North America is only the third largest continent in the world, yet it has so much to offer. We therefore thought we have to share our most incredible random facts about that continent so we collected 186 unbelievable facts about North America you should not miss. Leave us a message and let us know how many of these amazing facts you already know and if you want even more trivia like this you should definitely check out our books we have published for you.
1. Basketball was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian physical educator, while he was looking for a game that can be played indoors during winter.
2. The modern look of the U.S. flag was designed by a school child from Ohio as a school project. His teacher gave him a B-.
3. The Diomedes Islands are a group of islands in the Arctic Ocean. The western island of this group belongs to Russia, while the eastern island belongs to the USA. Both islands are only 2.5 miles apart, but as the International Date Line runs between them, they are separated by a 21-hour time difference.
4. There is a town called “Cool” in the US state California.
5. Las Vegas was not founded as a casino city in the middle of the Nevada desert. Indeed, due to its abundant water resources, it developed from a stop on trade routes to a railway junction during the first hundred years after its discovery in 1829. In 1941, the first hotel-casino opened as an attraction for the travelers and the settled workers. From then on, Las Vegas developed over the next hundred years from the railway junction to the most visited casino city in the world.
6. Alaska crosses the border with the eastern hemisphere and is thus the most eastern and western state in the USA.
7. In the 19th and 20th centuries, a family clan with predominantly bluish skin lived in the Appalachian Mountains in the USA. This was due to a disease called methemoglobinemia, which was repeatedly passed on within the Fugate family due to the isolated living conditions in the mountains. We wrote a detailed article about that story. Make sure to check it out here.
8. In Pittsburgh there is a restaurant called “Conflict Kitchen”. It only serves dishes from countries the USA is in conflict with. When the restaurant started to serve dishes from Palestine the owners received death threats
9. Thanks to collaboration with Twitter, every public tweet sent in the U.S., is digitally archived in the Library of Congress.
10. Central Park in New York is larger than the State Monaco.
11. Whittier is a city in Alaska with 217 inhabitants. Almost the entire population of the city lives in the small community’s only building, which also houses a school, a hospital, a church and a grocery store. For this, the town has been nicknamed the “town under one roof”.
12. Over an investigation period from 1985 to 2012, scientists were able to show that Greenland is the country with the highest suicide rate. During this period, 83 out of 100,000 people committed suicide, while 20 percent of the population reported to have attempted suicide at least once before.
13. One out of 38 people in the United States live in New York City.
14. In the U.S. the most dangerous job is to be a fisherman. Approximately one out of every 900 die during work.
15. The entire border between the United States and Canada consists of a cleared strip of forest with a width of approximately 20 feet.
16. The New York Public Library is the 3rd largest library in the world. Only the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and the British Library in London is larger.
17. The majority of Canada’s population lives south of Seattle.
18. Montreal is the world’s fourth largest French speaking city after Paris, Kinshasa and Abidjan.
19. In Newfoundland (Canada) there is a city called Dildo.
20. The golden look of the windows of the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas was created using real gold dust.
21. Up until the late 1930s, May 1st was the “Moving Day” in New York City. All apartment leases in the city expired simultaneously at 9:00 am, causing thousands of people to change their residences, all at the same time.
22. Chinatown in New York is the largest settlement of Chinese citizens outside Asia.
23. It is assumed that the pizza Hawaii was invented in Canada.
24. The Nahanni National Park Reserve in Canada is larger than Israel, Jamaica or Armenia.
25. In 1911, the Niagara Falls froze completely.
26. On the first day that same-sex marriage was legal state-wide 823 same-sex couples were married in New York City.
27. The Empire State Building generates more revenue from the observation deck than from its renting income.
28. In the U.S., the probability of suicide is twice the rate of an assassination by a third party.
29. From 1789 to 1790, New York was the capital of the USA.
30. After Russia Canada is the second largest country in the world.
31. The state animal of California is the Grizzly Bear, which is the reason that it is also featured on the Californian flag. However, there are almost no grizzly bears anymore in California and the last sighting of a grizzly was in 1924.
32. During the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, banker Pat Munroe advised his customers in the city of Quincy, Florida, to buy shares in the beverage company Coca-Cola. Over the next few years, the share price rose so much that countless people in Quincy quickly became millionaires and the city became the richest city in the USA.
33. Manhattan in New York City was purchased from American Indian people in 1626 for about US$1,000 in modern currency.
34. Las Vegas has over 150,000 guest rooms available. By contrast, there are only 63,000 in New York.
35. New York City’s Federal Reserve Bank has the largest gold storage in the world. In total it contains more than 7.000 tons of gold.
36. With 7,128 rooms, the Venetian in Las Vegas is the second largest hotel in the world. Only the First World Hotel in Malaysia is even larger with 7,351 rooms.
37. The farthest distance a sniper met his target is 3,540 meters and was set up by a Canadian elite soldier. The projectile flew about ten seconds through the air.
38. On a flight from Amsterdam to Boston a woman from Uganda gave birth to a child. In the end, the baby was given Canadian citizenship as it was born in their airspace.
39. With a total of 1,896 km (1,178 miles), the Yonge Street in Ontario, Canada, is the longest street in the world.
40. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York is 11 years older than the Tower Bridge in London.
41. The place with the lowest gravitational pull is in Canada.
42. With 3,741 miles (6,021 kilometers) the Mississippi in the US is the largest river in North America.
43. During the California Gold Rush San Francisco’s population grew from 200 in 1846 to 36,000 in 1852.
44. Due to the popular shrimp cocktails, more shrimps are consumed in Las Vegas every year than in the rest of the USA.
45. Las Vegas is Spanish and means “The Meadows” because at the time of the discovery it was a green oasis in the middle of the Mojave Desert.
46. In 1946, the United States made Denmark an offer to buy Greenland for 100 million dollars. However, the Danes refused.
47. The Towers of the World Trade Centre had their own zip code: 10048 New York.
48. Apple owns more cash than the United States.
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49. In the USA, a slave from 1850 by today’s standards, would cost 1,000 dollars.
50. At 541 feet (164.6 meters), the copy of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas is about half the height of the original in Paris.
51. The Times Square in New York City is named after the newspaper “New York Times”. It was originally called “Longacre Square” until the New York Times moved there in 1904.
52. On average, there are 88.8 weapons per 100 U.S. citizens.
53. The Paricutín volcano in Mexico was not there until 20 February 1943. Witnesses report having worked on a maize field that day and heard a dull “plop”. A day later, the volcano was already 33 feet high, and by the next day it had grown to 164 feet. A year later, the volcano had reached a height of 1,102 feet when it began to spew lava. Today, the volcano is 1,391 feet high and continues to be active.
54. In 1964, San Francisco’s cable cars were declared the first moving Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The San Francisco cable cars are the only ones still operating in a U.S city.
55. The Wasaga beach in Canada is the longest fresh water beach in the world.
56. On 24 January 1961 a US Air Force B-52 bomber crashed during a military exercise and had to initiate the emergency jettison of two hydrogen bombs over the Goldsboro region (North Carolina, USA). On one of the bombs, only one of four safety devices remained intact after the crash, while the second bomb landed in a swamp area where remains of the bomb are still found to this day. If you are interested in the whole story just read our article about the Goldsboro Crash here.
57. Under the Las Vegas Valley, approximately 1,000 homeless people live in the sewage tunnel system.
58. The Empire State Building has its own zip code. It’s 10118.
59. Every 21st inhabitant of New York is a millionaire.
60. Canada contains 10 percent of the world’s forested land.
61. Over half of Canada’s residents have college degrees making the country the world’s most educated country.
62. The winter in 1780 was so bad in New York City that even the New York Harbor froze over. As a result, people were able to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island on the ice.
63. Panama is the only country in the world in which the sun rises above the Pacific Ocean and sets over the Atlantic Ocean.
64. In 2018, there were already 104 licensed hotel casinos in Las Vegas – more than in any other city in the world. The Chinese gambling capital Macau had 40 casinos of this type in the same year.
65. France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the United States in 1886 for its centennial celebration. It took four months to assemble the 350 pieces.
66. On average, more than 300 couples get married in Las Vegas every day.
67. While the Sphinx in Egypt is only 66 feet (20 meters) high, the copy in Las Vegas comes to 110 feet (33.5 meters).
68. In 1993, Canadian lawyer Garry Hoy wanted to prove to a group of visitors that the glass in the Toronto Dominion Centre was unbreakable. To demonstrate this, he jumped against the glass – which thereupon broke out of its frame and plummeted downwards together with Garry Hoy. Hoy died, but the pane of glass remained intact, even after the fall.
69. Las Vegas had over 42.5 million visitors in 2019.
70. When the USA bought Alaska from Russia in 1867, they switched from the Julian calendar previously used in Alaska to the Gregorian calendar used in the USA. The result was that the 8th to 17th of October 1867 never existed in Alaska.
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71. Seen from space, Las Vegas is the brightest place on earth.
72. By law, cars are prohibited on Mackinac Island in Michigan since 1898. Inhabitants use horses instead.
73. There are more national parks in California than any other US state. Out of the 62 national parks in the United States 9 of them are located in California.
74. New York City got its nickname “Big Apple” from a local newspaper in the 1920s. The phrase “Big Apple” was used to describe a big money prize at important horse races held around the city.
75. Canada is just 1.5% larger than the USA.
76. 450 men die of breast cancer in the U.S. each year.
77. In the United States at least one person per hour gets killed in a car accident due to drinking.
78. Living in the White House is not free for the President of the United States. He receives a monthly bill for food and other expenses.
79. John Adams, the second president of the United States once said “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm; and that three or more become a Congress!”
80. In 1967 a solar storm almost caused a nuclear war. The charged solar particles caused the US early rocket warning system to fail, so that the Americans first assumed that the Soviet Union had launched a targeted interference attack in order to be able to carry out a nuclear strike on the USA.
81. Before coffee became popular, beer was served for breakfast in the USA.
82. In Cambridge (Canada) you can pay your parking ticket by donating soft toys.
83. Canada has twice been invaded by the USA, first in 1775 and again in 1812.
84. Just 15 percent of Las Vegas visitors come to town for gambling.
85. In the U.S. state of Minnesota, a three-year-old was mayor for a short time.
86. Canada became a country on July 1st, 1867 when the British Parliament passed the British North America Act.
87. Between 1663 and 1673, Louis XIV, the King of France, sent 800 women to Canada to promote the settlement of a predominantly male French colony. The deployment of the so-called “Daughters of the King” (“filles du Roy” in French) quickly proved effective. The colony’s population doubled within ten years, and it is estimated that about two thirds of all French Canadians can trace their roots back to these 800 women.
88. In 1983, 90 percent of US media were still in the hands of 50 different companies. Today, only six companies control 90 percent of the media landscape in the USA.
89. The second hotel casino in Las Vegas has already been financed with mafia funds. It was called Flamingo and was named after the builder’s partner. She was a stripper and was nicknamed “Flamingo” because of her long, thin legs.
90. When the Cornhuskers – the football team of the University of Nebraska- have a home match, the stadium becomes the third biggest city in the state.
91. Behind Lincoln’s face in Mount Rushmore, there is a secret chamber where memorabilia of the most important historical events in the USA are kept. The room is not accessible to tourists.
92. If Brooklyn was its own city, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States.
93. Canada is home to more lakes than the rest of the world combined.
94. A total of 90 percent of Canada is uninhabited.
95. The entire human population could live in New Zealand, and the population density would still be lower than that of Manhattan in New York.
96. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War 2, Canada declared war on Japan one day earlier than the USA did.
97. Nothing is an uninhabited town in the U.S. state of Arizona. There is nothing but a gas station and a garage.
98. In the USA, there is a sports league for rock-paper-scissors competitions.
99. Monowi in Nebraska has only one inhabitant and he is also mayor of the city.
100. A U.S. court had to decide if the X-men are humans or not. In the US, imported dolls representing human beings are subject to a higher tax than other toys. As of this a toy manufacturer sued for a declaration that the action figures did not represent human beings to pay lower taxes.
101. The nickname of the US state of California is “The golden state” and is referring to the discovery of gold there and the big California Gold rush in the 19th century.
102. There is a birth in New York City every 4.4 minutes.
103. When Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, died in 1922, all telephones in the United States and Canada were switched off for one minute on 4 August of that year.
104. Wall Street was named after a 12-foot wall that was built in the 17th century by citizens of New York City (formerly New Amsterdam) to discourage pirate and indian attacks.
105. LSD was legal in California until 1966.
106. Canada has more lakes than any other country in the world.
107. The Bronx – a borough of New York City – was named after the Swede Jonas Bronck, who was the first European to settle in the region in 1639. His farm, covering about 500 acres, was referred to as “Bronck’s Land,” and the river was called “Bronck’s River.”
108. Las Vegas power consumption is twice as high at night as during the day.
109. The largest Ferris wheel in the world is 550 feet (168 meters) high and can be found in Las Vegas.
110. California is the most populous state in the USA. One in eight US residents live there.
111. “Son of Sam Law” is the term used in the USA to describe laws that prohibit criminals from earning money in any way with the stories of their crimes – for example through films or books. Instead, the state has the right to confiscate such proceeds and pay the money to the perpetrator’s victims.
112. In 1916, a law was submitted to the US Congress to stipulate that any declaration of war by the USA first had to be confirmed by a referendum and that anyone who voted “yes” would have to go to war themselves. However, the law was never passed.
113. New York is located more southern than Rome.
114. The westernmost point of the USA and the easternmost point of Russia lie just three miles apart.
115. Canada has six different time zones.
116. Around 80 percent of Las Vegas visitors come from the United States.
117. If New York City were its own country and the New York Police Department was its army, it would be the 20th best funded army in the world just ahead of North Korea and behind Greece.
118. In 2018, Las Vegas raised over 7.2 billion Dollars from gambling.
119. In 1958 an atomic bomb disappeared from the arsenal of the U.S. Army in Georgia. To this day it has not been found.
120. The kidnapping of four-year-old Charley Ross in 1874 is considered to be the first kidnapping in the history of the USA to have been widely reported in the media. The girl, who would never be found, was lured by two men with fireworks and sweets. Due to the worldwide interest in this case, children are still advised not to accept sweets from strangers to this day.
121. The ice cream cone was invented in New York.
122. The longest street in the world connects Alaska with the south of Argentina. It has a length of approximately 18,641 miles and crosses 17 states, six time zones and four climate zones.
123. Some 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) of neon tubes have been installed in Las Vegas.
124. Costa Rica does not have its own military anymore. Instead, the money is now spent on education and culture.
125. Canadians consume more Mac N‘ Cheese than any other country in the world.
126. In the 17th century, New York was called New Amsterdam.
127. More than 800 languages are spoken in New York City. It makes it the most linguistically diverse city in the world.
128. Even at Las Vegas Airport there is a room with slot machines.
129. New York City’s oldest building dates back to 1642. It’s known as the Wyckoff Farm and is in Brooklyn. It’s now used as a museum dedicated to the city’s Dutch heritage.
130. The Empire State Building gets hit by lightning more than 20 times a year.
131. Although Toronto is the largest city of Canada, it’s not the capital of the country. That’s Ottawa.
132. Canada got its own flag on February 15, 1965 – 100 years after it became a country.
133. The Golden Gate Bridge has to be painted regularly. The salt water corrodes the paint so fast, that one has to start repainting the bridge as soon as one is finished painting it.
134. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world. It’s 243,977 kilometers (151,600 miles).
135. Death Valley in California is the hottest, driest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States.
136. California is the only US state that has hosted both Summer and Winter Olympics.
137. At 27 feet (8.23 meters), the chocolate fountain in the Bellagio in Las Vegas is the largest fountain of its kind and even received an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
138. In 1893, a U.S. citizen made an application to change the name of the country to “The United States of the Earth”.
139. Alert, a village in Canada, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world.
140. Although Canada is one of the largest countries in the world it has the fourth lowest population density in the world. On Average only three people live per square kilometer.
141. The GPS system was created and is still operated and maintained by the U.S. Air Force.
142. There are more people living in California than in Canada.
143. In the USA, more money is spent on slot machines than on cinema, baseball and amusement parks combined.
144. When leaving school, a child in the U.S. has already witnessed 40,000 people dying on TV.
145. The name of the US state of Louisiana dates back to the time of the French colony of New France in the 18th century. It stretched from the Gulf of Mexico far into northern Canada to Newfoundland. The part south of the Great Lakes was called Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV – Louis Quatorze in French. Today’s state on the Gulf of Mexico has only a fraction of this size, but continues to bear this name. (Source)
146. After Nevada legalized the sale of marijuana, a drive-in for joints opened in Las Vegas.
147. There are more public libraries in the U.S. than McDonald’s restaurants.
148. Manhattan comes from a word of the Lenape, an Indian tribe in North America, and means “Island of many hills”.
149. There are more doughnut shops per capita in Canada than in any other country in the world.
150. 50,000 people die a year in the U.S. from the effects of passive smoking.
151. In the U.S. most movies are released on Independence Day. Conversely, the movie “Independence Day” was released a week prior to Independence Day.
152. The average fee to cross the Panama Canal by ship is 54,000 dollars.
153. On the California side of the USA – Mexico border, there is a town called Calexico and on the Mexican side there is a town called Mexicali.
154. In the 1950s, Las Vegas visitors were still able to observe atomic bomb tests in the desert.
155. The entire world’s population could fit in the state of Texas if it were as densely populated as New York City.
156. The Kingpin Suite at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas has two complete bowling alleys, while the Hardwood Suite offers half a basketball court.
157. The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on earth. The largest freshwater lake in the world on the other hand is Lake Superior between Canada and the United States.
158. The largest bomb ever detonated was tested by the United States in 1954 and had an explosive power equivalent to a thousand times that of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. After the test, the scientists found that the bomb had almost twice the explosive force they had previously calculated. The flash was seen 250 miles away, and radiation injuries occurred within a radius of more than 87 miles.
159. The likelihood of getting bitten by a human in New York is higher than the likelihood of getting bitten by a shark in the sea.
160. New York City gets more snow per year as the South Pole.
161. The U.S. Navy now uses Xbox 360 controllers to control its periscopes. The soldiers find the controller much easier to use, while at the same time the costs of the control units have declined drastically.
162. 100 years ago the population density of Manhattan was even higher than now
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163. For years, Liechtenstein and Haiti had the same flag, which was only noticed when the two nations met at the 1936 Olympic Games. A year later, the flag of Liechtenstein was therefore adorned with the symbol of a golden princely hat.
164. In 1980 a hospital in Las Vegas had to dismiss several employees as they were betting on when patients would die.
165. The average rent for a one room apartment in Manhattan is 3,400 dollars.
166. Before English became the dominant language in the U.S., German was the second most common language.
167. An anonymous donor pays for the college tuition of each student in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
168. The word „Canada“ derives from the Iroquoian word “kanata” for „settlement“ or „village“.
169. During the Cold War, Jerry Henderson built an underground villa in Las Vegas with almost 15,050 square feet (1,400 square meters).
170. Canada was the third country sending a satellite to space, after USA and USSR.
171. Although Christopher Columbus was the first to discover the American continent, it was the Italian Amerigo Vespucci who came up with the idea that this might be a new continent and not an Indian island, as Columbus had initially thought. In memory of this insight, the continent was named “America” after Amerigo Vespucci.
172. More Jewish people live in New York City than in any other city outside of Israel.
173. California is home to the lowest and highest point in the continental US. You can travel from Mt. Whitney (14,494-foot) to Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) in less than a day.
174. There are butterflies that migrate south every winter, just like birds. Every autumn, the monarch butterfly sets off on its journey from the north of the United States to Mexico, covering a distance of 2,175 miles. Every day, they cover between 44 and 186 miles.
175. Canada owns about 20 percent of the world’s fresh water.
176. The border between Canada and the USA is the longest border line in the world
177. Eight of the ten largest hotels in the world are located in Las Vegas.
178. There are about nine million people in a prison around the world. 25 percent of them come from the USA.
179. Taxis in New York City were used to be red and green. In 1912 the city adopted the yellow color from a number of other cities throughout the United States.
180. Less than 50 people live 800 feet (243 m) above the ground of New York City as it’s an exclusive privilege for super rich people.
181. In 2013, more people died in the United States from children playing with small guns than from terrorists
182. In September 1719, prisoners in Paris were released under the condition that they marry a prostitute and emigrate to Louisiana, USA. The objective was to advance French colonies along the Mississippi. We wrote a full article about that story which you can find here.
183. Monopoly was developed in 1930 in the U.S. to create a pastime for the unemployed people during the great depression.
184. Las Vegas is the most visited city in the United States.
185. The shoe size of the Statue of Liberty is size 879.
186. In 1867 the USA bought Alaska from Russia for just 7.2 million dollars.
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