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    The United States is the world's foremost economic and military power, with global interests and an unmatched global reach. In 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in North America. Following early explorations by Portugal and Spain, England established a colony at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Thirteen British colonies waged a war of independence against England from 1775 to 1783, when the new nation of the United States of America was recognized by the Treaty of Paris. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The constitution, drafted in 1787, established a federal system with a division of powers which has remained unchanged in form since its inception. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. The real recovery came only during World War II that stimulated the nation’s industry and the economy in general. The United States today remains the world's most powerful country. Its economy is the largest and most technologically advanced in the world. The country has the highest level of output in the world, with its gross domestic product accounting for close to a quarter of the world total.


    Government Structure



    conventional long form:

    United States of America

    conventional short form:

    United States



    Constitution-based federal republic; strong democratic tradition


    Executive Branch:

    Chief of State and Head of Government:

    President Donald Trump was elected as the president of the United States on Nov. 8, 2016 to a four-year term; he was eligible for another term in office.  

    Held Nov, 8, 2016


    Cabinet appointed by the president with Senate approval


    Legislative Branch:

    Bicameral Congress:

    Consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives

    Leadership of Congress:

    Mitch McConnell  (Republican) has been the  Senate Majority Leader.  Democrat Schumer is the Senate Minority Leader.   With Republicans narrowly holding onto power in the Senate in the 2018 mid-term elections, this leadership roster would remain in place. 

    Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who made history in 2006 becoming  the country's first female Speaker of the House, and serving until the 2010 midterm elections of that year, was set to resume that post.  Following the 2018 mid-term elections,  the Democrats handily defended the Republicans in the House of Representatives, scoring their biggest victory since Watergate.  Paul Ryan was set to exit the political field following that defeat and Kevin McCarthy was slated to take over as House Minority Leader in the new Democratic-led House.   


    Consists of 100 members, elected for six-year terms in dual-seat constituencies, with one-third of the seats being contested every two years

    House of Representatives:

    Consists of 435 members, elected for two-year terms in single-seat constituencies


    Judicial Branch:

    Supreme Court (its nine justices are appointed for life on condition of good behavior by the president with confirmation by the Senate); United States Courts of Appeal; United States District Courts; State and County Courts



    Sept. 17, 1787, effective March 4, 1789


    Legal System:

    Based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations



    18 years of age; universal


    Administrative Divisions:

    50 states and 1 district*:

    Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia*, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

    Dependent Areas and Territories:

    American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Wake Island


    From July 18, 1947, until Oct. 1, 1994, the U.S. administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands but recently entered into a new political relationship with all four political units: The Northern Mariana Islands is a commonwealth in political union with the United States (effective Nov. 3, 1986); Palau concluded a Compact of Free Association with the United States (effective Oct. 1, 1994); the Federated States of Micronesia signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States (effective Nov. 3, 1986); the Republic of the Marshall Islands signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States (effective Oct. 21, 1986).



    Key Data

    Notable Cities

    Los Angeles3,792,6212015
    New York8,175,1332015
    Washington, D.C.601,7232015

    Other Key Data

    Region : North America
    Population :  328,131,072
    Area Total :  9,372,610
    Area Land :  9,166,600
    Coast Line :  19,924
    Capital :  Washington, DC
    Climate :  Mainly temperate; tropical in Hawaii, Florida; Arctic in Alaska; semi-arid in the Great Plains; Arid in the Southwest
    Languages :  Hundreds of languages are spoken in the United States. English and Spanish are the major spoken languages in the United States today. Hawaiian is spoken in Hawaii; Cajun is spoken in Louisiana; Creole dialects are spoken in the southern states. In addition, there are several indigenous languages spoken throughout the United States rooted in the native history of the land. Other spoken languages are derived from immigrant populations such as German, Italian and Chinese. Bilingualism is commonplace.
    Currency :  US Dollar
    Holiday :  July 4 (Independence Day), Veteran's Day is 11 November, Labor Day is the first Monday in Septemberst

    Average Daily Temperature

    January : Data Unavailable
    July : Data Unavailable
    Annual Rainfall : mm / 34.5"



    Ethnic Divisions

    European descent : 83.50 %
    African descent : 12.40 %
    Asian descent : 3.30 %
    Amerindian : 0.80 %
    Note that Latinos and Hispanics may fall into any of the ethnic categories listed above : 0.00 %


    Protestant : 56 %
    Roman Catholic : 28 %
    None : 10 %
    Other : 4 %
    Jewish : 2 %

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