Portal:North America

The North America Portal

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 a single continent, America. 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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Cardellina rubra melanauris
Sinaloa, Mexico

The red warbler (Cardellina rubra) is a small passerine bird of the New World warbler family Parulidae endemic to the highlands of Mexico, north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. It is closely related to, and forms a superspecies with, the pink-headed warbler of southern Mexico and Guatemala. There are three subspecies, found in disjunct populations, which differ primarily in the color of their ear patch and in the brightness and tone of their body plumage. The adult is bright red, with a white or gray ear patch, depending on the subspecies; young birds are pinkish-brown, with a whitish ear patch and two pale wingbars.

Breeding typically occurs between February and May. The female lays three or four eggs in a domed nest, which she builds on the ground. Though she alone incubates the eggs, both sexes feed the young and remove fecal sacs from the nest. The young fledge within 10–11 days of hatching. The red warbler is an insectivore, gleaning primarily in understory shrubs. Although this bird is considered to be a least-concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its numbers are thought to be declining due to habitat destruction. (Full article...)
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Apache Wickiup, 1903
Credit: Edward S. Curtis
A wickiup is a domed hut-like dwelling used by the semi-nomadic Native American tribes of southwestern North America. A wigwam is a similar structure but the term is used for those found in the northeastern part of America. Shown here is an Apache wickiup from 1903.
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Adams circa 1870

Daniel Lucius "Doc" Adams (November 1, 1814 – January 3, 1899) was an American baseball player and executive who is regarded by historians as an important figure in the sport's early years. For most of his career he was a member of the New York Knickerbockers. He first played for the New York Base Ball Club in 1840 and started his Knickerbockers career five years later, continuing to play for the club into his forties and to take part in inter-squad practice games and matches against opposing teams. Researchers have called Adams the creator of the shortstop position, which he used to field short throws from outfielders. In addition to his playing career, Adams manufactured baseballs and oversaw bat production; he also occasionally acted as an umpire.

From 1847 to 1861, the Knickerbockers selected Adams as their president six times, and as a vice president, treasurer, or director in six other years. As president of the club, Adams was an advocate of rule changes in baseball that resulted in nine-man teams and nine-inning games. When the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed in 1858, he led the rules and regulations committee of the new organization. In his role, Adams ruled that the fields' bases should be 90 feet (27 m) apart, the modern distance, and supported the elimination of the "bound rule", which allowed for balls caught after one bounce to be recorded as outs. He resigned from his positions with the Knickerbockers and NABBP in 1862. Adams' contributions in creating baseball's rules went largely unrecognized for decades after his 1899 death, but in 1980 a letter about him appeared in The New York Times; by 1993, researcher John Thorn had written about Adams' role. Other historians have given him credit for helping to develop the sport, and Thorn has called Adams "first among the Fathers of Baseball". (Full article...)

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North American Piedmontese cattle are a breed of domestic beef cattle originating from an imported herd of select Italian purebred Piedmontese cattle (Piemontese or razza bovina Piemontese). The foundation line of breeding stock was first imported from Italy into Canada in 1979, and into the United States in the early 1980s. Piedmontese cattle are distinguished by a unique, naturally occurring gene identified as the myostatin allele mutation, or inactive myostatin gene. Myostatin prohibits muscle growth whereas an inactive gene has the opposite effect. Purebred Piedmontese are homozygous, (2 copy), which means they have two identical alleles present for this unique gene. Research indicates the presence of the myostatin allele mutation produces morphological characteristics unique to the breed, such as double-muscling, beef tenderness, reduced fat content and high yield. According to the North American Piedmontese Association (NAPA), they are the first breed registry to base animal registration requirements on the presence of this specific gene which can be easily verified by DNA testing. (Full article...)
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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?

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

Selected panorama

Credit: Uwebart
Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán (Malecón) in front of the port and the Zócalo in Acapulco, Mexico



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