America is not a country – America is a whole continent, er, hemisphere

I recently joined Facebook, to be able to view photos friends were posting. It’s crazy how many different ways have been devised to keep in touch with people: We use Yahoo Chat to keep up with quite a few of our Colorado friends, and we have to have AOL IM for one (yes Jim, that’s you), we have Windows Live Messenger, and now I also am registered with Facebook. And there are so many of these Facebook type applications, LinkedIn etc… It’s a world gone crazy.

Anyway, while on Facebook this morning I came across this and thought I’d put it out as ‘Food for Thought’


“AMERICA” is not U.S.A. – AMERICA is the name for a whole continent.
America is not a country – America is a whole continent – Since when did US citizens start using the word “America” to refer to their country? It is an outrage and a mistake. America is a full continent divided into 3: North America (Canada, USA and Mexico), Central America (Cuba, Honduras, Guatemala, etc.) and South America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, etc.). Imagine the Germans saying that they make the best cars in their country “Europe” are making the best cars? …

I have in the past been guilty of this innaccuracy; Especially when asked Nationality, I always say “I’m an American”, with full pride in all that stands for. Well, in full fairness Canadians are American, and Mexicans are Americans as well.

So in the effort of promoting International Understanding I am posting this little tidbit as ‘Food for Thought’

About Debi in Merida

I moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA to Merida, Yucatan, MX in January 2006. I love to read, garden, travel, and hang out with friends.
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44 Responses to America is not a country – America is a whole continent, er, hemisphere

  1. i believe we are talking about a continent,not an entire hemisphere. the western hemisphere has siberia,portions of europe,portions of africa,and portions of oceania.

  2. I firmly believe there are 5 continents
    it is not necessary to acknowledge antarctica. she has no countries.
    if my “5 continents” were people (all of them are going to be female). asia would be the tallest. she would be very beautiful.
    america would be the 2nd tallest and referred to as the new world by europe sometimes.
    africa would be in the middle in terms of height and the least developed. (most underdeveloped country percentage of any continent)
    europe would be the 2nd shortest.
    oceania would be made fun of for being the shortest of all 5 of those girls,but she stands up for herself.
    each one has an army of countries and territorries. in america’s army,united states is the strongest and first to attack,but is ignorant and calls herself the whole of america.
    in asia’s army,china is the first to attack and is the strongest,but says that united states shoved her culture into his face.
    in africa’s army,the strongest would be egypt,a cool guy.
    in europe’s army,the strongest would be poland,an awesome girl who fights to prove she is not upside down
    in oceania’s army,the strongest would be australia,a friend of united kingdom.
    russia would not serve in any army. egypt would be the only transcontinental country to serve in an army.

  3. jayden says:

    america is 1 continent. and also,as for plural demonym for USA,how about usonians,unisians,or terra diverseans or united statesians. as for adjectival and singular demonym,usonian,unisian,terra diversean,or united statesian. as for the name,of our country,usonia,unisia,terra diverse,or united states.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You should check before you say something, the official name of Mexico is not “United States of Mexico”, it's UNITED MEXICAN STATES. The name America was given to the WHOLE landmass in the 1500's, 270 years before the USA existed, so all people in America are Americans, people of US are USians, US is IN America but not a country called America, I am Mexican, Mexico is in America and that makes me American.

    • i can’t tell who hates being called not an american the most,you,felipe C,or that colombian you was asked what state? and said “colombia” the response was “so,south carolina?” the response was “no,colombia,south america” she’s american too. i’m american. more specifically,united statesian. even more specifically,tennessean. even more specifically,i was born in a hospital in hendersonville. hawaiians are oceanians by continent,not americans,but they are united statesians by country. hawaii is the only us state not to be on the continent of america. america is not an entire hemisphere. the western hemisphere has poritons of europe,africa,and oceania,as well as having siberia.

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are just United Statians, and your contry's name is only “United States” not United States of AMERICA, if it's, mine's that is Argentina become to Argentina de AMERICA, so I'm American too like u, u already are taken offense to the all America contienent to want to be the only ones to be called “americans”

    So… remember all people in the american CONTINENT are americans, don't be ignorant anymore

    • united states is the short-form name at the UN.the full official name of united states is united states of america,just like the full official name of united kingdom is united kingdom of great britain and northern ireland and the full official name of argentina is argentine republic in spanish language,my country is estados unidos de américa.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'm South American and yes, it kind of bothers me that usaians (?) call themselves Americans. Maybe if it wasn't for historical policy of colonialism and believing their country is the best of the world, and that the US has the right to do things other countries don't… it wouldn't bother me the word americans. But as you can see, it implies much more.
    On the other hand I understand that the country has more a description than a singular name. But it's quite nice to see people trying to show respect for the rest of the continent by finding a new word.

  7. Reason says:


    I totally agree with your views. Why don't people from U.S. start to cultivate their own identity and profile the good stuff they have developed?

    Seen from outside, it looks like the self claimed “free-world-leader”- role has taken attention away from the reflection about what is unique and good with the U.S. culture. When time goes by, they will have to find their place in a more balanced democratic world where all people and countries claim their fair share of power and attention.

    I feel that a good start to regain respect and trust, is to name themselves after their own land – USAnian – (and not the American continents). That will show that they respect all the other American populations, like e.g.: Canadian, Brazilian, Mexican, Columbian, Argentinian, …..

    Have a look at: There you see that USAnians are appr. 4.5% of the worlds population. That's slightly more than e.g. Indonesians, but only 1/4 og populations like Chinese and Indians.


    • “columbian” is someone from the capital of south carolina. someone from the republic of colombia is colombian. also,it’s not “the american continents” but ”
      the american continent” there aren’t 3 american continents,just 1 american continent. there is no central american continent. america is 1 continent,not 3. it is not an entire hemisphere. the western hemisphere has portions of europe and africa,as well as siberia and portions of oceania. cool website,though.

  8. EJA says:

    Debi,What’s your Facebook moniker? I’d like to “Friend” you.I’ll be down in March. Hope to see you and Tom again.— Josh

  9. I was born in México, so I am Mexican.I dont care the way other people like to be called.But it would make me angry if somebody tries to tell me that I am not an AMERICAN or should avoid saying that.I am not European, nor African, nor Asian. I am Mexican AND American. Which are perfectly correct statements.There was a famous phrase in the 19th century: “America for the Americans”, used for USA to prevent future intervention of european power in the western Hemisphere, so latin american countries didn’t really like the misconception of the entire continent (America) left only for use of the United States (America)That reinforced the idea that every citizen of north, central and south america is an AMERICAN, not a privilege exclusive of only one country.

    • yes,you are american,but how many mexicans called themselves american before calling themselves mexican? but seriously,you think that there are no continents other than america,europe,asia,and africa? let me guess,you consider oceania part of asia.

    • the only people trying to tell you you aren’t american are theresa and joanne,as they are saying that americans are just citizens of the country between canada and mexico. i’m glad to see you’re one of the mexicans who aren’t offended to be called american. gather up all people from the american continent who call themselves american in the same way that germans call themselves european. germans do call themselves european and indians do call themselves asian. (inclusive of other europeans and asians,respectively)

  10. Norm says:

    When I was in school I took some classes in Latin American studies, it was the first thing the teachers would ask:who or what is an American? Their point was that we that live in the Americas are all Americans. I for one would like to see more political unity between our nations of the Americas. More freedom to live and work where we please without all the hoop jumping.

    • not “the americas”,”america” all people born on the american continent are americans. did the teacher say “the americas” or did the teacher refer to them as one continent.

  11. Joanne says:

    Theresa makes a good comment – “Or better yet, start refering to Mexicans and Canadians as Americans and see how far you get.” While many people don’t have a problem with Canadians or Mexicans calling themselves American, as a Canadian I would prefer to be called just that – Canadian.The whole world understands that American means citizen of the United States of America. I think Americans, Canadians and Mexicans all have reasons to be proud of their countries and should be proud to use the names that they use now – American, Canadian or Mexican. These are all great nations and I don’t want to see any of their names diluted.

    • americans are not a nation. americans do not have 1 country. “I think Americans, Canadians and Mexicans all have reasons to be proud of their countries and should be proud to use the names that they use now – American, Canadian or Mexican.” don’t call a mexican not an american. mexicans get offended when you say they aren’t americans. american is not a nationality. mexicans are americans. john is an american. more specifically,john is a canadian. you just said that mexicans aren’t americans. american is not a nation. americans are not a nation. america is not a nation. not all americans are from the US. my nationality is USA. yes,US passports have typed nationality=USA. american is not a nationality. you say that mexicans aren’t americans,even though they are americans in the same sense that germans are europeans.Americans are not from 1 country. there is no such thing as “country where all americans were born.” or “country of the americans” american does not mean “citizen of the united states of america” and it’s not “the whole world understands american means citizen of the united states of america” people who aren’t citizens of the united states of america aren’t wrong when they call themselves americans unless they’re europeans,africans,asians,or oceanians. all people born on the american continent have the right to call themselves americans. you got a problem with mexicans calling themselves americans? people from the united states of america should not expect people from mexico,colombia,brazil,etc. to stop calling themselves americans. people from mexico aren’t wrong when they call themselves americans. colombians and brazilians aren’t wrong when they call themselves american. american is not my nationality,though i was born in the united states. my nationality is USA. US passports have typed nationality=USA. an american embassy does not exist in this world. don’t call mexicans non-americans. mexicans are americans,too. americans do not have a country. americans aren’t from 1 country. americans are not a country. american is not a country. america is not a country. america is not a language. you should not expect mexicans,colombians,brazilians,etc. to stop calling themselves americans. it is not wrong for mexicans,colombians,brazilians,etc. to refer to themselves as americans.

  12. Tom and Debi says:

    Oh I love this kind of exchange – I spent years being over-sensitized to all types of ‘words’.Now, in my new life you can call me ‘honey’, you can call me ‘little lady’, and I won’t cringe or flare. I still don’t like being called a ‘chick’, but ‘chiquita’ doesn’t seem too bad…It seems we (US Aians) have become over-sensitive AND over-critical. And sometimes ‘words’ can have a demeaning and hurtful nature.Calling all members of the Americas, Americans might just bring us closer together.It’s worth the discussion. Thanks to all that participate!I still don’t know exactly where I stand, but this is how we learn and grow!Debi

  13. Great topic. I am on the fence, and can go either way. Theresa makes a good point. So does the article. I guess it just doesn’t bother me either way….

  14. glorv1 says:

    This is a hot topic, I better stay out of it. By the way, I am Mexican/American. Is that right or wrong? I was born in the good old USA and will die in the good old USA and I’ll still have been a Mexican/American. Chicana soy yo.:)))) joshing around, but it is a hot topic.

  15. Jonna says:

    This is a hot topic, I am like Theresa and get rather irritated with the politically correct who want to change language to fit their political views. It’s another form of bashing the USA, I don’t believe there would be any problem with Mexico using the word or Canada. Primarily, this is only a problem in English because there are legitimate words for us in other languages. In English, the word used for citizens of the USA is American and it has been that for a couple hundred years at least. I just want to say “get over it” to those who object, use another word or don’t but stop trying to make it into a huge deal when it is not. Theresa is right that the complete name for Mexico is Estados Unidos de Mexico and **in English** citizens are called Mexicans. The complete name for the US is United States of America, and **in English** we are called Americans. Seems the same to me. The word Unitedstatsian will never become common in English, it’s almost impossible to pronounce for one thing and it sounds ridiculous for another. Plus, it is not needed. We have a perfectly good term that the entire English speaking world understands. These PC idiots should #1) get a life and #2) get over it.

  16. Gary Denness says:

    I do hear this point raised all the time and I also think it’s a bit of a non issue, for a whole range of reasons. Not least the simple use of the English language. What is language? At it’s basest form it’s a range of words that have a meaning to which people subscribe to. That the words can mean something else is a bit irrelevant. If a builder shows you his screwdriver, will you give him a perplexed look, because there is no visible sign of sex taking place, nor a driver – be it a car driver, train driver etc.If other nationalities within the Americas really think it is such an issue, there is nothing to stop them from referring to themselves as Americans instead of Canadians, Mexicans, Brazilians etc.

  17. roni says:

    Yo soy estado unidenseSometimes, I learned as a young man in Brasil in the 1960’s, it might be wise to claim one is a Canadian 🙂I use Google blogger id because name/link is not avaible, but my real blog is at and not at the link in the name

  18. Calypso says:

    When referring to the U.S. I never use America – living in Mexico has made me see that differently. I am from the United States and live in Mexico – both are in North America or America.

  19. rgl says:

    Well, to add to the input here, while I was teaching in China, we often refered to “Americans” as USAnians, a term that I would suggest is probably the best of terms that could be used.rgl –

  20. Tom and Debi says:

    MCM – Exactly, we all, in the American hemisphere are Americans, That’s my point! GraciasDebi

  21. mcm says:

    Geology, topography, political geography, culture and history combine to make this an interesting topic.Thank you Debi, for raising the topic that seems to be a “hot button” for some, and especially to Theresa for injecting some facts and common sense.To add to the mix, here’s a link to a plate tectonic map of the world — you’ll note, for example, that Cuba is part of the North American plate, whereas the rest of the Greater Antilles and lesser Antilles sit on the Caribbean plate… line — saying that you’re an “American” sounds accurate, however you look at it (nationally, continentally, hemispherically, tectonically)….

  22. Debi,I didn’t mean you personally felt guilty for being an American, and I am sorry that my original comment implied that.It is just a hot button for me, that I didn’t realize that what I wrote could be taken that way. I think that if someone wanted to be general they can say that you are from North America, just like I can say that my parents came from Central America if I didn’t want to say Cuba. So in North America, we have Canadians, Americans who used to live in New Spain or New France or??? but now live in the USA and Mexicans, who also used to live in New Spain. In Central America we have a whole passel of countries and and in South America the same, none of those people refer to themselves as Americans, I just think it’s someone with a bone to pick and wanting to find fault with the USA. I am not making real sense, here and maybe someone else has another take on this.regards,Theresa

  23. Tom and Debi says:

    Bob – Good point, hemisphere. I hadn’t thought that globally. I was just sent on a ponder of our (we from the USofA) ‘appropriation’ of the term American to refer to just us! When in fact all members of this hemisphere are ‘Americans’. Hoping to bring about the thought that we are more alike than different.Theresa – I don’t feel guilty saying I’m American, in fact it is with pride (most of the time), but it is innacurate in that American can refer to anyone of the landmass known as America. I now typically say I am ‘from’ the USofA which seems more accurate.I was just thinking about breaking down the barriers of separation, fear, anger, and hate.Apparently the first use of the term America for thte landmass was in 1507, here’s a link to a really cool map bringing up thought and conversation!Debi

    • actually,not all members of the western hemisphere are americans. europe and africa are both partially in the western hemisphere. oceania is partially in the western hemisphere.

  24. Actually, the name of our country is the United States of America. Saying you are an American is not wrong, since every one understands that it is shorthand for I am a citizen of the United States of America. The Mexicans sometimes call us Estadiunidenses but really that is just as inaccurate, Since Mexico is the United States of Mexico, they too are Estadiunidenses. Germans do refer to themselves as European, and I am sure that they think that they make the best cars in Europe.They are comparing apples to oranges. So if you feel guilty about calling yourself an American, then what are you going to call yourself? A citizen of the country called the USA? I am sure that someone will take offense at that too.This stuff makes me angry. To answer the person’s question the USA started to use the word “America” and the rest of the world started using it in ummm 1776? probably before. That is just someone with too much time on their hands and nothing real to complain about.Or better yet, start refering to Mexicans and Canadians as Americans and see how far you get. The whole issue is a non-issue unless you want to change the name of our country?regards,Theresa

    • americans are not just citizens of the united states of america.felipe contreras is a mexican who calls himself both mexican and american. try telling colombians and brazilians that they aren’t americans and see how many people you offend. my nationality is Usanian.

  25. Bob Mrotek says:

    Debi,I think that if you include South America we are talking about a “hemisphere” and not a continent. That really doesn’t matter as much as the lock that people in the U.S. seem to have on the word “America”. I was just talking to my friend Alfredo ( about this before I read your post. As a matter of fact, in the early years of Mexican Independence before the word “Mexico” was firmly established to differentiate this country from “New Spain”, many Mexicans referred to themselves as “Americans” and you will occasionally find this reference in old books. Thanks for this post. You brought up a very good point. I am also bothered by the way that Americans tend to refer to Mexico as part of “Central America” when it is clearly part of the “North American” continent.

    • jayden says:

      america is 1 continent. and plus it’s not even the entire hemisphere. the hemisphere has portions of europe and africa.

    • we are not talking about a hemisphere if we include south america. the western hemisphere is not just america. america is not a country,but it is not an entire hemisphere either. the western hemisphere has portions of europe. the western hemisphere has portions of africa. the western hemisphere has portions of oceania.

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