North America is a continent on Earth that comprises the northern half of the Americas, for which it can also be known as a subcontinent of the Americas alongside South America. Accordingly, it dominates the western portion of the Northern Hemisphere or alternatively the northern portion of the Western Hemisphere and is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the north by the Arctic Ocean. Its southeast region, the Caribbean, consists of an archipelago of islands lying within the Caribbean Sea.
Originally home to the Maya, the Aztecs, as well as numerous less technologically advanced peoples such as the Iroquois, Abenaki, Inuit, and Taíno, centuries of conquest by European empires decimated its indigenous populations. In modern times, the principal power in the continent is the United States of America, a nation founded by British colonists who seceded from its mother country. The United States is situated between two other prominent nations, Canada and Mexico respectively.
While the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus in service to Spain is credited with publicizing the existence of the Americas to Europe, he was not the first European to discover its lands. In 1398, a Templar expedition led by Henry I Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and James Gunn explored the east coast of North America. Branches established by the Assassins and Templars in the continent did not arise until at least the end of the 17th century with the establishment of the West Indies Brotherhood and West Indies Rite respectively. Nevertheless, theories abound that the Assassins were behind the English Roanoke Colony founded in 1585 that had mysteriously vanished by 1590.