The USA is situated in southern part of North America – the world’s third largest continent. The USA lies between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, bordering on Mexico in the south and Canada in the north.
The USA is composed of 50 states joined in a federal republic. The largest state is Alaska, which became the 49th state in 1959. Alaska occupies the north-western end of the North American continent.
Hawaii, the 50th state, is between America and Asia. Each state is independent, has its own government constitution and capital. The seat of the Federal Government is the city of Washington.
The landscape of the USA is varied. There are mountains (highlands) in the west – Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada and in the east – Appalachian Mountains. The highest peak in the USA is Mount McKinley in Alaska Range which is 6.194m high. The middle part of the USA is mostly lowlands (prairies, plans). The land is used for farming, especially around the Mississippi River. There are deserts in the south-west. The landscape of the USA can be separated into six regions:
1. Northeast – industrial, highly populated, the oldest part
2. Southeast – farms (agricultural)
3. Central Basin – Mississippi River, farms
4. Great Plains
5. Mountains and Deserts
6. Coast Valley
The rivers that run form the middle to the Atlantic Ocean are short (e.g. the Hudson). The most important river is Mississippi which starts in Minnesota and flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Other rivers are the Rio Grande, the Yukon, the Colorado.
There is one famous region with lakes – the five Great Lakes: Superior (the largest one), Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The Niagara River, flowing from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, is famous for Niagara Falls.
The climate varies from tropical in Hawaii to Arctic in Alaska; however, most states have either mild or continental weather.
The original people in America were Indians, who lived alone until 1492 when Columbus discovered America for Europe. The first settlers lived in what is now the state of Virginia and built the first English town, James town.
In 1776 colonists declared their freedom from England by writing the Declaration of Independence and fighting the Revolutionary War. After they won the war, the new Americans created a system of government, which is described in the constitution, written by Thomas Jefferson. Less than 100 years later (1861-65), American fought each other in the Civil War. It was war between the North and the South. It was the worst episode in American history. The president was Abraham Lincoln. After this war the Southern plantation owners no longer had slaves.
The population is about 243 millions people. There are many major ethnic groups in the U.S. today. America is sometimes called the “melting pot” or the “salad bowl” or the “Pizza” because people living here are of all possible origins and all the races can mix here together.
Most people speak American English. There are also minority languages (e.g. Chinese, Spanish). American English is different from British English. ¾ of all population is America live in the cities. The most density populated area is so called “industrial belt” (cities – New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago….)
THE AMERICAN FLAG:
- consists of two parts – one smaller blue oblong with 50 white stars symbolizing 50 American states and one larger oblong consists of 13 white and red stripes, which symbolizes the original 13 states – British colonies.
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT:
The political heart of the U.S. is in the Washington D.C. the capital of the USA.
The legislative power is made up of Congress. Its seat is in the Capital. The Congress consists of two parts:
a) House of Representative – number of representatives depends on population of each state
b) Senate – has 100 senators – 2 from each state
Executive power is represented by president and his government
Presidential system – there is no prime minister. Presidential election are held very regularly – always in November, in the Year, which cam be divided by 4. Presidential power are rather big – he propose bills, can veto or refuse a bill, he is the Commander – Chief of the Armada Forces, appoints federal judges, ambassadors. The head of each department is appointed by the president and is responsible to him. When they meet together, they are called “the President’s Cabinet”.
The seat of the president is in White House. The Pentagon is the seat of the Department of defense.