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Area 42,549,000 km2 (16,428,000 mi2)
Population 954 million (July 2013 estimate) [1]
,[2] New Worlder,[3] and
[4] are used (see
Countries 35
Languages Spanish, English, Portuguese, French,
Quechua, Haitian Creole, Guaran,
Aymara, Nahuatl, Dutch and many
Time zones UTC-10 to UTC
Metropolitan areas in the
Mexico City
So Paulo
New York
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Americas, or America,
also known as the New World, are the combined
continental landmasses of North America and South America,
in the Western
Along with their associated islands, they cover 8.3% of the Earth's total
surface area (28.4% of its land area). The topography is dominated by the American
Cordillera, a long chain of mountains that run the length of the west coast. The flatter
eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the Amazon,
Mississippi, and La Plata. Since the Americas extend 14,000 km (8,700 mi) from north to
south, the climate and ecology vary widely, from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada,
Greenland, and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America.
Humans first settled the Americas from Asia between 40,000 BCE and 15,000 BCE. A
second migration of Na-Dene speakers followed later from Asia. The subsequent migration
of the Inuit into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is generally regarded as the
settlement by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The first known European settlement
in the Americas was by the Norse explorer Leif Ericson.
However the colonization never
became permanent and was later abandoned. The voyages of Christopher Columbus from
1492 to 1502 resulted in permanent contact with European (and subsequently, other Old
World) powers, which led to the Columbian exchange. Diseases introduced from Europe
and Africa devastated the Indigenous peoples, and the European powers colonised the
Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of indentured
servants, and forced immigration of African slaves largely replaced the Indigenous Peoples.
Beginning with the American Revolution in 1776 and Haitian Revolution in 1791, the
European powers began to decolonise the Americas. Currently, almost all of the population
of the Americas resides in independent countries; however, the legacy of the colonisation
and settlement by Europeans is that the Americas share many common cultural traits, most
notably Christianity and the use of Indo-European languages; primarily Spanish, English,
and Portuguese.
More than 900 million people live in the Americas, the most populous countries being the
United States, Brazil, and Mexico, the most populous cities being So Paulo, Mexico City
and New York City.
Coordinates: 1900N 9600W
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Los Angeles
Buenos Aires
Rio de Janeiro
1 History
1.1 Settlement
1.2 Pre-Columbian era
1.3 European colonization
2 Etymology and naming
3 Geography
3.1 Extent
3.2 Geology
3.3 Topography
3.4 Climate
3.5 Hydrology
3.6 Ecology
4 Demography
4.1 Population
4.2 Largest urban centers
4.3 Ethnology
4.4 Religion
4.5 Languages
5 Terminology
5.1 English
5.2 Spanish
5.3 Portuguese
5.4 French
5.5 Dutch
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Map of early human migrations based on the Out of
Africa theory.
6 Politics
6.1 Countries and territories
6.2 Multinational organizations in the Americas
7 See also
8 Notes
9 References
10 Further reading
11 External links
The first inhabitants migrated into the Americas from Asia. Habitation sites are known in
Alaska and the Yukon from at least 20 000 years ago, with suggested ages of up to 40,000
Beyond that, the specifics of the Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout
the Americas, including the dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and
Widespread habitation of the Americas occurred during the late glacial
maximum, from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago.
The traditional theory has been that
these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and
present-day Alaska around 40,00017,000 years ago,
when sea levels were significantly
lowered due to the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have
followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that
stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets.
Another route proposed is
that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America.
Evidence of the latter would since have
been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age.
Both routes may have been taken, although the genetic
evidences suggests a single founding population.
The micro-satellite diversity and distributions specific to South American Indigenous
people indicates that certain populations have been isolated since the initial colonization of the region.
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Parkin Site, a Mississippian site in
Arkansas, circa 1539.
A second migration occurred after the initial peopling of the Americas;
Na Dene speakers found predominantly in North American groups
at varying genetic rates with the highest frequency found among the Athabaskans at 42% derive from this second wave;
Linguists and
biologists have reached a similar conclusion based on analysis of Amerindian language groups and ABO blood group system
Then the people of the Arctic small tool tradition a broad cultural entity that developed along the Alaska Peninsula,
around Bristol Bay, and on the eastern shores of the Bering Strait around 2,500 BCE (4,500 years ago) moved into North America.
Arctic small tool tradition, a Paleo-Eskimo culture branched off into two cultural variants, including the Pre-Dorset, and the Independence
traditions of Greenland.
The decedents of the Pre-Dorset cultural group, the Dorset culture was displaced by the final migrants from the
Bering sea coast line the ancestors of modern Inuit, the Thule people by 1000 Common Era (CE).
Around the same time as the Inuit
migrated into Greenland, Viking settlers began arriving in Greenland in 982 and Vinland shortly thereafter, establishing a settlement at L'Anse
aux Meadows, near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland.
The Viking settlers quickly abandoned Vinland, and disappeared from
Greenland by 1500.
Pre-Columbian era
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the
Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents,
spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic to European colonization during
the Early Modern period. The term Pre-Columbian is used especially often in the context of the great
indigenous civilizations of the Americas, such as those of Mesoamerica (the Olmec, the Toltec, the
Teotihuacano, the Zapotec, the Mixtec, the Aztec, and the Maya) and the Andes (Inca, Moche, Muisca,
Many pre-Columbian civilizations established characteristics and hallmarks which included permanent
or urban settlements, agriculture, civic and monumental architecture, and complex societal hierarchies.
Some of these civilizations had long faded by the time of the first permanent European arrivals (c. late
15thearly 16th centuries), and are known only through archaeological investigations. Others were
contemporary with this period, and are also known from historical accounts of the time. A few, such as the Maya, had their own written
records. However, most Europeans of the time viewed such texts as pagan, and much was destroyed in Christian pyres. Only a few hidden
documents remain today, leaving modern historians with glimpses of ancient culture and knowledge.
European colonization
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Although there had been previous trans-oceanic contact, large-scale European colonization of the Americas began with the first voyage of
Christopher Columbus in 1492. The first Spanish settlement in the Americas was La Isabela in northern Hispaniola. This town was abandoned
shortly after in favor of Santo Domingo de Guzmn, founded in 1496, the oldest American city of European foundation. This was the base
from which the Spanish monarchy administered its new colonies and their expansion. On the continent, Panama City on the Pacific coast of
Central America, founded on August 5, 1519, played an important role, being the base for the Spanish conquest of South America. According
to the anthropologist R. Thornton, the spread of new diseases brought by Europeans and Africans killed many of the inhabitants of North
America and South America,
with a general population crash of Native Americans occurring in the mid-16th century, often well ahead
of European contact.
Native peoples and European colonizers came into widespread conflict, resulting in what David Stannard has called a
genocide of the indigenous populations.
Early European immigrants were often part of state-sponsored attempts to found colonies in the
Americas. Migration continued as people moved to the Americas fleeing religious persecution or seeking economic opportunities. Millions of
individuals were forcibly transported to the Americas as slaves, prisoners or indentured servants.
Decolonization of the Americas began with the American Revolution and the Haitian Revolution in the late 1700s. This was followed by
numerous Latin American wars of independence in the early 1800s. Between 1811 and 1825, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Gran Colombia, the
United Provinces of Central America, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia gained independence from Spain and Portugal in armed revolutions.
After the Dominican Republic won independence from Haiti, it was re-annexed by Spain in 1861, but reclaimed its independence in 1865 at
the conclusion of the Dominican Restoration War. The last violent episode of decolonisation was the Cuban War of Independence which
became the SpanishAmerican War, which resulted in the independence of Cuba in 1898, and the transfer of sovereignty over Puerto Rico
from Spain to the United States. Peaceful decolonisation began with the purchase by the United States of Louisiana from France in 1803,
Florida from Spain in 1819, of Alaska from Russia in 1867, and the Danish West Indies from Denmark in 1916. Canada became independent
of the United Kingdom, starting with the Balfour Declaration of 1926, Statute of Westminster 1931, and ending with the patriation of the
Canadian Constitution in 1982. The Dominion of Newfoundland similarly achieved partial independence under the Balfour Declaration and
Statute of Westminster, but was re-absorbed into the United Kingdom in 1934. It was subsequently confederated with Canada in 1949.
Beginning with Jamaica in 1962, the remaining European colonies began to achieve peaceful independence. Trinidad and Tobago also became
independent in 1962, and Guyana and Barbados both achieved independence in 1966. In the 1970s, the Bahamas, Grenada, Dominica, St.
Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines all became independent of the United Kingdom, and Suriname became independent of the
Netherlands. Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis achieved independence from the United Kingdom in the 1980s.
Etymology and naming
The earliest known use of the name America dates to April 25, 1507, where it was applied to what is now known as South America.
appears on a small globe map with twelve time zones, together with the largest wall map made to date, both created by the German
cartographer Martin Waldseemller in Saint-Di-des-Vosges in France.
These were the first maps to show the Americas as a land mass
separate from Asia. An accompanying book, Cosmographiae Introductio, anonymous but apparently written by Waldseemller's collaborator
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Map showing the dates of
independence from European powers.
Black signifies areas that are
dependent territories or parts of
countries with a capital outside the
World map of Waldseemller
(Germany, 1507), which first used
the name America (in the lower-left
section, over South America)
Matthias Ringmann,
states, "I do not see what right any one
would have to object to calling this part [that is, the South
American mainland], after Americus who discovered it and who
is a man of intelligence, Amerigen, that is, the Land of
Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their
names from women". Americus Vespucius is the Latinized
version of the Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci's name,
and America is the feminine form of Americus. Amerigen is
explained as Amerigo plus gen, the accusative case of the Greek
word for 'earth', and meaning 'land of Amerigo'.
etymology.) Amerigo itself is an Italian form of the medieval
Latin Emericus (see also Saint Emeric of Hungary), which like
the German form Heinrich (in English, Henry) derives from the
Old High German name Haimirich.
Vespucci was apparently unaware of the use of his name to refer to the new landmass, as
Waldseemller's maps did not reach Spain until a few years after his death.
Ringmann may have
been misled into crediting Vespucci by the widely published Soderini Letter, a sensationalized version
of one of Vespucci's actual letters reporting on the mapping of the South American coast, which
glamorized his discoveries and implied that he had recognized that South America was a continent
separate from Asia; in fact, it is not known what Vespucci believed on this count, and he may have died
believing what Columbus had, that they had reached the East Indies in Asia rather than a new
Spain officially refused to accept the name America for two centuries, saying that
Columbus should get credit, and Waldseemller's later maps, after Ringmann's death, did not include it;
however, usage was established when Gerardus Mercator applied the name to the entire New World in
his 1538 world map. Acceptance may have been aided by the "natural poetic counterpart" that the name America made with Asia, Africa, and
In modern English, North and South America are generally considered separate continents, and taken together are called the Americas in the
plural, parallel to similar situations such as the Carolinas. When conceived as a unitary continent, the form is generally the continent of
America in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular America commonly refers in English to the United States of
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Aconcagua, the highest peak in the
The northernmost point of the Americas is Kaffeklubben Island, which is the most northerly point of land on Earth.
The southernmost point
is the islands of Southern Thule, although they are sometimes considered part of Antarctica.
The mainland of the Americas is the world's
longest north-to-south landmass. The distance between its two polar extremities, the Boothia Peninsula in northern Canada and Cape Froward
in Chilean Patagonia, is roughly 14,000 km (8,700 mi).
The mainland's most westerly point is the end of the Seward Peninsula in Alaska;
Attu Island, further off the Alaskan coast to the west, is considered the westernmost point of the Americas. Ponta do Seixas in northeastern
Brazil forms the easternmost extremity of the mainland,
while Nordostrundingen, in Greenland, is the most easterly point of the continental
South America broke off from the west of the supercontinent Gondwana around 135 million years ago, forming its own continent.
15 million years ago, the collision of the Caribbean Plate and the Pacific Plate resulted in the emergence of a series of volcanoes along the
border that created a number of islands. The gaps in the archipelago of Central America filled in with material eroded off North America and
South America, plus new land created by continued volcanism. By three million years ago, the continents of North America and South
America were linked by the Isthmus of Panama, thereby forming the single landmass of the Americas.
The Great American Interchange
resulted in many species being spread across the Americas, such as the cougar, porcupine, opossums, armadillos and hummingbirds.
The geography of the western Americas is dominated by the American cordillera, with the Andes
running along the west coast of South America
and the Rocky Mountains and other North American
Cordillera ranges running along the western side of North America.
The 2,300-kilometer-long
(1,400 mi) Appalachian Mountains run along the east coast of North America from Alabama to
North of the Appalachians, the Arctic Cordillera runs along the eastern coast of
The ranges with the highest peaks are the Andes and Rocky Mountain ranges. Although high peaks
exist in the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range, on average there are not as many reaching a height
greater than 14,000 feet. In North America, the greatest number of fourteeners are in the United States,
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Climate zones of the Americas in the
Kppen climate classification system.
and more specifically in the U.S. state of Colorado. The highest peaks of the Americas are located in the Andes, with Aconcagua of Argentina
being the highest; in North America Mount McKinley (Denali) in the U.S. state of Alaska is the tallest.
Between its coastal mountain ranges, North America has vast flat areas. The Interior Plains spread over much of the continent, with low
The Canadian Shield covers almost 5 million km of North America and is generally quite flat.
Similarly, the north-east of South
America is covered by the flat Amazon Basin.
The Brazilian Highlands on the east coast are fairly smooth but show some variations in
landform, while farther south the Gran Chaco and Pampas are broad lowlands.
The climate of the Americas varies significantly from region to region. Tropical rainforest climate
occurs in the latitudes of the Amazon, American cloud forests, Florida and Darien Gap. In the
Rocky Mountains and Andes, a similar climate is observed. Often the higher altitudes of these
mountains are snow-capped.
Southeastern North America is well known for its occurrence of tornadoes and hurricanes, of
which the vast majority of tornadoes occur in the United States' Tornado Alley.
Often parts of
the Caribbean are exposed to the violent effects of hurricanes. These weather systems are formed
by the collision of dry, cool air from Canada and wet, warm air from the Atlantic.
With coastal mountains and interior plains, the Americas have several large river basins that drain
the continents. The largest river basin in North America is that of the Mississippi, covering the
second largest watershed on the planet.
The Mississippi-Missouri river system drains most of
31 states of the U.S., most of the Great Plains, and large areas between the Rocky and Appalachian
mountains. This river is the fourth longest in the world and tenth most powerful in the world.
In North America, to the east of the Appalachian Mountains, there are no major rivers but rather a
series of rivers and streams that flow east with their terminus in the Atlantic Ocean, such as the
Hudson River, Saint John River, and Savannah River. A similar instance arises with central Canadian rivers that drain into Hudson Bay; the
largest being the Churchill River. On the west coast of North America, the main rivers are the Colorado River, Columbia River, Yukon River,
Fraser River, and Sacramento River.
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The Colorado River drains much of the Southern Rockies and parts of the Great Basin and Range Province. The river flows approximately
1,450 miles (2,330 km) into the Gulf of California,
during which over time it has carved out natural phenomena such as the Grand Canyon
and created phenomena such as the Salton Sea. The Columbia is a large river, 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long, in central western North America
and is the most powerful river on the West Coast of the Americas. In the far northwest of North America, the Yukon drains much of the
Alaskan peninsula and flows 1,980 miles (3,190 km)
from parts of Yukon and the Northwest Territory to the Pacific. Draining to the Arctic
Ocean of Canada, the Mackenzie River drains waters from the Arctic Great Lakes of Arctic Canada, as opposed to the Saint-Laurence River
that drains the Great Lakes of Southern Canada into the Atlantic Ocean. The Mackenzie River is the largest in Canada and drains 1,805,200
square kilometres (697,000 sq mi).
The largest river basin in South America is that of the Amazon, which has the highest volume flow of any river on Earth.
The second
largest watershed of South America is that of the Paran River, which covers about 2.5 million km.
North America and South America began to developed a shared population of flora and fauna around 2.5 million years ago, when continental
drift brought the two continents into contact via the Isthmus of Panama. Initially, the exchange of biota was roughly equal, with North
American genera migrating into South America in about the same proportions as South American genera migrated into North America. This
exchange is known as the Great American Interchange. The exchange became lopsided after roughly a million years, with the total spread of
South American genera into North America far more limited in scope than the spread on North American genera into South America.
The total population of the Americas is about 951 million people and is divided as follows:
North America: 565 million (includes Central America and the Caribbean)
South America: 386 million
Largest urban centers
There are three urban centers that each hold titles for being the largest population area based on the three main demographic concepts:
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City proper
A city proper is the locality with legally fixed boundaries and an administratively recognized urban status that is usually characterized by
some form of local government.
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas
may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets. Urban
areas are created and further developed by the process of urbanization and do not include large swaths or rural land, as do metropolitan
Metropolitan area
Unlike an urban area, a metropolitan area includes not only the urban area, but also satellite cities plus intervening rural land that is
socio-economically connected to the urban core city, typically by employment ties through commuting, with the urban core city being
the primary labor market.
In accordance with these definitions, the three largest population centers in the Americas are: Mexico City, anchor to the largest metropolitan
area in the Americas; New York City, anchor to the largest urban area in the Americas; and So Paulo, the largest city proper in the Americas.
All three cities maintain Alpha classification and large scale influence.
Urban Centers within the Americas
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So Paulo Largest city proper in the
Americas with a population of
10,886,534 in 2010.

New York City Largest urban area in
the Americas with a population of
18,351,295 in 2010.

Mexico City Largest metropolitan area
in the Americas with a population of
20,116,842 in 2010.
Country City City Population Metro Area Population
Colombia Bogot
Peru Lima
Mexico Mexico City
United States New York City
Brazil So Paulo
The population of the Americas is made up of the descendants of four large ethnic groups and their combinations.
The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, being Amerindians, Inuit, and Aleuts.
Those of European ancestry, mainly Spanish, British and Irish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Polish, German, Dutch, Russians and
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Those of African ancestry, mainly of West African descent.
Asians, that is, those of Eastern, South, and Southeast Asian ancestry.
Mestizos, those of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry.
Metis people, those of mixed European and Native American/First Nations ethnic ancestry in the United States and Canada.
Mulattoes, people of mixed African and European ancestry.
Zambos (Spanish) or Cafusos (Portuguese), those of mixed African and Amerindian ancestry.
The majority of the population live in Latin America, named for its predominant cultures, rooted in Latin Europe (including the two dominant
languages, Spanish and Portuguese, both Romance languages), more specifically in the Iberian nations of Portugal and Spain (hence the use of
the term Ibero-America as a synonym). Latin America is typically contrasted with Anglo-America, where English, a Germanic language, is
prevalent, and which comprises Canada (with the exception of francophone Canada rooted in Latin Europe [France]see Qubec and Acadia)
and the United States. Both countries are located in North America, with cultures deriving predominantly from Anglo-Saxon and other
Germanic roots.
The most prevalent faiths in the Americas are as follows:
Christianity (North America: 85 percent; South America: 93 percent)
Roman Catholicism (practiced by 88 percent of the Mexican population;
approximately 74 percent of the population of Brazil,
whose Roman Catholic population of 182 million is the greatest of any nation's;
approximately 24 percent of the United States'
and more than 40 percent of all of Canadians)
Protestantism (practiced mostly in the United States, where half of the population are Protestant, and Canada, with slightly more
than a quarter of the population; there is a growing contingent of Evangelical and Pentecostal movements in predominantly
Catholic Latin America)
Eastern Orthodoxy (found mostly in the United States and Canada1 percent of the U.S. citizenry; this Christian group is
growing faster than many other Christian groups in Canada and now represents roughly 3 percent of the Canadian population)
Non-denominational Christians and other Christians (some 1,000 different Christian denominations and sects practiced in the
Irreligion (includes atheists and agnostics, as well as those who profess some form of spirituality but do not identify themselves as
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Languages spoken in the Americas
members of any organized religion)
Islam (practiced by 2 percent of Canadians [580,000 persons]
and 0.6 percent of the U.S. population [1,820,000 persons
Together, Muslims constitute about 1 percent of the North American population and 0.3 percent of all Latin Americans. Argentina has
the largest Muslim population in Latin America with up to 600,000 persons, or 1.9 percent of the population.
Judaism (practiced by 2 percent of North Americansapproximately 2.5 percent of the U.S. population and 1.2 percent of Canadians
and 0.23 percent of Latin AmericansArgentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America with 200,000 members)
Other faiths include Buddhism; Hinduism; Sikhism; Bah' Faith; a wide variety of indigenous religions, many of which can be categorized as
animistic; new age religions and many African and African-derived religions. Syncretic faiths can also be found throughout the continent.
Various languages are spoken in the Americas. Some are of European origin, others are spoken by
indigenous peoples or are the mixture of various idioms like the different creoles.
The dominant language of Latin America is Spanish, though the most populous nation in Latin
America, Brazil, speaks Portuguese. Small enclaves of French-, Dutch- and English-speaking regions
also exist in Latin America, notably in French Guiana, Suriname, and Belize and Guyana respectively,
and Haitian Creole, of French origin, is dominant in the nation of Haiti. Native languages are more
prominent in Latin America than in Anglo-America, with Nahuatl, Quechua, Aymara and Guaran as
the most common. Various other native languages are spoken with less frequency across both Anglo-
America and Latin America. Creole languages other than Haitian Creole are also spoken in parts of
Latin America.
The dominant language of Anglo-America is English. French is also official in Canada, where it is the
predominant language in Quebec and an official language in New Brunswick along with English. It is
also an important language in Louisiana, and in parts of New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. Spanish
has kept an ongoing presence in the Southwestern United States, which formed part of the Viceroyalty
of New Spain, especially in California and New Mexico, where a distinct variety of Spanish spoken
since the 17th century has survived. It has more recently become widely spoken in other parts of the United States due to heavy immigration
from Latin America. High levels of immigration in general have brought great linguistic diversity to Anglo-America, with over 300 languages
known to be spoken in the United States alone, but most languages are spoken only in small enclaves and by relatively small immigrant
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Subdivisions of the Americas
Map Legend
North America (NA)
South America (SA)
May be included in

North America (NA)
May be included in NA
Central America
South America
North America (NA)
May be included in NA
The nations of Guyana, Suriname, and Belize are generally considered not to fall into either Anglo-America or Latin America due to lingual
differences with Latin America, geographic differences with Anglo-America, and cultural and historical differences with both regions; English
is the primary language of Guyana and Belize, and Dutch is the official and written language of Suriname.
Most of the non-native languages have, to different degrees, evolved differently from the mother country, but are usually still mutually
intelligible. Some have combined, however, which has even resulted in completely new languages, such as Papiamento, which is a
combination of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch (representing the respective colonizers), native Arawak, various African languages, and, more
recently English. The lingua franca Portuol, a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, is spoken in the border regions of Brazil and neighboring
Spanish-speaking countries.
More specifically, Riverense Portuol is spoken by around 100,000 people in the border regions of Brazil and
Uruguay. Due to immigration, there are many communities where other languages are spoken from all parts of the world, especially in the
United States, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguayvery important destinations for immigrants.
Speakers of English generally refer to the landmasses of North America and South America
as the Americas, the Western Hemisphere, or the New World.
The adjective American
may be used to indicate something pertains to the Americas,
but this term is primarily used
in English to indicate something pertains to the United States.
Some non-ambiguous
alternatives exist, such as the adjective Pan-American,
or New Worlder as a demonym for
a resident of the Americas.
Use of America in the hemispherical sense is sometimes
retained, or can occur when translated from other languages.
For example, the
Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in Paris maintains a single
continental association for "America", represented by one of the five Olympic rings.
The English-language use of "American" as the demonym for citizens of the United States
has caused offense to some from Latin America
who may identify themselves with the
term "American" and feel that using the term solely for the United States misappropriates
To avoid this usage, they prefer constructed terms in their languages derived from
"United States" or even "North America".
In Canada, its southern neighbor is
often referred to as "the United States", "the U.S.A.", or (informally) "the States," while
either NA or SA
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Northern America
Middle America (MA)
Caribbean (may be

South America (SA)
May be included

Anglo-America (A-A)
May be included in A-A
Latin America (LA)
May be included in LA
citizens are generally referred to as Americans.
Most Canadians resent being referred to as
but some are said to have protested the use of American as a national
In Spanish, Amrica is a single continent composed of the subcontinents of Sudamrica and
Norteamrica, the land bridge of Centroamrica, and the islands of the Antillas. Americano
or americana in Spanish refers to a person from Amrica in a similar way that europeo or
europea refers to a person from Europa. The terms sudamericano/a, centroamericano/a,
antillano/a and norteamericano/a can be used to more specifically refer to the location where
a person may live.
Citizens of the United States of America are normally referred to by the term estadounidense
(rough literal translation: "United Statesian") instead of americano or americana which is
and the country's name itself is officially translated as Estados Unidos
de Amrica (United States of America), commonly abbreviated as Estados Unidos.
the term norteamericano (North American) may refer to a citizen of the United States. This term is primarily used to refer to citizens of the
United States, and less commonly to those of other North American countries.
In Portuguese, Amrica
is a single continent composed of Amrica do Sul (South America) and Amrica do Norte (North America).
Amrica can be used as synonym for the United States of America, but is avoided in print and formal environments. The United States is called
either Estados Unidos da Amrica (i.e. United States of America) or Estados Unidos
or simply EUA.
Terms estado-unidense, estadunidense, (resembling Spanish language estadounidense, rough literal translation: "United Statesian") americano
(American), norte-americano
(North American) or Ianque
(Yankee or Yank) can be used to refer to the citizens of the United States.
included in MA)
in MA or SA
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In French the word amricain may be used for things relating to the Americas, however, similar to English, it is most often used for things
relating to the United States. Panamricain may be used as an adjective to refer to the Americas without ambiguity.
French speakers may
use the noun Amrique to refers to the whole landmass as one continent, or two continents, Amrique du Nord and Amrique du Sud. In
French, Amrique is also used to refer to the United States, making the term ambiguous. Similar to English usage, les Amriques or des
Amriques is used to refer unambiguously to the Americas.
In Dutch, the word Amerika mostly refers to the United States. Although the United States is equally often referred to as de Verenigde Staten
or de VS, Amerika relatively rarely refers to the Americas, but it is the only commonly used Dutch word for the Americas. This often leads to
ambiguity; and to stress that something concerns the Americas as a whole, Dutch uses a combination, namely Noord- en Zuid-Amerika (North
and South America).
Latin America is generally referred to as Latijns Amerika or Midden-Amerika for Central America.
The adjective Amerikaans is most often used for things or people relating to the United States. There are no alternative words to distinguish
between things relating to the United States or to the Americas. Dutch uses the local alternative for things relating to elsewhere in the
Americas, such as Argentijns for Argentine, etc.
Countries and territories
There are 35 sovereign states in the Americas, as well as an autonomous country of Denmark, three overseas departments of France, three
overseas collectivities of France,
and one uninhabited territory of France, eight overseas territories of the United Kingdom, three
constituent countries of the Netherlands, three public bodies of the Netherlands, two unincorporated territories of the United States, and one
uninhabited territory of the United States.
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 17/33
CIA political map of the Americas in
Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 18/33
Country or territory
[note 1]
(per km)
Languages (official in bold) Capital
Gross Domestic
Product (Purchasing
Power Parity) USD
Anguilla (United
91 13,452 164.8 English The Valley $175,400,000
Antigua and Barbuda 442 86,295 199.1
St. John's $1,605,000,000
Argentina 2,766,890 42,669,500 14.3 Spanish
Aruba (Netherlands) 180 101,484 594.4
Papiamentu, Spanish,
Oranjestad $2,516,000,000
Bahamas, The 13,943 351,461 24.5
Nassau $11,240,000,000
Barbados 430 285,000 595.3
Bridgetown $7,169,000,000
Belize 22,966 349,728 13.4
Spanish, Kriol, English
Belmopan $3,048,000,000
Bermuda (United
54 64,237 1,203.7 English Hamilton $5,600,000,000
Bolivia 1,098,580 10,027,254 8.4
Spanish, Quechua, Aymara,
35 additional indigenous
La Paz and
294 12,093 41.1
Papiamentu, Spanish,
[126] Kralendijk
Brazil 8,514,877 203,106,000 23.6 Portuguese Braslia $2,423,000,000,000
British Virgin Islands
(United Kingdom)
151 29,537 152.3 English Road Town $500,000,000
Canada 9,984,670 35,427,524 3.4 English, French Ottawa $1,526,000,000,000
Cayman Islands
(United Kingdom)
264 55,456 212.1 English
756,950 17,773,000 22 Spanish Santiago $334,800,000,000
Clipperton Island
0.0 No $0
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 19/33
Colombia 1,138,910 47,757,000 40 Spanish Bogot $527,600,000,000
Costa Rica 51,100 4,667,096 89.6 Spanish San Jos $45,130,000,000
Cuba 109,886 11,167,325 102.0 Spanish Havana $121,000,000,000
444 150,563 317.1
Papiamentu, Dutch
Willemstad $2,838,000,000
Dominica 751 71,293 89.2
French Patois, English
Roseau $1,018,000,000
Dominican Republic 48,671 10,378,267 207.3 Spanish
Ecuador 283,560 15,819,400 53.8
Spanish, Quechua
Quito $159,000,000,000
El Salvador 21,041 6,401,240 293.0 Spanish
Falkland Islands
(United Kingdom)
12,173 3,000 0.26 English Port Stanley $164,500,000
French Guiana
91,000 237,549 2.7 French Cayenne
2,166,086 56,483 0.026 Greenlandic, Danish
Grenada 344 103,328 302.3 English St. George's $1,467,000,000
Guadeloupe (France) 1,628 405,739 246.7 French Basse-Terre
Guatemala 108,889 15,806,675 128.8
Spanish, Garifuna and 23
Mayan languages
Guyana 214,999 784,894 3.5 English Georgetown $6,256,000,000
Haiti 27,750 10,745,665 361.5 Creole, French
Honduras 112,492 8,555,072 66.4 Spanish Tegucigalpa $38,420,000,000
Jamaica 10,991 2,717,991 247.4 Patois, English Kingston $25,620,000,000
Martinique (France) 1,128 392,291 352.6 Patois,
Mexico 1,964,375 119,713,203 57.1
Spanish, 68 indigenous
Mexico City $1,843,000,000,000
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 20/33
Montserrat (United
102 4,922 58.8
Creole English, English
Navassa Island
(United States)
0.0 No $0
Nicaragua 130,373 6,071,045 44.1 Spanish Managua $27,100,000,000
Panama 75,417 3,405,813 45.8 Spanish
Paraguay 406,750 6,783,374 15.6 Guaran, Spanish Asuncin $41,550,000,000
Peru 1,285,220 30,814,175 22 Spanish, Quechua, Aymara Lima $344,200,000,000
Puerto Rico (United
8,870 3,615,086 448.9 Spanish, English San Juan $127,000,000,000
Saba (Netherlands) 13
118.2 English, Dutch The Bottom
Saint Barthlemy
354.7 French Gustavia
Saint Kitts and Nevis 261 55,000 199.2 English Basseterre $946,300,000
Saint Lucia 539 180,000 319.1 English, French Creole Castries $2,233,000,000
Saint Martin (France)
36,979 552.2 French Marigot $561,500,000
Saint Pierre and
Miquelon (France)
242 6,081 24.8 French Saint-Pierre $215,300,000
Saint Vincent and the
389 109,000 280.2 English Kingstown $1,312,000,000
Sint Eustatius
130.4 Dutch, English Oranjestad
Sint Maarten
34 37,429 1,176.7 English, Spanish, Dutch Philipsburg $798,300,000
South Georgia and
South Sandwich Islands
(United Kingdom)
3,093 20 0.01 English Grytviken
Suriname 163,270 534,189 3
Dutch, Hindi-Urdu, Srana,
Paramaribo $6,874,000,000
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 21/33
Javanese, English Creole
Trinidad and Tobago 5,130 1,328,019 261.0 English
Port of
Turks and Caicos
Islands (United Kingdom)
948 31,458 34.8 Creole English, English
United States
[note 2]
9,629,091 318,690,000 34.2 English, Spanish
United States Virgin
Islands (United States)
347 106,405 317.0
English, Spanish
Uruguay 176,220 3,286,314 19.4 Spanish Montevideo $54,670,000,000
Venezuela 916,445 30,206,307 30.2
Spanish and 40 indigenous
Caracas $407,900,000,000
Total 42,320,985 953,700,000 21.9 $24,864,000,000,000
Multinational organizations in the Americas
Alliance for Progress
American Capital of Culture
Andean Community of Nations
Association of Caribbean States
Bank of the South
Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas
Caribbean Community
CARICOM Single Market and Economy
Central American Common Market
Central American Parliament
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
Contadora Group
Free Trade Area of the Americas
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 22/33
See also
Latin American Free Trade Agreement
Latin American Parliament or (Parlatino)
List of Parliamentary Speakers in the Americas in 1984
Mercosur or Mercosul
North American Free Trade Agreement
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Organization of American States
Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
Organization of Ibero-American States
Pan American Sports Organization
Regional Security System
Rio Group
School of the Americas
Summit of the Americas
Union of South American Nations
YOA Orchestra of the Americas
Amerrique Mountains
British North America
Columbia (name)
Ethnic groups in Central America
List of former sovereign states
French America
La Merika
List of conflicts in the Americas
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 23/33
List of conflicts in the Americas
List of countries in the Americas by population
Middle America (Americas)
Monarchies in the Americas
New Sweden
Northern America
Southern Cone
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120. ^ Sara Louise Kras (2008). Antigua and Barbuda. Marshall Cavendish. p. 95. ISBN 0-7614-2570-5.
121. ^ "Aruba Census 2010 Languages spoken in the household" ( Central Bureau of
122. ^ Paul M. Lewis (2009). "Languages of Bahamas" ( Dallas: Ethnologue.
123. ^ Paul M. Lewis, ed. (2009). "Languages of Barbados" ( Dallas: Ethnologue: Languages of
the World.
124. ^ "Belize 2000 Housing and Population Census" (
&MODE=MAIN&BASE=CPVBLZ2000&MAIN=WebServerMain.inl). Belize Central Statistical Office. 2000. Retrieved June 24, 2011.
125. ^ La Paz is the administrative capital of Bolivia;
126. ^

"Households by the most spoken language in the household Population and Housing Census 2001" (
Central Bureau of Statistics.
127. ^ Includes Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean, a Chilean territory frequently reckoned in Oceania. Santiago is the administrative capital of Chile;
Valparaso is the site of legislative meetings.
128. ^



Land area figures taken from "The World Factbook: 2010 edition" (
factbook/fields/2147.html). Government of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
129. ^


These population estimates are for 2010, and are taken from "The World Factbook: 2010 edition" (
world-factbook/fields/2119.html). Government of the United States, Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
130. ^ Paul M. Lewis, M. Paul, ed. (2009). "Languages of Dominica" ( Dallas: Ethnologue:
Languages of the World. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
131. ^ David Levinson (1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 347. ISBN 1-57356-019-7.
132. ^ Claimed by Argentina.
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 32/33
Further reading
"Americas". The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online ( 2006. New York: Columbia University Press.
"Americas". Encyclopdia Britannica, 15th ed. 1986. (ISBN 0-85229-434-4) Chicago: Encyclopdia Britannica, Inc.
Burchfield, R. W. 2004. Fowler's Modern English Usage. ISBN 0-19-861021-1 Oxford University Press.
Churchill, Ward A Little Matter of Genocide ( 1997 City Lights Books ISBN 0-
Fee, Margery and McAlpine, J. 1997. Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage. (ISBN 0-19-541619-8) Toronto: Oxford University Press.
Kane, Katie Nits Make Lice: Drogheda, Sand Creek, and the Poetics of Colonial Extermination (
4371%28199921%2942%3C81%3ANMLDSC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-%23&size=LARGE) Cultural Critique, No. 42 (Spring, 1999), pp. 81103
doi:10.2307/1354592 (
Pearsall, Judy and Trumble, Bill., ed. 2002. Oxford English Reference Dictionary, 2nd ed. (rev.) (ISBN 0-19-860652-4) Oxford, UK: Oxford University
What's the difference between North, Latin, Central, Middle, South, Spanish and Anglo America?
( Geography at
External links
133. ^ Paul M. Lewis, ed. (2009). "Languages of Martinique" ( Dallas: Ethnologue.
134. ^ Paul M. Lewis, ed. (2009). "Languages of Montserrat" ( Dallas: Ethnologue.
135. ^ Due to ongoing activity of the Soufriere Hills volcano beginning in July 1995, much of Plymouth was destroyed and government offices were relocated
to Brades. Plymouth remains the de jure capital.
136. ^

Population estimates are taken from the Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands Antilles. "Statistical information: Population"
( Government of the Netherlands Antilles. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
137. ^ Claimed by Argentina; the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean are commonly associated with Antarctica (due to
proximity) and have no permanent population, only hosting a periodic contingent of about 100 researchers and visitors.
138. ^ Lewis, Paul (2009). "Languages of Suriname" ( Dallas, Texas: Ethnologue.
139. ^ Lewis, M. Paul (2009). "Languages of Turks and Caicos Islands" ( Ethnologue:
Languages of the World, Sixteenth edition. Dallas: SIL International.
10/14/2014 Americas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 33/33
Look up americas in
Wiktionary, the free
Media related to America at Wikimedia Commons
United Nations population data by latest available Census: 20082009
Organization of American States (
Council on Hemispheric Affairs (
Henry Gannett, Ernest Ingersoll, George Parker Winship and others (1905). "America". New International Encyclopedia.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Americas Supercontinents
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