United States of America USA

United States (in English : United States of America; [ju ː naɪ.təd steɪʦ əv əmɛ.ɻɪ.kə]), or simply America (United States, AFI : [ju ː naɪ.təd steɪʦ]), is a constitutional republic federal comprising fifty states and a federal district . Most of the country is located in central North America , consisting of 48 states and Washington, DC , the federal district of the capital. Located between the oceans Pacific and Atlantic , bordered by Canada to the north and with Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, bordered by Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait . The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the central Pacific. The country also possesses several other territories in the Caribbean and Pacific.

With 9.37 million square kilometers in area and about 309 million people, the United States is the fourth largest country by total area, the fifth largest in contiguous area and third in population . The country is one of the nations most multicultural and ethnically diverse in the world, the product of strong immigration coming from many countries. [9] The U.S. economy is the largest national economy in the world, with a gross domestic product in 2008 was 14 , 2 trillion * in U.S. dollars , which was equivalent to a quarter of nominal global GDP and a fifth of global GDP by purchasing power parity . [10] [note 2]

The indigenous peoples , probably of Asian origin , inhabit what is now the mainland United States for many thousands of years. This population Native American was greatly reduced after European contact by disease and war, as the Seminole Wars . The United States was founded by thirteen colonies of the British Empire located along the Atlantic coast of the country. On July 4, 1776, was issued the Declaration of Independence , which proclaimed their right to self-determination and the establishment of a cooperative union. The rebellious states defeated Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War , the first successful colonial war of Contemporary Age . [11] The Philadelphia Convention adopted the current United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, its ratification the following year made states part of a single republic with a strong central government. The Bill of Rights , comprising ten constitutional amendments guaranteeing many fundamental civil rights and freedoms, was ratified in 1791.

In the nineteenth century, the United States displaced native tribes, acquired the Louisiana territory from France to Florida from Spain , part of the Oregon territory of the United Kingdom , Alta California and New Mexico from Mexico, and Alaska from Russia, and annexed the Republic Texas and the Republic of Hawaii . Disputes between the agrarian South and industrial North over the country states’ rights and the expansion of the institution of slavery provoked the Civil War , which ran between 1861 and 1865. The North’s victory prevented the separation of the country and led to the end of slavery in the United States legally. In the 1870s, the economy has become the world’s largest. [12] The Spanish-American War and World War I confirmed the country’s status as a power military. The nation emerged from World War II as the first country with nuclear weapons and a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations . The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union left the United States as the only superpower left on the planet. The country accounts for 41% of military spending in the world [13] and is a strong leading economic, political and cultural on the planet.


In 1510, the cartographer German Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map where named the lands of the Western Hemisphere of ” America “in honor of the cartographer Italian Amerigo Vespucci . [15] The former British colonies first used the country’s modern name in the Declaration Independence – “unanimous Declaration of Independence of the United States of America” ​​adopted by the “Representatives of the United States” on July 4, 1776. [16] Its current name was formally adopted on November 15 , 1777, when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation , which stipulated “The name of this confederation shall be United States” [17] . The form “United States” is also standard, is another common form USA. ” Columbia “, derived from the name of Christopher Columbus , once a popular name for the United States, remains the name District of Columbia . [18] [19] Occasionally the country is referred to incorrectly as the United States of America . [20] In writing, it is also common to use the abbreviations U.S., U.S. or USA. [21]

The standard ways to refer to a citizen of the United States are “American” (most common), American (or state-unidense) [2] [22] or “American”. [23] also used the adjective ” Yankee “(the English yankee ). [1] [24] Originally and strictly speaking is a yankee living in the region of New England , but its use became widespread, moving to designate all natives of the northern states, can still specifically designate the northern soldiers during the Civil War or, more generally, any native of the United States.

Native Americans and European settlers
Main articles: Native Peoples of the United States , History of the colonization of the Americas , and Thirteen Colonies

It is believed that the indigenous peoples of the U.S. mainland , including Alaska Natives , migrated from Asia . They began arriving there 12 or 40 millennia, if not earlier. [26] Some, such as culture mississippiana pre-Columbian , developed agriculture advanced architecture and grandiose state societies. Later the Europeans began settling the Americas , many millions of indigenous Americans died from epidemics of imported diseases such as smallpox . [27]
The ship Mayflower transported the pilgrims to the New World in 1620. The Covenant of the Mayflower made ​​by these settlers established democratic forms of government to the new land.

In 1492, explorer Christopher Columbus under contract to the Spanish crown reached several Caribbean islands, making first contact with the indigenous peoples. [28] On April 2, 1513, the conquering Spaniard Juan Ponce de León landed on what he called ” La Florida “- the first documented European visit in what would become the Continental United States . [29] [30] [31] At the Spanish colonies in Florida was followed by others in what is now the southwestern United States , which attracted thousands of settlers through Mexico . The fur traders established posts in the French New France around the Great Lakes ; [32] France eventually claim most of the interior of North America to the Gulf of Mexico . The first English settlement was successful to the Virginia Colony in Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth Colony , called the Pilgrims (in English: Pilgrim Fathers [pilgrim fathers] or simply Pilgrims) in 1620. [33] The charter of 1628 of the Massachusetts Bay Colony resulted in a wave of migration ; around 1634, the New England had been settled by some 10,000 Puritans . Between late 1610 and the American Revolution , about 50,000 prisoners were sent to the American colonies from Great Britain. [34] From 1614, the Dutch settled along the Hudson River , including the colony of New Amsterdam the island of Manhattan . [35]

In 1674, the Dutch ceded their American territory to England; province of New Netherland was renamed New York . Many new immigrants, especially from the South (about two-thirds of all immigrants from Virginia ) were hired as temporary workers between 1630 and 1680. [36] From the end of the seventeenth century, African slaves were becoming the primary source forced labor. With the division of the Carolinas in 1729 and the colonization of Georgia in 1732, were established thirteen British colonies that would become the United States. [37] [38] All told with an elected local government stimulating support for republicanism . All colonies legalized the African slave trade. [39] With birthrates high, mortality rates and low immigration constant, the colonial population grew rapidly. The movement Christian revivalist the decades of 1730 and 1740, known as the Great Awakening encouraged interest in religion and religious liberty . [40] During the French and Indian War , British forces seized Canada from the French, but the population francophone remained politically and geographically isolated from the southern colonies. [41] With the exception of Native Americans (popularly known as “American Indians”), who were being displaced, those thirteen colonies had a population of 2.6 million in 1770, about a third of Britain; nearly one in five Americans were slaves blacks . [42] Though subject to British taxation, the American colonists had no representation in the Parliament of Great Britain . [43]
Independence and expansion
Main articles: American Revolution , War of Independence , Territorial Expansion and Manifest Destiny
Declaration of Independence , by John Trumbull , 1817-18.

Tensions between American colonists and the British during the revolutionary period of the 1770s and early 1760s led to the American Revolutionary War , fought from 1775 until 1781. On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress , convening in in Philadelphia , established a Continental Army under the command of George Washington . Proclaiming that “all men are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights,” on July 4, 1776 Congress approved the Declaration of Independence , drafted largely by Thomas Jefferson . [44] This date is now celebrated as the Day Independence of the United States . In 1777, the Articles of Confederation established a weak government Confederate that operated until 1789. [45]

After the British defeat by American forces assisted by the French in the Battle of Yorktown , Britain recognized the independence of the United States and the states’ sovereignty over American territory west of the Mississippi River . [46] A constitutional convention was organized in 1787 by those wishing to establish a strong national government with powers of taxation. The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788. In 1789 he took possession of the first Senate and first president ( George Washington ) New Republic. [45] In 1791 we adopted the Bill of Rights ( Declaration of the Rights of Citizens ), which prohibits federal restrictions of personal freedoms and guarantees a series of protections legal. [47]

The attitudes toward slavery were being changed, a clause in the Constitution protected the African slave trade only until 1808. The Northern states abolished slavery between 1780 and 1804, leaving the slave states of the South as defenders of this “peculiar institution”. [46] The Second Great Awakening , which began around 1800, has made ​​evangelicalism a force behind various movements of social reform , including the abolitionist movement . [48]
American territorial acquisitions by date

The eagerness of American westward expansion led to a long series of Indian Wars and the genocide of the indigenous . The Louisiana Purchase , the French territory in the south, under President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 almost doubled the nation’s size. [49] The War of 1812 , fought against Britain ended in a draw, reinforcing nationalism American. A series of U.S. military incursions in Florida led Spain to cede it and other territories in Côte Gulf of Mexico in 1819. [49] The Trail of Tears in the 1830s exemplified the policy of Indian removal , which withdrew its indigenous peoples lands. The United States annexed the Republic of Texas in 1845. The concept of ” Manifest Destiny “was popularized during this time. [50] The Oregon Treaty signed with Britain in 1846, led to U.S. control of the current Northwestern United States . [49] The U.S. victory in the Mexican War American resulted in the cession of California and much of the current Southwestern United States in 1848. [49] The California Gold Rush of 1848-1849 stimulated migration west. The railways made ​​relocation however constructed easier for settlers and led to increased conflicts with Native Americans . After half a century, up to 40 million American bison were slaughtered for skins and meat and to facilitate the spread of rail transport. The loss of the buffalo, a key resource for the Plains Indians , constituted blow to the livelihoods of many native cultures. [51]
Civil War and industrialization
Main articles: Civil War , Reconstruction of the United States and Spanish-American War
Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War , lithographs of Currier & Ives (1863).

Tensions between the states said free and slave states originated mainly in arguments about the relationship between the state and federal governments and violent conflicts about the spread of slavery into new states. Abraham Lincoln , candidate of the Republican Party , largely abolitionist , was elected president in 1860. [52] [53] Prior to his inauguration, seven slave states declared their secession-which the federal government has always considered illegal, and formed the Confederate States of America . With the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter , the Civil War began and four more slave states joined the Confederacy. The Emancipation Proclamation of Lincoln, in 1863, declared free the slaves in the Confederacy. After the victory of the Union in 1865, three amendments to the U.S. Constitution ensured freedom for the nearly four million african-Americans who had been slaves, [54] made ​​them citizens , and gave them voting rights . The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in federal power. [55]
Immigrants at Ellis Island , New York Harbor , 1902.

After the war, the assassination of Lincoln radicalized Republican policies of Reconstruction in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Southern states while ensuring the rights of the newly freed slaves. The resolution of the disputed 1876 presidential election by the Compromise of 1877 ended Reconstruction; the Jim Crow Laws began a period of persecution of african Americans. [56] In the North, urbanization and an unprecedented influx of immigrants from southern Europe and Eastern hastened the country’s industrialization. The wave of immigration, lasting until 1929, provided labor and transformed American culture . The development of national infrastructure stimulated economic growth. The purchase of Alaska to Russia in 1867 completed the country’s mainland expansion. [49] The massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890 was the last major armed conflict of the Indian Wars . In 1893, the indigenous monarchy of the Kingdom of Hawaii Pacific was overthrown in a coup led by American residents; the United States annexed the archipelago in 1898. The victory in the same year the Spanish-American War demonstrated that the United States was a major power worldwide and led to the annexation of Puerto Rico , Guam and the Philippines . [57] [58] The Philippines gained independence a half-century later, [59 ] [60] [61] Puerto Rico and Guam remain U.S. territories . [62] [63]
World War I, Great Depression and World War II
Main articles: World War I , the American Expeditionary Forces , Great Depression and World War II
An abandoned farm in South Dakota during the Dust Bowl of 1936.

During the early years of World War I , which broke out in 1914, the United States remained neutral. Although most Americans sympathize with the British and the French, many opposed intervention. [64] In 1917, the United States joined the Allies , helping to turn the tide against the Central Powers . After the war, the Senate did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles , which established the League of Nations . The country pursued a policy of unilateralism , verging on isolationism . [65]

In 1920, the movement for women’s rights won approval of a constitutional amendment granting the suffrage for women. [47] The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties (“20′s thriving, happy, noisy or lively”) ended with the stock market crash of Values ​​of New York in 1929, that triggered the Great Depression . After his election as president in 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded to the social and economic crisis with the New Deal (“New Agreement”), a range of policies increasing government intervention in the economy . [66] The Dust Bowl of the mid- 1930 has impoverished many farming communities and spurred a new wave of western migration. [67]
Soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, the ” D-Day “.

The United States, neutral during the early stages of World War II , which began with the invasion of Poland by the Nazi Germany in September 1939, began supplying material to the Allies in March 1941 through the program Lend-Lease (Lend-Lease Act, “Act loan and lease”). On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor , prompting the United States to join the Allies against the Axis powers and compulsory internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans. [68] Participation in the war spurred capital investment and industrial capacity of the country. Among the major combatants, the United States was the only nation to become much richer, unlike other allies, have become poor because of the war. [69] The Allied conferences at Bretton Woods and Yalta outlined a new system of organizations International which put the United States and Soviet Union at the center of geostrategic policy munidal. As victory was won in Europe, an international conference held in 1945 in San Francisco produced the United Nations Charter , which became active after the war. [70] Having developed the first nuclear weapons , the United States, have used them on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The Japan surrendered on September 2 of that year, marking the end of the war. [71]
Cold War and protest politics
Main articles: Cold War , Korean War , Vietnam War and the civil rights movement of blacks

The United States and the Soviet Union vied for world supremacy after World War II, during a period called the Cold War, the main actors at the military in Europe were the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO) and the Warsaw Pact . The United States promoted liberal democracy and capitalism , [72] [73] while the Soviet Union promoted communism and and a planned economy . [73] [74] Both supported dictatorships and were engaged in proxy wars . American troops fought forces Chinese Communists in the Korean War of 1950-53. [75] The Un-American Activities Committee pursued a series of investigations into suspected of subversion of the left , while Senator Joseph McCarthy became the figurehead of feeling anticommunist . [76]
Martin Luther King, Jr. making his speech ” I Have a Dream “in 1963

The 1961 Soviet launch of the first manned flight made ​​the President John F. Kennedy launched the challenge of the United States being the first country to land a man on the moon , which was conducted in 1969. [77] Kennedy also faced a tense crisis motivated by the presence of Soviet forces in Cuba who almost caused a nuclear confrontation . However, the United States experienced sustained economic expansion. At the same time, increased movement of civil rights , symbolized and led by african Americans like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr , using nonviolence to confront the segregation and discrimination . [78] After the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, Civil Rights Act (Civil Rights Act) of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act (Voting Rights Act of 1965), 1965 were approved by President Lyndon B. Johnson . [79] [80] Johnson and his successor, Richard Nixon , expanded a proxy war in Southeast Asia into the unsuccessful Vietnam War. [75] A broad countercultural movement grew, fueled by opposition to the war, the black nationalism , and the sexual revolution . [81] Betty Friedan [82] [83] , Gloria Steinem [84] and others led a new wave of feminism that sought political equality, social and economic status of women.

As a result of the Watergate scandal , in 1974 Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign, to avoid suffering an impeachment (challenging mandate) on charges of obstruction of justice and abuse of power, and was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford . [85] The administration of Jimmy Carter in the 1970s was marked by stagflation and the Iran hostage crisis .’s election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, announced a shift to the right in American politics, reflected in major changes in taxation and in spending priorities . His second term was marked by scandal Iran-Contra and significant diplomatic progress with the Soviet Union. The subsequent Soviet collapse ended the Cold War. [75]
Contemporary era
Main articles: Gulf War , Attacks of September 11, 2001 , invasion of Iraq , Iraq War , War in Afghanistan (2001-present) and Economic Crisis of 2008-2009
The World Trade Center in New York on the morning of the attacks of September 11, 2001 .

Under President George HW Bush , the United States took a lead role in the UN sanctioning the Gulf War . The largest economic expansion in modern U.S. history occurred from March 1991 to March 2001, covering the administration of Bill Clinton and the ” Internet Bubble “. [86] [87] A civil lawsuit and sex scandal led to Clinton’s impeachment in 1998, but this remained in office. The 2000 presidential election , one of the most heated and controversial history of the United States, which came to involve suspected fraud and other questions in the vote count, was resolved by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States , which declared George W. Bush , son of George HW Bush , President . [88]

On September 11, 2001 , terrorists of Al-Qaeda struck the World Trade Center in New York , and The Pentagon near Washington, DC , killing nearly three thousand people. In response, the Bush administration launched a ” War on Terror “. In late 2001, U.S. forces led an invasion of Afghanistan , removing the government Taliban and destroying training camps of Al-Qaeda. Taliban insurgents continue (2011) to wage a war of guerrillas . In 2002, the Bush administration began to press for regime change in Iraq on controversial grounds. [89] [90] Without the support of NATO or the UN for military intervention, Bush organized the Coalition of Goodwill ; coalition forces preemptively invaded Iraq in 2003, removing dictator Saddam Hussein from power. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage along the Gulf Coast , devastating the city of New Orleans . [91] On November 4, 2008, amid a global economic recession , Barack Obama was elected president. He is the first african-american to hold the presidency of the country. In early 2010, Obama oversaw the enactment of a major health reform . [92] The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico , which began in April 2010 became the greatest environmental disaster with oil in times of peace history. [93]
Main article: Geography of the United States
Topographic map of the continental United States .

The area of the contiguous United States is approximately 7824 535.379 km ² of which 7652 712.978 km ² is land emerged. The Alaska , separated from the contiguous United States by Canada , is the largest state with 1529 887.847 km ² . The Hawaii , an archipelago in the central Pacific , southwest of North America , has about 16 752.043 km ². [94] Following the Russia and Canada , the United States is the fourth largest nation in the world by total area (land and water), a position below China . The ranking varies depending on the estimate of the total area of ​​the United States use the territorial sea, however, the pattern of surveying, which considers only the land and inland waters is the fourth position. Thus, 9,826,675 km ² according to the CIA World Factbook , [95] which accounts for coastal waters and territorial 9,629,091 km ² seconds Statistics Division of the United Nations, which considers coastal waters and territorial sea of the great lakes. [96] and 9,522,055 km ² according to the Encyclopædia Britannica , which considers the territorial waters of the Great Lakes. [97] Including only land area, the United States is the third largest country in area behind Russia and China and ahead of Canada. [98]

The country has multiple forms of landforms and is common to divide the part of the United States in North America excluding Alaska into three major regions orographic : the western, central and eastern. [99] As one advances inland, the coastal plains of the coastal Atlantic give way to deciduous forests and the plateau of Piedmont . The Appalachian Mountains divide the eastern shore of the Great Lakes from the prairies of the Midwest. [100] The main river system of the country, formed by the rivers Mississippi and Missouri [100] and the third largest river system in the world , [101] the center of perccorre United States from north to south. The flat and fertile prairie of the Great Plains stretches to the west, until interrupted by a highland region in the southwest. The Rocky Mountains , at the western edge of the Great Plains , crossing the country from north to south, reaching altitudes higher than 3400 meters. [100] Even in the west are the Great Basin of Nevada (Great Basin) and deserts such as the Mojave , Sonora and Chihuahua . [100] The mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades Mountains (Cascade Range) lie close to the Pacific coast. [100] The Mount McKinley in Alaska , with 6194 meters altitude, is the highest point in the country and across the continent. [102] [103] The active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska and the Aleutian Islands and in the state of Hawaii are volcanic islands only. [104] The supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies is the continent’s largest volcano. [105]
Teton Mountain Range , part of the Rocky Mountains .

The United States, with its large size and geographic variety, includes most types of weather . [106] [107] To the east of the meridian 100 west, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical , like Hawaii . The Great Plains west of longitude 100 are semi-arid . Much of the Western mountains are alpine . The climate is arid in the Great Basin , desert in the Southwest, Mediterranean off the coast of California and ocean shores of Oregon and Washington and southern Alaska . Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar . Extreme weather are not uncommon; countries in the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes , and most tornadoes of the world occur within the country, mainly in Tornado Alley (“Alameda Tornado”), in the Midwest. [108]

The United States is considered a ” country megadiverse “: about 17,000 species of vascular plants occur in the continental United States and Alaska, and over 1,800 species of plants are found in Hawaii, few of which occur on the mainland. [109 ] The United States is home to more than 400 species of mammals , 750 of birds and 500 reptiles and amphibians . [110] About 91,000 species of insects have been recorded. [111]

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 protects threatened species and their habitats , which are monitored by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service . There are 58 national parks and hundreds of other parks, forests and natural areas managed by the federal government. [112] In total, the government owns 28.8% of the country’s land area. [113] Most of this area is protected, despite some are leased for drilling for oil and natural gas , mining , logging, or cattle , 2.4% is used for military . [113]
Main articles: Demographics of the United States and People
See attached page: List of United States cities by population

The U.S. population was estimated by the United States Census Bureau in November 2010 at 310 730 000, [114] including 11.2 million illegal immigrants . [115] The United States is the third most populous nation in the world, Following China and India , and are the only industrialized country where there are prospects of increasing large part of the population. [116] With a birth rate of 13.82 per thousand, 30% below the world average, its rate population growth is 0.98%, significantly higher than those of Western Europe , Japan and South Korea . [117] In fiscal year 2009, was granted legal residence to 1.1 million immigrants. [118] The Mexico was main source of new residents for over two decades, since 1998, China , India and the Philippines were the four main countries of origin of immigrants each year. [119]
Race / ethnicity in the U.S. (2008) [120]
Whites 79.8%
Hispanic (of any race) 15.4%
African-Americans 12.8%
Asian-Americans 4.5%
Multiracial 1.7%
Native Americans and Alaska Natives 1.0%
Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 0.2%

The United States has a very diverse population: thirty and one ethnic groups have more than one million members. The American whites are the largest racial group; descendants of Germans and Irish are three of the four major ethnic groups of the country. The african-Americans are the largest minority racial nation and the third largest ethnic group. [121] [120] Asian-Americans are the second largest racial minority in the country, the two largest Asian American ethnic groups are Chinese Americans and Filipino Americans . [121] In 2008, the U.S. population included an estimated 4.9 million people with some ancestry of Native Americans or Alaska Native (3.1 million exclusively of such ancestry) and 1.1 million with some ancestry Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.6 million exclusively). [120] According to the 2010 census, Hispanics are already more than 50 million in the United States.

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