BASIC FACTS – The USAis a federation of 50 states, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. The country spreads on the whole ofNorth America from the Atlantic coast on the east to the Pacific coast on the south. TheUSA also includesAlaska on the north of the continent and theHawaiiIslands in thePacific Ocean.
Alaskais the largest American state. It is situated west ofCanada. It was bought from the Russians in 1867.
Washington D.C. is the capital of the US and seat of the federal government. There is also the White House, seat of the US president.
LANDSCAPE – The USAhas a varied landscape. In particular, the West is quite mountainous – the mountain ranges include Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range, the Cordilleras and the Rocky mountains in Colorado. The highest peak is Mt McKinley.
The longest river is Mississippi; it is also the 3rd longest river in the world after the Amazon and theNile. Other American rivers are theColorado, theColumbia and the Niagara with the famousNiagara Falls on the boarder withCanada. The Great Lakes are situated on the boarder withCanada;Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie andLakeOntario.
The Grand Canyon is a large canyon system inArizona.
Thought the climate is mostly temperate; there are extremes inAlaska(arctic), andFloridaandHawaii(tropical).
POLITICAL SYSTEM – The USis a federal state united by a central government. The head of each state is the governor. The federal government consists three branches. Legislative power is concentrated in Congress which is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The president is the head of the executive power. The Supreme Court exercises judicial power.
The President is elected for a four year term and may only be elected twice. Current president of the USAis Barack Obama from the Democratic Party.
Two parties dominate American politics – the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.US citizens must be 18 years old to vote.
HISTORY – Until the 15th century the only inhabitants were the “Indians”, more precisely the Native Americans. In the 1607 the first English colony was founded in Virginia at Jamestown. In 1620 the ship Mayflower brought people, the Pilgrims Fathers, who founded a colony inMassachusetts.
TheUSwas under English rule. TheUSgained its independence fromBritainon 4 July, 1776. It is now celebrated as Independence Day.
The first American president was George Washington.
PEOPLE – The number of inhabitants is around 300 million, with about 80% living in towns and cities. The country is the 3rd most populous in the world after China and India. There are many nationalities mixed together so the States is sometimes called I great “melting pot”. More than 80% of the population is white, 13% is African American, the Hispanic ant Asian. Less than 1% of the people are Eskimos and Native Americans.
Official language if the USis English.
ECONOMY – The UShas one of the strongest economies in the world. The American dollar is used for trade in the countries across the globe. TheUS is leading country in agriculture, in the chemical and machinery industries.
The USAis very rich in mineral resources. There are vast deposits of gold, silver, platinum and petroleum, mainly inAlaska.
NATIONAL PARKS – The UShas resolved to keep its own natural beauty, so it has established many national parks – Death Valley Desert (the hottest and driest place in the USA), Yellowstone, Grand Canyon or Yosemite.
FLAG – The national flag consists of 2 oblongs. It is a smaller blue oblong with 50 white stars symbolizing 50 states and one larger oblong consisting 6 white and 7 red stripes symbolizing the original 13 colonies. It is often called “Old Glory” or “Stars and Stripes”.