The United States (U.S.) is a geographically large country located in North America. It is divided into fifty states, and five additional territories.
The U.S. currently has a population of about 327 Million citizens. It's largest city is New York City, which has about 8.6 Million people.
Quick Facts about the United States
- It was the first country to have a Constitution, which was ratified in 1788.
- Each year on July 4, the country celebrates Independence Day, a holiday that celebrates their declaration of freedom from England in 1776.
- The United States is the largest producer of corn in the world, with an annual production of nearly 367 tons.
- In 1969, the United States launched the first astronauts to land on the moon.
- The country also has the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in the world, at approximately $19 Trillion.
- Orville and Wilbur Wright, flew the first plane in North Carolina, a state in the United States.
- Many other inventors, such as Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Ford also lived in this country.
- The United States is composed of fifty states. The largest state is Alaska, and the smallest is Rhode Island.
The country has five distinct borders, which are the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Canada to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Mexico to the southwest, and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.
The U.S. is the fourth largest country by area in the world. Its area is approximately 3.8 Million square miles, or 9.8 Million square kilometers.
Fun fact - At this size it is just about ninety-thousand square miles bigger than China, the fifth largest nation in the world by area.
The official language of the United States is English. The majority of the population speaks English, but as the country is one of the most diverse in the world, many people speak second or third languages too.
Spanish has become widely spoken over the past few decades, and many additional languages are represented here as well.
Due to the vastness of the country, the United States has what is called a Continental Climate. This is a combination of climates that change from region to region.
Because the country is so large and lies where it does between the equator and the north pole, it experiences weather and weather extremes unlike any other country on Earth.
The west and southwest are often scorched by heat waves in the summer, with temperatures commonly reaching 115 degrees or even higher.
In early to mid-Autumn, hurricanes and tropical depressions from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic often strike states and territories in the southeastern part of the country. Places like Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Puerto Rico have all been severely impacted by these storms in recent years.
Blizzards and hurricane-like cold air storms called Nor'easters visit the northern part of the country in winter. In addition, many areas east of the Great Lakes routinely receive several feet of snow. The name of this phenomenon is called 'lake effect snow'.
The United States is a Democratic Republic which is based on the U.S. Constitution, an important document that was ratified in June of 1788.
The government is comprised of three branches - a legislative branch, an executive branch, and a judicial branch.
In the legislative branch, citizens of each of the fifty states vote for representatives to a governing body called Congress. Each state will send a different number of representatives to a part of Congress called the House, based on the population of that state. In addition, the citizens of each state will also vote for two senators that will be sent to a part of Congress called the Senate. The legislative branch is responsible for creating bills for the President to sign into law.
For the executive branch, the citizens vote for a President and Vice President using a system called the electoral college. During a presidential election, each state is awarded a certain number of points based on its population. Whichever candidate receives the highest point total at the end of a presidential election becomes President. The President has many powers, including veto power over bills passed in the House and Senate, and ability to activate the military for defense and sometimes war.
Finally, the judicial branch consists of the judges and courts of the nation. The highest court is called the Supreme Court, which has nine justices that are nominated by the current President each time a vacancy opens. Each Supreme Court nominee then has to be approved by a majority of the Senate.
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