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An introduction to the history of southeastern north america


The colonial architecture of the United States and Canada was as diverse as the peoples who settled there: Each group carried with it the style and building customs of the mother country, adapting them as best… North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western Hemisphereor simply the Americas. Mainland North America is shaped roughly like a triangle, with its base in the north and its apex in the south; associated with the continent is Greenlandthe largest island in the world, and such offshore groups as the Arctic Archipelagothe West IndiesHaida Gwaii formerly the Queen Charlotte Islandsand the Aleutian Islands.

Uummannaq Fjord and Uummannaq Rock, Greenland.

The Frontier in history: North America and Southern Africa compared

To the northeast Greenland is separated from Iceland by the Denmark Straitand to the northwest Alaska is separated from the Asian mainland by the much narrower Bering Strait. Although at first the term America was applied only to the southern half of the continent, the designation soon was applied to the entire landmass. Those portions that widened out north of the Isthmus of Panama became known as North America, and those that broadened to the south became known as South America.

According to some authorities, North America begins not at the Isthmus of Panama but at the narrows of Tehuantepecwith the intervening region called Central America.

Exploration of North America

Under such a definition, part of Mexico must be included in Central America, although that country lies mainly in North America proper. To overcome this anomalythe whole of Mexico, together with Central and South American countries, also may be grouped under the name Latin Americawith the United States and Canada being referred to as Anglo-America.

North America

This cultural division is a very real one, yet Mexico and Central America including the Caribbean are bound to the rest of North America by strong ties of physical geography. Greenland also is culturally divided from, but physically close to, North America. Some geographers characterize the area roughly from the southern border of the United States to the northern border of Colombia as Middle Americawhich differs from Central America because it includes Mexico.

Some definitions of Middle America also include the West Indies.

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A small farm nestled in the rugged highlands of central Honduras. Its geologic structure is built around a stable platform of Precambrian rock called the Canadian Laurentian Shield. In between these two mountain belts are the generally flat regions of the Great Plains in the west and the Central Lowlands in the east. These have allowed North America to become one of the most economically developed regions in the world, and its inhabitants enjoy a high standard of living.

North America has the highest average income per person of any continent and an average food intake per person that is significantly greater than that of other continents.

  • To plunder the New World of its treasures was acceptable because it was populated by pagans;
  • It was the widespread cultivation of maize and beans that fostered the Mississippian tradition with its higher population densities, larger food surpluses, enormous earthen platform mounds, more complex socio-political organization, and the emergence of numerous powerful chiefdoms throughout the Southeast;
  • In the late 1600s the English began to encroach into the Southeast, moving westward from Carolina;
  • It commemorates the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal;
  • The four cardinal directions held great signficiance as well, as the earth was suspended from the Upper World by great ropes in each of these locations.

The descendants of these peoples, the various Native American and Eskimo Inuit groups, largely have been supplanted by peoples from the Old World. People of European ancestry constitute the largest group, followed by those of African and of Asian ancestry; in addition there is a large group of Latin Americans, who are of mixed European and Native American ancestry.

This article treats the physical and human geography of North America.

  • According to some authorities, North America begins not at the Isthmus of Panama but at the narrows of Tehuantepec , with the intervening region called Central America;
  • The Archaic Period 10,000 to 3,000 years ago;
  • Although more prosperous under this administration, the French empire failed to match the wealth of New Spain or the growth of neighboring British colonies;
  • Its geologic structure is built around a stable platform of Precambrian rock called the Canadian Laurentian Shield.

For discussion of individual countries of the continent, see the articles CanadaMexicoand United States of America. See also coverage of North American regions under the titles West Indies and the individual countries of Central America. For discussion of major cities of the continent, see specific articles by name—e.

  • The remains of domesticated dogs often appear at sites of this age, some of whom were buried as if they were human;
  • Each of these removals except for that of the Chickasaw was carried out by armed U;
  • New France was sparsely populated by trappers and missionaries and dotted with military forts and trading posts;
  • After conquest, these chiefdoms were shattered by disease and warfare to the point that few survived;
  • Houses were usually occupied by a matrilineal extended family, with families of the same matrilineage residing next to each other.

For discussion of the indigenous peoples of the continent, see the articles Native American and pre-Columbian civilizations. The principal treatment of North American historical and cultural development is contained in the articles mentioned above and in the article Latin America, history of. For further discussion of arts and literature, see the articles American literatureNative American artsCanadian literatureand Latin American literature.