The Americas are a pair of continents in the Western Hemisphere, including the entire North American continent and the entire South American continent. They cover over 8.3% of the Earth's total surface and constitute 28.4% of its total landmass. 14% of the human population lives in the Americas.
The word "America" is often used in American English to refer particularly to the United States of America. When speaking English, Latinos (particularly Mexicans) distinguish between Latin America and North America, with Mexico specifically excluded from North America.
The Americas is a general term usually meaning North, Central and South America collectively.
The most common origin given for the name America is derived from that of the Italian merchant and navigator Amerigo Vespucci, one of the earliest European explorers of the New World. However, a competing theory has been put forward by Dr. Basil Cottle that America may have been named after a senior collector of Customs at Bristol, Richard Amerik, who was also one of the chief investors in the second transatlantic voyage of John Cabot (the first recorded European to set foot on American soil in May 1497),. How reliable each theory is is open to question as there are no contempory documents of the time that detail how the name America was arrived at.
The climatic zones of the two continents are quite different. In North America, subarctic climate prevails in the north, gradually warming southward and finally becoming tropical near the southern isthmus. In South America, the climate in the north is tropical, becoming cooler southward, and finally becoming a cold, marine climate America Encyclopædia Britannica.
America is also understood as one of the five continents of the globe, with an area of 16,000,000 square miles, and been larger than Europe and Africa together. Its length from the northern limit of Alaska to the southern limit of Chile is 8,700 miles.
Throughout history eight Europeans countries have controlled different parts of the Americas, they are Denmark, which still controls Greenland, France, which has in the past controlled, Canada, Haiti, Louisiana and other places, Netherlands, which founded a colony in North America called New Netherlands, which contained parts of what is now Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, Portugal in the past controlled Brazil, Russia, used to own Alaska, which Russia later sold to the United States of America, Spain in the past controlled most of what is now Central and South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and large parts of the Southern part of North America, including Mexico, and much of the Southern half of the United States, including California, Florida, which Spain ceded to the United States of America in 1819, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and parts of what is now, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. Sweden in the past founded a colony in North America, called New Sweden, which contained parts of what are now Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom in the past controlled the thirteen colonies, which would later become the United States of America, and also controlled Canada, Jamaica, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and other places in the Americas.