North America is a vast continent with a rich history. Discover fascinating facts about North America’s geography, history and culture.
While not the largest continent out there, North America is among the biggest ones. In fact, it comes in third when you look at the sheer size of it. Explore other fun geography facts about North America.
Did you know that Greenland is the largest island in the whole world? It’s also a large part of the North American continent. Although it is an autonomous territory, it is technically part of North America. Greenland's total area is 836,300 square miles, and it’s bigger than the state of Alaska, which is the biggest state in the U.S. And another fun fact, despite its name, Greenland is actually covered in ice.
When broken down into the basic regions, you can find five in North America. According to National Geographic, the regions you can find in North America include the Great Plains, Canadian Shield, Eastern region, mountainous west, and the Caribbean. The different climates range from tropical to icy.
It may come as a surprise, but New York City isn’t the largest North American city. Mexico City takes that title. This massive epicenter of North America is 573 square miles and has an estimated population of nearly 22 million. Following closely on the heels of Mexico City are New York City and Los Angeles.
At 282 feet below sea level, Death Valley in California is the lowest point in North America. Death Valley’s ominous name was earned from early lost pioneers. While all but one lived, they assumed this foreboding desert would be their final resting place.
If you thought the United States was the largest country in North America, you are wrong. The largest country in North America is Canada at 3.855 million square miles, but not by much. Additionally, Canada is also the second-largest country in the world, second only to Russia. The United States comes in third.
Coming in at a whopping 2,341 miles, the Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Nicknamed Big Muddy, it travels from Montana to Missouri, eventually joining with the Mississippi River, the second-longest river on the continent.
When it comes to the highest mountain in North America, it can be found in Alaska. Formerly named Mt. McKinley, Denali is more than 20,000 feet above sea level.
The largest freshwater lake in North America is Lake Superior. It’s “superior” to all others in North America and is the largest lake at a total area of 82,100 square miles. Lake Superior is one of five famous lakes in North America known as the Great Lakes. The others include Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie.
Another interesting fact about North America is that it doesn’t have any landlocked countries, or countries that don’t touch the ocean. All the countries in the entire continent touch an ocean.
While North America is full of fun facts about its geography, it also has a few secrets that you might not know. Dive into some interesting and unique facts found in North America.
When it comes to biomes, North America covers all the major ones. You can find the five major biomes of aquatic, grassland, forest, desert, and tundra covering all of North America.
Corn is a hot commodity in North America. Not only can you eat it, but it can also be used for fuel and other things. When it comes to corn production, North America reigns supreme. The U.S. is by far the top producer of corn compared to anyone around the world.
It wasn’t the Spanish who named North America; instead, it was an Italian explorer named Amerigo Vespucci. Amerigo was given this honor because he was the first to realize that North America was a separate continent.
In addition to having a lot of lakes, Canada also has a huge national park. The Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada and about the size of Switzerland. It’s just one of over 40 national parks in Canada. Could you imagine fitting a whole country into one national park?
While the United States might be relatively new on the country scene, it’s still done monumental things in its time. That includes being the first country ever to have a written constitution. That’s right, the Constitution of the United States set records.
While North America has many interesting countries within its borders, the United States, also known as America, is full of some fun facts you might not even realize. Check out a few American facts to round out your exploration of North America.
You might only be able to think of four time zones in the U.S. like Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern, but Alaska and Hawaii also have their own time zones. That might make setting up a Zoom meeting tough.
Not only does the United States have a lot of lakes, but Canada does as well. Canada has 62% of the world’s lakes within its borders. Now that is a lot of lakes!
When it comes to dangerous jobs in the United States, being president is on that list. Of the 46 presidents to take office, four were assassinated, two died of cerebral hemorrhages, and two died of natural causes. While being president is prestigious, it comes with a 3.2 percent death rate.
Steers are a way of life in some states. They like them so much; several states have more cows than people. In fact, South Dakota has a 4:1 cow to person ratio.
If you want to see America’s most iconic monument and symbol of freedom, head on over to New York … or New Jersey. While it’s commonly associated with the city and state of New York, the Statue of Liberty is actually a national moment of both New York and New Jersey.
The Atlantic City boardwalk has a long and famous history, including being the longest boardwalk in the world. Along this 4-mile boardwalk, you can find gaming, shows, shopping, dining, golf, and other fun attractions. The boards of the boardwalk are also replaced every 12 years because of traffic.
While still part of the North American continent, the countries connecting North America to South America are typically called Central America. These countries start from Mexico and include Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. Enjoy a few spectacular facts about the countries from Mexico to Panama.
The Isthmus of Panama is the narrowest part of North America and connects North and South America together. The Isthmus of Panama contains the Republic of Panama and the Panama Canal, a man-made canal to shorten the travel distance between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Panama Canal is considered an engineering marvel because it connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
North American countries narrow from Mexico to Panama creating a land bridge to South America. Therefore, Central America has a lot of ocean access. In fact, no area in Central America is further than 125 miles from the ocean.
Central America has a vast history and is full of world heritage. UNESCO has declared 18 World Heritage Sites found in Central America. These include the Viejo Leon in Nicaragua and the Maya Site of Copán in Honduras. You can also explore the Tikal National Park in Guatemala.
Mexico City was the first place in all the Americas to have a printing press in 1539. The printing press was brought in by Archbishop Juan Zumarraga. The House of the First Printing Press in the Americas is a famous tourist attraction.
The prize for the world's smallest volcano goes to Mexico for Cuexcomate. While it's actually more of a geyser than a volcano, Cuexcomate measures in at only 43 feet tall.