Continental America

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This map shows the Continental United States in blue regardless of dark or light color. Alaska is also shown in blue, but is separate from the other states. Hawaii is not shown on this map.

Continental United States, also known as Continental America, is the name of an area located in the United States within the continent of North America, specifically 49 of the 50 U.S. states—48 of which are located south of Canada and north of Mexico (known as the "Lower 48") and Alaska bordering to the east of Canada—and the District of Columbia. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that is geographically outside North America, as it is a group of Polynesian volcanic and coral islands lying more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast of the United States.

On May 14, 1959, the United States Board on Geographic Names issued the following definitions based partially on the reference in the Alaska Omnibus Bill, which defined the Continental United States as "the 49 States on the North American Continent and the District of Columbia..." The Board reaffirmed these definitions on May 13, 1999.[1]

Some sources incorrectly mix up the continental United States with the contiguous United States; the contiguous United States does not include Alaska or Hawaii as they are not bordered by another state, neither does the U.S. territories outside of the mainland as well. Alaska is however part of the North American continent and so is part of the "Continental United States".[2][3]

The United States is part of the eight-nation member Arctic Council privy to northern regional governance and policy decisions through Alaska as it borders near the Arctic Ocean and is further west in the Bering Strait across Russia in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean.[4]

List of continental U.S. states[edit]

The 49 continental United States are:


  1. ^ "What constitutes the United States, what are the official definitions?". Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  2. ^ continental, adj., "being the part of the United States on the North American continent;
    Merriam-Webster. (2003). Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc. ISBN 0877798095.
  3. ^ Random House (1991). Random House Webster's College Dictionary. New York: Random House. ISBN 0679401105.
  4. ^ "United States". The Arctic Institute.