The USA – maturitní otázka z angličtiny (4)



Otázka: The USA

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): Zuzana Černíková



 The USA

  • federation of 50 states
  • 4th largest country in the world
  • 3rd longest river in the world (Mississippi-Missouri River)
  • five time zones
  • the richest country in the world
  • produce more food, iron, cars, planes, films, music etc. than any other country
  • population – about 300 million (most in cities)
  • New York, Los Angeles, Chicago
  • capital city – Washington DC (District of Columbia)
  • White House – seat of President
  • states
    • small – Rhode Island, Delaware
    • big – Alaska, Texas, California
    • each has own government and own capital city
    • 49th – Alaska (1867) – bought from Russia for 7.2 $
    • 50th – Hawaii (1959)
  • flag – ‘The Stars and Stripes‘ – one star for each state
    • one stripe for 13 states that formed USA
  • currency – dollar = 100 cents



  • cover more than one third of the North America
  • borders – Mexico in the south (Rio Grande), Atlantic Ocean in the east, Canada in the north (49th Parallel), Pacific Ocean in the west


Country can be divided into five main areas:

  • Appalachian Highlands – geologically the oldest
    • Mt. Mitchell, Appalachian Plateau – to the west
  • Mississippi Basin (Interior Planes)
  • Cordilleras – several ranges
    • Rocky Mts.
    • Great Basin – Death Valley – the deepest place in America
    • (85 m below the sea lvl)
    • Colorado Plateau – Grand Canyon
  • Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada
    • Mt. Whitney – the highest peak of the continental USA
  • Coast Range
    • Mt. McKinley – the highest peak (Alaska)



  • the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Hudson (connects Great Lakes),
  • the Colorado, the Columbia, the Rio Grande, the Yukon (Alaska),
  • the Niagara River (Niagara Falls)

Great Lakes – Lake Superior (2nd biggest), Michigan, Huron, Erie, Ontario

climate – is varied (from the Arctic climate in the north to the subtropical climate in the south)



First Settlements

– the American continent was discovered around the year 1000 by Leif Erickson
who belonged to the Icelandic Vikings, no settlement

– inhabitants – only native Indians

– great demand for spices, textiles, resources

1492Christopher Columbus discovered America (instead India as he wanted)

– 16th century – colonization of southern USA by Spanish

– the first English colony – founded in Virginia at Jamestown (1607)

1620 – people of English ship the Mayflower – colony Plymouth (Massachusetts)

the Pilgrim Fathers – Puritans – wanted to reform the Church of England, searching for religious freedom

– the first winter – cold >> half of them died

– help and advice of Indians >> good harvest (Thanksgiving)

– 17th century – English, German, French, Dutch, Irish settlers

– looking for land, wealth, religious, personal freedom

– created 13 English colonies


Foundation of the USA

– British government – new taxes on sugar tea, coffee, textiles (because they wanted to pay debts from the war against the French)

– colonists – weren‘t content >> refused to pay taxes

Boston Tea Party (1773) – event when the Americans dressed as the Indians threw British tea into Boston Harbour

– The War of Independence (1775-1783)

– George Washington – American army leader

4th July 1776the Declaration of Independence (written by Thomas Jefferson)

– battle of Saratoga, Yorktown – victory of the Americans



– 18th – 19th century – buying new lands in the east, wars, treaties >> expansion

– importance of social reforms (abolition of slavery)

– northern states – abolished slavery

– southern states – slaves used to work on large plantations

– conflicts between the South and the North

the Civil War (1861-1865) – the worst episode in American history

– Abraham Lincoln – granted freedom to all slaves (1863), killed in 1865

– battle of Gettysburg – victory of the North

– results of the war – end of slavery, the Americans became a single nation


End of 19th century and 20th century

industrial growth

– became leading industrial power in the world

– the ‘Roaring Twenties‘ – large economic growth

– market crash on ‘Black Friday‘ in 1929 >> the Great Depression

– the ‘Cold War‘ – after WWII

– mistrust between the USA and the SSSR

– world divided by the ‘Iron Curtain‘

– several war conflicts (Korean War, Vietnam War)

– the 60’s – enormous social changes, unrest

– the 80’s – economic problems >> high unemployment, inflation

– 1990-1991 – war in the Persian Gulf  against Iraq

– 11th September 2001 – attack on WTC in NY by Islamic terrorists

>> the war on terrorism

– 2004 – war against Iraq (Saddam Hussein)


National economy


– plays leading role

-(still) the largest national economy in the world

  • mixed economy (both state and private sectors)
  • major industries: oil (Texas), steel (Pitsburg), car (Detroit), aerospace (Texas), telecommunications (Alaska), chemical (Texas), electronics (California), pharmaceutical (California) food (Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota) consumer goods, lumber and mining (Utah, Wyoming, Colorado – esp. coal, Alaska – oil)



Main agricultural areas:

  • around the Mississippi
  • Midwest (cereals, cattle)
  • California (fruit, including citrus fruit)


Political system

– federal constitutional republic

federation of 50 states:

– 48 of them in the same general area

– 2 of them geographically separated

– own capital, government

– federal capital – Washington DC


a) legislative power

the Congress the House of Representatives, 435 members, lower)

the Senate (100 senators , higher)

seat: the Capitol, Washington


b) Executive power e.

  • the President (head of state, head of government)
  • the federal government (with departments)
  • state governments


c) Judicial power e.

  • the Supreme Court
  • lower federal courts

Main political parties (a two-party system):

  • the Democratic
  • the Republican Party

Interesting places


Boston – ‘Cradle of Liberty‘, Boston Tea Party

Cambridge – seat of Harvard University

New Haven – seat of Yale University

Princeton – seat of Princeton University

Philadelphia – the first seat of Congress, former national capital

Miami – recreation centre

Cape Canaveral – place where spaceships are sent to space (NASA)

Dallas – financial and commercial centre of the South-West

– oil industry, cotton market, J. F. Kennedy died here

New Orleans – important port, cradle of jazz

Chicago – Sears Tower – the highest building in the USA

– O’Hare International Airport

Detroit – car manufacturing (Ford, Chrysler)

Pittsburgh – formerly centre of iron production

Las Vegas – rodeo festivals, casinos

Los Angeles – known for Hollywood, centre of film industry, Disneyland

San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge, steep streets, Alcatraz

The Grand Canyon

Niagara Falls

Yellowstone NP – in the Rocky Mts.

– the oldest NP in the USA, the widest geyser area

Yosemite Valley NP – in the Sierra Nevada

– the highest waterfall in the USA, giant sequoias

Salt Lake City – Winter Olympic Games was held there in 2002

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