What Are Ten Facts About North America?

ten-north-america Credit: Gordon Tarpley/CC-BY 2.0

North America, named after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, is the third largest continent in the world; it contains 24 countries and approximately 502 million citizens, who speak primarily English, Spanish and French. The lowest point on the North American continent is Death Valley, in California, while Mt. McKinley in Alaska is the highest. The largest city in North America is Mexico City in Mexico, and the continent is the only one in the world to contain all types of climates.

The North American continent contains three distinct regions: Canada, the United States and Mexico. The continent comprises approximately 16.5 percent of the Earth's land surface area; oceans surround the continent on nearly all sides. The Arctic Ocean borders North America to the far north, while the Atlantic Ocean forms its border on the east. The Pacific Ocean forms the western coast of North America, and stretches from the southern portion of South America along the American coastline and extends northward into Canada and Alaska. North America covers an area of 9,540,000 miles of land. It lies in the northern and western hemispheres, and contains temperate climates, rainforests, Arctic landscapes and deserts. It has varied geographical features including plateaus, mountains and grassy plains, and produces approximately half of the world's corn and maize supplies.