Piru is a small unincorporated historic town located in eastern Ventura County, California, in the Santa Clara River Valley near the Santa Clara River and Highway 126, about seven miles east of Fillmore and about 13 miles west of Interstate 5. Lake Piru, in the Los Padres National Forest, is the main recreational attraction; the population was 2,063 at the 2010 census. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined a Piru census designated place which does not correspond to the historical community; the name Piru derives from the Shoshonean name pí idhu-ku. It was first named Piru City in 1888; the area was inhabited by the Tataviam Indians. They left information about themselves chiseled into and painted on rocky overhangs and secreted caves throughout the local mountains. By all accounts a peaceful tribe, the Tataviam were Christianized under the San Fernando Mission, they worked on large Spanish ranchos such as Rancho Camulos. The name Piru comes from the Tataviam word for the tule reeds growing along Piru Creek that were used in making baskets.
The traditional name is still in use by local residents. The town was founded in 1887 by David C. Cook from Elgin, Illinois, a wealthy publisher of Sunday School tracts and supplies who bought the Rancho Temescal Mexican land grant from the sons of Ygnacio del Valle. Wanting to establish a "Second Garden of Eden" in this part of the Santa Clara River Valley, Cook specified, tradition says, that the acreage be planted with fruits identified with the Biblical garden—apricots, figs, grapes and pomegranates; that same year, he built his first home, a Colonial Revival structure, at the southwest corner of Main and Center Streets. The coast rail line was built through the valley in 1887; because a small depot was going to be built in nearby Camulos, Charles Crocker of Southern Pacific Railroad refused to build a depot in Piru. This so annoyed David Cook that he hired a stationmaster. Cook laid out the town around the railroad in 1888; the U. S. Post Office Department established the Piru Post Office on June 14, 1888.
Legend has it that the change in pronunciation was brought about by conductors of Southern Pacific Railroad trains, who would shout out, "Pie-roo!" when pulling into town. Another story tells of a Piru restaurant known for good pies; the owner hung a sign proclaiming, "We Put The Pie In Piru."In 1890, Cook built a lavish Queen Anne Style home a few blocks northwest of his original home, which came to be known as the Piru Mansion. A strict Methodist, he provided for construction of a church on the north side of Center Street, just west of Main; the church front is used in the movie J. W. Coop starring Cliff Robertson, his home at Main and Center became the Piru Hotel. Cook sold out to the Piru Oil and Land Company in 1900 after being cured of his ailments and realizing a profit due to recent oil discoveries. For her novel Ramona, Helen Hunt Jackson had used nearby Rancho Camulos as one of the settings. Portions of the 1910 silent movie, starring Mary Pickford were shot there. During the production, Pickford, D.
W. Griffith and others of the cast and crew, stayed at the Piru Hotel; the hotel became known as the Mountain View Hotel. The name was changed to the Round Rock Hotel, because of a large, round boulder located in the northeast corner of the front yard. Juan José Fustero, who called himself "the last full-blooded Piru Indian," died on June 30, 1921. In 1961, a plaque to honor him was placed in Piru Canyon near the place where he lived most of his life. On December 17, 1922, Jenks Harris, a would-be cowboy actor, a gang of partners in crime, robbed the bank in Piru of $11,000, he said, when caught in Los Angeles, that he conceived of the idea while on location at Piru with the film company Universal. In the 1950s, the Round Rock Hotel became the Round Rock Rest Home for elderly tenants, which it remained until 1989, it became the Heritage Valley Inn. It is no longer functioning as an inn. Piru was struck by two major disasters in the 20th century. On the night of March 12, 1928, the St. Francis Dam, to the east in Los Angeles County, sending a torrent of water through the Santa Clara River Valley and causing the deaths of 600 people, a number of which were in Piru.
The Northridge earthquake of January 17, 1994, destroyed several buildings in the historic downtown area. Piru is located at 34°24′26″N 118°47′59″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.8 square miles, of which 99.45% of it is land and 0.55% is water. Elevation: 692 feet. Piru is located in the Santa Clara River Valley; this region experiences warm and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Piru has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. Piru has the highest percentage of agricultural workers and second-highest percent of manufacturing workers in Ventura County. 32 % have occupations in manufacturing. Piru had the lowest median home prices in Ventura County in 1999; the 2010 United States Census reported that Piru had a population of 2,063. The population density was 727.6 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Piru was 1,063 White, 16 African American, 43 Native American, 11 Asian, 0 Pacific Islander, 830 from other races, 100 from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,748 persons. The Census reported that
Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright reddish yellow, soft and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a group 11 element, it is solid under standard conditions. Gold occurs in free elemental form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, in alluvial deposits, it occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less it occurs in minerals as gold compounds with tellurium. Gold is resistant to most acids, though it does dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which forms a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion. Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to refine gold and to confirm the presence of gold in metallic objects, giving rise to the term acid test. Gold dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which are used in mining and electroplating.
Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys. A rare element, gold is a precious metal, used for coinage and other arts throughout recorded history. In the past, a gold standard was implemented as a monetary policy, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, the world gold standard was abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1971. A total of 186,700 tonnes of gold exists above ground, as of 2015; the world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, 10% in industry. Gold's high malleability, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions, conductivity of electricity have led to its continued use in corrosion resistant electrical connectors in all types of computerized devices. Gold is used in infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, tooth restoration. Certain gold salts are still used as anti-inflammatories in medicine; as of 2017, the world's largest gold producer by far was China with 440 tonnes per year.
Gold is the most malleable of all metals. It can be drawn into a monoatomic wire, stretched about twice before it breaks; such nanowires distort via formation and migration of dislocations and crystal twins without noticeable hardening. A single gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, an avoirdupois ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become semi-transparent; the transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, in sun-visors for spacesuits. Gold is a good conductor of electricity. Gold has a density of 19.3 g/cm3 identical to that of tungsten at 19.25 g/cm3. By comparison, the density of lead is 11.34 g/cm3, that of the densest element, osmium, is 22.588±0.015 g/cm3. Whereas most metals are gray or silvery white, gold is reddish-yellow; this color is determined by the frequency of plasma oscillations among the metal's valence electrons, in the ultraviolet range for most metals but in the visible range for gold due to relativistic effects affecting the orbitals around gold atoms.
Similar effects impart a golden hue to metallic caesium. Common colored gold alloys include the distinctive eighteen-karat rose gold created by the addition of copper. Alloys containing palladium or nickel are important in commercial jewelry as these produce white gold alloys. Fourteen-karat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, both may be used to produce police and other badges. White gold alloys can be made with nickel. Fourteen- and eighteen-karat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron, purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium. Less addition of manganese, aluminium and other elements can produce more unusual colors of gold for various applications. Colloidal gold, used by electron-microscopists, is red. Gold has only one stable isotope, 197Au, its only occurring isotope, so gold is both a mononuclidic and monoisotopic element. Thirty-six radioisotopes have been synthesized, ranging in atomic mass from 169 to 205.
The most stable of these is 195Au with a half-life of 186.1 days. The least stable is 171Au. Most of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses below 197 decay by some combination of proton emission, α decay, β+ decay; the exceptions are 195Au, which decays by electron capture, 196Au, which decays most by electron capture with a minor β− decay path. All of gold's radioisotopes with atomic masses above 197 decay by β− decay. At least 32 nuclear isomers have been characterized, ranging in atomic mass from 170 to 200. Within that range, only 178Au, 180Au, 181Au, 182Au, 188Au do not have isomers. Gold's most stable isomer is 198m2Au with a half-life of 2.27 days. Gold's least stable isomer is 177m2Au with a half-life of only 7 ns. 184m1Au has three decay paths: β+ decay, isomeric
Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres National Forest is a United States national forest in southern and central California. Administered by the United States Forest Service, Los Padres includes most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland. Elevations range from sea level to 8,847 feet; the forest is 1,950,000 acres in area, of which 1,762,400 acres or about 88% are public lands. The forest is divided between two noncontiguous areas; the northern division is within Monterey County and includes the beautiful Big Sur Coast and scenic interior areas. This is a popular area for hiking, with 323 miles of hiking trails and 11 campgrounds; this division contains the Ventana Wilderness, home to the California condor. The "main division" of the forest includes lands within San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Kern Counties, with a small extension into Los Angeles County in the Pyramid Lake area, between Castaic and Gorman. Mountain ranges within the Los Padres include the Santa Lucia Mountains, La Panza Range, Caliente Range, Sierra Madre Mountains, San Rafael Mountains, Santa Ynez Mountains, Topatopa Mountains.
The forest is adjacent to the Angeles National Forest, in Los Angeles County in Southern California and is nearby Carrizo Plain National Monument in eastern San Luis Obispo County. Forest headquarters are located in California. There are local ranger district offices in Frazier Park, King City, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria. Many rivers in Southern and Central California have their points of origin within the Los Padres National Forest, including the Carmel, Cuyama, Santa Ynez, Coyote Creek, Sespe and Piru. Several wilderness areas have been set aside within the Los Padres National Forest, including the San Rafael Wilderness, the first primitive area to be included in the U. S. wilderness system after the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964. Another large wilderness created in the 1970s was the Ventana Wilderness in the Santa Lucia Mountains. A total of 48% of the total area within the forest has a wilderness designation. San Rafael Wilderness Ventana Wilderness Garcia Wilderness Santa Lucia Wilderness Machesna Mountain Wilderness Silver Peak Wilderness Dick Smith Wilderness Chumash Wilderness Sespe Wilderness Matilija Wilderness Parts of the National Forest are designated as recreation areas.
There are three recreation areas, Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area Sage Hill Group Recreation Area Santa Ynez Recreation Area, in the Santa Barbara Ranger District. Many threatened and endangered species live within the forest. Most famous among them is the California condor, for whom the United States Forest Service established the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Present is the California mountain kingsnake, a California species of special concern; the American peregrine falcon is entirely dependent on the forest for its survival. The mountain lion and California mule deer may be the most common large mammals. Bighorn sheep inhabit the Sespe Creek region of the forest. American black bears browse on grasses and carrion. Coyotes thrive everywhere in this forest. Bobcats can be seen in the more remote mountainous areas of the forest. Other animals found in this forest are raccoons, barn owls, red-tailed hawks, cottontail rabbits, bald eagles, jack rabbits, California quail, California scrub jays, great horned owls.
Many vegetation types are represented in the Los Padres, including chaparral, the common ground cover of most coastal ranges in California below about 5,000 feet, coniferous forests, which can be found in abundance in the Ventana Wilderness as well as the region around Mount Pinos in northern Ventura County. Researchers estimate, it consists of Jeffrey pine forests, although old-growth coast redwood, coast Douglas-fir, white fir are found there. In 2008, scientist J. Michael Fay published a map of old growth redwoods in and around Big Sur as a result of his transect of the entire redwood range. Due to the dry summers, forest fires in Los Padres National Forest are always a risk. In 1965, a truck driven by country singer Johnny Cash caught fire, burned several hundred acres in Ventura county. In August 1977, the Marble Cone Fire burned 178,000 acres within the Ventana Wilderness and portions of the Los Padre Forest. In June and July, 2008, the Basin Complex Fire torched 162,818 acres in the same region.
Due to the fire risk, there are seasonal restrictions on building fires. Some portions of the forest are closed to public entry during the peak fire season, which extends from around June 1 to mid-November. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for pa
Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling. Professional rock climbing competitions have the objectives of either completing the route in the quickest possible time or attaining the farthest point on an difficult route. Due to the length of time and extended endurance required, because accidents are most to happen on the descent, rock climbers do not climb back down the route, or "downclimb" on the larger multiple pitch class III–IV, or multi-day grade IV–VI climbs. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that tests a climber's strength, endurance and balance along with mental control, it can be a dangerous activity and knowledge of proper climbing techniques and use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes. Because of the wide range and variety of rock formations around the world, rock climbing has been separated into several different styles and sub-disciplines, such as scrambling, another activity involving the scaling of hills and similar formations, differentiated by rock climbing's sustained use of hands to support the climber's weight as well as to provide balance.
Paintings dating from 200 BC show Chinese men rock climbing. In early America, the cliff-dwelling Anasazi in the 12th century are thought to have been excellent climbers. Early European climbers used rock climbing techniques as a skill required to reach the summit in their mountaineering exploits. In the 1880s, European rock climbing became an independent pursuit outside of mountain climbing. Although rock climbing was an important component of Victorian mountaineering in the Alps, it is thought that the sport of rock climbing began in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in various parts of Europe. Rock climbing evolved from an alpine necessity to a distinct athletic activity. Aid climbing, climbing using equipment that acts as artificial handhold or footholds, became popular during the period 1920–1960, leading to ascents in the Alps and in Yosemite Valley that were considered impossible without such means. However, climbing techniques and ethical considerations have evolved steadily.
Today, free climbing, climbing using holds made of natural rock while using gear for protection and not for upward movement, is the most popular form of the sport. Free climbing has since been divided into several sub-styles of climbing dependent on belay configuration. Over time, grading systems have been created in order to compare more the relative difficulties of the rock climbs. In How to Rock Climb, John Long notes that for moderately skilled climbers getting to the top of a route is not enough. Within free climbing, there are distinctions given to ascents: on-sight and redpoint. To on-sight a route is to ascend the wall without aid or any foreknowledge, it is considered the way to climb with the most style. Flashing is similar to on-sighting, except that the climber has previous information about the route including talking about the beta with other climbers. Redpointing means to make a free ascent of the route after having first tried it. Style is up to each individual climber and among climbers the verbiage and definitions can differ.
Most of the climbing done in modern times is considered free climbing—climbing using one's own physical strength, with equipment used as protection and not as support—as opposed to aid climbing, the gear-dependent form of climbing, dominant in the sport's earlier days. Free climbing is divided into several styles that differ from one another depending on the choice of equipment used and the configurations of their belay and anchor systems; as routes get higher off the ground, the increased risk of life-threatening injuries necessitates additional safety measures. A variety of specialized climbing techniques and climbing equipment exists to provide that safety. Climbers will work in pairs and utilize a system of ropes and anchors designed to catch falls. Ropes and anchors can be configured in different ways to suit many styles of climbing, roped climbing are thus divided into further sub-types that vary based on how their belay systems are set up. Speaking, beginners will start with top roping and/or easy bouldering and work their way up to lead climbing and beyond.
Still the most popular method of climbing big walls, aid climbers make progress up a wall by placing and weighting gear, used directly to aid ascent and enhance safety. This form of climbing is used when ascent is too technically difficult or impossible for free climbing; the most used method to ascend climbs refers to climbs where the climber's own physical strength and skill are relied on to accomplish the climb. Free climbing may rely on top rope belay systems, or on lead climbing to establish protection and the belay stations. Anchors and protection are used to back up the climber and are passive as opposed to active ascending aids. Subtypes of free climbing are trad sport climbing. Free climbing is done as "clean lead" meaning no pitons or pins are used as protection. Climbing on short, low routes without the use of the safety rope, typical of most other styles. Protection, if used at all consists of a cushioned bouldering pad below the route and a spotter, a person who watches from below and directs the fall of the climber away from hazardous areas.
Bouldering may be an arena for intense and safe competition, resulting in exceptionally high diffic
A campsite or camping pitch is a place used for overnight stay in an outdoor area. In UK English, a campsite is an area divided into a number of pitches, where people can camp overnight using tents or camper vans or caravans. In American English, the term campsite means an area where an individual, group, or military unit can pitch a tent or park a camper. There are two types of campsites: an impromptu area. A designated area with improvements and various facilities; the term camp comes from the Latin word campus, meaning "field". Therefore, a campground consists of open pieces of ground where a camper can pitch a tent or park a camper. More a campsite is a dedicated area set aside for camping and for which a user fee is charged. Campsites feature a few improvements. Dedicated campsites, known as Campgrounds have some amenities. Common amenities include, listed in order from most to least common: Fireplaces or fire pits in which to build campfires. Road access for vehicles A gravel or concrete pad on which to park a vehicle Picnic tables Marked spaces indicating a boundary for one camper or a group of campers Reservations to ensure there will be available space to camp Utility hookups, such as electricity water, sewer for the use of Travel trailers, Recreational vehicles, or similar Raised platforms on which to set up tents Piped potable waterCampgrounds may include further amenities: Pit toilets Flush toilets and showers Sinks and mirrors in the bathrooms A small convenience store Shower facilities Wood for free or for sale for use in cooking or for a campfire Garbage cans or large rubbish bins in which to place refuseCamping outside a designated campsite may be forbidden by law.
It is thought to be a nuisance, harmful to the environment, is associated with vagrancy. However some countries have specific laws and/or regulations allowing camping on public lands. In the United States, many national and state parks have dedicated campsites and sometimes allow impromptu backcountry camping by visitors. U. S. National Forests have established campsites, but allow camping anywhere, except within a certain distance of water sources or developed areas. Camping may be prohibited in certain ‘special areas’ of national forests containing unusual landforms or vegetation, and if conditions allow campfires, a campfire permit is required for campfires outside of developed campsites. In Britain, it is more known as wild camping, is illegal. However, Scotland has a relaxed view and wild camping is legal in the majority of Scotland. In many parts of Canada, "roughing it" is considered to be wilderness camping on government owned, public land known as crown land and called "the bush". There are no amenities of any kind and no development except for logging roads or ATV trails, few rules beyond the requirement in some provinces to move the site at least 100 metres every 21 days.
In North America many campgrounds have facilities for Recreational Vehicles and are known as RV parks. Similar facilities in the UK are known as Caravan Parks; the Kampgrounds of America is a large chain of commercial campgrounds located throughout the United States and Canada. Many travellers prefer to use similar campsites, as an alternative to hotels or motels. Both commercial and governmental campgrounds charge a nominal fee for the privilege of camping there, to cover expenses, in the case of an independent campground, to make a profit. However, there are some in North America that do not charge a use fee and rely on sources such as donations and tax dollars. Staying the night in a big-box store parking lot is common, some retailers welcome RVs to their parking lots; some RV parks provide year-round spaces. Confused with campsites, campgrounds and RV parks, trailer parks are made up of long term or semi-permanent residents occupying mobile homes, park trailers or RVs; the holiday park is a United Kingdom version of the North American trailer park.
Created to allow coastal resorts to enable temporary and high-income accommodation to be created, under UK planning laws, no residents are permanent, the park must be wholly shut to all for at least two months each year. All of the mobile homes are either available for rent from the land owner, or pitches are leased on a long-term basis from the land owner and the lease's own mobile home placed on the pitch. Permanent sites owners lease includes the provision by the land owner of water and general site and grounds maintenance; some holiday parks includes a small campsite for those touring the area, where they can pay to pitch tents or site touring caravans and motorhomes. Touring campsites have full access to the Holiday parks facilities, including clothes washing and showering. Most holiday parks include a central entertainments block, which can include a shop, a multi-purpose theatre used for both stage and activity-based entertainment. Caravan Holiday Homes Holiday parks vary in size and type, as do the kinds of accommodation available within them.
Caravans are a popular choice with holiday makers, modern varieties come complete with features like double glazing and central heating, fridges, hot/cold water supplies and gas
Pyramid Dam is a dam on Piru Creek located in northern Los Angeles County, north of Castaic and south of Gorman. Its reservoir, Pyramid Lake, stores water from the West Branch California Aqueduct for Ventura County and Los Angeles County, they are smaller than Castaic Dam and Lake, the other artificial water storage facility in the area, 7 miles to the south. Construction of the dam was made possible by California voter approval in 1960 of the California Aqueduct project referred to as the Feather River project. State bonds were issued to finance the project. Pyramid Dam, which first began construction in 1968, is 386 feet high, it lies directly behind the mountain rock giving the dam and lake its name - Pyramid Cut - which before the Ridge Route Alternate was built through the area in the 1931 to 1933 time period, was just another ordinary mountain. The highway construction of the Ridge Route Alternate caused this mountain to have part of its mass "shaved" off - reduced in size - and after the work to accommodate highway traffic was finished, the shape of the cut was found to resemble a pyramid, hence the name.
Pyramid Dam holds 171,196 acre feet of water. Its maximum capacity is 180,000 acre feet of water; the lake behind the dam, shaped like a Triceratops tooth, has been used for boating and camping since 1974. The dam and lake were built by the state of California Department of Water Resources, who maintains them today; the water stored there serves residents and farmers in Ventura County and LA County. During the construction of Pyramid Dam, US 99 vehicle traffic was rerouted to Interstate 5 beginning in 1968. In the 1968-9 time period, motorists could still drive US 99 from Violin Summit to Hungry Valley Road. After completion of the dam in 1970 Feather River water began to fill the area behind the dam, a plan conceived of before the construction of the Ridge Route Alternate. By 1972 the Ridge Route Alternate was submerged under the lake's water. Since its southern border with the lake continues to serve as a boat ramp; the lake's northern border portion of US 99 is closed to motorists. List of dams and reservoirs in California List of the tallest dams in the United States Jerry Reynolds.
"History of the Santa Clarita Valley". Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Retrieved 2002-02-04. US 99 - Piru Gorge: Pyramid Rock and Dam
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