America, a little lesson in geography


Geography is certainly not the forte of most students in the United States of America.  But George W. Bush seems to be more prone than any president before him to use the short cut « America » to designate his country (with, of course, a particularly Texan twist to the « r ».  Probably, with all his extra-curricular activities during his college era, he had little time to study something as unimportant as geography.


If we consult the Windows Encarta Atlas – made in USA, mind you – we are told that North America is composed of five countries or dependencies (Bermuda, Canada, Greenland, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and the United States).  Then, Central America is made of eight countries or dependencies (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama). And, finally, you have to add the fourteen countries of South America.


So, dear friends, if you tell me : « I am from America » or « I am an American », I will have to ask you to which one of those twenty-seven countries do you belong ? (After all, the USA, with its 9.364.000 km2 represents only 22.3% of the total American continent (42.000.000 km2)


To speak of the citizens of the United States of America, the Italians have a nice word : I Statunitensi .  In the same manner, the Spaniards say : Los Estadounidenses. There is no reason why one could not say in French : les Étatsuniens.  Why is it that the Unitedstatesofamericans do not find a nice name they could use to introduce themselves to us. Unless one prefers to say more simply, « I am from Bush country ».