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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

US Demand Notes

A Demand Note is a type of United States paper money that was issued between August 1861 and April 1862 during the American Civil War in denominations of 5, 10, and 20 dollars. Original legislation referred to the currency as “treasury notes”. The term Demand Note was applied retrospectively due to the fact that the notes were redeemable on demand for gold coin. The notes were created to serve as a means of monetary exchange in place of gold and silver coins. The U.S. government used Demand Notes to pay expenses and salaries. Once the public learned the notes were redeemable in gold coin, the notes began to circulate as widely as gold and silver coins previously did.

Because of the distinctive green ink used on the reverse of all Demand Notes, the notes were nicknamed “greenbacks”.The obverse of the notes contained familiar elements such as a Bald Eagle, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Hamilton; however, the portraits used on Demand Notes are different than the ones seen on U.S. currency today. After Demand Notes were discontinued, they were replaced with Legal Tender Notes. Legal Tender Notes of the time, however, were not redeemable in coin like Demand Notes, and thus Demand Notes took precedence. As a result, many more Demand Notes were redeemed and not as many notes exist today.

Featured picture

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.

Did you know…


Pewee Valley Confederate Cemetery

Selected biography

Muntz matchbook

Earl William “Madman” Muntz (January 3, 1914 – June 21, 1987) was an American businessman and engineer who sold and promoted cars and consumer electronics in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1987. He was a pioneer in television commercials with his oddball “Madman” persona – an alter ego who generated publicity with his unusual costumes, stunts, and outrageous claims. Muntz also pioneered car stereos by creating the Muntz Stereo-Pak, better known as the 4-track cartridge, a predecessor to the 8-track cartridge developed by Lear Industries.

He invented the practice that came to be known as Muntzing, which involved simplifying otherwise complicated electronic devices. Muntz produced and marketed the first black-and-white television receivers to sell for less than $100, and created one of the earliest functional widescreen projection TVs. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Detroit News and Los Angeles Times credit him with coining the abbreviation “TV” for television, although the term had earlier been in use in call letters for stations such as WCBS-TV.

Selected quote

— Unknown Aztec poet, 1500

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