The Americas

North America and South America, which are also collectively called America, are landmasses comprising the totality of North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth’s Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World.

The two continents of the Western Hemisphere, North and South America, are known as the Americas. The two continents’ climate zones are vastly different.

Lunenburg Academy is in Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotia is a Canadian province on the eastern coast of North America. It was one of the four ...
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/ Canada, Canada Places, North America
Kaskawulsh Glacier in Kluane National Park
Kluane National Park and Reserve is a huge mountain wilderness area in Canada's Northwest Territories. It is in the ...
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Image of the Chateau Frontenac in Old Quebec, Canada
Old Quebec is a historic neighborhood in Quebec City, Canada. In 1985, UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site ...
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/ Canada, Canada Places, North America
T Rex Picture
Dinosaur Provincial Park is on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. It is 48 kilometers (30 miles) ...
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/ Canada, Canada Places, North America
Cholula Puebla Pyramid
Puebla is a city in southeast Mexico, east of Mexico City. It is known for its colonial architecture, pottery, ...
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Popocatepetl Volcano Mexico, Cholula Puebla
Puebla was founded in 1531. It is about 100 km east of Mexico City, near the base of the ...
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Palacio de Bellas Artes Murals
The Palacio de Bellas Artes, or the Palace of Fine Arts, in Mexico City was built between 1904 and ...
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Palacio de Bellas Artes, Historic Centre of Mexico City and Xochimilco
Mexico City was built by the Spanish on Tenochtitlan ruins in the 1600s. Nowadays, it's one of the world's ...
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Morelia Cathedral, Michoacan, Mexico
Morelia is in the middle of the west side of Mexico. It is the capital of the state of ...
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Calakmul Structure 6 in Campeche, Mexico
The old Maya city of Calakmul is now a biosphere reserve in the state of Campeche in Mexico. In ...
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Christ the Redeemer
Christ the Redeemer, or Cristo Redentor in Portuguese, is a huge statue of Jesus Christ on top of Mount ...
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Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada
Lunenburg is a town in Canada's province of Nova Scotia. It is on the south shore of the province ...
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El Castillo of Chichén Itzá, Mexico
Chichen Itza was one of the most important and holy Mayan centers on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, and it was ...
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Monarch Butterflies Mexico
Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve lies within rugged forested mountains about 100 km northwest of Mexico City, a UNESCO World ...
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La Fortaleza San Juan Puerto Rico, USA
La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico are located in and near San Juan, Puerto ...
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Iguaçú Falls of Iguaçu National Park Brazil
Iguaçú Falls, part of Iguaçu National Park in Paraná State, Brazil, shared with Iguazu National Park in Argentina, was a ...
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Iguazu Falls Tours: IGU Brazil Airport
Iguazu falls tours from both sides comprise Iguazu Falls Argentina and Iguaçu Falls Brazil, previously Victoria Falls. It’s a ...
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Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island Chile
Rapa Nui National Park on Easter Island, located 2,500 miles east of Tahiti and 2,300 miles west of the ...
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Argentina Iguazu Falls of Iguazu National Park
Iguazu National Park, or Iguazu Falls, is located in Misiones Province in the northeastern tip of Argentina and was ...
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Perito Moreno Glacier of Los Glaciares National Park
Perito Moreno Glacier, located in Los Glaciares National Park in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, and was a UNESCO ...
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Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump was a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1981 onwards, of the Rocky Mountain foothills that ...
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Reef fish of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, is located roughly 250 km to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Archipelago and extends ...
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/ North America, USA, USA Places
Poverty Point Louisiana
Poverty Point National Monument of the Lower Mississippi Valley, located in northeastern Louisiana, U.S., was a UNESCO World Heritage ...
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Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, on the Gulf of Alaska, U.S., a large natural area in southeastern Alaska, ...
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The northern part of North America has a subarctic climate, which gradually warms southward before reaching tropical near the southern isthmus. The climate in South America is tropical in the north, cools southward, and finally becomes a cold, marine climate near Cape Horn.

Latin America, which encompasses North America south of the Rio Grande, the West Indian islands, and all of South America, and Anglo-America, which includes Canada and the United States, can be generally split into two cultural zones. Middle America is a word that is sometimes used to refer to Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies as a whole.

The term America is derived from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer and friend of Christopher Columbus who made many expeditions to the Western Hemisphere and, perhaps more importantly, wrote letters to friends in Italy about his adventures.

In one of these letters from 1504, the term “Mundus Novus” (“New World”) was used to allude to South America. A copy of the letter made its way to German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller, who was presumably uninformed of Columbus’ journey of 1498, during which he discovered the continent of South America.

In his Cosmographiae introductio (1507; Introduction to Cosmography), Waldseemüller noted that “another fourth half [of the inhabited world] had been discovered by Americus Vespucius,” and suggested that the new area be named America in honour of that explorer’s expeditions.