North America is the northern and more expansive part of the American dual continent and as such, it is the third largest continent in the world after Asia and Africa. It encompasses Greenland (a self-governing province of Denmark), Saint Pierre and Miquelon (France), Canada, the United States of America, and Mexico, with its southern border either at Golfo de Tehuantepec in Mexico or at Panama depending on purpose and context, so that it sometimes (applying the latter) also includes Central America and the West Indies (also known as the Caribbean Islands; the Antilles and the Bahama Islands).

The United Nations, applying a political perspective, includes Central America and the West Indies, but climatologically and culturally, these have more in common with South America. With the more inclusive definition, the continent covers 24,400,000 km2 and is home to some 440,000,000 people.

Located between the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pacific Ocean and Asia, from which it is separated by the 90 km wide Bering Strait, in the west, the continent stretches north to south some 7,000 km, thereby featuring everything from polar to subtropical and tropical climate, with most of its landmass experiencing a temperate inland climate, protected by the Rocky Mountains, Coast Mountains, the Cascade Range, the Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada in the west and the Appalachian Mountains in the east.

The Countries of North America

and sometimes

plus several colonies of North and South American and European countries, always including

and sometimes including (and most likely not limited to)

Source: Alla världens länder (2000). Bonnier Lexikon AB, n.p.

Thanks to Gorgonzola for pointing out Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which I had missed.

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