North America - Usage of The Term North America

Usage of The Term North America

The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with location and context. In English, North America may be used to refer to the United States and Canada together. Alternatively, usage sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico (as in the North American Free Trade Agreement), as well as offshore islands.

In Ibero-America and other parts of Europe, North America usually designates a subcontinent of the Americas containing Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and often Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, and Bermuda.

North America has been historically referred to by other names. Spanish North America (New Spain) was often referred to as Northern America, and this was the first official name given to Mexico.

Outside of North America, going into the twentieth century, the whole American continent (North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean) was referred simply as "America" or "The Americas", one of the "Five Continents" (the other four being, Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania).

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