History: The United States of America is a federal republic composed of a federal district (Washington, D.C) and 50 states, of which all except one – Hawaii islands – are in mainland America.
The United States of America, which covers the central part of North America, grew out of the British colonies that were established in North America in the fist half of the 17th century. The Declaration of Independence of the 13 states of which the American Union then consisted was adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776.
The victory of the Allies in WW-I made USA a world power. The end of the WW-II saw the emergence of USA as one of the superpowers. With the break-up of USSR in 2991, it has now become the only superpower.
The Union originally comprised 13 states, to which 7 were added subsequently. Thirty other states, which were formerly territories, were also admitted into the Union as full states, thus making up 50 states in all, apart from the District of Columbia. The following table gives the existing states of the Union with their postal abbreviations, capitals, area and population.
Economy: Agriculture: Main crops are maize, wheat, soyabeans, barley, oats, rice, sugar, potatoes, cotton, tobacco and dairy products. Industries: Iron and steel, food and kindred products, chemicals, metal products, electronic equipment, machinery, transportation equipment, paper, petroleum products, fertilizers, plastics. Minerals: Coal, copper, lead, phosphates, uranium, zinc, gold, silver, iron, molybdenum, oil. Oil reserves in USA, the worlds second-biggest oil producer, are expected to last only 10 years if output continues at the current rate. Exports: Machinery, chemicals, motor vehicles, aircraft, military equipment, grains, cereals.
The U.S is the only industrial country where large population increases are still projected, largely as the result of immigration. The US population used to be called a melting pot; now it is thought of as a ‘salad bowl’ with discrete ingredients. Even so there is extensive inter-marriage. One-quarter of Hispanics who wed in the USA marry non-Hispanics. One third of Asian-Americans marry non-Asians. Black and white are less likely to intermarry.
Recent Events: George W. Bush was sworn in 43rd US President in January, 2005. Bill Gates donated $ 750 m. to Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization in January 2005. Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged woman, at the centre of a right-to-die controversy, died in Florida. W. Mark Felt, former assistant director of the FBI during the Nixon Administration was identified on May 31, 2005 as “Deep Throat,’’ the secret source whose insider guidance was vital to The Washington Post’s coverage of the Watergate scandal. Mcihael Jackson was cleared of all charges including child sex abuse. Hurricane Dennis hit Alabama-Florida border. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a swing-voter in many of the Supreme Court’s rulings since her appointment in 1981, announced her retirement. A judge jailed Judith Miller of the New York Times, after she refused to testify about her sources. Lance Armstrong, a sporting legend who heroically conquered cancer, won the Tour de France for a record seventh time in a row. In August, Space Shuttle Columbia roared safely back to earth in California in a dramatic climax to the first shuttle mission since the Columbia disaster in 2003. In August, a powerful Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast killing hundreds and destroying property worth billions of dollars.