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[Portal] North America

The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered by some[quantify] to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands (most notably around the Caribbean) are included.

North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge approximately 40,000 to 17,000 years ago. The so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Archaic or Meso-Indian period). The Classic stage spans roughly the 6th to 13th centuries. The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, with the beginning of the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants.

Owing to Europe's colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak European languages such as English, Spanish or French, and their states' cultures commonly reflect Western traditions.

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Stela 51 from Calakmul, dating to 731, is the best preserved monument from the city. It depicts the king Yuknoom Tookʼ Kʼawiil.

Maya stelae (singular stela) are monuments that were fashioned by the Maya civilization of ancient Mesoamerica. They consist of tall, sculpted stone shafts and are often associated with low circular stones referred to as altars, although their actual function is uncertain. Many stelae were sculpted in low relief, although plain monuments are found throughout the Maya region. The sculpting of these monuments spread throughout the Maya area during the Classic Period (250–900 AD), and these pairings of sculpted stelae and circular altars are considered a hallmark of Classic Maya civilization. The earliest dated stela to have been found in situ in the Maya lowlands was recovered from the great city of Tikal in Guatemala. During the Classic Period almost every Maya kingdom in the southern lowlands raised stelae in its ceremonial centre.

Stelae became closely associated with the concept of divine kingship and declined at the same time as this institution. The production of stelae by the Maya had its origin around 400 BC and continued through to the end of the Classic Period, around 900, although some monuments were reused in the Postclassic (c. 900–1521). The major city of Calakmul in Mexico raised the greatest number of stelae known from any Maya city, at least 166, although they are very poorly preserved. Read more...

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Manhattan Bridge
Credit: Irving Underhill
The Manhattan Bridge, under construction in 1909, nine months before its opening on December 31, 1909. This suspension bridge crosses the East River, connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, just upriver of the Brooklyn Bridge. All of the buildings in foreground of this photograph, with the exception of the Empire Warehouse on the left, are no longer standing.

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Arthur Howey "Art" Ross (January 13, 1885 – August 5, 1964) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and executive from 1905 until 1954. Regarded as one of the best defenders of his era by his peers, he was one of the first to skate with the puck up the ice rather than pass it to a forward. He was on Stanley Cup championship teams twice in a playing career that lasted thirteen seasons; in January 1907 with the Kenora Thistles and 1908 with the Montreal Wanderers. Like other players of the time, Ross played for several different teams and leagues, and is most notable for his time with the Wanderers while they were members of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and its successor, the National Hockey League (NHL). In 1911 he led one of the first organized player strikes over increased pay. When the Wanderers' home arena burned down in January 1918, the team ceased operations and Ross retired as a player.

After several years as an on-ice official, he was named head coach of the Hamilton Tigers for one season. When the Boston Bruins were formed in 1924, Ross was hired as the first coach and general manager of the team. He would go on to coach the team on three separate occasions until 1945 and stayed as general manager until his retirement in 1954. Ross helped the Bruins finish first place in the league ten times and to win the Stanley Cup three times; Ross personally coached the team to two of those victories. After being hired by the Bruins, Ross, along with his wife and two sons, moved to a suburb of Boston, and became an American citizen in 1938. He died near Boston in 1964. Read more...

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Farmers protesting for land reform in Indonesia, 2004

Land reform (also agrarian reform, though that can have a broader meaning) involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution, generally of agricultural land. Land reform can, therefore, refer to transfer of ownership from the more powerful to the less powerful, such as from a relatively small number of wealthy (or noble) owners with extensive land holdings (e.g., plantations, large ranches, or agribusiness plots) to individual ownership by those who work the land. Such transfers of ownership may be with or without compensation; compensation may vary from token amounts to the full value of the land.

Land reform may also entail the transfer of land from individual ownership—even peasant ownership in smallholdings—to government-owned collective farms; it has also, in other times and places, referred to the exact opposite: division of government-owned collective farms into smallholdings. The common characteristic of all land reforms, however, is modification or replacement of existing institutional arrangements governing possession and use of land. Thus, while land reform may be radical in nature, such as through large-scale transfers of land from one group to another, it can also be less dramatic, such as regulatory reforms aimed at improving land administration. Read more...

Did you know...

Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro

  • ... that the Valley of Mexico has been one of the most heavily populated places on the planet for almost two millennia?

Selected panorama

Skyline Boulevard in winter
Credit: Jawed Karim
Skyline Boulevard runs through the Santa Cruz Mountains, here near Palo Alto, California. The Santa Cruz Mountains, part of the Coast Ranges, are a mountain range in central California.

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