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North America

- The Natural Environment -

- The People -

- Patterns of Economic Development -

- History -

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North America, third largest of the seven continents, including Canada (the 2nd largest country in area in the world), the United States (3rd largest), and Mexico (14th largest). The continent also includes Greenland, the largest island, as well as the small French overseas department of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and the British dependency of Bermuda (both made up of small islands in the Atlantic Ocean). With 528 million inhabitants (2008 estimate), North America is the 4th most populous continent; the United States ranks 3rd and Mexico 11th in population among the world's countries. Canada and the United States have technologically developed early modern economies, and Mexico, although less technologically developed than its neighbors, contains some of the world's greatest deposits of petroleum and natural gas.

Together with Central America, the West Indies, and South America, North America makes up the Western Hemisphere of Earth. North America is sometimes defined to include Central America and the West Indies, which are treated separately in Encarta Encyclopedia. The name America is derived from that of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci, who may have visited the mainland of North America in 1497 and 1498.

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