5 million square miles or 16.5% of Earth’s land area and 4.8 of its total surface. It occupies the northern portion generally referred to as the New World. It is shaped roughly like a triangle, having its base in the north and apex in the south. This continent is bounded on the North by the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean by the East, Carribean Sea by the South, and North Pacific Ocean by the West.
Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer, and navigator was one of the earliest who explored the New World thus America was derived from. America was only applied to the southern half of the continent at first then soon designated to the whole landmass.
The northern half of North America is mostly covered by Canada. The northeastern portion is occupied by Greenland and northwestern by Alaska. North America is divided into at least 5 physiographic regions; Canadian Shield, Appalachian Mountains, Atlantic Coastal Plain, Interior Lowlands, and North American Cordillera. These define North American landforms into distinct regions. Canadian Shield or Laurentian Plateau, composed of igneous rocks resultant from long volcanic history stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean covering over half of Canada. The Appalachian Mountains in Eastern North America first formed about 480 million years ago ranges mostly in the United States but extends into southeastern Canada. Atlantic Coastal Plain is a region of low relief that extends 2,200 miles from New York Bight southward to Georgia/Florida section of Eastern Continental Divide. Interior Lowlands extends down from Mackenzie Valley to Atlantic Coastal Plain. The North American Cordillera is a belt of mountains with plateaus and basins to which some were formed as recently as 100-65 MA.
The only land connection of North America is South America by the narrow of Isthmus of Panama. Denali (Mount McKinley) is the continent’s highest point rising at 6,190 meters above sea level. Death Valley is the lowest at 86 meters below sea level
There have been many theories regarding the origins of early human population in North America that even the indigenous people of this continent themselves have many creation stories. In the Pre-Columbian era, many different communities lived in several culture areas. It is believed that Inuit people of the high Arctic came to this continent much later than any native groups.
American Revolution had a great impact across North America that it directly led to the creation of the United States of America. American Revolutionary War was an important feud that touched all corners of this region. As Spain’s hold on Mexico was slumping, independence was given in 1810 by Miguel Hidalgo and it started the Mexican War of Independence.
North America is ethnically diverse. The three main groups are Caucasian, Mestizos, and Blacks. The less numerous groups come from Indigenous Americans and Asians. Languages of North America does not only reflect the continents indigenous people but the European colonization too. Dominant languages are English, Spanish, and to a lesser extent French. English is widely used in Canada, United States, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. Mexico and all of Central America apart from Belize speaks Spanish more than they do with English. Canada, especially in the Quebec and Saint Pierre and Miquelon has French as the dominant language. It is also spoken in other parts along with French-based creole languages.
Being the third-largest in the world, North American geology is a matter of regional geology. Units and processes for Geology are studied on a large scale to reach an amalgamated picture of the development of the continent. More than 50% of Canadian geology consists of Precambrian rocks that have been above sea level since the Palaeozoic era. Mineral resources here are diverse and extensive that across the Canadian shield are large iron, nickel, zinc, copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, and uranium reserves. Recently, large diamond concentrations have been developed in the Arctic as well making Canada the world’s largest producers. Geology is active in Central America with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occurring from time to time.