6 Characteristics of North America

North America belongs to the American continent, which is also made up of Central America and South America.

North America is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and Central America and the Caribbean to the south.

The American continent was colonized by Europeans, who joined, sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently, with the thousands of natives who occupied these lands.

Initially, the peoples who inhabited the great maritime powers of the 15th and 16th centuries arrived in the ” New World “: Spain, Portugal, England, Holland and France.

Later, people from other countries and continents arrived, giving America as a whole great ethnic and cultural diversity.


Taking into account that North America ends at the border of Mexico and Guatemala, it can be said that North America is made up of the following territories:

  • Canada
  • United States of America
  • Mexico
  • Bermuda (colony of the United Kingdom)
  • Greenland (Danish autonomous region)
  • Clipperton Island (French overseas territory)
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (French overseas territory)

1.     Relief

In North America, the Western Range is extensive and consists of a series of parallel mountain ranges from Alaska to Mexico.

Two different systems are observed in it: the coastal one (Alaska, Coast, Cascade, Nevada, and Sierra Madre Occidental mountain ranges), which contains the highest peaks (McKinley, 6,178 meters; Logan, 6,050 meters), and that of the interior, formed by the Rocky Mountains.

The extreme northeast of North America is occupied by the surfaces of the Canadian shield, devastated by a long erosive process, in which the action of the glaciers creates a surface rich in lakes.

In the eastern United States, the Appalachians are the morphological expression of ancient mountains that combine rocks of various types and different hardness that have been uplifted and reworked several times by erosion.

2.     Climate and landscapes

In its northernmost part, North America has a polar climate that allows the development of tundra (mosses and lichens); Coniferous forests appear near the Arctic Circle.

In the central-west, a temperate continental climate predominates with the appearance of grasslands and steppes. In the Rocky Mountains, a cold mountain climate associated with high altitude vegetation predominates.

To the west, the presence of a temperate oceanic climate favors the appearance of temperate forests, while to the south, the subtropical climate has subtropical forests as well as desert formations.

3.     Population

North America is currently inhabited by 579 million people. In the United States and Canada, the predominant population is of European origin.

Most of the Mexican population is a mix of indigenous and European origin, and the inhabitants of Greenland are the result of a mix of Inuit and early Danish settlers.

In general, the population of North America is made up mainly of young people and, in recent times, they are increasingly concentrated in large cities, since they have countries with a productive structure based on extensive industrialization and mechanization of production. agricultural.

4.     Mineral resources

In North America, the presence of large mineral deposits, mainly oil, coal, iron and natural gas, associated with the availability of capital, allowed the development of a large number of companies with industrial and financial interests.

The United States and Canada carry out mineral extraction using high technologies. In these countries, environmental laws are strict and force companies to control production through inspections and heavy fines for violators.

5.     Agriculture

North of the Rio Grande, the temperate subtropical lands of the United States and Canada have extensive agricultural areas, valued for their diversified production.

North American agriculture is characterized by being one of the most developed in the world, with modern agricultural production techniques, as well as seed selection, intensive use of chemical fertilizers to correct the soil and pesticides to combat pests.

This high degree of mechanization, with an intense use of machinery, contributes to the number of rural workers being small, however, it favors productivity, making North American countries large agricultural producers, especially wheat, soybeans, rye. and barley, whose production is oriented to the domestic market.

6.     Industry

Industrial activity in North America stands out mainly in the San Lorenzo River Valley and the Great Lakes region, between the United States and Canada.

This industrial region, one of the largest and oldest in the world, known as the ” manufacturing belt “, concentrates traditional industries in the automotive, steel, metallurgy, mechanics, textile, aeronautics and naval sectors. .

In the southern region, there is a more recent industrial region, known as the “sunbelt”, where the petrochemical and aerospace industries are prominent.

In the West, high-tech industries, such as computing, electronics and robotics, are concentrated in the region known as Silicon Valley.