For general information about the various states see the United States table here.
For the history of the National Flag see The History of the National Flag of the United States of America, by Schuyler Hamilton
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
United States of America is the third-largest country in the world in population, and it is the fourth-largest country in area. China and India are the only countries with more people. Only Russia, Canada, and China have larger areas. The United States covers the entire midsection of North America, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west. It also includes Alaska, in the northwest corner of North America; and Hawaii, far out in the Pacific. The United States is often called the U.S., U.S.A., or America.
The land of the United States is as varied as it is vast. It ranges from the warm beaches of Florida and Hawaii to the frozen northlands of Alaska, and from the level Midwestern prairies to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. This huge and beautiful country is rich in natural resources. It has great stretches of some of the most fertile soil on earth, a plentiful water supply and excellent water routes, and large stretches of forests. Huge deposits of valuable minerals, including coal, natural gas, and petroleum, lie underground.
Economically, the United States is one of the world's most highly developed and productive nations. No other country equals the United States in the production of goods and services. Its people enjoy one of the world's highest standards of living.
Until the 1500's, what is now the United States was largely a wilderness. Small groups of Indians lived scattered over the land between the Atlantic and Pacific. Inuit (also called Eskimos) inhabited what is now Alaska, and Polynesians lived in Hawaii. People in Europe saw in this vast ""new world'' a chance to build new and better lives. Small groups of Spaniards settled in what is now the Southeastern and Western United States in the 1500's. People from England and some other European countries began settling along and near the East Coast during the 1600's. In 1776, colonists in the East established an independent nation based on freedom and economic opportunity. Through the years, large numbers of Europeans continued to settle in the United States. People from almost every other part of the world also settled in the country. Except for black Africans brought in as slaves, these immigrants came seeking the rights and the opportunities that had become part of the American way of life. As a result of this immigration, the United States today has one of the world's most varied populations. It has been called "a nation of immigrants."
The vast space and resources of the land, the ideals of freedom and economic opportunity, and hard work by the people all helped build the United States into the economic giant it is today. The Americans - as the people are commonly called - also made major contributions in such fields as technology, science, and medicine.
At times, the U.S. economy has run into difficulty. Even so, it remains one of the most productive systems ever developed. In some cases, groups of Americans have suffered socially and economically from discrimination. But the country's laws have helped many people overcome discrimination and achieve better lives.
3,615,292 sq. mi. (9,363,563 sq. km), including 78,937 sq. mi. (204,447 sq. km) of inland water but excluding 60,053 sq. mi. (155,535 sq. km) of Great Lakes and Lake Saint Clair and 42,529 sq. mi. (110,148 sq. km) of coastal water.
Greatest distances excluding Alaska and Hawaii
east-west, 2,807 mi. (4,517 km);
north-south, 1,598 mi. (2,572 km).
Greatest distances in Alaska
north-south, about 1,200 mi. (1,930 km);
east-west, about 2,200 mi. (3,540 km).
Greatest distance in Hawaii
northwest-southeast, about 1,610 mi. (2,591 km).
Extreme points including Alaska and Hawaii
northernmost, Point Barrow, Alaska;
southernmost, Ka Lae, Hawaii;
easternmost, West Quoddy Head, Me. ;
westernmost, Cape Wrangell, Attu Island, Alaska.
Coastline - 4,993 mi. (8,035 km), excluding Alaska and Hawaii; 12,383 mi. (19,929 km), including Alaska and Hawaii.
Highest - Mount McKinley in Alaska, 20,320 ft. (6,194 m) above sea level.
Lowest - In Death Valley in California, 282 ft. (86 m) below sea level.
Longest river - Missouri, 2,540 mi. (4,090 km).
Largest lake within the United States - Michigan, 22,300 sq. mi. (57,757 sq. km).
Largest island - island of Hawaii, 4,038 sq. mi. (10,458 sq. km).
Estimated 1996 population - 264,015,000; density, 73 persons per sq. mi. (28 per sq. km). Estimated distribution - 75 percent urban, 25 percent rural. 1990 census - 249,632,692. Estimated 2001 population - 279,728,000.
Agriculture - beef cattle, milk, soybeans, corn, hogs, chickens, wheat, cotton, eggs.
Fishing industry - salmon, shrimp, crabs.
Manufacturing - processed foods, motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, fabricated metal products, printed materials, paper, gasoline and other refined petroleum products, airplanes and parts, plastics, industrial chemicals, clothing, steel, computers and computer parts, pharmaceuticals.
Mining - petroleum, natural gas, coal.
In God We Trust, adopted July 30, 1956.
"The Star-Spangled Banner," adopted on March 3, 1931.
Bald eagle, adopted June 20, 1782.
Rose, adopted Oct. 7, 1986.
Washington, District of Colombia
3668 miles from London
GMT -5 hours
International aircraft prefix
International dialling code
US Dollar (USD)
4 July - Independence Day
3100 Massachusetts Avenue
NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone (00 1) (202) 5886500
Opening hours 0800 to 1630 in summer, 0900 to 1730 in winter (local time)
web site http://www.britainusa.com/
Special Internal "Short Code" Phone Numbers:-
Community Info. 211,
Non-emergency Access 311,
Directory Assistance 411,
Traffic Info. 511,
Tel. Repair Svc. 611,
Telecomms. Relay Svcs. 711,
Pipeline Excavation Damage Prevention 811,
13 equal horizontal stripes of red alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing 50 small, white, 5-pointed stars (representing the 50 states) Adopted June 14, 1777.