As in the previous entry we were talking about the UK and its general information, we want to continue with the USA!
We want to start talking about the general information of this country.
The United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world. It is composed of 50 states but the capital of the country doesn’t found in anyone of these states. The capital is Washington D.C (what means District of Columbia): it is a federal district, not a state or part of a state. The Founding Fathers said that the capital city had to be under direct control of the federal government instead of a semi-autonomy control as a state. Both Maryland and Virginia offered parcels for that purpose in 1790. President George Washington was the one to chose the exact location of the city, which he specificed to be on Potomac River. The city became under direct control of then federal government in 1801. For this reason, Washington has no voting representation in senate.
As the nation’s capital Washington is home to a large of government offices like the United States Capitol which is the home of the two chambers of the United States Congress. The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument lie to the west, and the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress to the east. The Capitol was inaugurated in 1800.
It is also located the White House, where the president of the United States live. It was designed by James Hoban and the construction took place between 1792 and 1800. In 1814 the mansion was destroyed by the British Army due to the War of 1812. In October 1817 the reconstruction of the Executive Residence was finished but the external reconstruction continued for more time.
You can see in the photo that the house has two facades: one in the north (a columned portico) and the other in the south (with a semi-circular portico).
One of the most important days for the americans is the Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July. It is a holiday that marks the signing of the Declaration of the Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776.
The people celebrate this day with a lot of events: sporting events like baseball games and three-legged races, picnics, barbecues, hotdog eating competitions…
A lot of politicians take advantadge of this day and make a public event to talk about history and laws.
It is normal to put the flag of the United States outside your home or building to show how proud you are of your country.
There are fireworks around the country that represent the three colors of American flag: red, white and blue, they are accompanied of patriotic songs. Some of these fireworks are shown on television.
Also many towns do Fourth of July parades with marching bands.
Like other countries America has a national motto. It was established by the 34th president of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower, It says “In God We Trust” and it appears in a large number of coins and dollars. Before this one it was other motto “E pluribus unum” that means “One from many” which lasted until 1956.
In terms of population these are the largest cities of United States. Some of them are very famous but maybe you have not heard much about others from the list.
- New York City: 8,550,405 of population.
- Los Angeles, CA: 3,971,883 of population.
- Chicago, IL: 2,720,546 of population.
- Houston, TX: 2,296,224 of population.
- Philadelphia, PA: 1,567,442 of population.
- Phoenix, AZ: 1,563,025 of population.
- San Antonio, TX: 1,469,845 of population.
- San Diego, CA: 1,394,928 of population.
- Dallas, TX: 1,300,092 of population.
- San Jose, CA: 1,026,908 of population.
There are some high points in United States ranging from 20,000 feet to 3,000 feet.
Mount Denali formerly known as Mount McKinley is the highest point in the United States but also in the entire North America, with 20,310 feet above the sea level. It is located in the ranges of Alaska, specifically in the Denail National Park. It is after the Everest and Aconcagua mountains the third most desolate.
Mauna Kea is the highest island in all United States with an elevation of 13,79 feet, is an inactive volcano located on the Hawaiian islands.
And if we talk about cities, Leadville is the highest with 10,152 feet which is located in Lake County, Colorado.
If we talk about the lowest point in the United States it is the Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, California and it has 282 feet below the sea level. It is a small pond of stagnant water, the accumulation of salts from the basin makes the water non-potable.
Like a curiosity, the Death Valley is one of the hottest places of the entire hearth along with deserts from Africa and Middle East, with a record of the higuest temperature of all history, 56,7 Cº
How we have said before the United States is made up of 50 individual states but each one of them have a different size.
Some people might be surprise but the largest state of the United States is Alaska with 665,384.0 square miles and 3 million of residents. English is the most used language though some people speak Spanish and Asian languages. It’s also the largest state by land area and water area.
Alaska belongs to the United States because the Russian Empire sold Alaska to them for 7.2 million dollars in 1876. It has been one of the best purchases of his life.
It is followed by Texas (268,596.5), California (163,694.7) and Montana (147,039.71). It is obvious how long Alaska is seeing that it has more land area than Texas, California and Montana combined. Alaska covers 18% of the country’s total land area.
If we talk about the smallest state we say Rhode Island, a northeast region, with 1,034 square miles. It was the first of the original 13 colonies to proclaim the independence of the British Empire. It is only 48 miles in lenght and 37 miles wide. But if we talk about the population, Wyoming is the state with the smallest quantity (579,315 people). The second smallest state is Delaware with 1,949 sq. miles and Connecticut is next with 4,842.
The national bird and animal of the United Sates is the bald eagle and it was adopted in 1782. It was chosen because it’s native to North America and for its majestic beauty and long life, it will live 30-35 years. It appears on the seal of the country . You can recognize this eagle for the white head coat.
A curiosity is that they can fly up to 30 miles an hour and dive 100 miles an hour because they are sea eagles.
The national anthem of the United States of America receives the name of “The Star-Spangled Banner. It was named the national anthem on March 3, 1931 with a congressional resolution signed by President Herbert Hoover.
The lyrics are from a poem by Francis Scott Key written on September 14, 1814 after he saw Fort McHenry (the fort’s defense of the city of Baltimore) being bombarded by british ships during the Battle of Baltimore in the war of 1812.
We want to share a video with you of a korean singer named Sohyan that sang the national anthem for NBA games in 2014.
These territories are under the sovereignty of the United States but they are not part of the national territory of USA, formed by the 50 states, the district of Columbia and the Palmyra Atoll.
- Puerto Rico: since July 25, 1898.
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
- Commonwealth of Guam: since 1898.
- Virgin Islands of United State.
- American Samoa.
So, in this part, we are going to explain some data about North American areas, regions, distances, population..
The USA has four main regions according to the US Census Bureau:
-The Northeast, which contains Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
-The Midwest, which includes Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.
-The South, which has Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississipi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
-The West, which contains Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.
USA has an area of 9.834.000 square kilometres. The biggest state is Alaska (1.530.700km2), and it is followed by Texas (691.207 km2), California (411.049 km2) and Montana (380.848 km2).
The distance from one coast to another of USA is extremely amazing. If we are speaking about the distance from Maine to Washington, the distance is 4.200 km. However, from California to Florida there are 3.600 km. The coastline has a mesure of 19.924 km.
The current population of US is 328.183.038 people. Of this way, the United States population is equivalent to 4.27% of the total world population! Isn’t this an incredible fact?
As the United States has a very different amount of physical wonderfuls, we are going to clasify them in different sections:
Thanks to this web, we have learnt about the 12 mountains that are considered the most beautiful ones in USA. We’ll show you them at the next paragraphs:
– “Grand Teton”, located in Northwest Wyoming. It’s the highest mountain.
– “Mount Rainier”. It is also on the Decade Volcano list (which is a listo f the most dangerous volcanoes).
–Denali (Mount McKinley). It has the highest peak in North America and it is located in Southern Alaska.
–“Mount Whitney”… situated in California.
-“Maroon Bells”. This is one of the most photographed places in the United States… and we can easily understand why!
–“Mount Saint Elias”. It is located on the Yukon and Alaska border.
–“Mount Shasta”. It’s in Northern California and it is also potentially volcanic.
–“Great Smoky Mountains”. We have find its name really fun. It is located in North Carolina and Tennessee. Its park (Great Smoky Mountain National Park) is the most visited one in America.
–“Mount Elbert”. It’s in Central Colorado and this mountain is THE TALLEST POINT IN THE STATE. Its elevation is 14.440 ft.
–“Sawtooth Mountains”… which are located in Central Idaho.
–“Hawaiian Islands”. They were formed by volcanic activity.
-“Valley of the Ten Peaks”. From our point of view, this is one of the most beautiful valleys in America (according to the photos that we have seen). It’s in Alberta.
The USA has some completely beautiful rivers. We have made a list of some of them:
–Ashley river (South Carolina)
–Black Warrior River (Alabama)
-Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (Minnesota)
–Catawba River (North Carolina and South Carolina)
–Colorado River (Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California)
(We still remember how impressed we were when we saw photos of this river at school…)
–Congaree River (South Carolina)
–Columbia River (Washington, Orgeon)
–Connecticut River (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire)
–Edisto River (South Carolina)
–Elwha River (Washington)
–Feather River (California)
–Delaware River (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware)
–Flint River (Georgia)
–Gila River (New Mexico)
–Kansas River (Kansas)
–The Kenai (Alaska)
–Columbia River (Oregon)
–Hanalei River (Hawaii): It’s a Paradise for kayak lovers!
–Hudson River (Tennnessee)
The most important ones are the rivers Mississippi, Missouri, el Río Grande. Hudson River, Colorado, Columbia and Yukon.
Here you have a top ten USA Rivers (by lenght):
- Missouri: 2,540 miles
- Mississippi: 2,340 miles
- Yukon: 1,980 miles
- Rio Grande: 1,900 miles
- St. Lawrence: 1,900 miles
- Arkansas: 1,460 miles
- Colorado: 1,450 miles
- Atchafalaya: 1,420 miles
- Ohio: 1,310 miles
- Red: 1,290 miles
If you feel like finding more information, this is the page that we have visited!!:
We have discovered a lot of interesting information about US lakes. We remembered some of them as Lake Superior and Lake Huron, as we had to learn them at school… but we had forgotten almost all of the other lakes which we studied years ago.
Here you have the most essential ones:
–Great Salt Lake (Utah)
–Creater Lake (Mount Mazama, Oregon)
–Lake Tahoe (it’s between California and Nevada)
And we’ve decided to insert a top ten, too:
- Lake Superior – 31,700 sq. miles
- Lake Huron – 23,000 sq. miles
- Lake Michigan – 22,300 sq. miles
- Lake Erie – 9,910 sq. miles
- Lake Ontario – 7,340 sq. miles
- Great Salt Lake – 2,117 sq. miles
- Lake of the Woods – 1,485 sq. miles
- Iliamna Lake – 1,014 sq. miles
- Lake Oahe – 685 sq. miles
- Lake Okeechobee – 662 sq. miles
You can also see here some photos that we consider as amazing (you can even use them as wallpapers!):
-Grant Salt Lake
As US is a really huge country, it has a wide variety of different climates. Generally, we have learnt that summers are hot and humid in the southern states, while the southwest is hot and dry. Endless summers are southern California and Florida trademarks, whereas in the Pacific Northwest and New England states, summers are warm with cool mornings and pleasant evening conditions.
About winters, we can say that they are mild in the southern states, whereas they are quite cold in the others (with heavy snow).
Thunderstorms are normal in the spring and summer, and devastating tornadoes are also common in the spring and summer months, specially in the central part of USA.
We’ve searched for one photo because we think that a little bit of color can make the information more understandable:
Our three favourite states
After all this huge information about the USA and since we are three in our group, each one have chosen one state of the fifty that conforms the United States of America. So, now on we are going to give you some additional data of these three states, which are Alaska, Chicago and California.
It is the largest state in territorial extension of US, 1,530,700 km² in total, with Juneau as capital and Anchorage as the most important city. In addition, it is the only territory of the American continent located partially in the eastern hemisphere, bordering with the Arctic Ocean on the north, with the Pacific Ocean on the south, with Canada on the east and with the sea and the Bering Strait and the Chukostsk Sea on the west. As we mentioned before, it is the largest state in the country, doubling in size to Texas and tripling in size to Spain. This state is occupied by a total of 686,293 inhabitants.
Now, talking about some history, the first inhabitants of the American continent arrived 14,000 years ago from Asia. Despite its difficult climate, it became the most populated territory of America. When the Danish explorer Vitus Bering arrived in the region in 1741 by order of the Russian Tsar Peter the Great, the population of Alaska consisted of Eskimo tribes that fed and dressed with the flesh and skins of the mammals that they hunted.
One of the highlights of the history of Alaska is January 3, 1959, when it was included in the Union as state 49.
As a physical territory, in the south, the most populated area, the Kenai and Alaska peninsulas stand out. The central zone is full of lakes and fertile valleys. To the north, above the Arctic Circle, is a territory rich in petroleum resources. In addition, Alaska is composed of a large number of islands, although the most important are those located near British Columbia in the Interior Passage, such as the one that houses the capital, Juneau, accessible only by sea and air. Its location north of the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it an area of significant seismic and volcanic activity, with 40 volcanoes located along the Alaska and Aleutian peninsula, where most of the earthquakes are concentrated, in general low intensity.
The Alaska’s climate it is very rigorous throughout the year, although in the short summer temperatures are mild on the coasts and in the south of the Brooks range. The most extreme temperatures are between 25 ° maximum and -50 ° C minimum. Above the Arctic Circle Solar light is distributed as follows: during the three months of winter lives in total darkness. On the contrary, during the three months of summer.
On the other hand, the fauna is very rich and varied. In its waters live whales, seals, walruses and sea otters. You can also find the polar bear, brown bear and American black bear. There are large herds of caribou, followed by herds of wolves. Other mammals that can be found are the American elk, the beaver, the wolverine, the mink, the otter and the muskrat.
Nowadays, Alaska is sparsely populated, with less than one person per square mile. Most of the population is concentrated in the cities and towns of the coast. The native population includes the Inuit, who live mainly on the coast of the Arctic Sea of Bering; the Aleutas, who live on the islands of the western arm, and the Native Americans who live mostly in the eastern arm.
Chicago, colloquially known as Windy City, is the third city with the largest population in the United States, behind New York and Los Angeles.” Chicago is located in the state of Illinois, along the southwest coast of Lake Michigan. with 2,853,114 inhabitants and 606,100 km of total territory.
Historically talking and according to the accounts of Spanish explorers of the seventeenth century, the Indians of Illinois (Potawatomis) were the first to claim a territory they called “Chicaugou”, and which means powerful, strong or large, and which was used by many tribal chiefs for mean they were “big” bosses.
On October 10, 1871, the Great Fire of Chicago destroyed most of the central area of the city. It began in the lumber district of the western area of the city. They say that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow hit a kerosene lamp that started the fire. By October 10, the fire had destroyed almost 6.5 km of the city and the damaged properties were estimated at 200 million dollars.
The climate in Chicago is defined as continental climate and therefore it is very varied, since in summer maximum temperatures can be recorded between 30 and 35 ° C, and minimum temperatures from 15 to 20 ° C. In winter, maximum temperatures range from -10 ° to 5 ° C and minimum temperatures from -20 ° C to -5 ° C. The lake only tempers the climate slightly. The climate in Chicago is continental, but this one is very marked by its geographical location, since Chicago is precisely between the Central Sierra and the Atlantic Ocean. This causes that the climate in Chicago is characterized by extremely cold winters, warm summers and the mists, that is, spring and autumn, quite cloudy, with frequent rainfall and sometimes accompanied by strong winds.
Currently, Chicago is a dynamic and culturally diverse city. It is an international center for business and leisure travel, due in part to the accessibility of the city through transport, a thriving business and hotel community, restaurants, shopping, etc.
As an a curious fact, in the city of Illinois lived the famous mobster Al Capone who ruled in the eastern sector of Chicago.
This last American state it is a federated state of the US located on the southwest coast of the country. It has a population of 38 million inhabitants and covers an area of 410,000 km². With these data, California is consolidated as the most populous state in the United States and the third largest (after Alaskay Texas).
Talking about history, in 1542, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo was commissioned by Pedro de Alvarado and supported by Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, first viceroy of New Spain, to explore the North Pacific, the peninsula of Baja California and the Gulf of California or Mar de Cortés, which they had been recently discovered and explored by Francisco de Ulloa, Fernando de Alarcon, Juan de Fuca and Domingo del Castillo. With those trips it had been demonstrated that the peninsula of Baja California was not an island, but was joined to the mainland and surrounded by water by a gulf (that of California) and the South Sea (Pacific Ocean). In 1816 the Argentine corsair Hipolito Bouchard took the main ports of Alta California for a few weeks; this foreshadowed the end of Spanish colonial rule in the region and the transfer to the new state of Mexico,
In 1821, California became one of the three interior provinces that Mexico had north of Rio Grande along with Texas and New Mexico, when this country gained its independence.
Mexican control over Alta California or New California (now California) ended when a group of Americans led by Richard Henry Dana and Sutter plus Colonel Mariano Vallejo, members of the Black Bear secret society, declared independence on June 14, 1846 of the Republic of California
The geography of California is very diverse. California has alpine mountains, cloudy coasts, hot deserts, and a fertile central valley. It is also home to the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest (Valley of Death) of the 48 contiguous states.
An interesting fact is that the state is divided between North and Southern California, although the border between the two regions is not very well defined. San Francisco is considered as a city in Northern California and Los Angeles as a city in Southern California, but in some areas between the two do not share that same identity. The US Geological Survey defines the geographic center of the state at the point near North Fork.
Also, it is said of California that it is the land of eternal spring. This topic is due to the temperate climate throughout the year, although temperatures can vary greatly depending on the region.
In general, the climate of the West Coast is really nice, especially in the southernmost areas, where the heat lasts 365 days a year. On the other hand, in the zones of the west and north coast, the climate is more similar to the Mediterranean. The interior of the southern zone is characterized by desert areas and unbearable heat. On the other hand, in the north, especially in high areas, the climate can get really cold…
To end… here you have a song from The Beatles!
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) by The Beatles
“I want you
I want you so bad
I want you
I want you so bad
It’s driving me mad
It’s driving me mad”