Americas

1990s CIA political map of the Americas in Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection
America is named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
The Plaza Occidental in Copán, Honduras
Map of early human migrations based on the Out of Africa theory.
Statue representing the Americas at Palazzo Ferreria, in Valletta, Malta
Christopher Columbus leads expedition to the New World, 1492.
Map showing the dates of independence from European powers. Black signifies areas that are dependent territories or parts of countries with a capital outside the Americas.
Satellite photo of the Americas on Earth
Aconcagua, in Argentina, is the highest peak in the Americas
Climate zones of the Americas in the Köppen climate classification system.
Languages spoken in the Americas
Mexico City – Largest metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of 22,300,000 in 2017
São Paulo – Largest city in the Americas, with a population of 12,038,175 (city) in 2016
New York City – Largest urban area in the Americas, with a population of 18,351,295 in 2010

The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America.

- Americas
1990s CIA political map of the Americas in Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection

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Current distribution of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (not including mixed people like mestizos, métis, zambos and pardos)

Indigenous peoples of the Americas

Current distribution of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (not including mixed people like mestizos, métis, zambos and pardos)
Diné boy, in the desert of Monument Valley, AZ, United States of America. The Three Sisters buttes are visible in the background.
Mapuche man, in Chile
Mayan women in Antigua Guatemala, Central America.
Language families of Indigenous peoples in North America: shown across present-day Canada, Greenland, the United States, and northern Mexico
The Kogi, descendants of the Tairona, are a culturally-intact, largely pre-Columbian society. The Tairona were one of the few indigenous American civilizations that were not fully conquered.
"The Maiden", one of the discovered Llullaillaco mummies. A Preserved Inca human sacrifice from around the year 1500.
Cultural areas of North America at time of European contact
Eight Crow Nation prisoners under guard at Crow agency, Montana, 1887
Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex (compiled 1540–1585), showing Nahuas of conquest-era central Mexico suffering from smallpox
Indigenous people at a Brazilian farm plantation in Minas Gerais ca. 1824
A bison hunt depicted by George Catlin
Ancient mesoamerican engraving of maize, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico
Main indigenous language families of South America (except Quechua, Aymaran, and Mapuche).
Maya glyphs in stucco at the Museo de sitio in Palenque, Mexico
Textile art by Julia Pingushat (Inuk, Arviat, Nunavut, Canada), wool, embroidery floss, 1995
Chimu culture feather pectoral, feathers, reed, copper, silver, hide, cordage, ca. 1350–1450 CE
Indigenous man playing a panpipe, antara or siku
Indigenous protesters from Vale do Javari, one of the largest indigenous territories in Brazil
A map of uncontacted peoples, around the start of the 21st century
Bill Reid's sculpture The Raven and the First Men (collection of the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver). The Raven represents the Trickster figure common to many mythologies.
Some Inuit people on a traditional qamutiik (dog sled) in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada
Tunumiit Inuit couple from Kulusuk, Greenland
Wixarika (Huichol) woman from Zacatecas
Tenejapa Carnival with Tzeltal people, Chiapas
Rarámuri marathon in Urique.
Choctaw artist from Oklahoma
A Navajo man on horseback in Monument Valley, Arizona
Indigenous Salvadoran Pipil women dancing in the traditional Procession of Palms, Panchimalco in El Salvador
Maya women from Guatemala
A Mayan woman
Owners of a roadside cafe near Cachi, Argentina
Indigenous woman in traditional dress, near Cochabamba, Bolivia
Indigenous man of Terena tribe from Brazil
Mapuche man and woman. The Mapuche make up about 85% of Indigenous population that live in Chile.
Guambía people relaxing in Colombia
Shaman of the Cofán people from the Ecuadorian Amazon Ecuador Amazonian forest
Quechua woman and child in the Sacred Valley, Cuzco Region, Peru
A Warao family from Venezuela traveling in their canoe
Evo Morales (Aymara), former President of Bolivia
Schematic illustration of maternal (mtDNA) gene-flow in and out of Beringia, from 25,000 years ago to present

The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples.

Columbus's geographical conceptions (beige) compared to the known landmasses and their demarkation by Juan de la Cosa (black)

Voyages of Christopher Columbus

Columbus's geographical conceptions (beige) compared to the known landmasses and their demarkation by Juan de la Cosa (black)
The "Columbus map", depicting only the Old World, was drawn c. 1490 in the workshop of Bartolomeo and Christopher Columbus in Lisbon.
Handwritten notes by Christopher Columbus on the Latin edition of Marco Polo's Le livre des merveilles
Captain's ensign of Columbus's ships
First voyage (conjectural): modern place names in black, Columbus's place names in blue
A depiction of Columbus claiming possession of the land in caravels, the Niña and the Pinta
Columbus before the King (Ferdinand II) and Queen (Isabella I) of Spain upon returning from his first voyage
Columbus's second voyage
Location of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the starting point for Columbus's third journey
Third voyage
Columbus Before the Queen by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, 1843 (Brooklyn Museum of Art)
Columbus's fourth voyage
Columbus fills the natives with fear and awe by predicting the lunar eclipse
Painting of Columbus by Karl von Piloty (19th century)
A conjectural replica of the Niña
A replica of the Pinta in Palos de la Frontera
A replica of the Santa María at West Edmonton Mall

Between 1492 and 1504, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus led four Spanish transatlantic maritime expeditions of discovery to the Americas.

Map of early human migrations based on the Out of Africa theory; figures are in thousands of years ago (kya)

Settlement of the Americas

The settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 19,000 years ago).

The settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum (26,000 to 19,000 years ago).

Map of early human migrations based on the Out of Africa theory; figures are in thousands of years ago (kya)
Figure1. Submergence of the Beringian land bridge with post-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) rise in eustatic sea level
Potential extent of human survivability during the last glacial maximum.
Vegetation cover at the Last Glacial Maximum period ~18,000 years ago, describing the type of vegetation cover present
A diagram of the formation of the Great Lakes
Map of Beringia showing the exposed seafloor and glaciation at 40,000 years ago and 16,000 years ago. The green arrow indicates the "interior migration" model along an ice-free corridor separating the major continental ice sheets, the red arrow indicates the "coastal migration" model, both leading to a "rapid colonization" of the Americas after c. 16,000 years ago.
Figure 2. Schematic illustration of maternal (mtDNA) gene-flow in and out of Beringia (long chronology, single source model).
Map of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups - Dominant haplogroups in pre-colonial populations with propose migrations routes
Map showing the approximate location of the ice-free corridor along the Continental Divide, separating the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets. Also indicated are the locations of the Clovis and Folsom Paleo-Indian sites.

These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and spread rapidly southward, occupying both North and South America, by 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.

New World native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Maize (Zea mays); 2. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); 3. Potato (Solanum tuberosum); 4. Vanilla (Vanilla); 5. Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis); 6. Cacao (Theobroma cacao); 7. Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica)

Columbian exchange

New World native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Maize (Zea mays); 2. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); 3. Potato (Solanum tuberosum); 4. Vanilla (Vanilla); 5. Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis); 6. Cacao (Theobroma cacao); 7. Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica)
Old World native plants. Clockwise, from top left: 1. Citrus (Rutaceae); 2. Apple (Malus domestica); 3. Banana (Musa); 4. Mango (Mangifera); 5. Onion (Allium); 6. Coffee (Coffea); 7. Wheat (Triticum spp.); 8. Rice (Oryza sativa)
Sixteenth-century Aztec drawings of victims of smallpox
Slaves working at a plantation in Virginia, depicted in 1670
Inca-era terraces on Taquile are used to grow traditional Andean staples such as quinoa and potatoes, alongside wheat, a European introduction.
Native Americans learned to use horses to chase bison, dramatically expanding their hunting range.
Evangelization of Mexico

The Columbian exchange, also known as the Columbian interchange, was the widespread transfer of plants, animals, precious metals, commodities, culture, human populations, technology, diseases, and ideas between the New World (the Americas) in the Western Hemisphere, and the Old World (Afro-Eurasia) in the Eastern Hemisphere, in the late 15th and following centuries.

Old World

Map of the "Old World" (the 2nd century Ptolemy world map in a 15th-century copy)

The Old World consists of Africa, Europe, and Asia, or Afro-Eurasia, most of which encompasses the Eastern Hemisphere, regarded collectively as the part of the world known to the inhabitants thereof before contact with the Americas.

North America

Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere.

Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere.

Map of populous North America showing physical, political and population characteristics as per 2018
Map of North America, from 1621
The totality of North America seen by the Apollo 16 crew, with Canada being covered by clouds
Landforms and land cover of North America
Sonoran Desert in Arizona
Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland
Principal hydrological divides of Canada, the United States and Mexico
Geologic map of North America published by USGS
North America map of Köppen climate classification
Map of North America in 1702 showing forts, towns and (in solid colors) areas occupied by European settlements
Non-native nations' control and claims over North America c. 1750–2008
Native languages of the US, Canada, Greenland, and Northern Mexico
Percentage of people who identify with a religion in North America, according to 2010–2012 data
Mexican President Peña Nieto, U.S. President Trump, and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau sign the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 30 November 2018
Worlds regions by total wealth (in trillions USD), 2018
2006 map of the North American Class I railroad network
Baseball is traditionally known as America's national pastime, but is also played in Canada, and many Latin American countries as well.

The Americas are usually accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann.

American Discovery Viewed by Native Americans, painting by Thomas Hart Benton (1922), Salem, Peabody Essex Museum.

European colonization of the Americas

American Discovery Viewed by Native Americans, painting by Thomas Hart Benton (1922), Salem, Peabody Essex Museum.
Indigenous
Voyages of the Vikings to the Americas
Americo Vespucci wakes up "America", engraving from 1638
The Discovery of America (Johann Moritz Rugendas).
The silver mountain of Potosí, in what is now Bolivia. It was the source of vast of amounts of silver that transformed the world economy.
Discovery of Brazil.
Penn's Treaty with the Indians
New Amsterdam on lower Manhattan island, was captured by the English in 1665, becoming New York.
The Russian-American Company's capital at New Archangel (present-day Sitka, Alaska) in 1837
Franciscan Alonso de Molina's 1565 Nahuatl (Aztec) dictionary, conceived for friars to communicate with the Indigenous peoples in central Mexico in their own language.
Catholic cathedral in Mexico City
The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue in Mauritsstad (Recife) is the oldest synagogue in the Americas. An estimated number of 700 Jews lived in Dutch Brazil, about 4.7% of the total population.
Drawing accompanying text in Book XII of the 16th-century Florentine Codex (compiled 1540–1585)
Nahua suffering from smallpox
Depiction of Spanish treatment of the indigenous populations in the Caribbean by Theodore de Bry, illustrating Spanish Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas's indictment of early Spanish cruelty, known as the Black legend, and indigenous barbarity, including human cannibalism, in an attempt to justify their enslavement.
Triangular trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas
African slaves 17th-century in a tobacco plantation, Virginia, 1670.
Castas painting depicting Spaniard and mulatta spouse with their morisca daughter by Miguel Cabrera, 1763
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Founded in 1502, the city is the oldest continuously-inhabited European settlement in the New World.
Cumaná, Venezuela. Founded in 1510, it is the oldest continuously-inhabited European city in the continental Americas.
Mayflower, the ship that carried a colony of English Puritans to North America.

Although the Norse had explored and colonized explored areas of the North Atlantic, colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland circa 1000 CE, the later and more well-known wave of European colonization of the Americas took place between about 1492 and 1800, during the Age of Exploration.

Central America

Region of North America.

Region of North America.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize are historically the seven nations in Central America politically, geographically and culturally.
The seven countries of Central America and their capitals
Central America geography
El Chorreron in El Salvador
One of the hanging bridges of the skywalk at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Monteverde, Costa Rica disappearing into the clouds
Central America and the Caribbean Plate
Linguistic variations of classic Central American Spanish.
Central America map of indigenous people before European contact
Coat of Arms of the Central American Parliament
Federal Republic of Central America, 4 Escudos (1835). Struck in the San Jose, Costa Rica mint (697 were minted)
Secretariat of Central American Economic Integration
The Great Blue Hole off the coast of Belize is a prime ecotourism destination. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Semuc Champey, Guatemala.
The city rail in La Ceiba, Honduras is one of the few remaining passenger train services in Central America
Ancient footprints of Acahualinca, Nicaragua
Stone spheres of Costa Rica
Tazumal, El Salvador
Tikal, Guatemala
Copan, Honduras
Altun Ha, Belize
The United Provinces of Central America
Federal Republic of Central America
National Representation of Central America
Greater Republic of Central America
Guatemala
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Costa Rica
Panama
Belize
Belize
Montecristo National Park, El Salvador
Maderas forest, Nicaragua
Texiguat Wildlife Refuge Honduras
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica.
Parque Internacional la Amistad, Panama
Petén–Veracruz moist forests, Guatemala
Lycaste skinneri, Guatemala
Yucca gigantea, El Salvador
Rhyncholaelia digbyana, Honduras
Plumeria, Nicaragua
Guarianthe skinneri, Costa Rica
Peristeria elata, Panama
Prosthechea cochleata, Belize
Resplendent quetzal, Guatemala
Turquoise-browed motmot, El Salvador and Nicaragua
Keel-billed toucan, Belize
Scarlet macaw, Honduras
Clay-colored thrush, Costa Rica
Harpy eagle, Panama
Coatepeque Caldera, El Salvador
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Mombacho, Nicaragua
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Guatemalan textiles
Mola (art form), Panama
El Salvador La Plama art form
Playa Blanca Guatemala
Jiquilisco Bay, El Salvador
Roatán, Honduras
Pink Pearl Island Nicaragua
Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Cayos Zapatilla, Panama
Corozal Beach, Belize

Following the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus' voyages to the Americas, Spain began to colonize the Americas.

An indenture signed by Henry Mayer, with an "X", in 1738. This contract bound Mayer to Abraham Hestant of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, who had paid for Mayer to travel from Europe.

Indentured servitude

Form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years.

Form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years.

An indenture signed by Henry Mayer, with an "X", in 1738. This contract bound Mayer to Abraham Hestant of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, who had paid for Mayer to travel from Europe.
Indian woman in traditional dress

Later it was also used as a way for a person to pay the cost of transportation to colonies in the Americas.

Political map of the Americas in 1794

Decolonization of the Americas

Political map of the Americas in 1794
Graphs showing the make-up of the royalist army at the time of the revolution.
Places in the Americas by date of independence. Note that the United States did not complete its continental territorial expansion until 1867; Canada did not complete sovereignty as an independent country until 1982.
Intendecies (provinces) of the South American viceroyalties.
José de San Martín
Retreat of European colonialism and change of political borders in South America, 1700–present
The Battle of Boyacá sealed Colombia's independence
José de San Martín's proclamation of the independence of Peru on 28 July 1821 in Lima
Battle of Carabobo
Prince Pedro in São Paulo after giving the news of the Brazilian independence on 7 September 1822

The decolonization of the Americas occurred over several centuries as most of the countries in the Americas gained their independence from European rule.