The USA - United States
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The United States of America is a federal republic which consists of 50 states (48 continental + Alaska and Hawaii). It is the fourth largest country in the world area (after Russia, Canada, China), situated in the southern part of North America.
The USA borders with Canada in the north and Mexico in the south. The country is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, with much of the population living on the two coasts. On the east coast, there are a lot of cities, such as New York City, Boston and the capital, Washington, D.C.
- There are three major mountain ranges.
The Appalachians extend from Canada to the state of Alabama.
The Rockies are the highest in North America with many national parks; they offer skiing, camping, hiking and sightseeing opportunities.
Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park can be found in Sierra Nevada, which extends across the “backbone” of California.
- The highest peak in the USA is Mount McKinley (6,194 m) in Alaska.
The middle of the country is quite flat.
- The longest river in the U.S. is the Mississippi (over 6,000 km), the next longest are the Rio Grande and the Yukon, Missouri
- The Great Lakes create the border between the eastern United States and Canada.
(Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario)
- The most popular unique natural wonders are Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and Alaska´s Glacier Bay.
The climate is temperate, with some exceptions. Alaska is cold while Hawaii and South Florida are subtropical. The Great Plains are dry, flat and grassy. The Great Plains and Midwestern states also experience tornadoes from late spring to early autumn. The most extreme weather is in the Rocky mountains.
- The American flag: "Stars and Stripes" - consists of 50 stars, symbolizing 50American states, 6 white and 7 red stripes, representing 13 original colonies.
- The American anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
- The native Americans were Indians and Eskimos in Alaska.
- The capital city is Washington, DC (District of Columbia), which was named after the first President of the United States and one of "the Founding Fathers"- George Washington. Washington, DC is a small area which doesn't belong to any other states.
The oldest part of the city is called the Mall where most of the important buildings are situated: the Capitol - the seat of the US Congress
the White House - the official residence of the US president
the Washington Monument - the tallest structure in the city
the Library of Congress - you can find Declaration of Independence, the Constitution
the Supreme Court
the Lincoln Memorial ...
- The largest city in the USA is New York City (Big Apple), famous for its skyscraper skyline, with about 20 million inhabitants, is one of the most important financial, commercial and cultural centres in the world. It consists of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, State Island. It was called "New Amsterdam", it is an important harbour
- You can find some interesting, well-known places here, such as:
- Statue of Liberty - a sculpture standing on the Liberty Island in the USA, it was a gift from the French. It is a statue of the Roman goddess of freedom. She is holding a torch on which the date of American Declaration of Independence is inscribed. There is also a broken chain lying at her feet. It is a symbol of freedom and the USA.
- 5th Avenue - one of the best and most expensive shopping streets in the world
- Broadway - the heart of the American theatre industry
- Times Square - entertainment district in NY city, "The Crossroads of the World", one of
the most popular tourist, commercial intersections in the world
- Wall Street - home to the New York Stock Exchange, the world's largest stock exchange,
- Empire State Building - one of the most famous landmarks which has 102 stories, it has
also appeared in several movies (King Kong)
- World Trade Centre - on September 11, 2001 it was the target of terrorist attacks. The
site of the tragic World Trade Centre attacks, known as
"Ground Zero" has become one of the most visited and moving
memorials in New York.
- Central Park
- Chrysler Building
- Rockefeller Centre
Other places of interest:
- Los Angeles - well known for Hollywood, the centre of the film industry, situated in Southern
- Las Vegas - famous for rodeo festivals and casinos
- San Francisco - Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz - the most famous prison in the world (Al Capone was imprisoned there), an island in San Francisco bay where a lot of sharks live
- Florida - "thunderstorm capital", lots of tornadoes
- Jacksonsville, Tampa, Miami
- Philadelphia - wass the first seat of the Congress, the national capital in 1790-1800 and the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.
- Niagara Falls - two waterfalls on the Niagara River on the USA- Canada border
- The Grand Canyon – canyon by the Colorado River (Arizona), an immense multicoloured-rock valley
- Mount Rushmore - sculptures of the heads of 4 American presidents: G. Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln
The U.S. is a federal constitutional republic. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial.
The Capitol is the seat of Congress - legislative branch; it is divided into two parts: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main task of the Congress is to make federal laws and international treaties.
The executive branch is represented by the President. The president together with his Vice-President are chosen in nation-wide elections every four years. The president can be elected for two terms only. The president is the head of state and government, military commander-in-chief and chief diplomat.
The courts represent judicial branch, the highest court is called Supreme Court.
Leading political parties are Democrats and Republicans.
Famous presidents: G. Washington, T. Jefferson, A. Lincoln, F. D. Roosevelt, J. F. Kennedy, G.W. Bush....
- Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492
- In November 1620, a small ship called Mayflower brought a group of English Puritans who had left England to avoid persecution after their conflict with King James I and his church to Massachusetts. They are known as Pilgrim Fathers. They landed at Plymouth (Boston today). Half of them died of starvation or epidemics and those who survived celebrated their first harvest with a feast of thanksgiving, today known as Thanksgiving Day.
- In the 18th century there were 13 colonies under British rule. The Britain's continual tax rising towards American colonies caused rebellion. In 1773North Americans, dressed as Indians, emptied chests of British tea into the waters of Boston Harbour. This event is called as Boston Tea Party - and this was the beginning of the War of Independence.
- On July 4, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted, which established the USA.
- G. Washington was elected the first American president.
- 19th century - the Civil War between the South and the North (because of the disagreement on slavery question)
American scientific achievements:
Alexander Graham Bell - telephone
T.A.Edison - electric bulb
Henry Ford- cars
The Wright brothers - the first successful flight
- Einstein - The Theory of Relativity
Apollo 11 - carried the first men to the Moon
Martin Luther King´s Day (January)
The President´s Day (February)
Columbus Day 12th October – the anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492
Lincoln's Day, Veterans' Day, Labour Day, Memorial Day...
Independence Day 4th July – this day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Each city has its own ceremony, parades, concerts and fireworks.
Thanksgiving Day 4th Thursday in November – Americans commemorate the first harvest of the Pilgrim settlers of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621
Easter is a national holiday. Children are given dyed eggs and sweets. In some families they organize an egg hunt – children look for eggs which the adults hid somewhere in the house, yard or garden. There is a traditional Easter Egg Roll in front of the White House in Washington on Easter Monday.
Christmas 25th December – on Christmas Day morning, children enjoy unwrapping presents and at midday Christmas dinner is served, it consists of roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and roast potatoes and Christmas pudding.
American stereotype – they are patriotic - they have American flags everywhere, they sing their anthem before every sports match or game, – they are loud, extremely self-confident, self-centered, dressed in tasteless clothes (often wear casual clothes), open, friendly, people with wide smile, talkative, independent (it is typical to teach children independence from their childhood), they always use cars, they always hurry, therefore they eat a lot of fast food, they are rather informal, they are obsessed with celebrities, – they are uneducated, don't know anything about other countries, they are ignorant to other cultures and countries, they greet teachers by first name, but they never cheat at school, – fat people, eating a lot of junk food and then diet pills and light products, they are materialistic, couch potatoes – good athletes, top sportsmen
America – lots of different nationalities, black people, yellow taxis, gangs, Statue of Liberty, junk food, fat people, sport, NHL, NBA, rugby, American football, Manhattan, overseas, skyscrapers, Friends, American English, New York, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, apple pie, cheesecakes, White House, traffic jams, the country of unlimited opportunities (possibilities), – terrorist attacks, World Trade Center, Pentagon - military operations, they want to rule the world, – Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton, Michael Jordan, Paris Hilton, Michael Johnson, Christopher Columbus, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Nirvana, Beatles, Metallica, Julia Roberts, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Michael Jackson, Madonna...
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