120 Interesting Facts About North America

North America

120 Interesting Facts About North America

  • There is no landlocked country in North America!
  • North America was first populated about 10,000 years ago when people moved across the Bering Sea between Siberia and Alaska. First records are found on the island of Greenland from about 980.
  • There are 23 countries in North America (see list of the ten biggest countries on the right) and 9 dependencies with a total of more than 590 million people living on the continent.
  • Canada. The country is covering almost half the North American continent's land area. Canada is slightly bigger than the USA and about as big as China. Read more about Canada here.
  • Mexico City, which is the capital city of Mexico with a population of about 9 million. With more than 20 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, this is one of the largest cities in the world. Read more about Mexico here.
  • St Kitts and Nevis with only about 54,000 inhabitants. This island country is located in the Caribbean Sea. The least populated dependency is Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory, with less than 6,000 inhabitants.
  • The first "skyscrapers" (of ten stories and more) were built in Chicago/USA as early as during the 1880s.
  • It is connected with South America through the Isthmus of Panama.
  • It is separated from Asia by the Bering Strait.
  • The 490 N latitude forms the boundary between the two big countries- USA and Canada.
  • Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River also act boundary between the USA and Canada.
  • This continent is situated between five physiographic regions- Canadian Shield; Appalachian Mountains; Atlantic Coastal Plain; Interior Lowlands; and North American Cordillera.
  • Mt. Mackenzie is the highest peak of North America, situated in Alaska. It is an active volcano.
  • Major Rivers: River Frazer, River Mackenzie, River Churchill, River St. Lawrence, River Mississippi, River Missouri, River Red, River Rio Grande, River Colorado, River Columbia, River Yukon, River Ohio and River Arkansas.
  • New York/USA has still the second-most skyscrapers in a city! The city with more than 300 skyscrapers that are taller than 150 m/493 ft is, however, Hong Kong in China.
  • Colonial Creek Falls in Washington State with a height of 783 m/ 2,568 ft are the highest waterfalls in the continental USA. The Oloupena Falls in Hawaii have unofficially named North America's highest waterfalls with a drop of 900 m/ 2,952 ft.
  • Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii/USA is the second highest mountain island in the world.
  • The Rockies or the Rocky Mountains are among the longest mountain ranges in the world. Mount Elbert in Colorado/USA is the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Mammoth Cave in Kentucky has been recognized as the world's longest cave system with more than 650  km/ 405 miles of passageways.
  • Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world.
  • Major Waterfalls: Yosemite Falls, Multnomah Falls, Havasu Falls, McWay Falls, Snoqualmie Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Palouse Falls, Burney Falls, Kaaterskill Falls, American Falls, Upper White-water Falls, Shoshone Falls, Bridalveil Falls, Crabtree Falls, Vernal Falls, Alamere Falls, Yellowstone Falls, Cumberland Falls, Tahquamenon Falls, Nevada Falls, Ruby Falls, Latourell Falls, Union Falls, Turner Falls, Miners Falls, Triple Falls, Bash Bish Falls, Ribbon Falls, Sliding Falls, and Takakkaw Falls.
  • The world-famous Niagara Falls is located between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It is comprised of three waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls.
  • Colorado plateau is the largest plateau located in North America. It is bisected by the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
  • Cuba is the major producer of Sugarcane and hence called the ‘Sugar Bowl of the World’.
  • Jamaica is famous for Banana production.
  • Ethnic Groups and Language: Red Indians, Eskimos, and Inuits are the original inhabitants of this continent.
  • The United States of America is the fourth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada and China. It comprises 50 states, including Alaska and the Hawaiian Islands.
  • The largest industrial region of the USA is spread over the region from the River Mississippi to the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered the world’s largest industrial region.
  • Detroit is famous for manufacturing Motor Cars.
  • Akron is the biggest center of the world in the manufacturing of synthetic rubber and tyres.
  • The famous ‘Silicon Valley’ is in San Francisco which is famous for the software and computer industry.
  • Based on mitochondrial evidence, scientists have concluded that all Native Americans come from a single population group that lived during the time of the last ice age. This population then boomed for the next thousand of years and is then conjectured to have spread quickly throughout the Americas via the Pacific Coast route.
  • The first Native Americans are believed to have migrated from Asia through a land bridge that once connected the two continents more than 15,000 years ago.
  • Two of the world’s largest tectonic plates are in North America. They collide frequently along California and Alaska, which usually causes violent earthquakes in the area.
  • North America’s lowest point is the Badwater Basin, located in Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California. It has a surface elevation of -86m and is 282 feet below sea level.
  • North America is divided into four main geographic regions: the West (includes most of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, Alaska, California,), East (Florida, the Appalachian Mountains) Great Plains (prairies in Canada and the central United States), and the Canadian Shield.
  • The word “America” comes from the name of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. He is the first person to have realized that the West Indies and Brazil are actually not connected to Asia (as what most people have conjectured from the voyages of Columbus), but are part of another separate landmass of their own.
  • The name “America” used to refer to only South America alone. However, when the landmass of present North America were added to maps, most mapmakers opted to retain the original name.
  • North America is contained entirely within the Northern and Western Hemispheres.
  • Gerard Mercator, a geographer, was the first documented mapmaker who chose to name both the north and south parts of the American landmass as “America” in 1539.
  • North and South America are usually considered as subcontinents, while America is the larger continent of which these two are part.
  • Mount McKinley or Denali, considered to be the highest point in North America, is the third most prominent as well as the third most isolated mountain peak after Mount Everest in Nepal and Aconcagua in Argentina.
  • Death Valley, where North America’s lowest point is located, is also where the world’s highest air temperature was recorded. The reading of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was taken on July 10, 1913 at the aptly named Furnace Creek.
  • The most populous city in North America is Mexico City, with a population of over 21 million. Following closely behind is New York City, with a population of 20 million.
  • North America encompasses 23 sovereign countries and 25 dependent territories.
  • North America is also notable for having the most number of Olympic gold medal winners as of this present time.
  • English is most widely spoken in North America. Spanish and French are spoken by many as the second languages in the USA. While Spanish is the most common first language in the Caribbean, French is the first language of 20% of the Canadian population.
  • Religion: Most of the North American people are Christians (75%), others are Muslims, Jews and some indigenous people have their indigenous beliefs.
  • The main natural resources in North America are minerals such as coal, copper, zinc, iron ore and nickel (used to make steel) and precious metals such as gold and silver.
  • The USA was the world's largest oil producer in 2019 and third-biggest coal producer (after China and India) while the USA hold's the world's biggest coal reserves. Agricultural produce such as grains (barley, wheat, sorghum) and vegetables such as corn, soybean as well as sugar beet, peanuts, and tobacco. 
  • It embraces every climatic zone. The lowlands of Central America have a tropical rain forest and savanna whereas the areas of central Greenland have a permanent ice cap. In northern Canada, north Alaska and desert are experiencing subarctic and tundra climates. The semiarid conditions are found in the interior regions cut off by high mountains from rain-bearing westerly winds.
  • Grand Bank near Newfoundland and Georges Bank near Nova Scotia are extensive fishing grounds in North America.
  • The temperate grassland in North America is called ‘prairies’. Maize is called corn here. It is also called ‘Corn Belt’.
  • The American Museum of Natural History, in New York, is the biggest museum of the world.
  • Canada is the second largest country of the world, after Russia. It extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west.
  • Of the 5416 known and named species of mammals in the world, 965 can be found in North America. Famous North American mammals include deer, coyotes, deer, possums, beavers, bears, wolves, squirrels, and rabbits.
  • Death Valley, where North America’s lowest point is located, receives less than a cupful of rainfall per year. It is considered the continent’s driest region.
  • Gray whales are one of the most epic creatures that reside in North America. They circumnavigate the length of the continent every year; they spend the winter in the warm lagoons of Mexico, then move on to the colder waters of the Arctic Ocean in the summer.
  • The west coast of North America is prone to seismic activity. Mexico, in particular, has suffered the brunt of some devastating earthquakes in recent times.
  • The world’s largest freshwater lake is in North America. Lake Superior, located on the border of the United States and Canada, has a total surface area of 82,100 square kilometers. It is also the largest of North America’s Great Lakes.
  • Dolphins in North America (particularly those living on the Mid-Atlantic coast) exhibit certain behavior that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. They operate as a single unit, to drive fish to land in order to catch it for food.
  • John Rut sent the first letter from North America in 1527. The letter was sent from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to King Henry VIII in England.
  • North America has been host to the Olympics twelve times. The first North American country to host the event was the US, in 1904.
  • North America grows half of the world’s corn supply.
  • The term North America encompasses different countries according to context. North America is usually referred to only Canada and the United States together, but in some cases, Greenland and Mexico can also be included.
  • Cratons are considered as the geological heart of continents because they are located near the center of tectonic plates and are usually very stable. The craton of North America is called Laurentia.
  • Greenland. This is also the world's largest island that is not a continent! Greenland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean. - Australia is also an island, but considered a continent.
  • Missouri River/USA (3,767 km/ 2,341 miles). The Missouri River flows through seven states of the USA: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. Together with the Mississippi River, it forms one of the largest river systems in the world.
  • Highest Mountain: Denali in Alaska/USA. The mountain (6,190 metres/ 20,310 ft) is located in the Alaska mountain range. Until 2015, this mountain was referred to as Mount McKinley.
  • Lake Superior. This is the largest of the Great Lakes in the USA. This lake is as big as South Carolina/USA or Austria! Lake Superior is shared by Canada (to the north) and the United States (to the east, south and west). Lake Superior is also considered the largest freshwater lake by area in the world.
  • Death Valley. In the Death Valley National Park you will not only find the lowest point in North America with 86 m/ 282 ft. below sea level, but this is also the hottest and the driest national park in the USA. 
  • Before the Europeans arrived in North America, the indigenous and native Americans were the people who lived on the continent. Today, the biggest groups of native Americans are the Cherokee, Navajo and Iroquois people. Only 2% of all US Americans consider themselves as Native Americans. 
  • Canada and the United States of America have the longest land border in the world with 8,893 km/ 5,526 miles.
  • It is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and the Pacific Ocean in the west.
  • There are several groups of Islands in the southern part of the continent, known as ‘Western Island groups’ or ‘West Indies’.
  • Major Lakes:  Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake, Athabasca Lake, Reindeer Lake, Winnipeg Lake, Superior Lake, Huron Lake, Michigan Lake, Erie Lake, and Ontario Lake.
  • Straits of Florida is the famous strait in North America. It connects the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Wood Buffalo National Park is world largest national park located in Alberta province of Canada.
  • North America is the third largest continent in world, ranking just below Asia and Africa (which are the first and second largest continents, respectively).
  • North America covers an area of 24.71 million square kilometers or 9.54 million square miles. This means that 16.5% of the Earth’s total land area is taken up by North America alone.
  • Despite being the third largest continent in the world, North America only ranks fourth when it comes to population. It is outranked by Europe which has a population of 739 million (North American only has 461 million).
  • The most dominant languages in North America are Spanish, French, and English. There are also a large number of people who speak Danish, but they are mostly confined to Greenland.
  • With an area of almost 10 million square kilometers, Canada is the largest country in North America. It is followed by the United States (9.9 million square kilometers), Greenland (2.2. million square kilometers), and Mexico (2 million square kilometers).
  • North America is bordered by three of the world’s largest oceans, namely the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific.
  • North America’s highest point is Mount McKinley (also called as Denali), which is a mountain peak located in Alaska. It has a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level.
  • The United States and Mexico are the most populous countries in North America, with a population count of 318.9 million and 122.3 million, respectively.
  • North America is the only continent in the world that has all climatic types. It has savanna and tropical rainforest in Central America, tundra in the northern parts of Canada and Alaska, and a permanent ice cap in Greenland. There are also semi-arid and desert conditions near areas surrounded by high mountains.
  • Three of North America’s largest urban agglomerations are located in the United States: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.
  • The world’s longest coastline is in North America. Canada has a coastline of 202,080 square kilometers, more than twice as big as Norway’s (83,280 square kilometers) which comes next to it in the list.
  • The lion’s mane jellyfish, usually found near the Californian coast, is the world’s largest jellyfish. Its tentacles can grow up to sixty feet in length, and its body can span 10 feet wide.
  • Over four hundred tornadoes rip through the prairies in North America on a yearly basis.
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