North America• is the northern continent of the Americas, situated in the Earths northern hemisphere and in the western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the North Pacific Ocean; South America lies to the southeast.• North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 4.8% of the planets surface or about 16.5% of its land area. As of July 2008, its population was estimated at nearly 529 million people. It is the third-largest continent in area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth in population after Asia, Africa, and Europe.
History• As a result of the development of agriculture in the south, many important cultural advances were made there. For example, the Maya civilization developed a writing system, built huge pyramids and temples, had a complex calendar, and developed the concept of zero around 400 CE, a few hundred years after the Mesopotamians. The Mayan culture was still present when the Spanish arrived in Central America, but political dominance in the area had shifted to the Aztec Empire further north.• Upon the arrival of the Europeans in the "New World", Native American population declined substantially, primarily due to the introduction of European diseases to which the Native Americans lacked immunity. Native peoples found their culture changed drastically. As such, their affiliation with political and cultural groups changed as well, several linguistic groups went extinct, and others changed quite quickly. The names and cultures that Europeans recorded for the natives were not necessarily the same as the ones they had used a few generations before, or the ones in use today.
Geography• North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western Hemisphere, the Americas, or simply America (which is sometimes considered a single continent and North America a subcontinent). North Americas only land connection to South America is at the Isthmus of Panama. The continent is generally delimited on the southeast by the Darién watershed along the Colombia-Panama border, or at the Panama Canal; according to other sources, its southern limit is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico, with Central America tapering and extending southeastward to South America. Before the Central American isthmus was raised, the region had been underwater. The islands of the West Indies delineate a submerged former land bridge, which had connected North America and South America via what are now Florida and Venezuela. Much of North America is on the North American Plate.
Dialects/Language (s)• The prevalent languages in North America are English, Spanish, and French. The term Anglo-America is used to refer to the anglophone countries of the Americas: namely Canada (where English and French are co-official) and the United States, but also sometimes Belize and parts of the Caribbean. Latin America refers to the other areas of the Americas (generally south of the United States) where the Romance languages, derived from Latin, of Spanish and Portuguese (but French speaking countries are not usually included) predominate: the other republics of Central America (but not always Belize), part of the Caribbean (not the Dutch, English or French speaking areas), Mexico, and most of South America (except Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana (FR), and The Falkland Islands (UK).
• The French language has historically played a significant role in North America and retains a distinctive presence in some regions. Canada is officially bilingual. French is the official language of the Province of Quebec, where 95 % of the people speak it as either their first or second language, and it is co-official with English in the Province of New Brunswick.
• Panama• Paraguay• Peru• Saint Kitts and Nevis• Saint Lucia• Saint Vincent and the Grenadines• Suriname• Trinidad and Tobago• United States• Uruguay• Venezuela
Dependent territories• Anguilla • Aruba• Bajo Nuevo Bank• Bermuda• British Virgin Islands• Cayman Islands• Clipperton Island• Falkland Islands• French Guiana• Greenland• Guadeloupe• Martinique• Montserrat
• Navassa Island• Netherlands Antilles• Puerto Rico• Saint Barthélemy• Saint Martin• Saint Pierre and Miquelon• Serranilla Bank• South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands• Turks and Caicos Islands• United States Virgin Islands