The United States of America is the world's third largest country in size and nearly the third largest in terms of population. Located in North America, the country is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Along the northern border is Canada and the southern border is Mexico. There are 50 states and the District of Columbia. The smallest state is Rhode Island and the largest state is Alaska.
The United States has high mountains in the west and a vast central plain. The major mountain ranges are Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains and Cascade Mountains. The highest mountain in the USA is Mount McKinley in the Alaska Range, which is 6 194 m high.The United States of America has over 250,000 rivers. The Mississippi and Missouri Rivers combine to form the longest river system in the US and the fourth longest in the world. Other important rivers include the Hudson, the Colorado, the Columbia and the Yukon.
The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - are a dominant part of the cultural heritage of North America. Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth. Niagara Falls are the most famous waterfalls in the world. Niagara Falls lie about halfway on the Niagara River and belong to one of the major tourist attractions.
There are many national parks in the USA, especially in the Rocky Mountains Region, where there are Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon National Park.
The United States has a broad range of climates, varying from the tropical rain-forest of Hawaii and the tropical savanna of S Florida to the subarctic and tundra climates of Alaska.
The currency is 1 dollar which is divided into 100 cents. The capital city is Washington DC.
In 2013, the estimated population of the US was 315,568,000. Now there are 79 per cent of white people, 12 per cent of black people and the rest are Asian and Pacific islanders, Indians and Eskimos. Throughout its history, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. The population is diverse with people from all over the world seeking refuge and a better way of life. The main language spoken here is American English but various ethnic minorities speak their original languages. American English differs from British English in vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling.
The United States is divided into five regions. These regions are the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and the West. The regions are grouped by history, traditions, economy, climate and geography.
The Northeast includes the oldest American states and therefore it is often called New England. This region is known for its excellent theatres, museums, and universities. The Statue of Liberty in New York is a famous landmark. Boston is known as the cradle of liberty. Cambridge is the seat of the Harvard University. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities. It used to be the first US capital. Now it is the centre of machinery and chemical industry. Chicago lies on the banks of Lake Michigan. In 1971 the highest skyscraper in the USA was built here - Sears Tower. Chicago is the centre of steel and iron industries and it is also an important transport centre with the busiest airport O’Hare. Detroit is the centre of USA car industry - Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler and General Motors.
The Southwest Region is unique because it is the only place in the United States where four states meet at a single point, known as the Four Corners. The Southwest includes many deserts. The weather is very hot and dry. The magnificent Grand Canyon is located here. Many American Indian tribes live in the Southwest.
The Midwest is home to the Great Lakes and the Great Plains. Meat, potatoes, corn, and dairy products are popular foods. The Midwest has very hot summers and extremely cold winters.
The West has many mountains and beautiful National Parks such as Mount Rainier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
On Western coast the well known places are Los Angeles and San Francisco. Los Angeles is the second largest city. Here we can find the famous film centre. American Film Academy awards Oscars for the best film of the year. Los Angeles is also the centre of crime. LA university is called California Technology Institute. There is an important space research centre and developed car industry and the biggest ZOO in the world. San Francisco is the victim of frequent earthquakes. It is also known for the Golden Gate Bridge spanning between the Pacific and San Francisco Bay.
The Southeast Region of the United States is home to the oldest permanent settlement, and has played an important part in the history of the nation. It hosts endangered animals, the largest known cave system, and the largest granite sculpture carved on a mountain. Washington in District of Columbia is the capital city of the U.S.A. It was named in honour of George Washington, the first American president in the U.S.A. The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall, including - the Jefferson Memorial, the White House, the Arlington National Cemeteryandthe Museum of Natural History.
The American continent was first discovered by Vikings around 1000 A.D. The first European to discover America was Christopher Columbus in 1492. In the early 17th century, settlers moved from Europe to the New World, established colonies, and displaced the native people. The settlers fought for their independence from Britain in the late 18th century and formed a union of states based on a new constitution. The nation continued to expand westward and although the country is a relatively young nation, it has become a global power since declaring independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.
Citizens over the age of 18 years vote to elect the President and Vice President of United States every four years. The president lives in the White House in Washington, D.C. There are two houses of Congress: the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are 100 senators, two from each of the 50 states and each serves a six-year term. There are 435 representatives who must be elected every two years. The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices who are picked by the president and must be approved by Congress. For the first time in the nation's history an African American, Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States in 2008.
The US economy is the biggest in the world. The country is rich in raw materials - e.g. natural petrol, kaolin, salt, natural gas. Philadelphia is the centre ofmachinery and chemical industry. Detroit is the centre of US car industry with companies such as Pontiac or Chrysler. The USA is the leading country in agriculture. The most important production is the production of soya, maize and wheat.
Stereotypes of Americans are generalizations about American people. Most of the stereotypes are negative, but some are positive. Perhaps the most popular stereotype of Americans is that of economic materialism. They may be seen as caring about nothing but money. Americans may be stereotyped as ignorant of all countries and cultures beyond their own. Among the most popular stereotypes is that Americans eat an excess amount of fast food, and are obese. On the other hand, Americans are seen as very positive and optimistic people.
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