Portal:North America

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The North America Portal

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

Territories, dependencies, and subnational entities of a country not located primarily in North America are italicized.

Featured article

Oliver typewriter.png
The Oliver Typewriter Company was an American typewriter manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The Oliver Typewriter was the first effective "visible print" typewriter, meaning text was visible to the typist as it was entered. Oliver typewriters were marketed heavily for home use, utilizing local distributors and sales on credit. Oliver produced more than one million machines between 1895 and 1928 and licensed its designs to several international firms. Competitive pressure and financial troubles resulted in the company's liquidation in 1928. The company’s assets were purchased by investors who formed The British Oliver Typewriter Company, which manufactured and licensed the machines until its own closure in the late 1950s. The last Oliver typewriter was produced in 1959.

Thomas Oliver was awarded his first typewriter patent, US Patent No. 450,107, on April 7, 1891. After four years of development, a "crude working model" composed of 500 parts had been produced. Oliver resigned his ministry and moved to Epworth, Iowa, where he found investors willing to provide $15,000 of capital, and leased a building in which to manufacture his machines.

Featured picture

U.S. Navy recruitment poster for women
Credit: Howard Chandler Christy
A 1917 recruitment poster for women to join the United States Navy. In March 1917, Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels realized that the Naval Reserve Act of 1916 used the word "yeoman" instead of "man" or "male", and allowed for the induction of "all persons who may be capable of performing special useful service for coastal defense." He began enlisting females as Yeoman (F), and in less than a month the Navy officially swore in Loretta Perfectus Walsh, the first female sailor in U.S. history. At the time they were popularly referred to as "yeomanettes" or even "yeowomen".

Did you know...

  • ...that the Cuban night lizard is less than 4 cm long and lives exclusively in the west corner of the southern-most coast of Cuba?

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.

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A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!
Palindrome by Leigh Mercer, November 13, 1948

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