This map plots the settings and references in American Gods
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The USA is located mainly in central North America, which contains the forty eight contiguous states and the capital district Washington D.C (originally the District of Columbia, named after Christopher Columbus). It is bordered by Mexico in the South and Canada in the North. The state of Alaska lies in the northwest of the continent, while the state of Hawaii is an archipelago located in the mid-Pacific.
In terms of land area and population, the USA is considered the third largest country in the world. Due to the massive scale of immigration from many countries, it is also considered one of the most ethnically diverse places in the world.
It is believed that the name America comes from the German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller, who created a world map and named the lands of the Western Hemisphere after Italian cartographer and explorer, Amerigo Vespucci.
In the novel, America is more than just a place. It takes living form as a buffalo-headed man who tells Shadow "I am the land".
"This is not a good country for gods," Whiskey Jack/ Wisakedjak tells Shadow, and Jacquel/Anubis complains, "We arrived and America just didn't care that we'd arrived".
Wednesday explains, "In other countries... people recognized the places of power... they would build temples or cathedrals, or erect stone circles," but "in the USA... they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they've never visited... Roadside attractions."
The country's landscape is of central importance to the book. Neil Gaiman said in an interview, "the biggest difference between England and America is that England has history, and America has geography." The novel couldn't have been set anywhere else.
America, the land of dreams for many, has seen a vast wave of people from different cultures around the world make it their new home. This is the heart of the book: all those people with their own beliefs, cultures and gods, all immersed in the melting pot that is America.
Chicago comes from 'shikaakwa,' a French understanding of the Native American word for 'wild onion' or 'wild garlic.'
Chicago is the largest city in the Illinois state and is known by many nicknames including: 'The Windy City,' 'Chi-Town,' and the 'City of Big Shoulders.'
Vineland is thought to be on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland.
Little Egypt is the nickname for Southern Illinois. Some say the name arose in the 1830s when poor harvests in the north of the state drove people to Southern Illinois to buy grain. Others says it stems from a resemblance to the Nile delta.
In 1818, a large tract of land was purchased by developers and named Cairo, pronounced kayro. Some people believe this to be the origin of the Little Egypt nickname.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa. It was founded in the 10th Century by the Fatimid Dynasty, but the area has long been a site of national capitals, the remnants of which can still be seen in Old Cairo.
The Nile delta has been farmed for thousands of years. It is home to all sorts of wildlife, including a large number of water birds.
Normal was originally known as North Bloomington but was given the name Normal in February 1865. Normal is adjacent to Bloomington and they are often referred to as the Twin Cities or Bloomington-Normal.
In July 1977, two unidentified birds, referred to as Thunderbirds, swooped over the town. One grabbed a ten year old boy but dropped him soon after, possibly due to the screams of his mother.
Five of the state's counties are Indian Reservations, areas of land alloted to Native Americans by the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs.