North America is geographically divided into four major regions: the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Great Basin, and Coastal Plain. The Rockies lie on the western and eastern sides, while the Appalachian Highlands occupy the eastern part. The Great Plains occupy the center of the continent, while the coastal plain along the Atlantic seaboard includes the Florida peninsula and the Gulf of California. The climate in northern North America is temperate, with the exception of the cold arctic regions.
The western part of the continent consists of two mountain ranges: the main range of the Rockies and the coast ranges of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. The middle portion is more diverse and contains low-lying deserts, wetlands, and lakes. The highest peak in North America is Denali in Alaska. The mountains and coasts of the continent differ in terms of their elevation and type of soil. This makes for a fascinating and detailed topographical map of North America.
Until the 13th century, the Aztec Empire ruled over central Mexico and most of Mesoamerica, including northern Costa Rica and Belize. In addition, the U.S. financed a voyage of discovery to the New World. Columbus’ expedition reached the Bahamas in 1492 and changed the course of history in North America. There, the Aztec Empire lasted only one hundred years. Although it was only the result of European colonization, it was the beginning of a new era for the region.
The United States was the world’s top oil and coal producer in 2019. The continent’s largest coal reserves are located in North America, and it is the third largest producer of coal after China and India. North America also produces grains, vegetables, peanuts, and tobacco. The continent also shares the longest land border in the world, stretching 8,893 km between the United States and Canada. While the two countries are geographically separated, they are connected by a vast number of rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Before Europeans came to North America, it was home to dozens of indigenous polities. These people were organized into several “culture areas” that roughly corresponded to different biological and geographical zones. These regions were characterized by distinctive cultures and lifestyles. Many of these cultures were highly diversified, with distinct linguistic varieties. As a result, people from the same language family may not have shared a common material culture, and thus were unlikely allies.
While North America’s population is dispersed across the continent, it is largely concentrated in cities and urban areas. About 80 percent of US citizens live in urban/suburban areas. The US population has been moving south and west over the past few decades. In fact, the population of US states in the past half century has risen by over 33%. For the past fifty years, the fastest-growing population growth was found in California, Nevada, and the southern eastern seaboard. In addition, the arid Great Plains region is largely unpopulated.
As the economy began to develop, migrants continued to arrive in the United States. After the 1830s, Germans and Irish joined other western Europeans. Soon, other Europeans followed. This led to the emergence of southern and eastern European immigrants as the largest stream of immigration into the country. By the end of the century, over half of the country’s population was foreign-born. This diversity and rich history is reflected in the diverse culture and lifestyles of Americans today.