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Americas
Americas (orthographic projection).svg
Area 42,549,000 km2
Population 910,720,588 (July 2008 est.)
Pop. density 21 km2 (55/sq mi)
Demonym American
Countries 35
Dependencies 23
List of countries and territories in the Americas
Languages Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, and many others
Time Zones UTC-10 to UTC
CIA political map of the Americas in an equal-area projection

The Americas, or America,[1][2] (Spanish: América, Portuguese: América, French: Amérique) are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World, comprising the continents of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions. America may be ambiguous in English, as it is more commonly used to refer to the United States of America.[3][2] The Americas cover 8.3% of the Earth's total surface area (28.4% of its land area) and contain about 13.5% of the human population (about 900 million people).

Contents

History

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Formation

South America broke off from the west of the supercontinent Gondwanaland around 135 million years ago (Ma), forming its own continent.[4] Starting around 15 Ma, the collision of the Caribbean Plate and the Pacific Plate resulted in the emergence of a series of volcanoes along the border that created a number of islands. The gaps in the archipelago of Central America filled in with material eroded off North America and South America, plus new land created by continued volcanism. By 3 Ma, the continents of North America and South America were linked by the Isthmus of Panama, thereby forming the single landmass of the Americas.[5]

Settlement

The specifics of Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the exact dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion.[6] The traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska around 40,000 — 17,000 years ago, when sea levels were significantly lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation.[6][7] These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets.[8] Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific Northwest coast to South America.[9] Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age.[10]

Archaeologists contend that Paleo-Indians migration out of Beringia (eastern Alaska), ranges from 40,000 to around 16,500 years ago.[11][12][13] This time range is a hot source of debate and will be for years to come. The few agreements achieved to date are the origin from Central Asia, with widespread habitation of the Americas during the end of the last glacial period, or more specifically what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,000 — 13,000 years before present.[13][14]

The Inuit migrated into the Arctic section of North America in another wave of migration, arriving around 1000 CE.[15] Around the same time as the Inuit migrated into North America, Viking settlers began arriving in Greenland in 982 and Vinland shortly thereafter.[16] The Viking settlers quickly abandoned Vinland, and disappeared from Greenland by 1500.[17]

Pre-Columbian era

Mississippian site in Arkansas, Parkin Site, circa 1539. Illustration by Herb Roe.

The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic to European colonization during the Early Modern period.

Pre-Columbian is used especially often in the context of the great indigenous civilizations of the Americas, such as those of Mesoamerica (the Olmec, the Toltec, the Teotihuacano, the Zapotec, the Mixtec, the Aztec, and the Maya) and the Andes (Inca, Moche, Chibcha, Cañaris).

Many pre-Columbian civilizations established characteristics and hallmarks which included permanent or urban settlements, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, and complex societal hierarchies. Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late 15th–early 16th centuries), and are known only through archaeological investigations. Others were contemporary with this period, and are also known from historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya, had their own written records. However, most Europeans of the time viewed such texts as heretical, and much was destroyed in Christian pyres. Only a few hidden documents remain today, leaving modern historians with glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.[18]

According to both indigenous American and European accounts and documents, American civilizations at the time of European encounter possessed many impressive accomplishments. For instance, the Aztecs built one of the most impressive cities in the world, Tenochtitlan, the ancient site of Mexico City, with an estimated population of 200,000. American civilizations also displayed impressive accomplishments in astronomy and mathematics.[19]

European colonization of the Americas

Large-scale European colonization of the Americas began shortly after the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The spread of new diseases brought by Europeans and Africans killed many of the inhabitants of North America and South America,[20][21] with a general population crash of Native Americans occurring in the mid-sixteenth century, often well ahead of European contact.[22] Native peoples and European colonizers came into widespread conflict, resulting in what David Stannard has called a genocide of the indigenous populations.[23] Early European immigrants were often part of state-sponsored attempts to found colonies in the Americas. Migration continued as people moved to the Americas fleeing religious persecution or seeking economic opportunities. Millions of individuals were forcibly transported to the Americas as slaves, prisoners or indentured servants.

Naming

World map of Waldseemüller, which first named America (in the map over Paraguay), Germany, 1507

The earliest known use of the name America for this particular landmass dates from April 25, 1507. It appears first on a small globe map with twelve time zones, and then a large wall map created by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller in Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in France. An accompanying book, Cosmographiae Introductio, states, "I do not see what right any one would have to object to calling this part, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerige, that is, the Land of Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their names from women". Americus Vespucius is the Latinized version of the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci's name, and America is the feminine form of Americus. [24]. [25] Amerigo is the Italian form of the Gothic name Amalaric (*Amalareiks) meaning "ruler of the Amali".

Vespucci's role in the naming issue, like his exploratory activity, is unclear. Some sources say that he was unaware of the widespread use of his name to refer to the new landmass. Waldseemüller may have been misled by the Soderini Letter, claimed by some to be a forgery, which implies that it was discovered first by Amerigo Vespucci. Christopher Columbus, who had first brought the region's existence to the attention of Renaissance era voyagers, had died in 1506 (believing, to the end, that he had discovered and colonized the Indies he had set out looking for) and could not protest Waldseemüller's decision[26].

Map of America by Jonghe, c. 1770

An alternate proposal, first advanced by Jules Marcou in 1875 and later recounted by novelist Jan Carew, is that the name America derives from the district of Amerrique in Nicaragua.[27] The gold-rich district of Amerrique was purportedly visited by both Vespucci and Columbus, for whom the name became synonymous with gold. Another theory, first proposed by a Bristol antiquary and naturalist, Alfred Hudd, in 1908 was that America is derived from Richard Amerike (Richard ap Meurig), a Bristol merchant of Welsh descent, who is believed to have financed John Cabot's voyage of discovery from England to Newfoundland in 1497.[28][29][30]

Geography

Extent

The northernmost point of the Americas is Kaffeklubben Island, which is the northernmost point of land on Earth.[31] The southernmost point is the islands of Southern Thule, although they are sometimes considered part of Antarctica.[32] The easternmost point is Nordostrundingen. The westernmost point is Attu Island.

The mainland of the Americas is the longest north-to-south landmass on Earth. At its longest, it stretches roughly 14,000 kilometres, (just under 8700 miles) from the Boothia Peninsula in northern Canada to Cape Froward in Chilean Patagonia. The westernmost point of the mainland of the Americas is the end of the Seward Peninsula in Alaska, while Ponta do Seixas in northeastern Brazil forms the mainland's easternmost extremity.[33]

Topography

Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas

The western geography of the Americas is dominated by the American cordillera, with the Andes running along the west coast of South America[34] and the Rocky Mountains and other Western Cordillera ranges running along the western side of North America.[35] The 2300 km long (1429 mile long) Appalachian Mountains run along the east coast of North America from Alabama to Newfoundland.[36] North of the Appalachians, the Arctic Cordillera runs along the eastern coast of Canada.[37]

Between its coastal mountain ranges, North America has vast flat areas. The Interior Plains spread over much of the continent with low relief.[38] The Canadian Shield covers almost 5 million km² of North America and is generally quite flat.[39] Similarly, the north-east of South America is covered by the flat Amazon Basin.[40] The Brazilian Highlands on the east coast are fairly smooth but show some variations in landform, while further south the Gran Chaco and Pampas are broad lowlands.[41]

Hydrology

With coastal mountains and interior plains, the Americas have several large river basins that drain the continents. The largest river basin in South America is that of the Amazon, which has the highest volume flow of any river on Earth.[42] The largest river basin in North America is that of the Mississippi, covering the second largest watershed on the planet.[43] The second largest watershed of South America is that of the Paraná River, which covers about 2.5 million km².[44]

Demography

Population

The total population of the Americas is 858,000,000 people per the United Nations' Population and Vital Statistics Report, and is divided as follows:

  • North America: 2001 with 495 million and in 2002 with 501 million (includes Central America and Hawaii)
  • South America: 2001 with 352 million and in 2002 with 357 million

See also:

Largest urban centers

The most populated cities in the Americas are Mexico City, capital of Mexico, New York City, located in the east coast of the United States of America, and São Paulo, capital of the Brazilian state of the same name. There is much discussion about which of these urban centers is the most populated as each one of them can surpass the others based on the criteria of choice.

City Country City Proper Population Rank Urban Area Population Rank Metropolitan Area Population Rank
São Paulo  Brazil 11,037,593 1st 19,505,000 2nd 18,850,000 3rd
Mexico City  Mexico 8,841,916 2nd 18,585,000 3rd 20,450,000 1st
New York City  United States 8,363,710 3rd 21,295,000 1st 19,750,000 2nd

Ethnology

The population of the Americas is made up of the descendants of seven large ethnic groups and their combinations.

The majority of the population live in Latin America, named for its predominant cultures whose roots lie in Latin Europe (including the two dominant languages, Spanish and Portuguese, both neolatin), more specifically in the Iberian nations of Portugal and Spain (hence the use of the term Ibero-America as a synonym). Latin America is typically contrasted with Anglo-America (where English, a Germanic language, is prevalent) which comprises Canada (with the exception of francophone Canada rooted in Latin Europe (France): see Québec and Acadia) and the United States. Both are located in North America and present predominantly Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

Religion

The most prevalent faiths in the Americas are as follows:

  • Christianity (North America: 85 percent; South America: 93 percent)[45]
    • Roman Catholicism (practiced by 89 percent of the Mexican population;[46][47] approximately 74 percent of the population of Brazil, whose Roman Catholic population of 182 million is the greatest of any nation's;[48] approximately 24 percent of the United States population;[49] and more than 40 percent of all of Canadians[50])
    • Protestantism (practiced mostly in United States, where half of the population are Protestant, and Canada, with slightly more than a quarter of the population; there is a growing contingent of Evangelical and Pentecostal movements in predominantly Catholic Latin America[51])
    • Eastern Orthodoxy (found mostly in the United States and Canada—1 percent of the US citizenry; this Christian group is growing faster than many other Christian groups in Canada and now represents roughly 3 percent of the Canadian population)[citation needed]
    • Non-denominational Christians and other Christians (some 1,000 different Christian denominations and sects practiced in the Americas)
  • Irreligion (includes atheists and agnostics, as well as those who profess some form of spirituality but do not identify themselves as members of any organized religion)
  • Islam (practiced by 2 percent of Canadians [580,000 persons],[52] 0.6 to 2 percent of the U.S. population [1,820,000[49] to 5,000,000+[53] persons], and 0.2% of Mexicans [250,000 persons];[54] together, Muslims constitute over 2.5 percent of the North American population—North American cities with high concentrations of Muslims include Toronto, Los Angeles, New York City, Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.—and 0.3 percent of all Latin Americans—Argentina has the largest Muslim population in Latin America with up to 600,000 persons, or 1.9 percent of the population[55])
  • Judaism (practiced by 2 percent of North Americans—approximately 2.5 percent of the U.S. population and 1.2 percent of Canadians[56]—and 0.23 percent of Latin Americans—Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America with 200,000 members[57])

Other faiths include Sikhism; Buddhism; Hinduism; Bahá'í; a wide variety of indigenous religions, many of which can be categorized as animistic; and many African and African-derived religions. Syncretic faiths can also be found throughout the continent.

Languages

Languages spoken in the Americas

Various languages are spoken in the Americas. Some are of European origin, others are spoken by indigenous peoples or are the mixture of various idioms like the different creoles.

The dominant language of Latin America is Spanish, though the largest nation in Latin America, Brazil, speaks Portuguese. Small enclaves of French- and English-speaking regions also exist in Latin America, notably in French Guiana and Belize respectively, and Haitian Creole, of French origin, is dominant in the nation of Haiti. Native languages are more prominent in Latin America than in Anglo-America, with Nahuatl, Quechua, Aymara and Guaraní as the most common. Various other native languages are spoken with less frequency across both Anglo-America and Latin America. Creole languages other than Haitian Creole are also spoken in parts of Latin America.

The dominant language of Anglo-America, as the name suggests, is English. French is also official in Canada, where it is the predominant language in Québec and an official language in New Brunswick along with English. It is also an important language in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Spanish has kept an ongoing presence in the Southwestern United States, which formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, especially in California and New Mexico, where a distinct variety of Spanish spoken since the 17th century has survived. It has more recently become widely spoken in other parts of the United States due to heavy immigration from Latin America. High levels of immigration in general have brought great linguistic diversity to Anglo-America, with over 300 languages known to be spoken in the United States alone, but most languages are spoken only in small enclaves and by relatively small immigrant groups.

The nations of Guyana, Suriname, and Belize are generally considered not to fall into either Anglo-America or Latin America due to lingual differences with Latin America, geographic differences with Anglo-America, and cultural and historical differences with both regions; English is the primary language of Guyana and Belize, and Dutch is the official and written language of Suriname.

  • Spanish – spoken by approximately 310 million in many nations throughout the continent.
  • English – spoken by approximately 300 million people in the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Bermuda, Belize, Guyana, the Falklands and many islands of the Caribbean.
  • Portuguese – spoken by approximately 185 million in South America, mostly Brazil [58]
  • French – spoken by approximately 12 million in Canada (majority 7 million in Québec—see also Québec French—and Acadian communities in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia); the Caribbean (Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique); French Guiana; the French islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon; and Acadiana (a Francophone area in southern Louisiana, United States).
  • Quechua – native language spoken by 10–13 million speakers in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northern Chile, and northwest Argentina.[59]
  • Haitian Creole – creole language, based in French and various African languages, spoken by 6 million in Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora in Canada and the United States.[60]
  • Guaraní (avañe'ẽ) – native language spoken by approximately 6 million people in Paraguay, and regions of Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil.
  • Chinese languages are spoken by at least 5 million people living mostly in the United States, Canada, Peru and Panama.
  • Italian – spoken by approximately 4 million people, mostly New England / Mid-Atlantic in the United States, southern Ontario and Quebec in Canada, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, and also includes pidgin dialects of Italian such as Talian (Brazil), and Chipilo (Mexico).
  • German – Some 2.2 million. Spoken by 1.1 million people in the United States plus another million in parts of Latin America, such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay.
  • Aymara – native language spoken by about 2.2 million speakers in the Andes, in Bolivia, Peru and Chile.[61][62]
  • Quiché and other Maya languages – native languages spoken by about 1.9 million speakers in Guatemala and southern Mexico.
  • Nahuatl – native language of central Mexico with 1.5 million speakers. Also was the language of the Aztec People of Mexico.
  • Antillean Creole – spoken by approximately 1.2 million in the Eastern Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominica, Saint Lucia) and French Guiana.
  • Javanese is a major language in Suriname
  • Tagalog has been present in the continent since the Spanish empire. It is now spoken by 1.5 million people mostly living in the United States and Canada.
  • Vietnamese is spoken by 1 million recent immigrants to the United States.
  • Various Indian languages such as Hindi and Punjabi are spoken by Indo-Caribbeans and have large populations in the United States and Canada.
  • Korean has recently become a major language in the United States with about 1 million speakers.
  • Japanese was once a major minority language in the United States but has recently dwindled in terms of population. Also found in Brazil and Peru.
  • Hmong is an indigenous language in Southeast Asia, whose largest number of speakers outside Asia is in the United States
  • American Sign Language – An estimated 100,000–500,000 people within the Deaf Community use ASL as their primary language in the United States and Canada.[63]
  • Mapudungun (or Mapuche) – native language spoken by approximately 440,000 people in Chile and Argentina.
  • Navajo – native language spoken by about 178,000 speakers in the Southwest U.S. on the Navajo Nation (Indian reservation).[64] The tribe's isolation until the early 1900s provided a language used in a military code in World War II.
  • Dutch – spoken in the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, and Suriname by about 210,000 speakers.
  • Miskito – Spoken by up over 180,000 Miskitos. They are Indigenous people who inhabit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and the easternmost region of Honduras.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch – Some descendants of the Pennsylvania Dutch in the Northeast U.S. speak a local form of the German language which dates back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They number about 85,000.
  • Inuit – native language spoken by about 75,000 across the North American Arctic and to some extent in the subarctic in Labrador.
  • Danish – and Greenlandic (Inuit) are the official languages of Greenland; most of the population speak both of the languages (approximately 50,000 people). A minority of Danish migrants with no Inuit ancestry speak Danish as their first, or only, language.
  • Cree – Cree is the name for a group of closely-related Algonquian languages spoken by approximately 50,000 speakers across Canada.
  • Nicaraguan Creole – Spoken in Nicaragua by up to 30,000 people. It is spoken primarily by persons of African, Amerindian, and European descent on the Caribbean Coast.
  • Garífuna (or Garinagu) - native language spoken by the Garífuna people who inhabits parts of the caribbean coast of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The vast majority of them live in Honduras.
  • Welsh – In Argentina, two towns of Trelew and Rawson were settled by Welsh immigrants in the late nineteenth century and the Welsh language remains spoken by about 25,000, including the towns' older residents.
  • Cherokee – native language spoken in a small corner of Oklahoma, U.S. by about 19,000 speakers. The use of this language has rebounded in the late twentieth century. It is known to possess its own alphabet, the Cherokee syllabary.
  • Gullah – a creole language based on English with strong influences from West and Central African languages spoken by the Gullah people, an African American population living on the coastal region of the U.S. states of South Carolina and Georgia.
  • Sranan Tongo, also known as Taki Taki, is the most used spoken language of Suriname. It is not usually used in its written form. It is a creole language based on Spanish, English, Dutch, Hindustani, and various other languages.

Most of the non-native languages have, to different degrees, evolved differently from the mother country, but are usually still mutually intelligible. Some have combined, however, which has even resulted in completely new languages, such as Papiamentu, which is a combination of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch (representing the respective colonizers), native Arawak, various African languages, and, more recently, English. Because of immigration, there are many communities where other languages are spoken from all parts of the world, especially in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Canada, four very important destinations for immigrants.

Montreal, North America's largest Francophone metropolis

Terminology

Subdivisions of the Americas
Map Legend
LocationNSAm.png

     North America (NA)      South America (SA)      May be included in
       either NA or SA

LocationNSAm2.png

     North America (NA)      May be included in NA      Central America      Caribbean      South America

LocationNSAm3.png

     North America (NA)      May be included in NA        Northern America      Middle America (MA)      Caribbean (may be
        included in MA)
     South America (SA)      May be included
        in MA or SA

LocationNSAngloLatin.png

     Anglo-America (A-A)      May be included in A-A      Latin America (LA)      May be included in LA

The Spanish American colonies at their maximum extent (after the Peace of Paris, 1783)

America/Americas

In many parts of the world, America in the singular is commonly used as a name for the United States of America; however, (the) Americas (plural with s and generally with the definite article) invariably refers to the lands and regions of the Western hemisphere. Usage of America to also refer to this collectivity remains fairly common;[65] for example, the International Olympic Committee reckons America as one of the five inhabited continents, which is depicted in the Olympic logo.[66]

While many in the United States of America and other countries generally refer to the country as America and US residents/citizens as Americans,[67] many people elsewhere in the Americas resent what they perceive as misappropriation[68] of the term in this context and, thus, this usage is frequently avoided.[69][70][71] In Canada, their southern neighbor is seldom referred to as "America", with the United States, the U.S., or (informally) the States used instead.[70] English dictionaries and compendiums differ regarding usage and rendition.[72][73][74]

American

English usage

Whether usage of America or the Americas is preferred, American is a self-referential term for many people living in the Americas. However, much of the English-speaking world uses the word to refer solely to a citizen, resident, or national of the United States of America.

In addition, many Canadians resent being referred to as Americans because of mistaken assumptions that they are U.S. citizens or an inability—particularly of people overseas—to distinguish Canadian English and American English accents.[70]

Spanish usage

In Spanish, América is the name of a region considered a single continent composed of the subcontinents of Sudamérica and Norteamérica, the land bridge of Centroamérica, and the islands of the Antillas. Americano/a in Spanish refers to a person from América in a similar way that europeo or europea refers to a person from Europa. The terms sudamericano/a, centroamericano/a, antillano/a and norteamericano/a can be used to more specifically refer to the location where a person may live.

Citizens of the United States of America are normally referred to by the term estadounidense (rough literal translation: "United-Staten") instead of americano or americana, and the country's name itself is often translated as Estados Unidos de Norteamérica. Also, the term norteamericano may refer to a citizen of the United States. This term is primarily used to refer to citizens of the United States, rarely those of other North American countries.[75]

Portuguese usage

In Portuguese, the word americano refers to the whole of the Americas. But, in Brazil and Portugal, it is widely used to refer to the citizens of the United States. The least ambiguous term, estadunidense (used in Brazil), something like "United Statian" or "estadounidense" in Spanish language), and "ianque"—the Portuguese version of "Yankee"—are rarely used. América, however, is rarely used as synonym to the country, and almost never in print and in more formal environments, where the US is called either Estados Unidos da América (i.e. United States of America) or simply Estados Unidos (i.e. United States). There is some difference between the usage of these words in Portugal and in Brazil, with the Portuguese being more prone to apply the term América to the country.

French usage

In French, as in English, the word américain can be confusing as it can be used to refer either to the United States, or to the American continents.

The noun Amérique sometimes refers to the whole as one continent, and sometimes two continents, southern and northern; the United States is generally referred to as les États-Unis d'Amérique, les États-Unis, or les USA. However, the usage of Amérique to refer to the United States, while technically not correct, does still have some currency in France.

The adjective américain is most often used for things relating to the United States; however, it may also be used for things relating to the American continents. Books by United States authors translated from English are often described as "traduit de l'américain".

Things relating to the United States can be referred to without ambiguity by the words états-unien, étasunien, or étatsunien, although their usage is rare.

Dutch usage

In Dutch, the word Amerika mostly refers to the United States. Although the United States is equally often referred to as de Verenigde Staten or de VS, Amerika relatively rarely refers to the Americas, but it is the only commonly used Dutch word for the Americas. This often leads to ambiguity and to stress that something concerns the Americas as a whole, Dutch uses a combination, namely Noord- en Zuid Amerika (North and South America).

Latin America is generally referred to as Latijns Amerika or, less frequently, Zuid Amerika (South America).

The adjective amerikaans is most often used for things or people relating to the United States. There are no alternative words to distinguish between things relating to the United States or to the Americas. Dutch uses the local alternative for things relating to elsewhere in the Americas, such as Argentijns for Argentinian etc.

Russian usage

In the 19th century in Russia the word "America" was used for a traditional continent such as Europe and Asia. In the 20th century these traditional continents are known as "parts of the world". Now the term "continent" means any of six large continuous landmasses (Eurasia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, and Australia). Now the word Ameriсa refers to the United States more often than to America as a "part of the world". There is no term equivalent to "Americas" in Russian.

Countries and territories

Map showing the dates of independence of the countries of the Americas. Black shows areas not independent.

Sovereign states

There are 35 sovereign states in the Americas, 23 in North America and 12 in South America:

Overseas regions, dependencies, colonies

The following is a list of overseas regions, dependencies and other polities in the Americas that do not fall into the category "sovereign states". They are grouped under the states that control them.

 Denmark


 France

 United Kingdom

 Netherlands


 United States

Multinational organizations in the Americas

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ america - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved on January 27, 2008.
  2. ^ a b america. Dictionary.com. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/america (accessed: January 27, 2008).
  3. ^ "America." The Oxford Companion to the English Language (ISBN 0-19-214183-X). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 33: "[16c: from the feminine of Americus, the Latinized first name of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512). A claim is also made for the name of Richard Ameryk, sheriff of Bristol and patron of John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto), the 16c Anglo-Italian explorer of North America. The name America first appeared on a map in 1507 by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, referring to the area now called Brazil]. Since the 16c, a name of the western hemisphere, often in the plural Americas and more or less synonymous with the New World. Since the 18c, a name of the United States of America. The second sense is now primary in English: ... However, the term is open to uncertainties: ..."
  4. ^ Brian C. Story (28 September 1995). "The role of mantle plumes in continental breakup: case histories from Gondwanaland". Nature 377: 301–309. doi:10.1038/377301a0. 
  5. ^ "Land bridge: How did the formation of a sliver of land result in major changes in biodiversity". Public Broadcasting Corporation. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/andes/bridge.html. 
  6. ^ a b "Atlas of the Human Journey-The Genographic Project". National Geographic Society.. 1996-2008. https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/atlas.html?era=e003. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  7. ^ Fitzhugh, Drs. William; Goddard, Ives; Ousley, Steve; Owsley, Doug; Stanford., Dennis. "Paleoamerican". Smithsonian Institution Anthropology Outreach Office. http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/origin.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  8. ^ "The peopling of the Americas: Genetic ancestry influences health". Scientific American. http://www.physorg.com/news169474130.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  9. ^ "Alternate Migration Corridors for Early Man in North America". American Antiquity, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), p2. http://archaeology.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=archaeology&cdn=education&tm=25&f=00&tt=13&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.jstor.org/stable/279189. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  10. ^ "68 Responses to “Sea will rise ‘to levels of last Ice Age’”". Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/sea-will-rise-to-levels-of-last-ice-age/. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  11. ^ "Introduction". Government of Canada. Parks Canada. 2009. http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/r/pfa-fap/sec1.aspx. Retrieved 2010-01-09. "Canada's oldest known home is a cave in Yukon occupied not 12,000 years ago like the U.S. sites, but at least 20,000 years ago" 
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References

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Simple English

America could also mean the The United States of America.

[[File:|thumb|250px|World map showing location of the Americas]] The Americas is a term used to refer to the American supercontinent: the continents of North America, South America, and the isthmus of Central America. The Americas are located in the Western Hemisphere and cover 8.3% of the earth's surface. Notice because this is a plural noun, the needs to be used in a complete sentence.

The word American is usually used to mean a person or a thing from the United States of America. People and things from any country in any of the Americas -- North America, Central America, or South America -- are sometimes called "American" or "Panamerican".

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