The Americas comprise the totality of North America and South America. Both continents are located in the Western Hemisphere and make up the New World. It believed that the first humans to settle in the Americas were from Asia and arrived anywhere between 42,000 to 17,000 years ago. Norse explorer Leif Erikson was the first European settler in the Americas; however, Christopher’s Columbus’s voyages were the first to result in permanent colonization.
North America and South America meet at a point on the Isthmus of Panama. Panama was originally part of South America when the boundary between the continents was set as the Costa Rican border and Panama was a province of Colombia. The border changed in 1903 when Panama gained its independence. Panama is the only country to have changed continents. The total area of the Americas is 16.43 million square miles (42.55 million square kilometers) making up about 8% of Earth’s total surface and 28.4% of the Earth’s total land surface. Between both continents, there are about 1.002 billion people, two-thirds of whom live in the United States, Brazil, and Mexico. Between the two continents, there are 31 countries and dozens of territories belonging to the United States and several European countries including the United Kingdom, France, Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark.
The ten largest countries in the Americas are:
- Canada (3,854,083 mi2)
- United States (3,617,827 mi2)
- Brazil (3,287,086 mi2)
- Argentina (1,073,234 mi2)
- Mexico (758,249 mi2)
- Peru (486,093 mi2)
- Colombia (440,715 mi2)
- Bolivia (424,052 mi2)
- Venezuela (353,748 mi2)
- Chile (291,855 mi2)
Canada is the largest country at 3,854,083 square miles (9,984,670 square kilometers). Canada is also the third-largest country in the world. Despite Canada’s size, the population is 37.5 million, ranked 39th in the world. The majority of Canada’s population lives in the southernmost parts along the Canadian-US border due to the harsh weather conditions in the northern half of the country. The United States is the second-largest country in the Americas spanning over 3,617,827 square miles (9,372,610 square kilometers). The United States is the third-largest country in the world by population with over 329 million people.