North America and Central America

North America

From high-pitched country song to engaging gospel and a variety of jazz and blues.

North America has many voices and expresses many different kinds – from the multi-ethnic metropolises of God’s own country to exclusive ski resorts and nature experiences in Canada. A trip to North America can be a journey through wilderness, desert landscape and snowy island scenery. But it might as well be a journey of discovery through the world’s most interesting and vibrant big cities.

Area: 24.2 million km²

Number of inhabitants: 360 million

Largest cities (by population)

  • New York City – $ 8 million
  • Los Angeles – $ 4 million
  • Chicago – $ 2.7 million
  • Toronto – $ 2.7 million
  • Houston – $ 2.1 million

The geography of North America

North America contains many contrasts with multicultural metropolitan cities, magnificent scenery, deserted wilderness, a variety of world-class cultural attractions and attractions. The North American continent is located in the northern hemisphere, east of the Pacific, west of the Atlantic Ocean, south of the Arctic Ocean and north of the South American continent. According to countryaah, North America has an area of 24,200,000 km² and population of 368 million and is thus the third largest continent in the world, only Asia and Africa are larger.

Country Proportion of HIV-infected adults (15–49 years) (per cent) Proportion of HIV-infected young women (15–24 years) (percent) Proportion of HIV-infected young men (15–24 years) (per cent)
Antigua and Barbuda
Bahamas
Barbados 0.8 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Belize
Costa Rica 0.4 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Dominica
Dominican Republic 0.9 (2019) 0.3 (2019) 0.3 (2019)
El Salvador 0.5 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Grenada
Guatemala 0.3 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Haiti 1.9 (2019) 0.9 (2019) 0.4 (2019)
Honduras 0.3 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Jamaica 1.4 (2019) 0.3 (2019) 0.4 (2019)
Canada
Cuba 0.4 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Mexico
Nicaragua 0.2 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
Panama
Saint Kitts & Nevis
Saint Lucia
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Trinidad & Tobago 0.7 (2019) 0.1 (2019) 0.1 (2019)
USA 0.4 (2018) 0.1 (2018) 0.1 (2018)

Canada

The large Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada is really huge. In addition to fabulous landscape views, in Jasper, almost everywhere in the world’s second largest country, there are good opportunities to become acquainted with fascinating animals: black bears, antelopes, prairie wolves and many other animals that are wise to consider from a distance. On a holiday in Canada, you should also not miss the Banff National Park, which is next door to Jasper, or the beautiful Icefield Parkway that connects these two. You should also not miss the mighty peaks of the Rocky Mountains, beautiful mountain lakes, roaring rivers and the opportunity to experience bears and bison oxen up close. Of course, there are big cities in Canada as well. Toronto is North America’s fifth largest city and with more than 80 different ethnic groups, In addition, 170 nationalities and more than 100 different languages are the capital of the Ontario province, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. In addition to the multicultural, you can experience the impressive Canadian National Tower, which with its 553.3 meters was the tallest building in the world, until the Dubai Tower in the United Arab Emirates stood clear in 2008.

USA

Neighboring United States is also known for the million-dollar skyscrapers, and the sight of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building rising from hundreds of soaring glass and steel office buildings is still an impressive sight. New York, however, is much more than glittering architecture – it is also first-rate art at some of the world’s best museums and galleries, it is also heavy underground culture, a paradise for shopping lovers and a nightlife that does not come to rest until long after the New York Times has distributed. The United States will also be experienced for the rich and very “European” New England and the big city of Boston. For the Rocky Mountains and the Wild West with the states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. For the states of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, with Mount Rushmore with the famous monument of the four presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Travel to the United States for the old gangster city and the exciting Chicago architectural laboratory that holds the United States tallest skyscraper. For the Pacific coast with whales, dolphins and sea lions. For the music in New Orleans, Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee. Or for California’s thrilling deserts, national parks and glamorous Hollywood hotels.

Soil and climate

No point in mainland Central America is more than 200 kilometers away from the sea. The Pacific Ocean is to the southwest, and the Caribbean Sea to the northeast.

The relief of the continental part is largely mountainous. The highest point in the region is the Tajumulco volcano in Guatemala, near the border with Mexico. It is 4,220 meters high.

There are plains in the north of the mainland, along the coast and near Lake Nicaragua. This lake is the largest in the region.

Central America is among the tropics, that is, in the warm regions near the equator. The lowlands usually have a warm climate. Higher altitude regions are cooler. It rains more in summer than in winter. The Caribbean region is more humid than the Pacific coast.

Flora and fauna

Tropical forests grow on the plains of eastern Central America. In the forests of the highest parts, it is also possible to find pines and oaks. Tropical rainforests grow at altitudes of about 1,800 meters. These forests, which are almost always dripping with moisture, have evergreen oaks, laurels and orchids. Shrubs and small trees grow in even higher places.

The jaguar, ocelot, sucuarana, coyote and gray fox are some of the wild animals found in continental Central America. Several species of monkeys live in the forests. Birds such as parrots, toucans and quetzals are also found in the region.

In the Antilles, the vegetation is generally shrubby and the fauna does not have large animals. However, there is a wide variety of native birds.

People

About three-fifths of the population is made up of mestizos of Indians (natives) and Europeans. Approximately one fifth is entirely native. Smaller groups are descended mainly from Europeans, Africans or Asians.

Most Central American countries have Spanish as their official language. English is spoken in Belize, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the other islands that were or are British and American colonies. In Haiti and the French territories, French is spoken. On some islands in the Lesser Antilles, Dutch (Dutch) or Papiamento is spoken, which is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch. Many people also speak Mayan and other languages of indigenous origin, mainly in Guatemala.

Catholicism is the main religion in Central America. Some groups mix Catholicism with native and African religions.

Education is of better quality in Panama and Costa Rica than in Guatemala and other countries in the northern part of continental Central America. Health services also tend to be of poorer quality in the north.

History

Human beings have inhabited Central America for thousands of years. Between 400 and 1000 BC, groups of Amerindians began to settle in some places and cultivate the land. Some of them, called Maya, ended up giving rise to a great civilization. Mayan culture peaked between AD 250 and 900

European explorers arrived in Central America in the 16th century. Spanish conquerors soon controlled the region. The Amerindian population, weakened by the new diseases brought by Europeans, declined rapidly.

The Spaniards ruled almost the entire continental part of Central America, administering it in the form of provinces in the Kingdom of Guatemala. This colony also included parts of southern Mexico today, but not Panama. The Spaniards first ruled Panama from Peru and then Colombia (until 1903). Several of the Antilles were also Spanish colonies and later changed hands a few times, with the arrival of Swedes, Danes, Dutch, French and English.

The British took Belize in the 18th century, and the territory was named British Honduras. This was the only continental colony of the British in Central America. Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica were some of the other British colonies in the region.

The French also colonized some islands, such as Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are still French territory, and Haiti, now independent. The Dutch colonized a territory made up of several islands, which was called the Netherlands Antilles and which still constitutes Dutch territory.

Haiti was the first country in Central America to become independent in 1804.

Continental Central America became independent from the Spanish in 1821. For a short time, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua joined Mexico. In 1823, independence was declared again, and they formed the United Provinces of Central America. Guatemala City was its capital. But, around 1840, each country became independent from the others. (Belize only gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1981.)

In 1902, the Dominican Republic and Cuba were also independent countries. Most other islands achieved independence in the second half of the 20th century.

The new countries faced political problems from the 19th to the 20th century. The countries of the continental part did not reach an agreement on their borders. Civil wars broke out across the region. Many dictators ruled harshly (Costa Rica was an exception for most of the 20th century, as a democratic country without an army). The United States has sent troops to the region several times. At the end of the 20th century, democratic governments began to emerge in the rest of Central America.

North America and Central America