America [after Amerigo Vespucci ], the two continents of North America and South America, which are juxtaposed with the “Old World” as the “New World” and are connected by the land and islandbridge of Central America. The double continent, which with more than 42 million km 2 has not yet reached the size of Asia, comes close to this in the north-west in the Bering Strait to 86 km, but is otherwise through the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean in the east and North clearly separated from the other continents. America extends from 83 ° 07 ′ north latitude (including the island of Greenland from 83 ° 39 ′north latitude) to almost 54 ° (including the islands 56 °) south latitude, for a total of 14,000–15,500 km. North and South America have almost the same west-east extension (5,000 km), but the central axis of South America is 35 ° more east than that of North America. Both continents have the same basic features in terms of construction and surface design: along the west coast are the high mountain ranges of the Cordilleras (Rocky Mountains , Andes), to which eastward large tabular lands, river lowlands ( Mississippi, Amazonas) and old mountain hulls (Appalachia, Brazilian mountainous region) connect) connect near the east coast; There are, however, great differences in the natural conditions and living conditions. Around 990 million people live in America (2015).
America was probably settled mainly from Northeast Asia via the Bering Strait, which at times formed a land bridge. Immigration from Europe during the last Ice Age has also recently been discussed. So far, however, there is no clear evidence of this. The determination of the point in time of the immigration from Asia is not finally completed, two research views are controversial. Proponents of the late immigration thesis assume that the first immigrants brought stone projectile points – a specialty of American archeology – into their instruments. Since the oldest tips (so-called Clovis tips from the Llano culture) are dated to an age of 11,000–12,000 years, according to this view, settlement cannot be before 10,000 BC. Have started. The advocates of early immigration (from around 35,000 BC) assume that knowledge of the manufacture and use of stone projectile points was acquired on the American continent, as preforms of these points are not yet known from Asia. However, the cited sites of this »pre-projectile stage« are mostly ambiguous with regard to their dating, since the datable organic material (e.g. bones of Ice Age fauna) cannot be unequivocally associated with human artefacts. Renewed investigations of the finds from the Old Crow Flats (Yukon Territory, Canada) have corrected the previously calculated age of caribou bones based on new investigation methods from 27,000 years to the time after the birth of Christ. The artifacts in the Abrí of Meadowcroft, southwest Pennsylvania, have been dated to an age of 17,000 years. Despite the use of modern technology and a flawless stratigraphy, this information is viewed with skepticism, as contamination in the dated find material cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, there are indications of settlement traces at Central and South American sites that are older than 13,000 years (Tlapacoya and Hueyatlaco in Mexico, Monteverde in Chile, Ayacucho in Peru). Advocates of the early settlement of the American continent assume that there were several waves of immigration before 11,000 BC. Chr., Which are also seen as the reason for the linguistic diversity. Genetic analyzes also did not produce a clear result, but gave certainty that that immigration could not have started until 15,000 years ago at the earliest. The Eskimo in northern Alaska came from a later wave of immigration around 4000-3000 BC. The process of immigration is also controversial. The reason is assumed to be the pursuit of game, but it remains unclear how the settlement spread to the south (west or east of the mountains, on water or on land).
After Columbus landed on the Bahamian island of Guanahani in 1492 (despite previous trips to America by the Vikings and other seafarers the actual time of discovery), North America was predominantly settled by the British (Anglo-America), Central and South America by the Spanish and Portuguese (Latin America). Until its defeat in the Seven Years War (1756–63), France owned large parts of North America (Louisiana, Areas in Canada), but only sparsely populated. In North America the Indians were severely decimated; but their number is now increasing again. In Central and South America they mixed strongly with the European immigrants (mestizos). The proportion of descendants of Africans who were deported to America as slaves, most of whom have also mixed (mulattos), is different in different areas. There were also other immigrants from Europe and Asia.
According to Countryaah, Latin America, a general term for all countries in South and Central America in which Spanish or Portuguese is spoken (including Mexico). The common origin of Spanish and Portuguese from Latin gave this area its name and sets it apart from the Anglo-American language area.