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The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as 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 southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea, and to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean. However, Greenland, because it is on the North American Tectonic Plate, is often 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, if nearby islands (most notably around the Caribbean) are included.

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 where it is referred to as Vinland. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves, immigrants, 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. (Full article...)

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The campaigns of the Texas Revolution

The Texas Revolution (October 2, 1835 – April 21, 1836) was a rebellion of colonists from the United States and Tejanos (Texas Mexicans) in putting up armed resistance to the centralist government of Mexico. While the uprising was part of a larger one, the Mexican Federalist War, that included other provinces opposed to the regime of President Antonio López de Santa Anna, the Mexican government believed the United States had instigated the Texas insurrection with the goal of annexation. The Mexican Congress passed the Tornel Decree, declaring that any foreigners fighting against Mexican troops "will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag". Only the province of Texas succeeded in breaking with Mexico, establishing the Republic of Texas, and eventually being annexed by the United States.

The revolution began in October 1835, after a decade of political and cultural clashes between the Mexican government and the increasingly large population of American settlers in Texas. The Mexican government had become increasingly centralized and the rights of its citizens had become increasingly curtailed, particularly regarding immigration from the United States. Colonists and Tejanos disagreed on whether the ultimate goal was independence or a return to the Mexican Constitution of 1824. While delegates at the Consultation (provisional government) debated the war's motives, Texians and a flood of volunteers from the United States defeated the small garrisons of Mexican soldiers by mid-December 1835. The Consultation declined to declare independence and installed an interim government, whose infighting led to political paralysis and a dearth of effective governance in Texas. An ill-conceived proposal to invade Matamoros siphoned much-needed volunteers and provisions from the fledgling Texian Army. In March 1836, a second political convention declared independence and appointed leadership for the new Republic of Texas. (Full article...)

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Bald Eagle
Credit: Adrian Pingstone
The Bald Eagle is a raptor that is indigenous to North America, and is the national symbol of the United States of America. The species was on the brink of extinction late in the 20th century but has largely recovered and now has a stable population. Its diet is varied, including fish, smaller birds, rodents, and sometimes food scavenged or stolen from campsites and picnics.

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Paramount publicity photo, c. 1935

Anna May Wong (born Wong Liu Tsong; January 3, 1905 – February 3, 1961) was an American actress, considered to be the first Chinese American Hollywood movie star, as well as the first Chinese American actress to gain international recognition. Her varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage, and radio.

Born in Los Angeles to second-generation Taishanese Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with the movies and began acting in films at an early age. During the silent film era, she acted in The Toll of the Sea (1922), one of the first movies made in color, and in Douglas Fairbanks' The Thief of Bagdad (1924). Wong became a fashion icon and had achieved international stardom in 1924. (Full article...)

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Mount Adams 3503s.JPG

Mount Adams, known by some Native American tribes as Pahto or Klickitat, is a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. Although Adams has not erupted in more than 1,000 years, it is not considered extinct. It is the second-highest mountain in Washington, after Mount Rainier.

Adams, named for President John Adams, is a member of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, and is one of the arc's largest volcanoes, located in a remote wilderness approximately 34 miles (55 km) east of Mount St. Helens. The Mount Adams Wilderness consists of the upper and western part of the volcano's cone. The eastern side of the mountain is designated as part of the territory of the Yakama Nation. (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?

Vermont coppers

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

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Montreal skyline at twilight
Credit: Diliff
Montreal is the second-largest city in Canada. It sits in the south western corner of Quebec at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers.

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