UNITED STATES - The biggest part of the United States is located in the central region of North America, and it has land frontiers with Canada and Mexico. The country is washed by the Pacific Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Among the 50 American States, only Alaska and Hawaii are not contiguous with the other 48 States. The United States also has several territories, districts and other possessions around the world, mainly in the Caribbean and in the Pacific Ocean.
The current United States of America originated from the Thirteen Colonies established by Great Britain on the Atlantic coast of North America, in the seventeenth century. The American Revolution of 1776 was a war for independence against the colonizers carried out by the leading class of the colonists. In 1789, the country adopted a constitution and became a Federal Republic. Since the recognition of its independence by the United Kingdom, in 1783, new territories and states were successively incorporated, expanding the frontiers of the country in the western direction, up to the Pacific Ocean. The expansion of American frontiers had as its most serious consequence the annihilation of great part of indigenous peoples.
Location: Northern America
Capital: Washington, D.C
Population: 322.583.003 inhabitants
Territorial extension: 9.831.510 Km²
|The Statue of Liberty in New York City is a symbol of both the U.S. |
and the ideals of freedom, democracy, and opportunity
Since the colonial period, the United States has faced with the lack of labor force. In that period, the social economic differences in the country were enormous, with an industrialized north opposed to an agrarian south. The lack of labor force encouraged European immigration to the north. In the south, however, landowners used slave labor force, brought from the African continent.
This difference was one among several reasons which led to the American Civil War - between 1861 and 1865. In this war, the number of deaths was higher than the sum of the deaths that occurred in all the other wars in which the United States were involved, from the independence until the recent war against Iraq.
The United States was never a colonial power, although, through several military victories, diplomacy and foreign agreements, it acquired several overseas possessions, from Cuba to the Philippines. The United States continued to control some of the possessions, usually as territories; gradually, however, many of these territories have become sovereign. Hawaii is the only one among these possessions to become a state, what took place in 1959.
Until the beginning of the Civil War, it was a olicy of the United States not to get involved in foreign affairs. With the end of the conflict, it turned into a world economic and military power. The growth of American influence on the world increased significantly in the beginning of the twentieth century. The strength of American influence can be observed in the World Wars, the Great Depression of 1929 and, especially, during the Cold War.
After the end of World War II, the United States emerged definitely as one of the superpowers together with the USSR, what led to the Cold War. Between 1945 and 1991, year of the end of the Soviet Union and of the Cold War, the United States led the aligned countries of the capitalist bloc, increasing its power of action especially in the ideological war against communism. Hence, the United States participated actively in the Korean War and in the Vietnam War, besides contributing with military regimes in South America and supporting the anticommunist guerrilla in Nicaragua, among several other activities around the world.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States emerged as the only world superpower. It became involved in isolated military actions, participating in the Gulf War in 1991 and removing Iraq troops from Kuwait.
In 2001, the United States faced the worst attack in sovereign lands in the country history: the attacks of September 11 in which almost three thousand persons died. This terrorist attack engendered the war against terrorism, and later, the controversial invasion of Iraq, besides the chase for the one which ordered the attacks, Osama bin Laden. Currently, the United States are once more involved in the war of Iraq, in which thousands of deaths have been recorded already. Some analysts believe this can be a new Vietnam, since it resembles the shameful defeat of the United Stated by the Vietcong. Barack Obama has been President of the United States since 2009.