Southeast Texas is a sub-region of East Texas located in the southeast corner of the U. S. state of Texas. The sub-region is geographically centered on the Houston–Sugar Land–The Woodlands, Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas. Culturally, Southeast Texas is more akin to the Gulf Coast, Louisiana, or Mississippi, than it is to West Texas. Much of modern Southeast Texas culture has its roots in traditions. Southeast Texas is consistent with much of the rest of rural Texas in that it is a part of the Bible Belt, an area in which many inhabitants have Fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Many of the largest cities in East Texas outside Houston still follow a rural Southern way of life in dialect, mannerisms and cuisine. Though 35 percent of Texas' population is now Hispanic, African-Americans are still the most populous minority in Southeast Texas. During the Civil Rights Movement several communities clashed over racial integration issues. Southeast Texas includes part of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and most of the Texas portion of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The area is crossed by numerous rivers and streams, the largest three being the Sabine River, the Neches River, the Trinity River. In Southeast Texas and the rest of the South, small rivers and creeks collect into swamps called "bayous" and merge with the surrounding forest; the only large bodies of water in Southeast Texas are Galveston Bay and Sabine Lake, but the large reservoirs of East Texas are just to the North. The southeastern portion of Texas is geographically and culturally attached to Southwest Louisiana. Near the coast, the land is low and flat, marshy; the Piney Woods extend into the Northern parts of Southeast Texas, reaching as far south as the rice paddies and marshlands that lie between Houston and Beaumont. The highest point on the coast is at High Island, where a salt dome raises the elevation to around 40 feet. Away from the coast, the terrain begins to exhibit the rolling hills of Central Texas. Toward Central Texas, the mixed pine and hardwood forests give way to the East Central Texas forests of post oak and grasslands.
The Golden Triangle is an area of extreme Southeast Texas near the Louisiana border. The "triangle" is formed by Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, which are the largest cities in the area. "Golden" refers to the wealth that came from the Spindletop oil strike near Beaumont in 1901. In an attempt to distance the area from the petrochemical industry, some area interests attempted to rename the Golden Triangle as the "Triplex." This name change did not catch on, local residents still refer to it as the Golden Triangle. Some residents of the Golden Triangle do not consider the Greater Houston area to be part of Southeast Texas and place the western boundary of the region at the Trinity River, 30 miles from downtown Houston; this area holds the annual South Texas State Fair in Beaumont. The Big Thicket is an area of dense forest located in the area just north and northwest of the city of Beaumont. There are many small towns including Woodville and Kountze; the Big Thicket National Preserve protects part of the old thicket, highlighting the area's biological resources.
The 97,000 acre preserve boasts a varied ecology of piney woods and coastal prairies. It includes diverse range of plant species including orchids, cactus and pine in close proximity to each other. 65,000 people visit this area each year. Two important routes cross the Big Thicket: to the north lies the old cattle route or Beef Trail, that ran from Tyler County to Louisiana. Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along Texas upper coast; the bay is fed by the Trinity River and the San Jacinto River, numerous local bayous, incoming tides from the Gulf of Mexico. The bay covers 600 square miles, is 30 miles long and 17 miles wide. Galveston Bay is on average 7–9 feet deep; the bay has three inlets to the Gulf of Mexico: Bolivar Roads between Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula, San Luis Pass to the west, Rollover Pass to the east. The Houston Ship Channel, connecting the Port of Houston to the Gulf, passes through Galveston Bay. Houston is the largest city on the bay, while smaller ones include Galveston, Pasadena and Texas City.
The bay provides nursery and spawning grounds for large amounts of marine life and is important for both commercial and recreational fishing. Compared to the rest of the state, Southeast Texas' climate is warmer in winter and cooler in summer. On average, the region receives more rain than other parts of the state; this can increase the humidity level in the region. The mild and wet climate is due to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico. Average annual rainfall in the Golden Triangle is 60 inches. Rainfall totals in other parts of Southeast Texas are lower, but still in excess of 40 inches per year. During Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979, the city of Alvin recorded an official 24-hour rainfall total of 42 inches — the highest one-day rainfall total measured in the United States. Nederland received 66 inches during Harvey. Houston has been called the Lightning Capital of Texas, as its density of lightning strikes is higher than it is in other parts of the state; this area of unusually high lightning activity stretches from Houston eastward into Southwest Louisiana.
Much of this can be explained by the natural occurrence of thunderstorms in the region, which form al
Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre lake and bayou on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until their expulsion in the 19th century, it is an internationally protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention and includes one of the largest flooded cypress forests in the United States. Caddo is the 2nd largest in the South. According to Caddo legend, the lake was formed by the 1811–12 New Madrid earthquakes. There may be some truth to the legend. Most geologists feel the lake was formed, either or catastrophically, by the "Great Raft", a 100-mile log jam on the Red River in Louisiana by flooding the existing low-lying basin. Caddo Lake has been utilized by Native Americans for thousands of years, but substantial commercial development would only begin with invention of the steamboat and US annexation of Louisiana and Texas by treaty in the 19th century.
The cities of Port Caddo, Swanson's Landing, Jefferson in Texas, Mooringsport in Louisiana, had thriving riverboat ports on the lake. As the log jams were removed in the lake and the Red River by Captain Henry Miller Shreve and by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lake changed shape and fell over ten feet, destroying the East Texas ports and their riverboat industry. Industry once again came to Caddo Lake with the discovery of oil beneath it; the world's first over water oil platform was completed in Caddo Lake in 1911. The Ferry Lake No. 1 was erected by Gulf Refining Company. The well produced 450 barrels per day. Oil derricks sprang up throughout the lake, around the turn of the 20th century, further damaging the fragile ecosystem; the oil industry left Caddo for richer fields at other locations in Texas. Texas tried to preserve parts of Caddo in 1934 by establishing a state park, constructed by the WPA; the establishment of the Longhorn Army Ammunition Plant on the shores of Caddo, in the mid-20th century, polluted large portions of the surrounding wetlands until its closure in the 1990s.
Most of the former plant site is now a federal wildlife refuge. An ecologist named Lionel Janes conducted a survey of Caddo Lake in 1913 and 1914. Based on an examination of cross sections of bald cypress and hardwood trees and many dead stumps he estimated that the lake came into existence sometime between 1770 and 1780. Wildlife inhabiting Caddo Lake includes owls, frogs, bobcats, river otters, beavers and alligators. In 1993 Caddo Lake preservation entered a renaissance, with the announcement that 7,000 acres of Caddo purchased by the Nature Conservancy were to be merged with the 483 acre Texas Caddo Lake State Park to become the Caddo Lake State Park and Wildlife Management Area; as a result of efforts by the Caddo Lake Institute, in October 1993 Caddo Lake became one of thirteen areas in the United States protected by the Ramsar Convention. As of 2003 Caddo Lake flora and fauna consisted of 189 species of trees and shrubs, 75 grasses, 42 woody vines, 216 kinds of birds, 90 fish and reptiles, 47 mammals.
One of these species, Crataegus opaca or mayhaw, produces fruit, used for making jelly. Forty-four of Caddo's native species were either threatened or rare. From 2001 until 2003 Caddo Lake residents fought a legal battle with the City of Marshall, Texas over water rights. Voices advocating preservation of Caddo Lake included rocker Don Henley and songwriter for The Eagles; the lake is "under siege" by a fast-spreading, Velcro-like aquatic fern, Salvinia molesta known as Giant Salvinia. Accidentally introduced to the lake by boaters, the noxious weed doubles in size every two to four days killing off life below the surface. Most of the growth of the plant is on the Louisiana side, where officials have been focused on recovering from damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Efforts at removing the weed have included biological means via beetles that eat the weed but cannot survive the Texas cold and now include herbicide; the Texas Water Resource Institute's Caddo Lake Salvinia Eradication Project is evaluating multiple methods of eradication.
See TWRI's website for details. Since 1965 Texas's Caddo Lake has had hundreds of alleged Bigfoot sightings according to the North American Wood Ape Conservancy, as reported in the Travel Channel 2006 documentary Bigfoot. Karnack, Texas Mooringsport, Louisiana Oil City, Louisiana Uncertain, Texas Caddo Lake State Park List of lakes in Louisiana List of lakes in Texas North American Wood Ape Conservancy Travel Channel Website U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Caddo Lake Caddo Lake from the Handbook of Texas Online
Taxodium is a genus of one to three species of flood-tolerant conifers in the cypress family, Cupressaceae. The generic name is derived from the Latin word taxus, meaning "yew", the Greek word εἶδος, meaning "similar to." Within the family, Taxodium is most related to Chinese swamp cypress and sugi. Species of Taxodium occur in the southern part of the North American continent and are deciduous in the north and semi-evergreen to evergreen in the south, they are large trees. The needle-like leaves, 0.5–2 cm long, are borne spirally on the shoots, twisted at the base so as to appear in two flat rows on either side of the shoot. The cones are globose, 2–3.5 cm diameter, with 10-25 scales, each scale with 1-2 seeds. The male cones are produced in pendulous racemes, shed their pollen in early spring. Taxodium species grow cypress roots, when growing in or beside water; the three extant taxa of Taxodium are treated here as distinct species, though some botanists treat them in just one or two species, with the others considered as varieties of the first described.
The three hybridise where they meet. †Taxodium dubium Heer Glyptostrobus pensilis K. Koch Sequoia sempervirens Endl; the trees are prized for their wood, of which the heartwood is rot- and termite-resistant. The heartwood contains, it takes decades for cypressene to accumulate in the wood, so lumber taken from old-growth trees is more rot resistant than that from second-growth trees. However, age increases susceptibility to Pecky Rot fungus, which attacks the heartwood and causes some damaged trees to become hollow and thus useless for timber. Bald Cypress wood was much used in former days in the southeastern United States for roof shingles; the shredded bark of these trees is used as a mulch. In earth's history Taxodium was much more widespread in the Northern Hemisphere than today; the oldest fossils were found in Late Cretaceous deposits from North America. The trees persisted in Europe during the Pliocene. Bükkábrány mummified forest Gymnosperm Database - Taxodium Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary website National Audubon Society, undated.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. A Companion Field Guide. Artype Inc. Ft. Myers. 25 p
Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, Colorado on the northwest. It is the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States; the state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907, its residents are known as Oklahomans, its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City. A major producer of natural gas and agricultural products, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, telecommunications, biotechnology.
Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma's primary economic anchors, with nearly two thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas. With ancient mountain ranges, prairie and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains, Cross Timbers, the U. S. Interior Highlands, a region prone to severe weather. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, ranking third behind Alaska and California. Oklahoma is on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for Southern settlers, a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans; the name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma meaning red people. Choctaw Nation Chief Allen Wright suggested the name in 1866 during treaty negotiations with the federal government on the use of Indian Territory, in which he envisioned an all-Indian state controlled by the United States Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Equivalent to the English word Indian, okla humma was a phrase in the Choctaw language that described Native American people as a whole.
Oklahoma became the de facto name for Oklahoma Territory, it was approved in 1890, two years after the area was opened to white settlers. The name of the state is Pawnee: Uukuhuúwa, Cayuga: Gahnawiyoˀgeh. In the Chickasaw language, the state is known as Oklahomma', in Arapaho as bo'oobe'. Oklahoma is the 20th-largest state in the United States, covering an area of 69,899 square miles, with 68,595 square miles of land and 1,304 square miles of water, it lies in the Great Plains near the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states. It is bounded on the east by Arkansas and Missouri, on the north by Kansas, on the northwest by Colorado, on the far west by New Mexico, on the south and near-west by Texas. Much of its border with Texas lies along a failed continental rift; the geologic figure defines the placement of the Red River. The Oklahoma panhandle's Western edge is out of alignment with its Texas border; the Oklahoma/New Mexico border is 2.1 miles to 2.2 miles east of the Texas line. The border between Texas and New Mexico was set first as a result of a survey by Spain in 1819.
It was set along the 103rd meridian. In the 1890s, when Oklahoma was formally surveyed using more accurate surveying equipment and techniques, it was discovered the Texas line was not set along the 103rd meridian. Surveying techniques were not as accurate in 1819, the actual 103rd meridian was 2.2 miles to the east. It was much easier to leave the mistake than for Texas to cede land to New Mexico to correct the surveying error; the placement of the Oklahoma/New Mexico border represents the true 103rd meridian. Cimarron County in Oklahoma's panhandle is the only county in the United States that touches four other states: New Mexico, Texas and Kansas. Oklahoma is between the Great Plains and the Ozark Plateau in the Gulf of Mexico watershed sloping from the high plains of its western boundary to the low wetlands of its southeastern boundary, its highest and lowest points follow this trend, with its highest peak, Black Mesa, at 4,973 feet above sea level, situated near its far northwest corner in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
The state's lowest point is on the Little River near its far southeastern boundary near the town of Idabel, which dips to 289 feet above sea level. Among the most geographically diverse states, Oklahoma is one of four to harbor more than 10 distinct ecological regions, with 11 in its borders—more per square mile than in any other state, its western and eastern halves, are marked by extreme differences in geographical diversity: Eastern Oklahoma touches eight ecological regions and its western half contains three. Although having fewer ecological regions Western Oklahoma contains many relic species. Oklahoma has four primary mountain ranges: the Ouachita Mountains, the Arbuckle Mountains, the Wichita Mountains, the Ozark Mountains. Contained within the U. S. Interior Highlands region, the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains are the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians. A portion of the Flint Hills stretches into north-central Oklahoma, near the state's eastern border, The Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department regards Cavanal Hill as the world's tallest hill.
The semi-arid high
Marshall is a city in and the county seat of Harrison County in northeastern Texas in the United States. Marshall is a major educational center in East Texas and the tri-state area. At the 2010 census, the population of Marshall was 23,523; the population of the Marshall Micropolitan Area, comprising all of Harrison County, was 65,631 in 2010. Marshall was a production center of the Confederacy during the Civil War, it was a major railroad center of the T&P Railroad from the late 19th century until the mid-20th century. Activists in the city's large African American population worked to create social change through the Civil Rights Movement, with considerable support from the black colleges and universities here; the city is known for holding one of the largest light festivals in the United States, the "Wonderland of Lights". It identifies as the self-proclaimed "Pottery Capital of the World", for its sizable pottery industry. Marshall is referred to by various nicknames: the "Cultural Capital of East Texas", the "Gateway of Texas", the "Athens of Texas", the "City of Seven Flags", "Center Stage", a branding slogan adopted by the Marshall Convention and Visitors Bureau.
This area of Texas was developed for cotton plantations. Planters bought them in the domestic slave trade, it had a higher proportion of slaves than other regions of the state, the wealth of the county depended on slave labor and the cotton market. The city was founded in 1841 as the seat of Harrison County after failed attempts to establish a county seat on the Sabine River, it was incorporated in 1843. The Republic of Texas decided to choose the land donated for the seat by Peter Whetstone and Isaac Van Zandt after Whetstone had proven that the hilly location had a good water source; the city became a major city in the state because of its position as a gateway to Texas. The founding of several colleges, including a number of seminaries, teaching colleges, incipient universities, earned Marshall the nickname "the Athens of Texas", in reference to the ancient Greek city-state; the city's growing importance was confirmed when Marshall was linked by a telegraph line to New Orleans. By 1860, Marshall was the seat of its richest county.
Developed as cotton plantations, the county held more slaves than any other in the state. Many planters and other whites were anti-Union because of their investment in slavery, but some residents of Marshall fought for the North. For example, brothers Lionel and Emmanuel Kahn, Jewish merchants in Marshall, fought on opposing sides in the conflict; when Governor Sam Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy, Marshall's Edward Clark was sworn in as governor. Pendleton Murrah, Texas's third Confederate governor, was from Marshall; the city became a major Confederate supply depot and manufactory of gunpowder for the Confederate Army, hosted three conferences of Trans-Mississippi and Indian Territory leaders. The city was used as the capital of the exiled Confederate government of Missouri, earning it the nickname the "City of Seven Flags"; this was a nod to the flag of Missouri, in addition to the six flags of nations and republics that have flown over the city. Marshall became the seat of Confederate civil authority and headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Postal Department after the fall of Vicksburg.
The city may have been the intended target of a failed Union advance, rebuffed at Mansfield, Louisiana. Toward the end of the Civil War, the Confederate government had $9.0 million in Treasury notes and $3.0 million in postage stamps shipped to Marshall. They may have intended Marshall as the destination of a government preparing to flee from advancing armies. Marshall was occupied by Union forces on June 17, 1865. During Reconstruction, the city was home to an office of the Freedmen's Bureau and was the base for federal troops. In 1873 the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wiley College to educate freedmen. African Americans came to the city seeking opportunities and protection until 1878; the White Citizens Party, led by former Confederate General Walter P. Lane and his brother George, took control of the city and county governments, their militia ran Unionists and many African Americans out of town. The Lanes declared Marshall and Harrison County "redeemed" from Union and African-American control.
Despite this the African-American community continued to progress. Bishop College was founded in 1881, Wiley College was certified by the Freedman's Aid Society in 1882. Marshall's "Railroad Era" began in the early 1870s. Harrison County citizens voted to offer $300,000 bond subsidy, the City of Marshall offered to donate land north of the downtown to the Texas and Pacific Railway if the company would establish a center in Marshall. T&P President Jay Gould accepted the business incentive, locating the T&P's workshops and general offices for Texas in Marshall; the city had a population explosion from workers attracted to the potential for new jobs here. By 1880 the city was one of the South's largest cotton markets, with crops and other products shipped by the railroad; the city's new prosperity was shown by the opening of J. Weisman and Co. the first department store in Texas. When one light bulb was installed in the Texas and Pacific Depot, Marshall became the first city in Texas to have electricity.
Some nationally known crimes were tried here, including the trials for the attempted murder of Maurice Barrymore. During this period of wealth, many of the city's now historic ho
Sabine River (Texas–Louisiana)
The Sabine River is a river, 510 miles long, in the Southern U. S. states of Louisiana. In its lower course, it forms part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the first half of the 19th century, the river formed part of the Spanish–American, Mexican–American, Texan–American international boundaries; the upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through the pine forests along the Texas–Louisiana border, the bayou country near the Gulf Coast; the river drains an area of 9,756 square miles, of which 7,426 square miles are in Texas and 2,330 square miles in Louisiana. It flows through an area of abundant rainfall and discharges the largest volume of any river in Texas; the name Sabine comes from the Spanish word for cypress, in reference to the extensive growth of bald cypresses along the lower river. The river flows through an important petroleum-producing region, the lower river near the Gulf is among the most industrialized areas of the southeastern United States.
The river was described as the dividing line between the Old South and the New Southwest. The Sabine rises in northeast Texas by the union of three branches: the Cowleech Fork, Caddo Fork, South Fork; the Cowleech Fork flows southeast for 49.2 miles. The Caddo Fork, shown as "Caddo Creek" on federal maps, rises in two tributary forks, the East Caddo Fork and the West Caddo Fork, in northwestern Hunt County; the South Fork rises in the southwestern corner of Hunt County and flows east for 28.3 miles, joining the Caddo Fork and Cowleech Fork in southeastern Hunt County. The confluence of the forks is now submerged in the Lake Tawakoni reservoir; the combined river flows southeast across northeast Texas and is joined by a fourth branch, Lake Fork Creek, 70.0 miles downstream from the reservoir. In northeast Texas, the river flows past Mineola, Big Sandy, Longview, the largest city on the river, to southwest of Shreveport at the 32nd parallel north, where it establishes the Texas-Louisiana boundary.
It flows south. It is impounded 10 miles west of Leesville, Louisiana, to form the 70-mile-long Toledo Bend Reservoir, with the Sabine National Forest along its western bank. South of the reservoir, it passes through the bayou country, surrounded by wetlands, as well as widespread industrial areas near the Gulf Coast. 10 miles south of Orange, it meets the Neches River from the west to form the 17-mile-long and 7-mile-wide Sabine Lake, which drains through Sabine Pass to the Gulf of Mexico. The city of Port Arthur, sits along the western shore of Sabine Lake Archeological evidence indicates the valley of the river has been inhabited for as long as 12,000 years by indigenous peoples. Starting in the eighth century, the Caddo inhabited the area, building extensive earthwork mounds in complexes expressing their cosmology; the Caddo culture flourished until the late 13th century. Descendants of the Caddo were living along the river when the first European explorers arrived in the 16th century; the river was named in 1716 by Spanish explorer Domingo Ramón, appeared as Río de Sabinas on a 1721 map.
The river was used by French traders, at various times, the river was claimed by both Spain and France. After the acquisition by Spain of the French territory of Louisiana in 1763, following France's defeat by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War, the capital of the Spanish province of Texas was established on the east side of the river, near present-day Robeline, Louisiana. After acquiring the French territory west of the Mississippi River in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the United States started to exert control in this area, it was at war with Native Americans in Louisiana along the Sabine River from 1836 to 1837, in the period when it was trying to remove the Indians to Indian Territory from the Southeast. The Sabine River was too deep to ford, proved to be navigable. Early travelers and settlers would have to swim the river on horseback and cattle would have to be driven into the river to swim across. Ferries were put into service. By the 1840s, steamboats were travelling from Logansport to Sabine Lake.
Recorded ferry use began 1794, when Louis Chabinan, his wife Margarite LaFleur, their four children settled on the east bank of the Sabine River on land purchased from Vicinte Michele. Chabinan built a ferry landing on the river called Paso del Chaland. Louisiana State Highway 6 and Texas State Highway 21 now meet near here, at the site of the present-day Pendleton Bridge. In 1796, Chabinan was drowned after falling into the Sabine. Michel Crow married his widow and ran the ferry, until he sold it to James Gaines circa 1819; this ferry was in service until 1937, when it was replaced by the Pendleton Bridge, built during the Great Depression. Crow operated a ferry he had started upriver, a 120-foot crossing started in 1796, it linked what became known as Carter's Ferry Road, now Texas FM 276. Carter's ferry was 15 miles from Many, Louisiana. Crow sold the ferry to Carter. Farther north, just above Bayou Lanan, was Williamson Ferry. Other ferries on the Sabine River: Burr's ferry Hadden's ferry Ballew's ferry Sabinetown ferry Gaines Ferry: Carter's ferry: (Located SSE of La 191 after crossing hwy 1215.
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