Country: United States of America
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Continent: North America
Official languages: None at the federal level
National languages: English
Motto: In God We Trust
Government: Federal presidential constitutional republic
Population: 325 719 178 (2017)
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
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.
Pennsylvania (PA), Harrisburg (capital), Philadelphia (largest city), 12 Dec 1787.
New Jersey (NJ), Trenton (capital), Newark (largest city), 18 Dec 1787.
Georgia (GA), Atlanta (capital and largest city), 2 Jan 1788.
Connecticut (CT), Hartford (capital), Bridgeport (largest city), 9 Jan 1788.
Massachusetts (MA), Boston (capital and largest city), 6 Feb 1788.
Maryland (MD), Annapolis (capital), Baltimore (largest city), 28 Apr 1788.
South Carolina (SC), Columbia (capital), Charleston (largest city), 23 May 1788.
New Hampshire (NH), Concord (capital), Manchester (largest city), 21 Jun 1788.
Virginia (VA), Richmond (capital), Virginia Beach (largest city), 25 Jun 1788.
New York (NY), Albany (capital), New York City (largest city), 26 Jul 1788.
North Carolina (NC), Raleigh (capital), Charlotte (largest city), 21 Nov 1789.
Rhode Island (RI), Providence (capital and largest city), 29 May 1790.
District of Columbia (DC), 16 Jul 1790.
Vermont (VT), Montpelier (capital), Burlington (largest city), 4 Mar 1791.
Kentucky (KY), Frankfort (capital), Louisville (largest city), 1 Jun 1792.
Tennessee (TN), Nashville (capital and largest city), 1 Jun 1796.
Ohio (OH), Columbus (capital and largest city), 1 Mar 1803.
Louisiana (LA), Baton Rouge (capital), New Orleans (largest city), 30 Apr 1812.
Indiana (IN), Indianapolis (capital and largest city), 11 Dec 1816.
Mississippi (MS), Jackson (capital and largest city), 10 Dec 1817.
Illinois (IL), Springfield (capital), Chicago (largest city), 3 Dec 1818.
Alabama (AL), Montgomery (capital), Birmingham (largest city), 14 Dec 1819.
Maine (ME), Augusta (capital), Portland (largest city), 15 Mar 1820.
Missouri (MO), Jefferson City (capital), Kansas City (largest city), 10 Aug 1821.
Arkansas (AR), Little Rock (capital and largest city), 15 Jun 1836.
Michigan (MI), Lansing (capital), Detroit (largest city), 26 Jan 1837.
Florida (FL), Tallahassee (capital), Jacksonville (largest city), 3 Mar 1845.
Texas (TX), Austin (capital), Houston (largest city), 29 Dec 1845.
Iowa (IA), Des Moines (capital and largest city), 28 Dec 1846.
Wisconsin (WI), Madison (capital), Milwaukee (largest city), 29 May 1848.
California (CA), Sacramento (capital), Los Angeles (largest city), 9 Sep 1850.
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.
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.
Kingman Reef (uninhabited territory of the US), 1860.
Kansas (KS), Topeka (capital), Wichita (largest city), 29 Jan 1861.
West Virginia (WV), Charleston (capital and largest city), 20 Jun 1863.
Nevada (NV), Carson City (capital), Las Vegas (largest city), 31 Oct 1864.
Midway Atoll (uninhabited territory of the US), 1867.
Nebraska (NE), Lincoln (capital), Omaha (largest city), 1 Mar 1867.
Colorado (CO), Denver (capital and largest city), 1 Aug 1876.
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.
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.
New Mexico (NM), Santa Fe (capital), Albuquerque (largest city), 6 Jan 1912.
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.
Northern Mariana (MP), Saipan (capital), 1986 [the inhabited territory of the US].
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.
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.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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'.
'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.
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.
During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the abolition of slavery in the States.
By the end of the century, the economy of the United States, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar.
The Spanish-American War, and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power.
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.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing.
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.
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.
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'.
The United States is a highly developed country. It is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.