The Americas

The Americas (sometimes referred to as America) is the area including the land mass located between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, namely North America and South America. The term also usually includes the Caribbean, the islands in and around the Caribbean Sea, and Greenland, though not Iceland, for cultural and historical reasons. The isthmus of Central America is usually considered geographically part of North America. The Americas are often also described collectively as the Western Hemisphere or the New World.

Most references consider there to be two continents, North America and South America. However, most Spanish language references consider the two to be a single continent, "America". Even so, many Spanish speakers consider América del norte and América del sur to be separate continents. The use of America to refer to the New World as a whole is also sometimes used in English, such as in the common phrase "Christopher Columbus discovered America".

People who live in the Americas are sometimes referred to as being American, although the word "American" is more commonly used to refer only to a citizen of the United States of America. (See also Alternate words for American)

See naming of America for a discussion of how the Americas were named.

See also Latin America.

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