Map of USA
The United States of America is the world’s third largest country in size and nearly the third largest in terms of population. Located in North America, the country is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Along the northern border is Canada and the southern border is Mexico. There are 50 states and the District of Columbia.
More than twice the size of the European Union, the United States has high mountains in the West and a vast central plain. The lowest point in the country is in Death Valley which is at -282 feet (-86 meters) and the highest peak is Denali (Mt. McKinley) at 20,320 feet (6,198 meters).
The landscape varies across the large country from tropical beaches in Florida to peaks in the Rocky Mountains, from rolling prairie lands and barren deserts in the West to dense wilderness areas in the Northeast and Northwest. Interspersed throughout are the Great Lakes, the Grand Canyon, the majestic Yosemite Valley, and the mighty Mississippi River.
The wildlife is as diverse as the landscape. Mammals such as bison once roamed freely across the plains, but now live only in preserves. Black bears, grizzlies, and polar bears are the largest carnivores. There are over 20,000 flower species and most came from Europe. There are more than 400 areas which are protected and maintained by the National Park Service, and many other parks in each state.
The president is elected for a four-year term and may be reelected only once. The bicameral Congress consists of the 100-member Senate, elected to a six-year term with one-third of the seats becoming vacant every two years, and the 435-member House of Representatives, elected every two years. The minimum voting age is 18.
The Supreme Court is made up of nine justices who are picked by the president and must be approved by Congress.
For centuries native peoples lived across the vast expanse that would become the United States. In the early 17th century, settlers moved from Europe to the New World, established colonies, and displaced the native peoples.
The settlers fought for their independence from Britain in the late 18th century and formed a union of states based on a new constitution. The nation continued to expand westward and although the country is a relatively young nation, it has become a global power since declaring independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.