The United States of America


USA flag


Country: United States of America

Capital: Washington, D.C.

Continent: North America

Official languages: None at the federal level

National languages: English

Religion: Christianity

Motto: In God We Trust

Government: Federal presidential constitutional republic

Population: 325 719 178 (2017)

Demonym: American

Currency: United States dollar (USD)

Drives on the right

Time zone: UTC -4:00 to -12:00, +10:00, +11:00

Calling code: +1

Internet TLD: .us


Neighbouring countries: Canada, Mexico


USA World Map


The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S.) or America, is a federal republic composed of 50 states, a federal district (Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States), five major self-governing territories, and various minor uninhabited islands (listed according to the date they ratified the US Constitution or were admitted to the Union, or have been acquired):

Delaware (DE), Dover (capital), Wilmington (largest city), 7 Dec 1787.


The Delaware State Capitol
The Delaware State Capitol (also known as Legislative Hall) in Dover, DE. Credit: Joshua Daniel Franklin


Pennsylvania (PA), Harrisburg (capital), Philadelphia (largest city), 12 Dec 1787.


The Birth of a Nation, Fairmount Park
The Birth of a Nation (1942) by Henry Kreis in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, PA


New Jersey (NJ), Trenton (capital), Newark (largest city), 18 Dec 1787.


Newark Municipal Court
Newark Municipal Court, New Jersey


Georgia (GA), Atlanta (capital and largest city), 2 Jan 1788.


Tribute sculpture (1996) in Centennial Olympic Park
Tribute sculpture (1996) by Peter Calaboyias in Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta, GA. Credit: Simon Reiseblogger


Connecticut (CT), Hartford (capital), Bridgeport (largest city), 9 Jan 1788.


Yale university (1701)
Yale University (1701) in New Haven, CT


Massachusetts (MA), Boston (capital and largest city), 6 Feb 1788.


Boston Harbor Hotel
Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf (The Flying Inn). Credit: Brigitte Werner


Maryland (MD), Annapolis (capital), Baltimore (largest city), 28 Apr 1788.


Baltimore Harbor, Maryland
Baltimore Harbor, Maryland. Credit: skeeze


South Carolina (SC), Columbia (capital), Charleston (largest city), 23 May 1788.


Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston
Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River, connecting downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant, SC. Credit: Don Stelmaszek


New Hampshire (NH), Concord (capital), Manchester (largest city), 21 Jun 1788.


Saint Anselm College (1889)
Saint Anselm College (1889) in Manchester, NH. Credit: msdlibrary


Virginia (VA), Richmond (capital), Virginia Beach (largest city), 25 Jun 1788.


Monticello (1772) of Thomas Jefferson
Monticello (1772) of Thomas Jefferson, outside Charlottesville, VA. Credit: skeeze


New York (NY), Albany (capital), New York City (largest city), 26 Jul 1788.


Empire State Building, NYC
Empire State Building (1931) in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Credit: Free Photos


North Carolina (NC), Raleigh (capital), Charlotte (largest city), 21 Nov 1789.


Governor's mansion in Raleigh
Governor's mansion in Raleigh, NC


Rhode Island (RI), Providence (capital and largest city), 29 May 1790.


Rhode Island State House
Rhode Island State House, Providence, RI. Credit: Peter Nelson


District of Columbia (DC), 16 Jul 1790.


Washington Monument
Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.


Vermont (VT), Montpelier (capital), Burlington (largest city), 4 Mar 1791.


Lake Champlain, Burlington
Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT. Credit: Michelle Maria


Kentucky (KY), Frankfort (capital), Louisville (largest city), 1 Jun 1792.


John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (formerly known as Cincinnati-Covington Bridge, 1866), Covington, KY. Credit: John Doubet


Tennessee (TN), Nashville (capital and largest city), 1 Jun 1796.


Nashville, TN
Nashville, TN. Credit: Jimmy Dominico


Ohio (OH), Columbus (capital and largest city), 1 Mar 1803.


Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland
Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, OH


Louisiana (LA), Baton Rouge (capital), New Orleans (largest city), 30 Apr 1812.


A riverboat on the Mississippi River
A riverboat on the Mississippi River (literally, 'Great River'), Louisiana. Credit: skeeze


Indiana (IN), Indianapolis (capital and largest city), 11 Dec 1816.


A downtown canal in Indianapolis, IN. Credit: Dee Young


Mississippi (MS), Jackson (capital and largest city), 10 Dec 1817.


Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson
Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, MS. Credit: File Photo


Illinois (IL), Springfield (capital), Chicago (largest city), 3 Dec 1818.


Chicago bean, IL
Chicago bean, IL. Credit: Rick Lobes


Alabama (AL), Montgomery (capital), Birmingham (largest city), 14 Dec 1819.


Birmingham panorama, AL
Birmingham panorama, Alabama


Maine (ME), Augusta (capital), Portland (largest city), 15 Mar 1820.


Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk, ME
Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk, ME


Missouri (MO), Jefferson City (capital), Kansas City (largest city), 10 Aug 1821.


Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO


Arkansas (AR), Little Rock (capital and largest city), 15 Jun 1836.


Fordyce Bathhouse
Fordyce Bathhouse at Hot Springs National Park, Hot Springs, AR. Credit: Kristin Eisner


Michigan (MI), Lansing (capital), Detroit (largest city), 26 Jan 1837.


Detroit skyline - Renaissance Center (1973)
Detroit skyline - Renaissance Center (1973), owned by General Motors as its world headquarters, in Downtown Detroit MI. Credit: Peter Mol


Florida (FL), Tallahassee (capital), Jacksonville (largest city), 3 Mar 1845.


Blue Bridge in Jacksonville
Blue Bridge in Jacksonville, FL


Texas (TX), Austin (capital), Houston (largest city), 29 Dec 1845.


Dandelion the Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain (1978), Houston, TX
Dandelion the Gus S. Wortham Memorial Fountain (1978) made by Rice University professor William T. Cannady, Houston, TX (Inspired by a similar fountain in Australia). Credit: semperfistar


Iowa (IA), Des Moines (capital and largest city), 28 Dec 1846.


State Capitol in Des Moines, IA
State Capitol in Des Moines, IA. Credit: Leonardo Marchini


Wisconsin (WI), Madison (capital), Milwaukee (largest city), 29 May 1848.


Milwaukee Art Museum (1888)
Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM, 1888), WI. Credit: Leonardo Marchini


California (CA), Sacramento (capital), Los Angeles (largest city), 9 Sep 1850.


Alcatraz island prison, San Francisco
Alcatraz island prison, San Francisco, CA. Credit: Bettina Nørgaard


Baker Island (uninhabited territory of the US), 1856.

Jarvis Island (uninhabited territory of the US), 1856.

Howland Island (uninhabited territory of the US), 1858.

Minnesota (MN), St. Paul (capital), Minneapolis (largest city), 11 May 1858.


Spoonbridge and Cherry (1980s), Minneapolis
Spoonbridge and Cherry (the 1980s), Minneapolis, MN. Credit: vladeymeer


Navassa Island (uninhabited territory of the US), 1858.

Johnston Atoll (uninhabited territory of the US), 1859.

Oregon (OR), Salem (capital), Portland (largest city), 14 Feb 1859.


Fremont Bridge in Portland, OR
Fremont Bridge (total length 656m) in Portland, OR. Credit: Park Luck


Kingman Reef (uninhabited territory of the US), 1860.

Kansas (KS), Topeka (capital), Wichita (largest city), 29 Jan 1861.


Keeper of the Plains (1974)
Keeper of the Plains (1974) in the Ring of Fire, Wichita, KS


West Virginia (WV), Charleston (capital and largest city), 20 Jun 1863.


The battlefield of Harpers Ferry (1862)
The battlefield of Harpers Ferry, fought on 12-15 September 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the American Civil War, WV


Nevada (NV), Carson City (capital), Las Vegas (largest city), 31 Oct 1864.


Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. Credit: esudroff


Midway Atoll (uninhabited territory of the US), 1867.

Nebraska (NE), Lincoln (capital), Omaha (largest city), 1 Mar 1867.


Capitol building, Lincoln, NE
Capitol building, Lincoln, NE


Colorado (CO), Denver (capital and largest city), 1 Aug 1876.


The Bronco Buster in Denver
The Bronco Buster – a cowboy statue in Denver, CO. Credit: Leonardo Marchini


North Dakota (ND), Bismarck (capital), Fargo (largest city), 2 Nov 1889.

South Dakota (SD), Pierre (capital), Sioux Falls (largest city), 2 Nov 1889.

Montana (MT), Helena (capital), Billings (largest city), 8 Nov 1889.

Washington (WA), Olympia (capital), Seattle (largest city), 11 Nov 1889.


Space Needle & Ferris Wheel, Seattle
Space Needle and Ferris Wheel, Seattle, WA. Credit: Paul Galasso


Idaho (ID), Boise (capital and largest city), 3 Jul 1890.

Wyoming (WY), Cheyenne (capital and largest city), 10 Jul 1890.

Utah (UT), Salt Lake City (capital and largest city), 4 Jan 1896.

Palmyra Atoll (uninhabited territory of the US), 1898.

Guam (GU), Hagåtña (capital), 1899 [the inhabited territory of the US].

Puerto Rico (PR), San Juan (capital), 1899 [the inhabited territory of the US].

Wake Island (uninhabited territory of the US), 1899.

American Samoa (AS), Pago Pago (capital), 1900 [the inhabited territory of the US].

Oklahoma (OK), Oklahoma City (capital and largest city), 16 Nov 1907.


Field of Flags, OK
The field of more than 1,400 flags near the Oklahoma state capitol to help bring awareness to the issue of child abuse in the United States, OK


New Mexico (NM), Santa Fe (capital), Albuquerque (largest city), 6 Jan 1912.


Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in October, NM. Credit: skeeze


Arizona (AZ), Phoenix (capital and largest city), 14 Feb 1912.

U.S. Virgin Islands (VI), Charlotte Amalie (capital), 1917 [the inhabited territory of the US].

Alaska (AK), Juneau (capital), Anchorage (largest city), 3 Jan 1959.

Hawaii (HI), Honolulu (capital and largest city), 21 Aug 1959.


Aloha Tower (1926)
Aloha Tower (1926) at Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbour, HI. Credit: Michelle Maria


Northern Mariana (MP), Saipan (capital), 1986 [the inhabited territory of the US].


White House, the southern facade
White House, the southern facade with a semi-circular portico facing the Ellipse


The capital is Washington, D.C., and New York City the largest city by population. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean.


White House, the southern facade
White House, the southern facade with a semi-circular portico. Credit: Freedom 40


The US territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


White House, the northern facade
White House, the northern facade with a columned portico facing Lafayette Square. Credit: Simon Reiseblogger


Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago.


The statue of Marquis de Lafayette
The statue of Marquis de Lafayette in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C.


European colonisation began in the 16th century.

In 1606 King James I England granted charters to both the Plymouth Company and the London Company for the purpose of establishing permanent settlements in North America.

The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. They had very similar political, constitutional, and legal systems and were dominated by Protestant English-speakers. They were part of Britain's possessions in the New World, which also included colonies in Canada, the Caribbean, and the Floridas.


US Capitol, Washington DC
The US Capitol in Washington, DC


Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776.


Smith Memorial Arch
Smith Memorial Arch, an American Civil War monument in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia (Greek: 'Brotherly love'), Pennsylvania


The Thirteen Colonies were complete with the establishment of the Province of Georgia in 1732, although the term 'Thirteen Colonies' became current only in the context of the American Revolution.

In 1776 the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence from Britain. With the help of France and Spain, they defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War. In the Treaty of Paris (1783) Britain officially recognised the independence of the United States of America. The United States is the first country to gain independence from a European power.


Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.


The original thirteen colonies were: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.


Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: Freedom 40


In 1507 the German cartographer Martin Waldeemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honour of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci.

The first documentary evidence of the phrase 'United States of America' is from a letter dated 2 January 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq., George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army. Addressed to Lt. Col. Joseph Reed, Moylan expressed his wish to carry the 'full and ample powers of the United States of America' to Spain to assist in the revolutionary war effort.


Library of Congress
Library of Congress in Washington, DC


The first known publication of the phrase 'United States of America' was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on 6 April 1776.


Statue of Liberty & Brooklyn Bridge
The Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC. Credit: Free Photos


The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by 17 June 1776, at the latest, declared 'The name of this Confederation shall be the United States of America'. The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence 'The Stile of this Confederacy shall be The United States of America'.


Met Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House (1883), 64th Street and Broadway, NYC. Credit: Opera Online


In June 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA' in all capitalised letters in the headline of his 'original Rough draught' of the Declaration of Independence. This draft of the document did not surface until 21 June 1776; it is unclear whether it was written before or after Dickinson used the term in his 17 June draft of the Articles of Confederation.


Central Park, NYC
Central Park, NYC. Credit: Free Photos


When referring to the country, the short form 'United States' is also standard. Other common forms are the 'U.S.', the 'USA', and 'America'. Colloquial names are the 'U.S. of A.' and, internationally, the 'States'.


Manhattan, NYC
Manhattan, New York City. Credit: Pexels


'The United States', 'American' and 'US' refer to the country adjectivally, i.e. 'American values', 'US forces'. A citizen of the United States is an 'American'. In English, the word 'American' mostly refers to topics or subjects directly connected with the United States.


Brooklyn Bridge, NYC
Brooklyn Bridge, NYC. Credit: Macbeatz


The current constitution of the United States was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties.


IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts
IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA, 1991), Santa Fe, N.Mex. Credit: Marina Lankester


During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the abolition of slavery in the States.


Oak Alley Plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi
Oak Alley Plantation on the west bank of the Mississippi, Louisiana. Credit: James DeMers


By the end of the century, the economy of the United States, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar.


St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square
St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square, New Orleans, La. Credit: Sara Jeong


The Spanish-American War, and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power.


Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Penn. Credit: skeeze


The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.


Independence Hall
Independence Hall where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted, Philadelphia, Penn. Credit: skeeze


During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing.


Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco
Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (Suspension bridge), Calif. Credit: Ichigo121212


The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower.


Palace of fine arts in San Francisco
Palace of fine arts in San Francisco, Calif. Credit: Adam Derewecki


The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organisations.


Walt Disney Center
Walt Disney Center, Concert Hall, Los Angeles, Calif. Credit: Falkenpost


The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation. It is a representative democracy, 'in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law'.


World War II Memorial
World War II Memorial, free and open to the public 24 hours a day, Washington, DC


The United States is a highly developed country. It is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.


Night panorama of Las Vegas
Night panorama of Las Vegas in Nevada’s the Mojave Desert. Credit: Young Soo Park