What is America?

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What Does America Mean

We explain everything about America, its climate, flora, fauna and other characteristics. In addition, the countries that compose it and their culture.

America features the Rocky and Andes mountain ranges.

What is America?

America is the second largest continent of the four on the planet and due to its vast extension it is divided into three regions: North America, Central America and South America . It limits only with oceans (like Oceania, the smallest of the continents).

The continent was discovered by the Europeans in 1492 thanks to the Genoese Christopher Columbus who set sail with three caravels from the Port of Palos (Spain) and sailed for 71 days until he saw the mainland. However, Columbus died thinking that he had gone around the world and that he had reached an unknown territory on the Asian coasts.

Before that date, America was inhabited by great civilizations called "pre-Columbian", such as the Inca Empire , the Mesoamerican cultures of the Mayans , Aztecs , Zapotecs , Olmecs and Toltecs , among others.

Over the years, the inhabitants of the "old continent" (Europe, Africa and Asia, since Oceania had not yet been discovered), made trips by sea to Central America and were conquering various peoples, through strategies or through strength, and they called this territory the "New World."

Several sailors, including Américo Vespucio, Juan de la Cosa and Martín Waldseemüller, made different trips to the "New World" with the aim of expanding European trade .

In 1499 the Florentine Americo Vespucci was the first to suggest that it was a new land mass different from the Asian Indies, because it had a much larger and more diverse population than that of Asia, Africa or Europe. In honor of his deductions, the name of the continent came up.

See also: Latin America

Characteristics of America

In much of Canada, Alaska and Patagonia the climate is intense cold.

The American continent has an area of 14,000 kilometers , from Alaska (Canada) to Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) and has an area of 42,549,000 square kilometers (8.3% of the total land area ). It has long mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains in North America or the Andes in South America.

Next, we will describe the main characteristics of the climate, flora, fauna and culture of America:

America's climate

America is the continent with the greatest climatic variety due to its size and various factors such as water , wind and temperature . For example, the climate in the extreme north of the continent is sub-arctic or boreal, throughout the year.

In much of Canada and Alaska, and in the Patagonian region of Argentina in the extreme south of the continent, the climate is intense cold with snowfall during the winter season. In the regions furthest from the poles the warmest temperatures are registered , but there are also areas where it usually snows.

For example, in the northwest of Mexico: in the Sierra de Sinaloa and Chihuahua (which can be traveled through the Chihuahua Pacífico Railroad), in the forest of the Mexiquillo de Durango Natural Park, in the town of Sombrerete de Zacatecas and in the forests Monterreal de Coahuila.

In northern South America, the climate is warm and is classified as tropical, equatorial, and desert. In the central region of South America the temperate (or warm) climate predominates, which is classified as temperate oceanic (close to the coast) and temperate continental (deep into the continent).

Flora and fauna of America

America has very varied ecosystems and the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Depending on the region of the continent, the flora and fauna present certain characteristics:

  • The flora and fauna in North America. Trees such as pines, mahogany, cedars, conifers and plants such as cacti and agaves abound . Among the species animals are bears, eagles, Canadian sheep, turkeys, seals, American bison, ocelots, deer, wolves, coyotes and snakes.
  • The flora and fauna in Central America. Trees such as avocados, guavas, tamarinds, palms, bananas, cherries and pineapples and plants such as cacao, chili and corn abound. Among the animal species there are tapirs, armadillos, macaws, quetzals, green frogs, flamingos, howler monkey, jaguar, anteater, eagle, puma and tapir.
  • The flora and fauna in South America. Trees such as larches, cypresses, araucarias, coligües (or reeds), lengas, pines, guamos, mahogany and vines abound, as well as plants such as ferns, banana trees, Amazonian victoria flowers, roses and orchids. Among the animal species there are penguins, whales, jaguars, pumas, toucans, condors, rattlesnakes, crocodiles, and manatees.

Culture of America

America is characterized by its wide cultural diversity . The original or indigenous peoples who inhabited the continent before the discovery and Spanish colonization, had managed to establish great empires. Subsequently, the population was changing and growing throughout history , mainly due to the arrival of immigrants from the “old world”.

From the arrival of Columbus, Europeans explored and colonized the new lands. The Spanish occupied the regions from Mexico to the south of the continent, the Portuguese the region of Brazil, and the English and French occupied North America. From the colonizations, new languages and customs developed , different from those practiced by the natives.

Despite its cultural diversity, the continent is divided into two highly demarcated regions according to the predominant language and its economic growth:

  • Anglo American. It includes Canada and the United States, and the English language predominates.
  • Latin America. It ranges from Mexico to Argentina, and Spanish-speaking languages predominate.

Countries of America

America contains large cities such as Lima, the capital of Peru.

The American continent has 35 sovereign (or independent) countries: 3 in North America, 7 in Central America, 13 in the Caribbean Sea, and 12 in South America.

The name of each country and its respective capital city are:

In North America:

  • Canada. Capital: Ottawa
  • USA. Capital: Whasington DC
  • Mexico. Capital: Mexico City

In central America:

  • Belize. Capital: Belmopan
  • Costa Rica. Capital: San José
  • The Savior. Capital: San Salvador
  • Guatemala. Capital: Guatemala City
  • Honduras. Capital: Teguacigalpa
  • Nicaragua. Capital: Managua
  • Panama. Capital: Panama

In the Caribbean sea:

  • Old and bearded. Capital: Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bahamas. Capital: Commonwealth of the Bahamas
  • Cuba. Republic of Cuba
  • Dominica. Capital: Commonwealth of Dominica
  • Grenade. Capital: Granada
  • Haiti. Capital: Republic of Haiti
  • Jamaica. Capital: Jamaica
  • Dominican Republic. Capital: Santo Domingo
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis. Capital: Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Capital: Kingstown
  • St. Lucia. Capital: Saint Lucia
  • Trinidad and Tobago. Capital: Port of Spain

In South America:

  • Argentina. Capital: Buenos Aires
  • Bolivia. Capital: Sucre
  • Brazil. Brasilia capital
  • Chili. Capital: Santiago de Chile
  • Colombia. Capital: Bogotá
  • Ecuador. Capital: Quito
  • Guiana. Capital: Georgetown
  • Paraguay. Capital: Asuncion
  • Peru. Capital: Lima
  • Surinam. Capital: Paramaribo
  • Uruguay. Capital: Montevideo
  • Venezuela. Capital: Caracas

Countries under foreign sovereignty:

  • Costa Rica (under the sovereignty of the United States). Capital: San Juan
  • French Guiana (under the sovereignty of France). Capital: Cayenne
  • Greenland (under the sovereignty of Denmark). Capital: Nuuk

America map

Boundaries of America

America is bordered to the south by the confluence of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

The American continent borders three oceans:

  • In the north it borders the Arctic Glacial Ocean .
  • In the south it borders the confluence of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans .
  • In the east it borders the Atlantic Ocean .
  • In the west it borders the Pacific Ocean .

The other continents

There are 6 continents on the planet in total: Africa, America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Antarctica (the southernmost, with an approximate population of 4,000 inhabitants in summer and 1,000 in winter).

More in: Continent

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