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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, or America, in models that use fewer than seven continents. 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,[better source needed] 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—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and all of their descendants.

Owing to Europe's colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak European languages such as English, Spanish or French, and their states' cultures commonly reflect Western traditions.

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Nahua man from the Florentine Codex. The speech scrolls indicate speech or song.

Nahuatl (English: /ˈnɑːhwɑːtəl/; Nahuatl pronunciation: [ˈnaːwatɬ] (About this soundlisten)) is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.

Nahuatl has been spoken in central Mexico since at least the seventh century CE. It was the language of the Aztec/Mexica/Tlaxcalans, who dominated what is now central Mexico during the Late Postclassic period of Mesoamerican history. During the centuries preceding the Spanish & Tlaxcalan conquest of the Aztec Empire, the Aztecs had expanded to incorporate a large part of central Mexico. Their influence caused the variety of Nahuatl spoken by the residents of Tenochtitlan to become a prestige language in Mesoamerica. Read more...

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circular crop fields
Credit: ASTER (NASA)
Satellite image of circular crop fields, characteristic of center pivot irrigation, in Haskell County, Kansas in late June 2001. Healthy, growing crops are green. Corn would be growing into leafy stalks by then. Sorghum, which resembles corn, grows more slowly and would be much smaller and therefore, possibly paler. Wheat is a brilliant gold as harvest occurs in June. Fields of brown have been recently harvested and plowed under or lie fallow for the year.

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Innis in the 1920s

Harold Adams Innis FRSC (1894–1952) was a Canadian professor of political economy at the University of Toronto and the author of seminal works on media, communication theory, and Canadian economic history. A writer of dense and difficult prose, Innis was one of Canada's most original thinkers. He helped develop the staples thesis, which holds that Canada's culture, political history, and economy have been decisively influenced by the exploitation and export of a series of "staples" such as fur, fishing, lumber, wheat, mined metals, and coal. The staple thesis dominated economic history in Canada 1930s–1960s, and continues to be a fundamental part of the Canadian political economy tradition.

Innis's writings on communication explore the role of media in shaping the culture and development of civilizations. He argued, for example, that a balance between oral and written forms of communication contributed to the flourishing of Greek civilization in the 5th century BC. He warned, however, that Western civilization is now imperiled by powerful, advertising-driven media obsessed by "present-mindedness" and the "continuous, systematic, ruthless destruction of elements of permanence essential to cultural activity." His intellectual bond with Eric A. Havelock formed the foundations of the Toronto School of communication theory, which provided a source of inspiration for future members of the school: Marshall McLuhan and Edmund Snow Carpenter. Read more...

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Gunslinger /ˈɡʌnslɪŋər/ and gunfighter are words used historically to refer to people in the American Old West who had gained a reputation of being dangerous with a gun and had participated in gunfights and shootouts. Gunman was a more common term used for these individuals in the 19th and early 20th century. Today, the term "gunslinger" is more or less used to denote someone who is quick on the draw with a pistol, but can also refer to riflemen and shotgun messengers. The gunfighter is also one of the most popular characters in the Western genre and has appeared in associated films, video games, and literature.

The gunfighter could be a lawman, outlaw, cowboy, or shooting exhibitionist, but was more commonly a hired gun who made a living with his weapons in the Old West. Read more...
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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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