The American continent was discovered by Vikings around the year 1000 A.D.. The existence of the American continent wasn´t known in Europe until the voyage of Columbus in 1492. He made his historic voyage from Spain. Columbus called the native people „Indians“ because he thought that he had reached the coast of Asia. He never realised that he had discovered a continent between Europe and Asia.
In 1620 the Puritans discriminated in England by King James I who was a Protestant came from England in their ship the Mayflower and reached north America. Their first colonies were called new England and they were called Pilgrim Fathers. During they first winter, over one half of the settlers died. The rest survived and learned from local „Indians“ how to farm and catch fish. The following November, after their first successful harvest, they celebrated with a special „Thanksgiving“ dinner.
The first 13 colonies were formed under the British control. The colonies were mostly agricultural, especially in the South, where tobacco and cotton plantations were worked by African slaves. They were transported from West Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries. Today´s African Americans are the descendants of these slaves. Colonies wanted to lessen their dependence on Britain. British Parliament wasn´t willing to let the colonies go their own way and the results was one of the most famous events, the Boston Tea party in 1773. A group of Americans dressed as Indians and threw bags of tea into the Boston Harbourin protest of unfair taxes. The Party was one of the significant events to the American Revolutionary War against England.
The War began in 1775 and a year later colonical representatives declared independence from the King George III. The Declaration of independence belongs to the most important documents. It was signed on July 4, 1776 by all 13 colonies in Philadelphia. This day was called Independence Day. The result was six year of war which ended in victory for the Americans led by George Washington who later became the first president of the USA. The War ended in 1781 but it wasn´t until 1783 that England officially recognized the independence of the USA.
The new United States of America rapidly expanded. In 1803 it bought 2 million square kilometres of land from France. The territories gained by this Lousiana Purchase stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and doubled the size of the young nation.
After winning a war against mexico in the 1840s, America gained even more territory. This included California. That same year gold was discovered near „Frisco“and thousands of pioneers rushed across America to make their fortune. The era of the Wild West had begun.
New and new settlers were coming from Europe, new states were set up and sharp differencies arose between the Southern part, which was mainly agricultural, using slaves transported from West Africa to work on cotton fields, and Northern part, which was mainly industrial. The American Civil War broke out in 1861. The Southern states, organized as the Confederacyunder president jefferson Davis fought against the Union of the Northern states under president Abraham Lincoln. The Union states wanted to make slavery illegal. In 1865 the American Civil War also called the war between the North and the Southended in victory for the North. The slavery was abolished in 1863. Lincoln was assassinated at a theatre in Washington only one week after the surrender of the south.
After the Civil War the USA became the world´s leading industrial powerThe first American military mobilization on foreign soil until 1917 when the US entered the World War against Germany and helped France and England. US President Woodrow Wilson helped negotiate a peace treaty in 1918.
In period which followed the West was open for mining, cattle ranching and grain production. New immigrants from European countries were coming to the USA. The 1930s were the years of the gerat economical crisis because in 1929, the value of shares on Wall Street unexpectedly collapsed or crashed. Thousands of banks and companies were ruined and America´s economy entered a period of crisis. Milions of people also ost their jobs. This period in American history is called the Great Depression and lasted until beginning of World War II The USA ramained neutral and didn´t enter the War till Japanese attacked an Pearl Harbour in December 1941. Two years later, a team of US scientists developed the first atomic bomb. At the command of President Haryy S Truman, this devastating new weapon was dropped first on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and on Nagasaki three days later.
The post war period was a time of economic expansion. The US continued as a world leader in scientific, medical and technological achievements.
Lying between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans the United States of America covers a south part of the North America. It borders Canada and Russia in the North and Mexico in the South. The total area of the US is over 9 million square kilometres and it is home of more than 240 million people mostly of European origin and also of Afro-American, American Indian, Japanese, Chinese and other origin. The official language is American English and the second most widespread language is Spanish. The continental part of the US consists of two highland and two lowland regions. The highland regions are the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rocky Mountains in the west. The highest point of the USA is Mount McKinley (6194 m) in Alaska. Between the Rocky and Appalachian Mountains are the central lowlands, which are called the prairie and the eastern lowlands, called Mississippi valley with the moust famous valley Death valley.
Rivers and lakes:
The Five great Lakes, between the USA and Canada, are connected with short rivers or canals to the Atlantic Ocean by the St. Lawrence River and by a canal to the Hudson River. In the west of the USA there is the lake called Great Salt Lake.
The principal rivers of the USA are Mississippi, the longest river in the world, which fliws into the Gulf of Mexico, Colorado, Columbia and Hudson River.
The coldest climate is in the Alaska, which is covered by the snow and ice. Florida has subtropical climate which often brings hurricans – hot winds. The region around great Lakes is known for its changeable climate.
The USA is a federation of fifty states.
The system of American Government is based on the principal established in the Constitution written in 1787 and in the Bill of Rights. The Constitution divides the power of the government into 3 branches – the Executive Branch, the Legislative ranch and the Judicial Branch.
Every states has its own governor, its own police and its own laws. The Federal Government responsible for foreign affairs, defense and financy. It is situated in Washington, D.C. his is where the Congress is seated. The Congress consists of two parts – the Senate and the Hose of Representatives there are 100 members in the Senate – two from each state. The House of Representatives has 435 members (depends on density of population in states).
The Executive Branchis headed by the President. He is a head of the state, chef executive and comandor in cheaf (head fo army, navy and airforce). He is elected in national election for four and may be reelected for another four years.
There are three steps of election:
1. Primaries: all the people in USA choose from candidates give with parties (Republicans and Democrates) several candidates.
2. Convention: political conferencies and delegates of parties choose one candidate for representatives and for democrates.
3. General election itself: US Parliament has got the right to choose the president.
The Judicial Branch is headed by the Supreme Court which consists of the Chief Justice of the USA and eight Associative justices. It decides which laws are constitutional.
NY is the largest city in the USA and one of the largest cities of the world. It has population which has more than 14 milion people. It is an important seaport an the largest business, industrial and cultural centre of the USA. It is also the centre of art world, the media world, the theatre world and the fashion world.
NY, the big apple, originally caled New Amsterdam, was a little Dutch town built on a small part of Manhattan (from Indian – Man-a-hat-ta which means Heavenly land). In 1626 the Dutch colonizers bought the island from Indians for 24 dollars. In 1644 the British captured the city and renamed it New York in honor of the Duke of York. They protected the town against Indians by a wooden wall. Now in the place of the wall there is Wall Street which is known as the world´s most important financial centre. After the ar of Independence, NY was the capital of the USA for four years and its first President – George Washington – was inaugurated there in 1789.
The modern town was built on a grid plan of streets and avenues. The streets go from west to east and the avenues from north to south. The streets and avenues are indicated by numbers.
NY is famous for its Manhattan skyline- a large number of skyscrapers on a small area. The tallest of them are Trade Centre Buildings having 110 storeys. On of the most famous skyscrapers is called Empire State Building. It has 102 storeys and a TV tower at the top. To 11. september 2001 the highest building in NY was the World Trade Center with Tweens Towers. The next famous skyscrapers are Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building and Pan American Building.
Typical symbol of the USA is the Statue of Liberty. It stands on the Liberty Island. It is a statue of a woman who symbolizes the freedom and friendship between the french and American people during the American revolution. She holds a burning torch in her right hand and a law book in her left one. There is an iscription „July 4th, 1776“ what means the birth date of the USA. The statue was constructed in France as a project of the architect Frederick August Bartholdi. It was a gift of the French people to the Americans. The designer was Eiffel. The height of the statue is 46 m. It stands on a pedestal.
NY is divided into 5 boroughs, which are connected by a network of bridges, tunnels and ferries: Brooklyn (a number of colleges, universities), Manhattan, the Bronx (peninsula surrounded on three sides by water with many parks, public gardens), Queens and Richmond (sometimes caled Staten Island).
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USA and New York
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