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.