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This wide range means the United States is divided into nine different time zones. People often think of the United States as having a much smaller population than countries like China, and this is true, but it is still the third most highly-populated country on the planet after China and India with a population of around 330 million. In a world with almost 200 countries, that's pretty significant!
History of USAThe United States traces its origins back to July 4, 1776, a date which most Americans are aware of as the original Independence Day. This was, however, still during the American Revolutionary War - it wouldn't be until the end of the war in 1783 that the United Kingdom would recognize the United States as an independent country, and it wasn't until 1788 that the U.S. Constitution was adopted after the failure of the Articles of Confederation.
The Colonies felt they were not represented in the British Parliament, and so the motto “No taxation without representation!' spread like wildfire. Eventually, the colonists took up arms against the British Crown, thus beginning the War for Independence in 1775 at Lexington and Concord. It would drag on for eight long years.
The new United States would start to spread past the original borders of the Thirteen Colonies, often at the expense of Native American tribes. Eventually, it would reach to the coast of the Pacific ocean, and acquired the Alaskan territory in 1867 and Hawaii in 1898 (they would both become states in 1959). Before reaching its current day size, though, the United States would become the Divided States in a terrible Civil War over the issues of slavery and states' rights that devastated the South.
Today, the United States is considered to be the sole remaining superpower in an uncertain world, with the highest GDP in the world. America began to be taken seriously by the Old World powers of Europe around the turn of the 20th century when it defeated Spain in the Spanish-American War and eventually entered World War I. After World War II, the United States was secure as an economic powerhouse while older countries like the British Empire had to take time to recover. Another country boosted after the end of World War II was the Soviet Union, setting the stage for the decades-long Cold War.
Geographical Features of the United States
The United States has a varied geography, partly due to the fact that it's so large! We'll be tracing it from the east coast to the west coast on a mental map. We start in the east with the dominating Appalachian Mountain Range, running from Maine (in fact extending into Canada) all the way down to Alabama, some 1,500 miles.
Another distinct geographical feature of the country further to the west is the set of five Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Erie, Michigan and Ontario. These are the largest group of freshwater lakes on the entire planet and were very attractive to settlers back in the day. They're still very important. Only Lake Michigan lies entirely in the U.S.; the other lakes cross over into Canada.
In the South is the Mississippi River, which runs over 2,000 miles. This makes it the fourth-longest river in the world and it was incredibly important in the development of that region of the United States.
Moving westward, we reach the Great Plains, or the “National Breadbasket”. This is a large region extending down from North Dakota and Montana to parts of Texas. It's called the “National Breadbasket” because it was and is so important in farming and cattle ranching. If you can imagine the setting for “Little House on the Prairie”, it would be this region.
The Rocky Mountains form the boundary of the Great Plains. This is a truly impressive and massive mountain range, stretching from northern Canada down to the state of New Mexico. Areas of these majestic mountains constitute the highest elevations in the continental United States; Mt. McKinley in Alaska is the highest elevation in the whole country, at 6,194 meters tall.
Beyond the Rockies are some of the most famous natural landmarks of the U.S., like the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. We then get into California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, and finally reach the Pacific ocean on our virtual map.
The capital of the United States is Washington D.C. Other important cities include New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, among others. One of the most famous roads in the United States is Route 66 which covers a massive area from California to Amish Country.
New York City is a major tourist attraction - just go there and you'll hear languages from all around the world. The Grand Canyon is another amazing sight to behold. Mt. Rushmore, the Great Lakes, the Hollywood sign are all things a person doing a wide tour of America should visit. Know more
Interesting USA Facts
- The United States, contrary to popular belief, does not have an official language. The de facto official language is English - it's not recognized by law.
- The United States is the only country to have successfully sent human beings to Earth's moon.
- The United States is recognized as a land of innovation, having given the world important inventions like the airplane, the telephone, electricity, the basis of the modern Internet (ARPANet), refrigeration, and vacuum cleaners.
- The motto of the United State is “E Pluribus, Unum” meaning “From many, one” in Latin. know more USA Facts
The Peoples and Cultures of America
The United States is a nation of immigrants. For much of its history, the immigrants were mostly from Europe, but expanded to include people from all parts of the world. The term “melting pot” describes America well - it has the best of all worlds. Many Africans were brought to the country by the slave trade and went through many hardships, but developed a unique culture of music and literature and today make up an important US subculture.
Different regions have different cultures - for instance, the South (sometimes called “Dixie”) is known for its cuisine, unique music, and accent. The North is known for being more densely populated with more urban areas and its affinity for football and baseball.
The United States is a constitutional republic with three branches of power: the judicial, the legislative, and the executive. The idea is that these three parts balance each other out, with no one becoming too powerful. The most important person in the government is considered to be the President of the United States, head of the executive; the judicial branch is led by the Supreme Court; and the legislative branch consists of the two houses of Congress, which pass laws.
The United States has an incredibly strong economy, with the highest GDP in the world. The U.S. dollar is probably the most important currency globally, being used for most international transactions and a common measure of the value of other currencies.
America is famous the world over for its burgeoning computer software industry. Silicon Valley is in the San Franciso Bay Area and is home to plenty of high-tech corporations, such as Google. Key technologies like the microprocessor were first developed here, and all these factors make “Silicon Valley” an apt name.
Education, Universities, and Health
The United States has a public education system. It's home to many world-renowned universities like Harvard, Brown, William and Mary, and others. Many foreign students will come to the United States for higher education.
As for the healthcare system, the United States is one of the few developed countries in the world that does not have a single-payer system. Most people get some form of insurance through their employers, but the country does have systems like Medicare and Medicaid, which help out older people and poorer people.
The United States has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, similar to the Old World of Europe (part of the reason European settlers were able to thrive here). It really depends on where you are in the country, however - in areas like Las Vegas and New Mexico, it can get pretty hot! In the north towards the Canadian border, temperatures are colder.
When it comes to the arts, the United States is most famous for Hollywood but also its large music industry. People all around the world listen to American popular music on the radio. America is not just a military and economic superpower - it's also a cultural superpower.