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The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of
North North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydro ...

North
and
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
. The Americas make up most of the land in
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

Earth
's
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining ...
and comprise the
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
. Along with their associated islands, the Americas cover 8% of Earth's total surface area and 28.4% of its land area. The topography is dominated by the
American Cordillera The American Cordillera is a chain of mountain ranges (cordilleras) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, South America and Central America. It is also the backbone ...
, a long chain of mountains that runs the length of the west coast. The flatter eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the
Amazon Amazon usually refers to: * Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the ...

Amazon
,
St. Lawrence River The Saint Lawrence River is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. The Saint Lawrence River flows in a roughly north-easterly direction, connecting the Great Lakes File:Location of the Great Lakes in North America.jpg, upr ...
Great Lakes The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land Land ...

Great Lakes
basin,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...

Mississippi
, and
La Plata La Plata () is the capital city of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. According to the , it has a population of 793,144 and its metropolitan area, the Greater La Plata, has 987,294 inhabitants. La Plata was Planned city, planned and developed t ...
. Since the Americas extend from north to south, the climate and ecology vary widely, from the arctic
tundra In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα ...

tundra
of
Northern Canada Northern Canada, colloquially the North or the Territories, is the vast northernmost region of Canada variously defined by geography and politics. Politically, the term refers to the three territories of Canada The provinces and territories of ...

Northern Canada
,
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
, and
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
, to the
tropical rain forest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...

tropical rain forest
s in
Central America Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North North is one of the four compass points or ...

Central America
and South America. Humans first settled the Americas from
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
between 42,000 and 17,000 years ago. A second migration of followed later from Asia. The subsequent migration of the
Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is generally regarded as the settlement by the
indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas, also known as Amerindians or Indians, are the inhabitants of the before the arrival of the in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Although some of th ...
. The first known European settlement in the Americas was by the
Norse Norse is demonym for Norsemen, a medieval North Germanic ethnolinguistic group ancestral to modern Scandinavians, defined as speakers of Old Norse from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Norse may also refer to: Culture and religion * Norse m ...
explorer
Leif Erikson Leif Erikson, Leiv Eiriksson or Leif Ericson; Icelandic: ''Leifur Eiríksson''; Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation an ...
. However, the colonization never became permanent and was later abandoned. The Spanish
voyages of Christopher Columbus Between 1492 and 1504, Italian explorer led four maritime expeditions of discovery to the . These voyages led to the widespread knowledge of the . This breakthrough inaugurated the period known as the , which saw the , a related , and . These ...
from 1492 to 1504 resulted in permanent contact with European (and subsequently, other
Old World The Old World consists of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of 's total su ...
) powers, which eventually led to the
Columbian exchange#REDIRECT Columbian exchange native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Citrus (Rutaceae); 2. Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple fruit tree, trees are agriculture, cultivated worldwid ...
and inaugurated a period of
exploration Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery Discovery may refer to: * Discovery (observation) Discovery is the act of detecting something new, or something previously unrecognized as meaningful. With reference to scien ...
, conquest, and colonization whose effects and consequences persist to the present. The Spanish presence involved the
enslavement Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made ...
of large numbers of the indigenous population of America. Diseases introduced from
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

Europe
and
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania ...

West Africa
devastated the indigenous peoples, and the European powers colonized the Americas. Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of
indentured servant Indentured servitude is a form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. The contract, called an "indenture", may be entered voluntarily for eventual compensation or debt repayment, or it may be ...
s, and importation of African slaves largely replaced the indigenous peoples.
Decolonization of the Americas Decolonization of the Americas refers to the process by which the countries in the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America South America is a cont ...
began with the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
in the 1770s and largely ended with the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
in the late 1890s. Currently, almost all of the population of the Americas resides in independent countries; however, the legacy of the colonization and settlement by Europeans is that the Americas share many common cultural traits, most notably
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
and the use of
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
: primarily
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
, French, and, to a lesser extent,
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
. The Americas are home to nearly a billion inhabitants, two-thirds of whom reside in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, and
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
. It is home to eight megacities (
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...

metropolitan area
s with ten million inhabitants or more):
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...
(23.9 million),
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbreviated as CDMX; nah, Āltepētl Mēxihco) is the capital city, capital and largest city of Mexico, as well as the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Americ ...
(21.2 million),
São Paulo São Paulo (, ; Portuguese for 'Saint Paul') is a city in the Southeast Region, Brazil, Southeast Region of Brazil. Listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, GaWC as an global city, alpha global city, the Municipalities of ...
(21.2 million),
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; xgf, Tovaangar; es, Los Ángeles, , ), commonly referred to by the initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be u ...
(18.8 million),
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or cap ...
(15.6 million),
Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro (; ), or simply Rio, is the List of largest cities in Brazil, second-most populous city in Brazil and the Largest cities in the Americas, sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the Rio de Janeiro (s ...
(13.0 million),
Bogotá Bogotá (, also , , ), officially Bogotá, Distrito Capital, abbreviated Bogotá, D.C., and formerly known as Santa Fe de Bogotá during the Spanish period and between 1991 and 2000, is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Colombia, a ...
(10.4 million), and
Lima Lima ( ; ) is the capital and the largest city of Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_t ...
(10.1 million).


Etymology and naming

The name America was first recorded in 1507. A two-dimensional globe created by Martin Waldseemüller was the earliest recorded use of the term. The name was also used (together with the related term ''Amerigen'') in the ''
Cosmographiae Introductio ''Cosmographiae Introductio'' ("Introduction to Cosmography"; Saint-Dié, 1507) is a book that was published in 1507 to accompany Martin Waldseemüller's printed globe and wall-map ('' Universalis Cosmographia''). The book and map contain the fir ...
'', apparently written by
Matthias Ringmann Matthias Ringmann (1482–1511), also known as Philesius Vogesigena, was an Alsatian German humanist scholar, cosmographer, and poet. Along with cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, he is credited with the first documented usage of the word Americ ...
, in reference to South America. It was applied to both North and South America by
Gerardus Mercator Gerardus Mercator (; 5 March 1512 – 2 December 1594) was a 16th-century geographer A geographer is a physical scientist, social scientist or humanist whose area of study is geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', lite ...

Gerardus Mercator
in 1538. America derives from ''Americus'', the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
version of Italian explorer
Amerigo Vespucci Amerigo Vespucci (; ; 9 March 1451 – 22 February 1512) was an Italian-born merchant, explorer, and navigator from the Republic of Florence, from whose name the term " America" is derived. He became a Castillian citizen in 1505. Between 1 ...

Amerigo Vespucci
's first name. The feminine form ''America'' accorded with the feminine names of
Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the cont ...

Asia
,
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
, and
Europa Europa may refer to: Places *Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regard ...

Europa
.Toby Lester, "Putting America on the Map", ''Smithsonian'', 40:9 (December 2009) In modern English, North and South America are generally considered separate continents, and taken together are called ''the Americas'', or more rarely ''America''."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 33: "[16c: from the feminine of ''Americus'', the Latinized first name of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512). The name ''America'' first appeared on a map in 1507 by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, referring to the area now called Brazil]. Since the 16c, a name of the western hemisphere, often in the plural ''Americas'' and more or less synonymous with ''the New World''. Since the 18c, a name of the United States of America. The second sense is now primary in English: ... However, the term is open to uncertainties: ..." When conceived as a unitary continent, the form is generally ''the continent of America'' in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular ''America'' in English commonly refers to the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States of America
. Historically, in the English-speaking world, the term America usually referred to a single continent until the 1950s (as in Van Loon's ''Geography'' of 1937): According to historians Kären Wigen and Martin W. Lewis,


History


Pre-Columbian era

The
pre-Columbian era In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the Late Stone Age The Later Stone Age (LS ...
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 The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the is the third and last subdivision of the or Old . Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and years ago (the beginning of the ), according to some theories coinciding with the ...
to
European colonization The historical phenomenon of colonization is one that stretches around the globe and across time. Ancient and medieval colonialism was practiced by the Phoenicians, the Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ...
during the
Early Modern period The early modern period of modern history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, and since the History of writing, adve ...
. The term ''Pre-Columbian'' is used especially often in the context of the great indigenous civilizations of the Americas, such as those of
Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics (physical geography), human impact characteristics (human geography), and the interaction of humanity and the ...
(the
Olmec The Olmecs () were the earliest known major Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western ...
, the
Toltec The Toltec culture () is a pre-Columbian era, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture that ruled a state centered in Tula (Mesoamerican site), Tula, Hidalgo (state), Hidalgo, Mexico in the early post-classic period of Mesoamerican chronology (ca. 90 ...
, the Teotihuacano, the
Zapotec Zapotec () or zapoteca may refer to: Cultures and languages * Zapotec civilization, a historical indigenous pre-Columbian civilization and archaeological culture of central Mexico * Zapotec languages, a group of closely related indigenous Mesoamer ...
, the
Mixtec The Mixtecs (), or Mixtecos, are indigenous Mesoamerica Mesoamerica is a historical and important region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteris ...
, the
Aztec The Aztecs () were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different Indigenous peoples of Mexico, ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those g ...

Aztec
, and the
Maya Maya may refer to: Civilizations * Maya peoples The Maya peoples () are an ethnolinguistic group of indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are cu ...
) and the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
(
Inca The Inca Empire, also Quechuan and Aymaran spelling shift, known as Incan Empire and the Inka Empire, and at the time known as the Realm of the Four Parts,,  "four parts together" was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The admin ...
, Moche,
Muisca The Muisca (also called Chibcha) are an indigenous peoples of Colombia, indigenous people and Pre-Columbian cultures of Colombia, culture of the Altiplano Cundiboyacense, Colombia, that formed the Muisca Confederation before the Spanish conqu ...
,
Cañari The Cañari (in Kichwa Kichwa (''Kichwa shimi,'' ''Runashimi,'' also Spanish ''Quichua'') is a Quechuan language that includes all Quechua varieties of Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''Ikwayur''; Shuar language, Sh ...
s). Many pre-Columbian
civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concep ...

civilization
s 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 15th–early 16th centuries), and are known only through
archeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance into smaller parts in order to gain a better understanding of it. The technique h ...
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.


Settlement

The first inhabitants migrated into the Americas from Asia. Habitation sites are known in
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

Alaska
and the
Yukon Yukon ( ; ; formerly called Yukon Territory and sometimes referred to as The Yukon) is the smallest and westernmost of Canada's three territories. It also is the least populated province or territory in Canada, with a population of 35,874 peo ...

Yukon
from at least 20,000 years ago, with suggested ages of up to 40,000 years. Beyond that, the specifics of the
Paleo-Indian Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a ...
migration to and throughout the Americas, including the dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. Widespread habitation of the Americas occurred during the
late glacial maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets In glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glac ...

late glacial maximum
, from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago. The traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into the
Beringia Beringia is defined today as the land and maritime area bounded on the west by the Lena River in Russia; on the east by the Mackenzie River in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territori ...
land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska around 40,000–17,000 years ago, when sea levels were significantly lowered during the
Quaternary glaciation The Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Pleistocene glaciation, is an alternating series of glacial A glacial period (alternatively glacial or glaciation) is an interval of time (thousands of years) within an ice age#REDIRECT Ice age {{ ...
. These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct
pleistocene megafauna Pleistocene megafauna is the set of large animals that lived on Earth during the Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, ...
along ''ice-free corridors'' that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using , they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a
sea level rise Tide gauge measurements show that the current global sea level rise began at the start of the 20th century. Between 1900 and 2017, the globally averaged sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloqu ...

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. A second migration occurred after the initial peopling of the Americas; Na-Dene languages, Na Dene speakers found predominantly in North American groups at varying genetic rates with the highest frequency found among the Athabaskan languages, Athabaskans at 42% derive from this second wave. Linguists and biologists have reached a similar conclusion based on analysis of Indigenous languages of the Americas, Amerindian language groups and ABO blood group system distributions. 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 moved into North America. The Arctic small tool tradition, a Paleo-Eskimo culture branched off into two cultural variants, including the Pre-Dorset, and the Independence II culture, Independence traditions of Greenland. The descendants 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 Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
, the Thule people, by 1000 Common Era (CE).


Norse colonization

Around the same time as the Inuit migrated into Greenland, Viking settlers began arriving in
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
in 982 and Vinland shortly thereafter, establishing a settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland. Contact between the Norse colonies and Europe was maintained, as James Watson Curran points out:
From 985 to 1410, Greenland was in touch with the world. Then silence. In 1492 the Holy See, Vatican noted that no news of that country "at the end of the world" had been received for 80 years, and the bishopric of the colony was offered to a certain ecclesiastic if he would go and "restore Christianity" there. He didn't go.


Large-scale European colonization

Although there had been previous Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact theories, 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, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, 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. Santo Domingo was subject to frequent raids by English and French Piracy in the Caribbean, pirates. During most of the 18th century, however, privateers from Santo Domingo were the scourge of the Antilles, with Dutch, British, French and Danish vessels as their prizes. On the continent, Panama City on the Pacific coast of Central America, founded on August 15, 1519, played an important role, being the base for the Spanish conquest of South America. Conquistador Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón established San Miguel de Guadalupe, the first European settlement in what is now the United States, on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina. During the first half of the 16th century, Spanish colonists conducted raids throughout the Caribbean Basin, bringing captives from Central America, northern South America, and Florida back to Hispaniola and other Spanish settlements. France, led by Jacques Cartier and Giovanni da Verrazano, focused primarily on North America. English explorations of the Americas were led by John Cabot, Giovanni Caboto and Sir Walter Raleigh. The Dutch in New Netherland confined their operations to Manhattan Island, Long Island, the Hudson River Valley, and what later became New Jersey. The spread of new diseases brought by Europeans and African slaves killed many of the inhabitants of North America and South America, with a general Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, population crash of Native Americans occurring in the mid-16th century, often well ahead of European contact. One of the most devastating diseases was smallpox. 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 Slavery, slaves, prisoners or
indentured servant Indentured servitude is a form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. The contract, called an "indenture", may be entered voluntarily for eventual compensation or debt repayment, or it may be ...
s.
Decolonization of the Americas Decolonization of the Americas refers to the process by which the countries in the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America South America is a cont ...
began with the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
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 Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, Peru, and Bolivia gained independence from Spain and Portugal in armed revolutions. After the Dominican War of Independence, 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 decolonization was the Cuban War of Independence which became the
Spanish–American War The Spanish–American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898, es, Guerra hispano-estadounidense or ; fil, Digmaang Espanyol-Amerikano) was an armed conflict War is an intense armed conflict between State (polity), states, governments, S ...
, which resulted in the independence of Cuba in 1898, and the transfer of sovereignty over Puerto Rico from Spain to the United States. Peaceful decolonization began with the purchase by the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
of Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana from France in 1803, Adams–Onís Treaty, Florida from Spain in 1819, of Alaska purchase, Alaska from Russia in 1867, and the Treaty of the Danish West Indies, 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 Newfoundland Act, confederated with Canada in 1949. The remaining European colonies in the Caribbean began to achieve peaceful independence well after World War II. Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago 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.


Geography


Extent

The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere. 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, Murchison Promontory on the Boothia Peninsula in northern Canada and Cape Froward in Chilean Patagonia, is roughly . 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 shelf.


Geology

South America broke off from the west of the supercontinent Gondwana around 135 million years ago, forming its own continent. Around 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, New World porcupine, porcupine, opossums, armadillos and hummingbirds.


Topography

The geography of the western Americas is dominated by the American cordillera, with the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

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 Appalachian Mountains run along the east coast of North America from Alabama to Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland. North of the Appalachians, the Arctic Cordillera runs along the eastern coast of Canada. The largest mountain ranges are the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
and Rocky Mountains. The Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range reach similar altitudes as the Rocky Mountains, but are significantly smaller. In North America, the greatest number of fourteeners are in the United States, and more specifically in the U.S. state of Colorado. The highest peaks of the Americas are located in the List of mountains in the Andes, Andes, with Aconcagua of Argentina being the highest; in North America Denali (Mount McKinley) in the U.S. state of
Alaska Alaska (; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Central Alaskan Yup'ik language, Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a U.S. state in the Western United States, on the northwest extremity of the country's West Coast of the United State ...

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 relief. The Canadian Shield covers almost 5 million km2 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.


Climate

The climate of the Americas varies significantly from region to region. Tropical rainforest climate occurs in the latitudes of the Amazon Rainforest, Amazon, American cloud forests, southeastern Florida and Darien Gap. In the Rocky Mountains and
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
, dry and continental climates are 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, as well as in the southerly Dixie Alley in the North American late-winter and early spring seasons. 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.


Hydrology

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 River, Mississippi, covering the second largest Drainage basin, 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 List of rivers by length, fourth longest in the world and List of rivers by discharge, 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 (Bay of Fundy), 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 (Hudson Bay), 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. The Colorado River drains much of the Southern Rockies and parts of the Basin and Range Province. The river flows approximately 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, 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 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-Lawrence River that drains the Great Lakes of Southern Canada into the Atlantic Ocean. The Mackenzie River is the largest in Canada and drains . The largest river basin in South America is that of the Amazon Basin, Amazon, which has the highest volume flow of any river on Earth. The second largest watershed of South America is that of the Paraná River, which covers about 2.5 million km2.


Ecology

North America and South America began to develop 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.


Countries and territories

There are 35 sovereign states in the Americas, as well as an Danish Realm, autonomous country of Denmark, three overseas departments of France, three Overseas collectivity, overseas collectivities of France, and one uninhabited territory of France, eight British Overseas Territories, overseas territories of the United Kingdom, three Kingdom of the Netherlands, constituent countries of the Netherlands, three Public body (Netherlands), public bodies of the Netherlands, two Territories of the United States, unincorporated territories of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, and one uninhabited territory of the United States.


Demography


Population

In 2015 the total population of the Americas was about 985 million people, divided as follows: * North America: 569 million (includes Central America and the Caribbean) * South America: 416 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: * 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 of rural land, as do metropolitan areas. * 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 São Paulo, the largest city proper in the Americas. All three cities maintain Global city#Alpha, Alpha classification and large scale influence. File:Mexico City Reforma skyline (cropped).jpg, Greater Mexico City, Mexico City – Largest metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of 22,300,000 in 2017 File:CENU, São Paulo, Brasil (cropped).jpg, São Paulo – Largest city in the Americas, with a population of 12,038,175 (city) in 2016 File:New York Skylines 10.JPG, New York metropolitan area, New York City – Largest urban area in the Americas, with a population of 18,351,295 in 2010


Ethnology

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 Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, ...
, and Aleut people, Aleuts. * Those of European ancestry, mainly Spanish, British and Irish, Portuguese people, Portuguese, Germans, German, Italians, Italian, French people, French and Dutch (ethnic group), Dutch. * Those of Afro-American peoples of the Americas, African ancestry, mainly of West African descent. * Asian people, Asians, that is, those of Eastern Asia, Eastern, South Asia, South, and Southeast Asian ancestry. * Mestizos (Metis people in Canada), those of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry. * Mulattoes, people of mixed African and European ancestry. * Zambos (Spanish) or Cafuzos (Portuguese), those of mixed African and Indigenous ancestry. The majority of the population live in Latin America, named for its predominant cultures, rooted in Romance-speaking Europe, Latin Europe (including the two dominant languages, Spanish and Portuguese language, Portuguese, both Romance languages), more specifically in the Iberian Peninsula, 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 Canadian French, francophone Canada rooted in Latin Europe [France]—see Québec and Acadia) and the United States. Both countries are located in North America, with cultures deriving predominantly from Anglo-Saxon and other Germanic peoples, Germanic roots.


Religion

The most prevalent faiths in the Americas are as follows: * Christianity (86 percent) ** Roman Catholicism: Practiced by 69 percent of the Latin American population, 81 percent in Mexico and 61 percent in Brazil whose Roman Catholic population of 134 million is the greatest of any nation's; approximately 24 percent of the United States' population and about 39 percent of Canada's. ** Protestantism: Practiced mostly in the United States, where half of the population are Protestant, Canada, with slightly more than a quarter of the population, and Greenland; there is a growing contingent of Evangelicalism, Evangelical and Pentecostal movements in predominantly Catholic Latin America. ** Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodoxy: Found mostly in the United States (1 percent) and Canada; 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 Christianity, Non-denominational Christians and other Christians (some 1,000 different Christian denominations and sects practiced in the Americas). * Irreligion: About 12 percent, including atheists and agnostics, as well as those who profess some form of spirituality but do not identify themselves as members of any organized religion. * Islam: Together, Muslims constitute about 1 percent of the North American population and 0.3 percent of all Latin Americans. It is practiced by 3 percent of Canadians and 0.6 percent of the U.S. population. Argentina has the largest Muslim population in Latin America with up to 600,000 persons, or 1.5 percent of the population. * Judaism (practiced by 2 percent of North Americans—approximately 2.5 percent of the U.S. population and 1.2 percent of Canadians—and 0.23 percent of Latin Americans—Argentina has the largest Jewish population in Latin America with 200,000 members) Other faiths include Buddhism; Hinduism; Sikhism; Baháʼí Faith; a wide variety of indigenous religions, many of which can be categorized as animistic; new age religions and many African traditional religion, African and African-derived religions. Syncretism, Syncretic faiths can also be found throughout the Americas.


Languages

Various languages are spoken in the Americas. Some are of European origin, others are spoken by indigenous peoples or are the mixture of various languages like the different creoles. The most widely spoken language in the Americas is Spanish language, Spanish. The dominant language of Latin America is Spanish, though the most populous nation in Latin America,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
, speaks Portuguese language, Portuguese. Small enclaves of French language, French-, Dutch language, Dutch- and
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
-speaking regions also exist in Latin America, notably in French Guiana, Suriname, and Belize and Guyana respectively. Haitian Creole is dominant in the nation of Haiti, where French is also spoken. Indigenous languages of the Americas, Native languages are more prominent in Latin America than in Anglo-America, with Nahuatl language, Nahuatl, Quechua languages, Quechua, Aymara language, Aymara and Guaraní language, Guaraní 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 Californio, California and New Mexico, where New Mexican Spanish, 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 The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
because of 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 groups. The nations of Guyana, Suriname, and Belize are generally considered not to fall into either Anglo-America or Latin America because of their language differences from Latin America, geographic differences from Anglo-America, and cultural and historical differences from both regions; English is the primary language of Guyana and Belize, and Dutch is the primary 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 peoples, Arawak, various African languages, and, more recently English. The lingua franca Portuñol, a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, is spoken in the border regions of Brazil and neighboring Spanish-speaking countries. More specifically, Riverense Portuñol language, Riverense Portuñol is spoken by around 100,000 people in the border regions of Brazil and Uruguay. Because of 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 Uruguay—very important destinations for immigrants.


Terminology


English

English language, Speakers of English generally refer to the landmasses of North America and South America as ''the Americas'', the ''
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere is the half of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining ...
'', or the ''
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
''.Burchfield, R. W. 2004. ''Fowler's Modern English Usage.'' () Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press; p. 48. The adjective ''American'' may be used to indicate something pertains to the Americas, but this term is primarily used in English to indicate something pertaining 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 closely related
New World The "New World" is a term for the majority of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The re ...
. 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. American essayist H.L. Mencken said, "The Latin-Americans use Norteamericano in formal writing, but, save in Panama, prefer nicknames in colloquial speech." quote at p 243. To avoid "American" one can use constructed terms in their languages derived from "United States" or even "North America"."America." ''Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage.'' () Fee, Margery and McAlpine, J., ed., 1997. Toronto: Oxford University Press; p. 36. In Canada, its southern neighbor is often referred to as "the United States", "the U.S.A.", or (informally) "the States", while U.S. citizens are generally referred to as "Americans". Most Canadians resent being referred to as "Americans".


Spanish

In Spanish, ''América'' is a single continent composed of the subcontinents of ''América del Sur'' and ''América del Norte'', the land bridge of ''América Central'', and the islands of the ''Antilles, Antillas''. ''Americano'' or ''americana'' in Spanish refers to a person from ''América'' in a similar way that in which ''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 discouraged, and the country's name itself is officially translated as ''Estados Unidos de América'' (United States of America), commonly abbreviated as ''Estados Unidos'' (EEUU). "debe evitarse el empleo de americano para referirse exclusivamente a los habitantes de los Estados Unidos" ("the use of the term ''americano'' referring exclusively to the United States inhabitants must be avoided") Also, 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.


Portuguese

In Portuguese, '':pt:América, América'' is a single continent composed of ''América do Sul'' (South America), ''América Central'' (Central America) and ''América do Norte'' (North America). It can be ambiguous, as ''América'' can be used to refer to the United States of America, but is avoided in print and formal environments.


French

In French the word ''américain'' 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, with the term ''états-unien'' sometimes used for clarity. ''Panaméricain'' may be used as an adjective to refer to the Americas without ambiguity. French speakers may use the noun ''Amérique'' to refer to the whole landmass as one continent, or two continents, ''Amérique du Nord'' and ''Amérique du Sud''. In French, ''Amérique'' is seldom used to refer to the United States, leading to some ambiguity when it is. Similar to English usage, ''les Amériques'' or ''des Amériques'' is used to refer unambiguously to the Americas.


Dutch

In Dutch, the word ''Amerika'' mostly refers to the United States. Although the United States is equally often referred to as ''de Verenigde Staten'' ("the United States") or ''de VS'' ("the US"), ''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 and Central America are generally referred to as ''Latijns Amerika'' and ''Midden-Amerika'' respectively. 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 people, Argentine, etc.


Multinational organizations

The following is a list of 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 * LAFTA, Latin American Free Trade Agreement * Latin American Parliament or (Parlatino) * 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 * Pacific Alliance * 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


Economy

Dominica, Panama and the Dominican Republic have the fastest-growing economy in the Americas according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
/ref> In 2016, five to seven countries in the southern part of the Americas had weakening economies in decline, compared to only three countries in the northern part of the Americas. Haiti has the lowest GDP per capita in the Americas, although its economy was growing slightly .


See also

* Amerrisque Mountains * * British North America * Columbia (name) * Ethnic groups in Central America * French America * Indigenous Peoples' Day * La Merika * List of conflicts in the Americas * List of former sovereign states * List of oldest buildings in the Americas * Monarchies in the Americas * New Sweden * Pan-Americanism * Pan-American Highway * Pan American Games * Personification of the Americas * Southern Cone


Notes


References


Further reading

* "Americas".
The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online
'. 2006. New York: Columbia University Press. * "Americas". ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', 15th ed. 1986. () Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. * Burchfield, R. W. 2004. ''Fowler's Modern English Usage.'' Oxford University Press. * Ward Churchill, Churchill, Ward
A Little Matter of Genocide
' 1997 City Lights Books * Fee, Margery and McAlpine, J. 1997. ''Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage.'' () Toronto: Oxford University Press. * * Pearsall, Judy and Trumble, Bill., ed. 2002. ''Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford English Reference Dictionary'', 2nd ed. (rev.) () Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
What's the difference between North, Latin, Central, Middle, South, Spanish and Anglo America?
Geography at about.com.


External links


United Nations population data by latest available Census: 2008–2009

Organization of American States

Council on Hemispheric Affairs
* {{Authority control Americas, Continents Supercontinents