Europe is a continent located in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south, it comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Since around 1850, Europe is most considered to be separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas and the waterways of the Turkish Straits. Although the term "continent" implies physical geography, the land border is somewhat arbitrary and has been redefined several times since its first conception in classical antiquity; the division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East-West cultural and ethnic differences which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The geographic border does not follow political boundaries, with Turkey and Kazakhstan being transcontinental countries. A strict application of the Caucasus Mountains boundary places two comparatively small countries and Georgia, in both continents.
Europe covers 2 % of the Earth's surface. Politically, Europe is divided into about fifty sovereign states of which the Russian Federation is the largest and most populous, spanning 39% of the continent and comprising 15% of its population. Europe had a total population of about 741 million as of 2016; the European climate is affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent at latitudes along which the climate in Asia and North America is severe. Further from the sea, seasonal differences are more noticeable than close to the coast. Europe, in particular ancient Greece, was the birthplace of Western civilization; the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers controlled at various times the Americas all of Africa and Oceania and the majority of Asia.
The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic and social change in Western Europe and the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence. During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1949 the Council of Europe was founded, following a speech by Sir Winston Churchill, with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals, it includes all European states except for Belarus and Vatican City. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union, a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.
The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most used among Europeans. In classical Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician princess; the word Europe is derived from her name. The name contains the elements εὐρύς, "wide, broad" and ὤψ "eye, countenance", hence their composite Eurṓpē would mean "wide-gazing" or "broad of aspect". Broad has been an epithet of Earth herself in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion and the poetry devoted to it. There have been attempts to connect Eurṓpē to a Semitic term for "west", this being either Akkadian erebu meaning "to go down, set" or Phoenician'ereb "evening, west", at the origin of Arabic Maghreb and Hebrew ma'arav. Michael A. Barry, professor in Princeton University's Near Eastern Studies Department, finds the mention of the word Ereb on an Assyrian stele with the meaning of "night, sunset", in opposition to Asu " sunrise", i.e. Asia.
The same naming motive according to "cartographic convention" appears in Greek Ἀνατολή. Martin Litchfield West stated that "phonologically, the match between Europa's name and any form of the Semitic word is poor." Next to these hypotheses there is a Proto-Indo-European root *h1regʷos, meaning "darkness", which produced Greek Erebus. Most major world languages use words derived from Europa to refer to the continent. Chinese, for example, uses the word Ōuzhōu. In some Turkic languages the Persian name Frangistan is used casually in referring to much of Europe, besides official names such as Avrupa or Evropa; the prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows south for 2,320 miles to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U. S. two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is within the United States; the Mississippi ranks as the fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. Native Americans have lived along its tributaries for thousands of years. Most were hunter-gatherers, but some, such as the Mound Builders, formed prolific agricultural societies; the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century changed the native way of life as first explorers settlers, ventured into the basin in increasing numbers.
The river served first as a barrier, forming borders for New Spain, New France, the early United States, as a vital transportation artery and communications link. In the 19th century, during the height of the ideology of manifest destiny, the Mississippi and several western tributaries, most notably the Missouri, formed pathways for the western expansion of the United States. Formed from thick layers of the river's silt deposits, the Mississippi embayment is one of the most fertile regions of the United States. During the American Civil War, the Mississippi's capture by Union forces marked a turning point towards victory, due to the river's strategic importance to the Confederate war effort; because of substantial growth of cities and the larger ships and barges that replaced steamboats, the first decades of the 20th century saw the construction of massive engineering works such as levees and dams built in combination. A major focus of this work has been to prevent the lower Mississippi from shifting into the channel of the Atchafalaya River and bypassing New Orleans.
Since the 20th century, the Mississippi River has experienced major pollution and environmental problems – most notably elevated nutrient and chemical levels from agricultural runoff, the primary contributor to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. The word Mississippi itself comes from Misi zipi, the French rendering of the Anishinaabe name for the river, Misi-ziibi. In the 18th century, the river was the primary western boundary of the young United States, since the country's expansion westward, the Mississippi River has been considered a convenient if approximate dividing line between the Eastern and Midwestern United States, the Western United States; this is exemplified by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the phrase "Trans-Mississippi" as used in the name of the Trans-Mississippi Exposition, it is common to qualify a regionally superlative landmark in relation to it, such as "the highest peak east of the Mississippi" or "the oldest city west of the Mississippi". The FCC uses it as the dividing line for broadcast call-signs, which begin with W to the east and K to the west, mixing together in media markets along the river.
The Mississippi River can be divided into three sections: the Upper Mississippi, the river from its headwaters to the confluence with the Missouri River. The Upper Mississippi runs from its headwaters to its confluence with the Missouri River at St. Louis, Missouri, it is divided into two sections: The headwaters, 493 miles from the source to Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The source of the Upper Mississippi branch is traditionally accepted as Lake Itasca, 1,475 feet above sea level in Itasca State Park in Clearwater County, Minnesota; the name "Itasca" was chosen to designate the "true head" of the Mississippi River as a combination of the last four letters of the Latin word for truth and the first two letters of the Latin word for head. However, the lake is in turn fed by a number of smaller streams. From its origin at Lake Itasca to St. Louis, the waterway's flow is moderated by 43 dams. Fourteen of these dams are located above Minneapolis in the headwaters region and serve multiple purposes, including power generation and recreation.
The remaining 29 dams, beginning in downtown Minneapolis, all contain locks and were constructed to improve commercial navigation of the upper river. Taken as a whole, these 43 dams shape the geography and influence the ecology of the upper river. Beginning just below Saint Paul and continuing throughout the upper and lower river, the Mississippi is further controlled by thousands of wing dikes that moderate the river's flow in order to maintain an open navigation channel and prevent the river from eroding its banks; the head of navigation on the Mississippi is the Coon Rapids Dam in Minnesota. Before it was built in 1913, steamboats could go upstream as far as Saint Cloud, depending on river conditions; the uppermost lock and dam on the Upper Mississippi River is the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock an
Des Moines County, Iowa
Des Moines County is a county located in the U. S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,325; the county seat is Burlington. It is one of Iowa's two original counties along with Dubuque County. Des Moines County is part of the IA -- IL Micropolitan Statistical Area. Des Moines County should not be confused with the city of Des Moines, the capital of Iowa. Des Moines County sits on Iowa's eastern border alongside the Mississippi River; the city of Des Moines is in Polk County in south-central Iowa. Both places derive their name from the Des Moines River, which flows through the city of Des Moines and flowed through the county; when the county was divided early in Iowa's history, the river ended up further west, forming the border between Lee County and the state of Missouri. At an extra session of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Michigan Territory held in September, 1834, the Iowa District was divided into two counties by running a line due west from the lower end of Rock Island in the Mississippi River.
The territory north of this line was named Dubuque County, all south of it was Demoine County. It was named after the Des Moines River. From July 3, 1836 until July 3, 1838, Des Moines County was part of Wisconsin Territory; the county underwent various border changes during this time. July 4, 1838, the named county became part of Iowa Territory; the current Des Moines County Court House was completed in 1940. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 430 square miles, of which 416 square miles is land and 14 square miles is water; the Mississippi River forms the east border. U. S. Highway 34 U. S. Highway 61 The Southeast Iowa Regional Airport, is located about five miles south of Burlington. Commercial service is provided through Air Choice One; this service offers two weekday daily flights to St. Louis and Chicago, while offering single flights on weekends. Louisa County Hancock County, Illinois Henderson County, Illinois Lee County Henry County The 2010 census recorded a population of 40,325 in the county, with a population density of 96.9002/sq mi.
There were 18,535 housing units, of which 17,003 were occupied. As of the 2000 census, there were 42,351 people, 17,270 households, 11,536 families residing in the county; the population density was 102 people per square mile. There were 18,643 housing units at an average density of 45 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 93.69% White, 3.57% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, 1.18% from two or more races. 1.75% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were 17,270 households out of which 29.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 10.50% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.20% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.94. In the county, the population was spread out with 24.40% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, 16.70% who were 65 years of age or older.
The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.30 males. The median income for a household in the county was $36,790, the median income for a family was $45,089. Males had a median income of $34,880 versus $22,530 for females; the per capita income for the county was $19,701. About 8.20% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over. Burlington Danville Mediapolis Middletown West Burlington Beaverdale Augusta Dodgeville Kingston Sperry Yarmouth The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Des Moines County.† county seat Prior to 1964, Des Moines County was a Republican county, only backing four Democratic Party presidential candidates from 1896 to 1960. Since 1964, it has only backed two Republican Party candidates for president, Richard Nixon in his statewide & national landslide, & Donald Trump in 2016, who swung the county by a margin of over 25 points from its 2012 result.
National Register of Historic Places listings in Des Moines County, Iowa Antrobus, Augustine M. History of Des Moines County and its People: Illustrated: Volume 1. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. Retrieved 2014-04-20. Antrobus, Augustine M. History of Des Moines County and its People: Illustrated: Volume 2. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. Retrieved 2014-04-20. County Government website
South Dakota is a U. S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States; as the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city. South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana; the state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and distinct halves, known to residents as "East River" and "West River". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending.
Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west; the state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome. Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still influence the state's culture. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, is considered a part of the Midwest by the U. S. Census Bureau; the culture and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total area of 77,116 square miles, making the state the 17th largest in the Union. Black Elk Peak named Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft, is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft. South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota.
The geographical center of the U. S. is 17 miles west of Castle Rock in Butte County. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is between Allen and Kyle, 1,024 mi from the nearest coastline; the Missouri River is the longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, Big Sioux, White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, Lewis and Clark Lake. South Dakota can be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, the Black Hills; the Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota. The geography of the Black Hills, long considered sacred by Native Americans, differs from its surroundings to such an extent it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. At times the Black Hills are combined with the rest of western South Dakota, people refer to the resulting two regions divided by the Missouri River as West River and East River.
Eastern South Dakota features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies, the Dissected Till Plains, the James River Valley; the Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. Further west, the James River Basin is low, flat eroded land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south; the Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota; these are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, the product of several successive periods of glaciation which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till, over the area. The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota.
West of the Missouri Rive
Dubuque Packing Company
The Dubuque Packing Company was a former meat packing company that operated under a variety of names in Dubuque, Iowa from 1891 until 2001. It was recognized for the quality of its products, in the 1950s it became one of the largest employers in the city; the company was known in the community as "The Pack." The company had the fleur-de-lis as its trademark. In June 1891 the Dubuque Packing Company was founded by the merger of the Dubuque Packing & Provision Company and the Dubuque Butchers Association. For the next forty years, the company acted as a local meat supplier. In 1931 Harry Wahlert purchased the plant for $80,000. At the time of Wahlert's purchase, the company employed only sixty people. Though America was in the middle of the Great Depression, the company flourished under Wahlert's leadership. Following World War II, the company became the first company to export food to Italy when it exported canned hams to Italy. In the 1950s the company was the largest employer in Dubuque in front of the John Deere Dubuque Works manufacturing plant because the Dubuque Packing House is located within the city while the Deere works is not.
During the 1960s, under the leadership of Robert C. Wahlert, the plant employed about 3,500 people, with a payroll of about $20 million. In 1948, ten employees of the Dubuque Packing Company pooled $5 each, in combination with a loan for $123.20 from the Amalgamated Meat Cutters Local Number 150, to charter Dupaco Credit Union, which became Dupaco Community Credit Union. Labor union negotiations with the company made workers at the plant amongst one of the highest paid employers in the city. Dun's Review listed the company as the 15th largest held company in the United States in 1978, with sales of about $390 million. At its peak, the company's sales approached $2 billion and it had 12 plants, it was the 3rd largest beef slaughter in the U. S; the company was recognized for the quality of the products they made. In 1960 and 1961 the company won gold medals at the California state fairs for their canned hams, they became one of the largest suppliers of kosher meat in the United States. By the 1980s, the Dubuque plant began to decline.
In 1980 the Dubuque Packing Company announced. They asked the union for concessions, based on claims of market changes, high wages, equipment problems; the company shut down parts of the plant. By 1981 nearly 1,400 were unemployed. In 1982 company management announced that the plant would close on October 16, 1982, which would put 1,200 people out of work and bring the unemployment rate up to 17.2 percent. This was despite a 15.8 percent cut in pay and benefits that union workers had taken, a reduction in taxes by the city. In the fall of 1982, the President and Chairman of Dubuque Packing Company Charles E. Stoltz sold the packing plant and its fleur-de-lis trademark to a group which included Robert H. Wahlert; the packing plant began operations as Inc.. The Dubuque Packing Company moved its headquarters to the Dubuque Building, where it continued to bargain with the union over pension and insurance benefits. In 1985 the headquarters was moved to Omaha, Nebraska to be more centrally located to its other plants, which were processing beef at that time.
The company again flourished and was sold in a leverage buyout to BeefAmerica, a firm controlled by Eli Jacobs. Its gelatin operations were sold to the French company Sanofi. BeefAmerica went out of business in 1998 following a strike; the packing plant in Dubuque operated under the FDL Foods Inc. name until September 1995 when the plant again closed, this time due to the loss of the sole contract with Hormel. The plant was sold to Farmland Foods, who continued to operate the plant until 2001. Smithfield Foods purchased the plant with the stated intention of refurbishing and reopening the plant; however once Smithfield purchased the plant they decided not to proceed with either remodeling or reopening the plant. This led to the belief that Smithfield only purchased the plant to remove competition from the market. For the next four years, the former Dubuque Packing Company plant sat empty. From time to time Dubuque police used the plant for training purposes, but otherwise no activity took place there.
Many in the community felt that the abandoned plant was an eyesore - given its position near the Mississippi River and U. S. Highway 61 & U. S. Highway 151. In 2003, Wal-Mart expressed interest in the site for a second supercenter, but when the city decided against supplying tax incentives, Wal-Mart decided not to proceed with the project. In 2004 local developer Wayne Briggs announced his plans to tear down the plant and redevelop the site as a shopping center; this new shopping center would have national retailers, would give the northeastern parts of the city more shopping options. Briggs purchased the plant site; the Dubuque County zoning board gave their approval to the plans. On March 21, 2005 the entire city council approved the rezoning of the site. Demolition of the old packing plant was slow going due to concerns over hazardous waste such as asbestos; the asbestos was gone by May 2006. The Dubuque Fire Department handled the fire, taking it because of the instability of the demolished building.
Briggs said at the time that the fire wouldn't affect the demolition schedule, by October 1, 2006, the buildings were demolished. Site preparation is being done to prepare the site for construction
Beaux-Arts architecture was the academic architectural style taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris from the 1830s to the end of the 19th century. It drew upon the principles of French neoclassicism, but incorporated Gothic and Renaissance elements, used modern materials, such as iron and glass, it was an important style in France until the end of the 19th century. It had a strong influence on architecture in the United States, because of the many prominent American architects who studied at the Beaux-Arts, including Henry Hobson Richardson, John Galen Howard, Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan; the "Beaux Arts" style evolved from the French classicism of the Style Louis XIV, French neoclassicism beginning with Louis XV and Louis XVI. French architectural styles before the French Revolution were governed by Académie royale d'architecture following the French Revolution, by the Architecture section of the Académie des Beaux-Arts; the Academy held the competition for the "Grand Prix de Rome" in architecture, which offered prize winners a chance to study the classical architecture of antiquity in Rome.
The formal neoclassicism of the old regime was challenged by four teachers at the Academy, Joseph-Louis Duc, Félix Duban, Henri Labrouste and Léon Vaudoyer, who had studied at the French Academy in Rome at the end of the 1820s, They wanted to break away from the strict formality of the old style by introducing new models of architecture from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Their goal was to create an authentic French style based on French models, their work was aided beginning in 1837 by the creation of the Commission of Historic Monuments, headed by the writer and historian Prosper Mérimée, by the great interest in the Middle Ages caused by the publication in 1831 of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo. Their declared intention was to "imprint upon our architecture a national character."The style referred to as Beaux-Arts in English reached the apex of its development during the Second Empire and the Third Republic that followed. The style of instruction that produced Beaux-Arts architecture continued without major interruption until 1968.
The Beaux-Arts style influenced the architecture of the United States in the period from 1880 to 1920. In contrast, many European architects of the period 1860–1914 outside France gravitated away from Beaux-Arts and towards their own national academic centers. Owing to the cultural politics of the late 19th century, British architects of Imperial classicism followed a somewhat more independent course, a development culminating in Sir Edwin Lutyens's New Delhi government buildings; the Beaux-Arts training emphasized the mainstream examples of Imperial Roman architecture between Augustus and the Severan emperors, Italian Renaissance, French and Italian Baroque models but the training could be applied to a broader range of models: Quattrocento Florentine palace fronts or French late Gothic. American architects of the Beaux-Arts generation returned to Greek models, which had a strong local history in the American Greek Revival of the early 19th century. For the first time, repertories of photographs supplemented meticulous scale drawings and on-site renderings of details.
Beaux-Arts training made great use of clasps that link one architectural detail to another. Beaux-Arts training emphasized the production of quick conceptual sketches finished perspective presentation drawings, close attention to the program, knowledgeable detailing. Site considerations tended toward urbane contexts. All architects-in-training passed through the obligatory stages—studying antique models, constructing analos, analyses reproducing Greek or Roman models, "pocket" studies and other conventional steps—in the long competition for the few desirable places at the Académie de France à Rome with traditional requirements of sending at intervals the presentation drawings called envois de Rome. Beaux-Arts architecture depended on sculptural decoration along conservative modern lines, employing French and Italian Baroque and Rococo formulas combined with an impressionistic finish and realism. In the façade shown above, Diana grasps the cornice she sits on in a natural action typical of Beaux-Arts integration of sculpture with architecture.
Overscaled details, bold sculptural supporting consoles, rich deep cornices and sculptural enrichments in the most bravura finish the client could afford gave employment to several generations of architectural modellers and carvers of Italian and Central European backgrounds. A sense of appropriate idiom at the craftsman level supported the design teams of the first modern architectural offices. Characteristics of Beaux-Arts architecture included: Flat roof Rusticated and raised first story Hierarchy of spaces, from "noble spaces"—grand entrances and staircases—to utilitarian ones Arched windows Arched and pedimented doors Classical details: references to a synthesis of historicist styles and a tendency to eclecticism.
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti