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Portal:North America

Main page   Geography   Projects and tasks

Introduction

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

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, if nearby islands (most notably the Caribbean) are included.

Countries and territories

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

Featured article

FairTax rally in Orlando

The FairTax is a proposed change to the federal tax laws of the United States that would replace all federal income taxes with a single national retail sales tax. The plan has been introduced into the United States Congress as the Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 1025). The tax would be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or ‘prebate’, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. The sales tax rate, as defined in the legislation, is 23 percent of the total payment including the tax ($23 of every $100 spent in total—calculated similar to income taxes). This would be equivalent to a 30 percent traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent before taxes).

With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption, but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels. Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high income earners and increase it on the middle class. Supporters contend that the plan would decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base, effectively taxing wealth, and increasing purchasing power.

Featured picture

Armadillo Aerospace Pixel
Credit: Armadillo Aerospace, Matthew C. Ross

Captive test flight of Armadillo Aerospace‘s Pixel rocket before the 2006 X PRIZE Cup

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Vermont coppers

Selected biography

Louis Riel

Louis Riel (/ˈli rˈɛl/; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. He is regarded by many as a Canadian folk hero today.

The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel was forced into exile in the United States as a result of the controversial execution of Thomas Scott during the rebellion. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the “Father of Manitoba”. While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons, although he never assumed his seat. He married in 1881 while in exile in Montana, and fathered two children.

Selected quote

— Unknown Aztec poet, 1500

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