The United States of America

The United States of America is a federal republic of North America consisting of fifty states and a federal district. The forty-eight contiguous states and the district of Washington D.C. (the federal capital) occupy the central belt of North America between Canada and Mexico and are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. With 9834000 km2 in total and about 331 million inhabitants, the United States is the third country in the world by area and the third by population. The geography and climate of the United States are extremely diverse, with deserts, plains, forests and mountains also home to a wide variety of wildlife. It is one of the most multiethnic and multicultural nations in the world, produced on a large scale of immigration from many countries.

Some territories in free political association are also dependent on the United States, which in any case are not part of any State of the Union or of the Federation in the strict sense. They are: Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

Historically, Paleo Americans migrated from Asia to today’s United States about 12,000 years ago. European colonization began around the beginning of the 17th century and came mostly from England. The United States of America originated from the thirteen British colonies located along the Atlantic coast. Disputes between Britain and the colonies resulted in a conflict: on July 4, 1776 delegates from the thirteen colonies drafted and unanimously approved the declaration of independence, which officially gave rise to a new federal state. The American War of Independence, which ended with the recognition of U.S. independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, was the first war for independence from a European colonial power. The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787 and has since been amended twenty-seven times. The first ten amendments, collectively referred to as the ‘Bill of Rights’, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee civil rights and fundamental freedoms.

The United States embarked on vigorous expansion throughout the 19th century, driven by the controversial doctrine of manifest destiny. The acquisition of new territories and the admission of new member states also caused numerous wars with native peoples. The American Civil War ended with the abolition of slavery in the United States. At the end of the 19th century the United States extended to the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish-American War and World War I confirmed the country’s state as a global military power. The United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first nuclear-armed country, and as one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. After a severe political and social crisis in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the defeat in the Vietnam War, which seemed to undermine U.S. world dominance, the unexpected end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the 1990s instead reconfirmed the dominant role of the United States, which remained the only world military and political superpower.

The United States is a developed country. The economy is fueled by an abundance of natural resources, numerous infrastructure and high productivity. The country accounts for 39% of the world’s military spending, being the top economic and military power, a leading political force in the world and ranking first in scientific research and technological innovation, but also a reduced welfare state compared to many other countries in the Western world.

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