The USA extends on more than one third of North American continent, being the fourth largest country of the world. 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 most famous valley – Death Valley. Part of the USA is Alaska in the north of the American continent and the Hawaiian Islands 3,200 km south-west from California.
The USA has many rivers. The biggest river system is that of the Mississippi and the Missouri. The Mississippi is the third longest river in the world being 6,212 km long. In the west we should mention the Colorado, the Columbia and the Rio Grande on the Mexican border. The biggest river in Alaska is the Yukon. The most important river in the east is the Hudson, connected with the Great Lakes on the US – Canada border make up the biggest reservoir of fresh water in the world. They are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The Niagara River – part of The St. Lawrence River – connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario forming the world-known Niagara Falls 51m high.
The climate of the USA is varied – from the Arctic climate in the north to the subtropical climate in the south. But the temperate climate prevails. Of course in the vast areas of the USA the climate cannot be the same everywhere. As difference between the climate on the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast, where the summer and winter are not very different. The most agreeable climate is on the Hawaii Islands. The coldest climate is in the Alaska, which is covered by the snow and ice. Florida has subtropical climate which often brings hurricanes – hot winds. The region around great Lakes is known for its changeable climate.
History: 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 their 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 reduce their dependence on Britain. British Parliament wasn’t willing to let the colonies go their own way and the result 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 Harbour in 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 colonial 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.
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