North America Overview

North America, the northern part of America, with around 22 million km 2 and 357 million residents.

North America is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The island of Greenland in the north also belongs to North America.

The surface shape allows a differentiation into several large units: the coastal plain on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, the eastern low mountain range (Appalachian Mountains) with the Piedmont plateau in front, the area of the inner plains (area of the Great Lakes, Mississippi Basin and Great Plains), the Cordilleras (Rocky Mountains, intermontane plateaus and Pacific coastal mountains) as well as the Canadian Shield in the north.

The location in the cool, moderate west wind zone is decisive for the climate. The mountains run in a north-south direction and prevent the penetration of humid, oceanic air masses. Continental climates predominate (hot summers, cold winters). The climatic dry line runs roughly along the 98th degree of longitude and divides the area into a wet (humid) eastern and a dry (arid) western half. In the eastern half, humid tropical air masses can penetrate unhindered to the north and, conversely, polar air masses can quickly penetrate to Florida. Other instability factors are tornadoes and hurricanes. In the west, the damming effect of the Cordilleras leads to sufficient rainfall on the Pacific coast, while deserts and semi-deserts can be found in the lee of the mountains.

North America has a share in all vegetation zones, from the snow and ice regions of northern Canada and Greenland to tropical areas in southern Florida. The east is a woodland with a sequence as in Eurasia (coniferous forest, mixed forest, deciduous forest). The flat inner plains are high-grass steppes (prairies) that merge to the west into short-grass steppes (great plains). The Californian coastal land shows Mediterranean plant forms, in Mexico there are dry zones with succulent formations as well as rainforests and bushes.

In the animal world, typical representatives in the north are reindeer, polar bear, arctic fox and seal, in the coniferous forest area lynx, bear and elk, in the prairie areas bison, prairie dog and pronghorn, in the western mountains the puma.

The population originally consisted of Indians and Inuit, they are now a minority. Overall, the population is white.

The agriculture in southern Canada and in the major growing regions of the United States is characterized by high productivity. However, overproduction and soil damage are permanent problems here.

In the industrial sector, the favorable development is based on the rich raw material and energy sources (hard coal, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, crude oil, natural gas); The extensive division of labor and the high degree of mechanization have a formative effect.

In Transport North America has the world’s highest level of motorization. Southern Canada and the USA are well served by rail and road networks (highways); domestic air traffic is of great importance. Shipping has its main focus on the Mississippi river system and on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which gives seagoing vessels access to the Great Lakes.

History: According to COUNTRYAAH, the settlement of North America by the Indians took place about 12,000 years ago over the land bridge between Northeast Asia and America (in the area of today’s Bering Strait). Until 4000 BC BC (the end of the so-called Paleo-Indian period) different cultures had developed, the economic basis of which was hunting and gathering, e.g. B. those of the Iroquois in the northeast woodlands of North America, the Pueblos in the southwest of the USA or the Aztecs in Mexico.

North America Overview

The first European explorers of North America were probably the Normans (Vikings), who came to Greenland and Newfoundland from Iceland under Leif Eriksson around the year 1000. The actual development of the mainland coast did not begin until after 1492 with Columbus. The conquest of the Aztec Empire by Hernán Cortés at the beginning of the 16th century ushered in the colonial era. Besides Spain, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Russia were also involved in the colonization. They participated in the education of Canada, the United States of America and Mexico.

Surname Country height
Denali USA (Alaska) 6,198 m above sea level M.
Mount Logan Canada (Yukon Territory) 5,959 m above sea level M.
Mount Saint Elias Canada (Yukon Territory / USA (Alaska) 5,489 m above sea level M.
Mount Fairweather Canada (British Columbia) 4,663 m above sea level M.
Mount Whitney USA (California) 4,421 m above sea level M.
Mount Elbert USA (Colorado) 4,402 m above sea level M.
Mount Rainier USA (Washington) 4,395 m above sea level M.
Mount Robson Canada (British Columbia) 3,954 m above sea level M.
Gunnbjørns Fjeld Greenland (Denmark) 3 733 m above sea level M.
Surname Length (in km) Catchment area (in 1,000 km 2) Confluence waters
Mackenzie 4 241 1 805 Arctic Ocean
Missouri 4,086 1,370 Mississippi
Mississippi 3 765 2 978 Gulf of Mexico
Yukon River (with Nisutlin River) 3 185 839 Bering Sea
Saint Lawrence River 3,058 1 344 Gulf of Saint Lawrence / Atlantic Ocean
Rio Grande 3,057 870 Gulf of Mexico
Nelson River (with Saskatchewan) 2 575 983 Hudson Bay
Arkansas 2,349 417 Mississippi
Colorado 2,334 637 Gulf of California
Ohio (with Allegheny River) 2 107 525 Mississippi
Columbia River 1 995 668 Pacific Ocean
Snake River 1 673 280 Columbia
Churchill River 1 609 281 Hudson Bay
Tennessee River (with French Broad River) 1 425 106 Ohio
Surname Area (in km 2) Lake level (in m above sea level) greatest depth (in m) Drain
Big lakes
Lake Superior 82 100 184 405 Saint Mary’s River
Lake Huron 59 600 177 229 Saint Clair River
Lake Michigan 57 800 176 281 Straits of Mackinac to Lake Huron
Lake Erie 25 700 174 64 Niagara River
Lake Ontario 18 960 75 244 Saint Lawrence River
Big Bear Lake 31 328 156 413 Great Bear River / Mackenzie
Great slave lake 28 568 156 614 Mackenzie
Winnipeg Lake 24 387 217 18th Nelson River
Great Salt Lake *) 4,756 1 280 until 10 without drain
*) strongly fluctuating water level, figures for mean lake level

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