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About USA

Overview

The United States of America covers the central portion of North America located between Mexico and Canada and reaching from “sea to shining sea” with the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean on each side of the country. Because of the country's magnitude it boasts a variety of geographical terrain and climates, including mountain ranges, vast deserts, canyons, extensive coasts, subtropical forests, wetlands, hills, and prairies.

History

Starting in the 17 th century, the first European settlers arrived in North America not only finding riches, territories and religious freedom but also displacing many of the local Native Americans from their lands. Between the years of 1607 and 1730, there were 13 British colonies established on the East Coast. It wasn't until the American Revolution (1775-1783) that these Colonies became an independent nation, boasting a constitution which provided its citizens a system of government, balanced rights of the states and federal government, but also protected civil rights and liberties like that of free speech.

For the centuries to come, the United States, through its “manifest destiny” acquired territories from France, Mexico, Russia and Spain which make up for the current continental states. Most recently Hawaii and Alaska were added as states, and Puerto Rico as one of its territories.

In the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries, immigration boomed, increasing the economy of the States. It wasn't until America's aid in the First World War and later in World War II that it became a world super power.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the United States became an important donor of financial, technological and military aid to developing countries around the world, also helping to establish democracy during the Cold War.

The People

The United States has a population of about 296 million people, making it the third largest in the world after China and India. The large portion of the population is white, or of European descent. Hispanics also known as Latinos are the fastest growing minority group making up about 13.5 percent of the population. There is also a black population of about 13 percent, and a growing Middle Eastern population. The rest of the population is made up of Asians, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans.

Language

English is the predominant language spoken by most citizens. One in seven Americans still speak another language other than English, specially if they are first, second, or even third generation immigrants.

Religion

Because of the separation of Church and State, the United States has no official state church. Still, about 90 percent of Americans profess a religion, the majority being Christian (80 percent). Christians are separated into a variety of denominations including, Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans, Catholics etc. The U.S. is also made up of Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists among other religions.

Passports and Visas The most important travel document is your passport, which should remain valid until at least 6 months after your trip. A visa is a stamp in your passport that allows you to enter and remain in the country for a specific period of time. Please check if you need a visa by contacting your local American Embassy or Consulate in your own country.
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