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
State parks are parks or other protected areas managed at the sub-national level within those nations which use "state" as a political subdivision. State parks are established by a state to preserve a location on account of its natural beauty, historic interest, or recreational potential. There are state parks under the administration of the government of each U. S. state, some of the Mexican states, in Brazil. The term is used in the Australian state of Victoria; the equivalent term used in Canada, South Africa and Belgium, is provincial park. Similar systems of local government maintained parks exist in other countries, but the terminology varies. State parks are thus similar under state rather than federal administration. Local government entities below state level may maintain parks, e.g. regional parks or county parks. In general, state parks are smaller than national parks, with a few exceptions such as the Adirondack Park in New York and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California; as of 2014, there were 10,234 state park units in the United States, according to the National Association of State Park Directors.
There are some 739 million annual visits to the country's state parks. The NASPD further counts over 43,000 miles of trail, 217,367 campsites, 8,277 cabins and lodges across U. S. state parks. The largest state park system in the United States is Alaska State Parks, with over 100 sites encompassing 3.3 million acres. Many states include designations beyond "state park" in their state parks systems. Other designations might be state recreation areas, state beaches, state nature reserves; some state park systems include historic sites. The title of oldest state park in the United States is claimed by Niagara Falls State Park in New York, established in 1885; however several public parks or maintained at the state level pre-date it. Indian Springs State Park has been operated continuously by the state of Georgia as a public park since 1825, although it did not gain the title "State Park" until 1931. In 1864 Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove were ceded by the federal government to California until Yosemite National Park was proclaimed in 1890.
In 1878 Wisconsin set aside a vast swath of its northern forests as "The State Park" but, needing money, sold most of it to lumber companies within 20 years. The first state park with the designation of "state park" was Mackinac Island State Park in 1895, first a national park before being transferred to the state of Michigan. Many state park systems date to the 1930s, when around 800 state parks across the country were developed with assistance from federal job creation programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. List of U. S. state parks Wilderness preservation systems in Carol. "The Civilian Conservation Corps and Wisconsin State Park Development." Wisconsin Magazine of History: 184-204. In JSTOR Landrum, Ney C; the State Park Movement in America: A Critical Review excerpt and text search Larson, Zeb. "Silver Falls State Park and the Early Environmental Movement." Oregon Historical Quarterly 112#1 pp: 34-57 in JSTOR Newton, Norman T. "The State Park Movement: 1864-1933.
"When Forests Trumped Parks: The Maryland Experience, 1906-1950." Maryland Historical Magazine 101#2 pp: 203-224