The Cultures of North America

north america

North America is a continent that contains Canada, the United States, Greenland and most of Mexico, along with the islands of the Caribbean Sea and the western portion of the Pacific Ocean. This diverse geography and climate are home to a wide range of peoples. The cultures of north america reflect both indigenous groups and those who arrived after European colonization. The rich natural resources of the continent have also influenced the development of societies throughout north america.

The history of North America stretches back more than a millennium. Non-indigenous peoples first inhabited the continent in search of wealth and other benefits. They mapped the land, battled over territory and fought for religious freedom and other human rights. These factors have made north america one of the most culturally diverse areas in the world.

Despite the fact that written records do not extend as far back as in the Old World, we know much about lifestyles of indigenous peoples who lived in north america thousands of years ago. Archaeological findings reveal complex native communities and federations, and many of the original local groups have survived to today as descendants of the earliest European settlers.

Geologically, the continent is built on a stable platform of Precambrian rock called the Canadian (Laurentian) Shield. This is surrounded by young mountain ranges in the west and by the ancient Appalachian Highlands in the east. North America’s flat regions include the Central Lowlands and Great Plains.

Climate is an important factor shaping the vegetation and soils of north america. The well-watered east is characterized by deciduous forests; the west has tall-grass prairie and, farther south, short-grass steppe. The arid southwest is dominated by desert shrub and semidesert, while the tundra of northern Alaska and Canada has only taiga, or coniferous, vegetation.

The rich natural resources of north america have fueled the economic growth of some of the world’s most developed nations. This wealth has given rise to social problems, including poverty, unemployment and discrimination against racial minorities. However, since the end of the Vietnam War, living standards have improved dramatically in many parts of the country. Many North Americans now have cars, televisions and refrigerators and have jobs that allow them to work from home or the office. However, the economy has also led to a shift from traditional agricultural practices to a more industrial model. While this has increased the number of jobs, it has also resulted in a greater emphasis on production for export. This has also increased the need for workers to drive long distances to work and can result in poor air quality. Despite these changes, the need to protect the environment continues. Several organizations have been formed to help address this issue. Some of these groups include the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Conservation International. The National Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy are other nonprofit groups working to protect natural resources. Many states and cities have passed laws to limit pollution in the name of protecting wildlife and the environment.

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