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The Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World consisting of the continents of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions. The Americas cover 8.3% of the Earth's total surface area (28.4% of its land area) and contain about 14% of the human population.

The designation is a relatively recent and less ambiguous alternative to America, which may refer to either the entire landmass or the United States of America. The original usage to describe what is sometimes considered a single continent or supercontinent is deprecated for clarity, for which the Americas is used to collectively refer to the landmass and various regions of it. When used to describe a single landmass, analogous terms to America or (the) Americas are Eurasia, which consists of Europe and Asia collectively, and Eurafrasia, which is Eurasia and Africa.

The American population, is made up of the descendants of three large ethnic groups and their combinations:

1. the native inhabitants of the Americas, being Amerindians, Eskimos, and Aleuts;
2. Europeans, mainly Spanish, English, Irish, Portuguese, French, Africans, Italian, German and Dutch. There are also more
3. recent immigrants, such from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central, South, and Eastern Asia.

The majority of the people live in Latin America, named for its dominant languages, Spanish and Portuguese, both of which (as well as French) are descended from Latin. Latin America is typically contrasted with Anglo-America where English, a Germanic language, prevails: namely, Canada and the United States (in Northern America) have predominantly British roots and are quite different in terms of linguistical, cultural, and economic situation from other countries in the Americas.

Languages of the Americas

Whether usage of America or the Americas is preferred, many people living in the Americas refer to themselves as American. However, most of the English-speaking world (including Canada) use the word to refer solely to a citizen or resident of the United States of America. This may be due, at least in part, to the fact that the phrase "United States" does not easily translate into an adjective or descriptive noun in English.

While Spanish-speaking peoples in Latin America use the word estadounidense (literally, "United-States-ian" or "of the United States"), calling someone a "United States-man" or "United States'er" or other such constructions sounds awkward in English. This has led to the use of the word American. Nevertheless, calling a U.S. citizen simply americano or americana in Spanish is considered offensive in some areas of Latin America. Some Latin Americans, however, will use "americano" or "americana" to refer to people from the United States in colloquial speech while still considering themselves "American", just as Germans or Spaniards would consider themselves "European".

Moreover, many English Canadians resent being referred to as Americans because of mistaken assumptions that they are U.S. citizens or an inability - particularly of people overseas - to distinguish Canadian and American accents.

Information provided by Wikipedia

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