George Follmer is an American former auto racing driver, one of the most successful road racers of the 1970s. He was born in Arizona, his family moved to California. Follmer began his career running a Volkswagen Beetle in Gymkhana competition in parking lots in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California. Follmer raced in the USAC Championship Car series in the 1967-1971 and 1974 seasons, with 25 career starts, including the 1969-1971 Indianapolis 500 races, he finished with his one victory in 1969 at Phoenix International Raceway. His best finish at the Indianapolis 500 was in 1971, he finished in the 15th position driving the Grant King Racer's turbo Offy. In 1973, Follmer competed in Formula One with Don Nichols' UOP Shadow team, he took part in his first Grand Prix, in South Africa, at the age of 39 years and 1 month - making him F1's oldest débutant since the 1950s, a distinction he still holds. In 13 Championship races, his best results were a podium 3rd in Spain and 6th in South Africa, which gave him 13th in the Drivers' Championship with five points.
He competed in several non-Championship races. Follmer had success in other racing series. In 1965, he won the SCCA United States Road Racing Championship. Follmer won two races in the 1970 SCCA Continental Championship for Formula A cars, placing sixth in the standings, he won the Trans-Am championship in 1972, winning four races with an AMC Javelin, 1976, driving a Porsche 934 Turbo. In 1972, Follmer was the Can-Am champion, substituting for the injured Mark Donohue in Penske Racing's Porsche 917/10, causing the racing press to dub Follmer "George Am", he was vice-champion in 1974 in a Shadow. He collected 13 podiums in the three-year spell, he is the only driver to win the Trans-Am championship in the same year. Follmer competed in the NASCAR Winston Cup series with appearances in 13 of 30 races, he collected a pole position. In 1974 and 1975, he raced at the International Race of Champions. In 1977 he returned to the revived Can-Am, resulting 6th in 1977 and 5th in 1978. After his retirement, he came back to racing for the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans, obtaining a prestigious third place with a Porsche 956.
Though long-retired from professional motorsports competition, Follmer still competes in vintage races driving the same cars in which he competed during his heyday. In addition to his racing career, Follmer owned a Porsche-Audi-Subaru dealership in Pomona, California relocated to Montclair, from 1977 to 1990, he was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1999 in the sports car category. On August 17, 2013 Saleen introduced a limited edition Saleen | George Follmer Edition Ford Mustang. Based on the #16 1969 Boss 302 Mustang racecar that he drove in the 1969 SCCA Trans-Am series, the 2014 Saleen/Follmer Edition was period correct with its livery aspirated 495HP 5.0L high revving engine, track tuned suspension, 6-speed manual transmission. Production was limited to 250 units. Madigan, Tom. Follmer: American Wheel Man. Ejje Publishing. Follmer Book.com Profile at www.grandprix.com George Follmer at Driver Database George Follmer at Racing Reference
The Canadian-American Challenge Cup, or Can-Am, was an SCCA/CASC sports car racing series from 1966 to 1987. Can-Am started out as a race series for group 7 sports racers with two races in Canada and four races in the United States of America; the series was sponsored by Johnson Wax. The series was governed by rules called out under the FIA group 7 category with unrestricted engine capacity and few other technical restrictions; the group 7 category was a Formula Libre for sports cars. As long as the car had two seats, bodywork enclosing the wheels, met basic safety standards, it was allowed. Group 7 had arisen as a category for non-homologated sports car "specials" in Europe and, for a while in the 1960s, group 7 racing was popular in the United Kingdom as well as a class in hillclimb racing in Europe. Group 7 cars were designed more for short-distance sprints than for endurance racing; some group 7 cars were built in Japan by Nissan and Toyota, but these did not compete outside their homeland.
SCCA sports car racing was becoming more popular with European constructors and drivers, the United States Road Racing Championship for large-capacity sports racers gave rise to the group 7 Can-Am series. There was good appearance money and plenty of trade backing. Similar group 7 cars ran in the European Interserie series, but this was much lower-key than the Can-Am. On-track, the series was dominated by Lola, followed by a period in which it became known as the "Bruce and Denny show", the works McLaren team dominated until the Porsche 917 was perfected and became unbeatable. After Porsche's withdrawal, Shadow dominated the last season before Can-Am faded away to be replaced by Formula 5000. Racing was close—one marque was dominant—but the noise and spectacle of the cars made the series popular; the energy crisis and the increased cost of competing in Can-Am meant that the series folded after the lackluster 1974 season. F5000's reign lasted with a second generation of Can-Am following; this was a fundamentally different series based on converted F5000 cars with closed-wheel bodies.
There was a two-liter class based on Formula Two chassis. The second iteration of Can-Am faded away as IMSA and CART racing became more popular in the early 1980s but remained active until 1987. Can-Am remains a well-remembered form of racing due to its popularity at one time, the spectacular cars and the lineup of talented drivers. Can-Am cars remain popular in historic racing. Notable drivers in the original Can-Am series included every acclaimed driver of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Jim Hall, Mark Donohue, Mario Andretti, Parnelli Jones, George Follmer, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren, Jackie Oliver, Peter Revson, John Surtees all drove Can-Am cars competitively and were successful, winning races and championship titles. Al Holbert, Jacky Ickx, Alan Jones, Keke Rosberg, Patrick Tambay, Al Unser Jr. are among the drivers who launched their careers in the revived Can-Am series. Can-Am was the proving ground for what, at the time, was cutting-edge technology. Can-Am cars were among the first race cars to sport wings, effective turbocharging, ground-effect aerodynamics, aerospace materials like titanium.
This led to the eventual downfall of the original series when costs got prohibitive, but during its height Can-Am cars were at the forefront of racing technology and were as fast as or faster around laps of certain circuits than the contemporary Formula One cars. Noted constructors in the Can-Am series include McLaren, Lola, BRM, Shadow and Porsche. McLaren cars were specially designed race cars; the Can-Am cars were developments of the sports cars which were introduced in 1964 for the North American sports car races. The development variants M1A and M1B were raced as factory cars in 1966 with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon as drivers. In 1967 for the Can-Am series, the McLaren team introduced a new model, the M6A; the McLaren M6A introduced what was to become the trademark orange color for the team. The McLaren team was considered "multi national" for the times and consisted of team owner and leader McLaren, fellow New Zealander Amon and another "kiwi", the 1967 Formula One world champion, Denny Hulme, team manager Teddy Mayer, mechanics Tyler Alexander, Gary Knutson, Lee Muir, George Bolthoff, Frank Zimmerman, Tom Anderson, Alan Anderson, David Dunlap, Leo Beattie, Donny Ray Everett, Haig Alltounian, Don Beresford, Alec Greaves, Vince Higgins, Roger Bailey, Tony Attard, Cary Taylor, Jimmy Stone, Chris Charles, Colin Beanland, Alan McCall and Alistair Caldwell.
The M6 series were a full aluminum monocoque design with no uncommon features but, for the times, there was an uncommon attention to detail in preparation by the team members. The M6 series of cars were powered by Chevy "mouse-motor" small-block V8s built by Al Bartz Engines in Van
1980 Formula One season
The 1980 Formula One season was the 34th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1980 World Championship of Drivers and the 1980 International Cup for F1 Constructors, which were contested concurrently from 13 January to 5 October over a fourteen-race series; the season included one non-championship race, the Spanish Grand Prix. Alan Jones, driving a Williams-Ford, became the first Australian to win the World Championship since Jack Brabham in 1966; the season saw a major change of guard in Formula One with the Williams team's first Drivers' and Constructors' titles, the emergence of Nelson Piquet as a championship contender and the debut of Alain Prost, while reigning champions Jody Scheckter and Ferrari suffered a terrible season that resulted in Scheckter retiring from the sport at the end of the year. In addition, Frenchman Patrick Depailler lost his life while testing at Hockenheim; the following drivers and constructors contested the 1980 World Championship of Drivers and the 1980 International Cup for F1 Constructors.
The 1980 Formula One season started in Argentina in January. This event, held at the Buenos Aires Municipal Autodrome located in the sprawling Argentine capital started off badly. After Friday's practice, due to the heat and the suction these ground-effect cars were creating, the track began to break up, the drivers found conditions difficult and dangerous. Led by Emerson Fittipaldi, the drivers staged a semi-unsuccessful protest – the organizers did fix the track, but not – come race day, the track was still in a dreadful condition; the race went ahead anyway, the Buenos Aires circuit, being one of the most varied and challenging circuits on the calendar, provided an ultra-exciting race, where many drivers were caught-out by the disintegration of the twisty arena infield section of the No.15 variant of the racing facility. After going off twice and dropping back to 4th after making a pit-stop to clean grass out of his car's radiators and title favorite Alan Jones took victory in his Williams-Ford/Cosworth.
Brazilian Nelson Piquet, who went off a few times finished 2nd, Finn Keke Rosberg scored an excellent 3rd in his Fittipaldi. French rookie Alain Prost, in his first F1 race, finished 6th and scored his first World Championship point. Gilles Villeneuve, competitive throughout in his Ferrari, crashed at the Toboggan left-right sequence of corners after his front suspension failed after possible damage caused to it after a number of off-track excursions the Canadian had during the race; the other half of the South American January tour took place in Brazil. This meeting was met with pre-race difficulties; the safety conditions of the difficult and confined 5-mile Interlagos circuit located in the steel-making metropolis of São Paulo had been protested by the drivers for some time, led by South African Ferrari driver Jody Scheckter. The original arrangement was that this Grand Prix was supposed to be held at the Jacarepaguá circuit in Rio de Janeiro, the drivers would return to Interlagos for 1981 after it would go through a complete resurfacing.
The drivers protested that the Interlagos track's surface was so bad that it was dangerous to race on. The barriers and catch-fence arrangements were not adequate enough to protect the cars from the embankments and rough and uneven-surface of the limited run-off areas there though the track was wide in most places, but the race went ahead anyway, the Renault of Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jabouille took pole and led for 25 of 40 laps. The Renaults proved to be dominant at Interlagos, 2,840 ft above sea level, giving the turbocharged Renault engines a considerable horsepower advantage, but he retired with turbo failure and his teammate Rene Arnoux took the lead and won, followed by Italian new-boy Elio de Angelis in a Lotus and Jones in his Williams. The GP circus arrived in South Africa in March, at the fast Kyalami circuit between Johannesburg and Pretoria in the midst of an African summer. Alain Prost broke his wrist. Like Interlagos before, the higher altitude of Kyalami helped the Renaults more so than in Brazil, this proved to be an invaluable advantage, the yellow French cars dominated the race.
And as in São Paulo, Jabouille led for a while and retired, Arnoux took the lead from 2nd place and won the race. However, this race brought the FISA–FOCA war into the spotlight. FISA, the governing body of international motorsports led by Jean-Marie Balestre, argued that the ground effect cars of the time were too fast through corners, FOCA led by Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, argued that the superior road-holding of the independent teams' cars equalized their cars to the power advantages that the Renaults had. A stop-over in Long Beach, California right next to the Hollywood-dominated landscape of Los Angeles happened 4 weeks after the South African race; the pleasant and sunny weather there gave for a relaxed atmosphere at this tight and rough street circuit, in contrast to the previous 3 quick Southern Hemisphere circuits used thus far in the seaso
Mexico the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States. Covering 2,000,000 square kilometres, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity, the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana and León. Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of five cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
Three centuries the territory became a nation state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes; the Mexican–American War led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century; the Porfiriato was ended by the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system as a federal, democratic republic. Mexico has the 11th largest by purchasing power parity; the Mexican economy is linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement partners the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts.
The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power, is identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica, it is believed to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, although it could have been the other way around.
In the colonial era, back when Mexico was called New Spain this territory became the Intendency of Mexico and after New Spain achieved independence from the Spanish Empire it came to be known as the State of Mexico with the new country being named after its capital: the City of Mexico, which itself was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl and nōchtli and is thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain; the suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "place where Huitzilopochtli lives".
Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" and navel. This meaning might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco; the system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the moon rabbit. Still another hypothesis suggests that the word is derived from Mēctli, the name of the goddess of maguey; the name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter x in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative, represented by a j, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative during the 16th century; this led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries, México was the preferred spelling. In recent years, the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish l
Norman Graham Hill was a British racing driver and team owner from England, twice Formula One World Champion. He is the only driver to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport—the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, he appeared on TV in the 1970s on a variety of non-sporting programmes including panel games. He liked painting in his spare time. Hill and his son Damon were the first son pair to win Formula One World Championships. Hill's grandson Josh, Damon's son raced his way through the ranks until he retired from Formula Three in 2013 at the age of 22. Hill and five other members of the Embassy Hill team died in 1975 when the aeroplane he was piloting from France crashed in fog at night on Arkley golf course while attempting to land at Elstree Airfield in north London. Born in Hampstead, Hill attended Hendon Technical College and joined Smiths Instruments as an apprentice engineer, he was conscripted into the Royal Navy and served as an Engine Room Artificer on the light cruiser HMS Swiftsure, rising to the rank of petty officer.
After leaving the Navy he rejoined Smiths Instruments. Hill did not pass his driving test until he was 24 years old, he himself described his first car as "A wreck. A budding racing driver should own such a car, as it teaches delicacy and anticipation the latter I think!" He had been interested in motorcycles but in 1954 he saw an advertisement for the Universal Motor Racing Club at Brands Hatch offering laps for 5 shillings. He was committed to racing thereafter. Hill joined Team Lotus as a mechanic soon after but talked his way into the cockpit; the Lotus presence in Formula One allowed him to make his debut at the 1958 Monaco Grand Prix, retiring with a halfshaft failure. In 1960, Hill joined BRM, won the world championship with them in 1962. Hill was part of the so-called'British invasion' of drivers and cars in the Indianapolis 500 during the mid-1960s, triumphing there in 1966 in a Lola-Ford. In 1967, back at Lotus, Hill helped to develop the Lotus 49 with the new Cosworth-V8 engine. After teammates Jim Clark and Mike Spence were killed in early 1968, Hill led the team, won his second world championship in 1968.
The Lotus had a reputation of being fragile and dangerous at that time with the new aerodynamic aids which caused similar crashes of Hill and Jochen Rindt at the 1969 Spanish Grand Prix. A crash at the 1969 United States Grand Prix at Watkins Glen broke both his legs and interrupted his career; when asked soon after the crash if he wanted to pass on a message to his wife, Hill replied "Just tell her that I won't be dancing for two weeks."Upon recovery Hill continued to race in F1 for several more years, but never again with the same level of success. Colin Chapman, believing Hill was a spent force, placed him in Rob Walker's team for 1970, sweetening the deal with one of the brand-new Lotus 72 cars. Although Hill scored points in 1970 he started the season far from fit and the 72 was not developed until late in the season. Hill moved to Brabham for 1971-2; the team was in flux after the retirements of Sir Jack Brabham and Ron Tauranac's sale to Bernie Ecclestone. Hill was known during the latter part of his career for his wit and became a popular personality - he was a regular guest on television and wrote a notably frank and witty autobiography, Life at the Limit, when recovering from his 1969 accident.
Hill was irreverently immortalized on a Monty Python episode, in which a Gumby appears asking to "see John the Baptist's impersonation of Graham Hill." The head of St. John the Baptist appears on a silver platter, which runs around the floor making putt-putt noises of a race car engine. Hill was involved with four films between 1966 and 1974, including appearances in Grand Prix and Caravan to Vaccarès, in which he appeared as a helicopter pilot. Although Hill had concentrated on F1 he maintained a presence in sports car racing throughout his career; as his F1 career drew to a close he became part of the Matra sports car team, taking a victory in the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans with Henri Pescarolo. This victory completed the so-called Triple Crown of Motorsport, alternatively defined as winning either: the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix, or the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Formula One World Championship. Using either definition, Hill is still the only person to have accomplished this feat.
Hill set up his own team in 1973: Embassy Hill with sponsorship from Imperial Tobacco. The team used chassis from Shadow and Lola before evolving the Lola into its own design in 1975. After failing to qualify for the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix, where he had won five times, Hill retired from driving to concentrate on running the team and supporting his protege Tony Brise. Hill's record of 176 Grand Prix starts remained in place for over a decade until being equalled by Jacques Laffite. Hill married Bette in 1955, they had two daughters and Samantha, a son, who himself became Formula One World Champion—the first son of a former world champion to emulate his father. Before taking up motor racing, Hill spent several years invo
Sports car racing
Sports car racing is a form of motorsport road racing which utilizes sports cars that have two seats and enclosed wheels. They may be related to road-going models. A type of hybrid between the purism of open-wheelers and the familiarity of touring car racing, this style is associated with the annual Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race. First run in 1923, Le Mans is one of the oldest motor races still in existence. Other classic but now defunct sports car races include the Italian classics, the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia, the Mexican Carrera Panamericana. Most top class sports car races emphasize endurance and strategy, over pure speed. Longer races involve complex pit strategy and regular driver changes; as a result, sports car racing is seen more as a team endeavor than an individual sport, with team managers such as John Wyer, Tom Walkinshaw, driver-turned-constructor Henri Pescarolo, Peter Sauber and Reinhold Joest becoming as famous as some of their drivers. The prestige of storied marques such as Porsche, Corvette, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW is built in part upon success in sports car racing and the World Sportscar Championship.
These makers' top road cars have been similar both in engineering and styling to those raced. This close association with the'exotic' nature of the cars serves as a useful distinction between sports car racing and touring cars; the 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans were once considered the trifecta of sports car racing. Driver Ken Miles would have been the only to win all three in the same year but for an error in the Ford GT40's team orders at Le Mans in 1966 that cost him the win in spite of finishing first. According to historian Richard Hough, "It is impossible to distinguish between the designers of sports cars and Grand Prix machines during the pre-1914 period; the late Georges Faroux always contended that sports-car racing was not born until the first 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1923, while as a joint-creator of that race he may have been prejudiced in his opinion, it is true that sports-car racing as it was known after 1919 did not exist before the First World War."
In the 1920s, the cars used in endurance racing and Grand Prix were still identical, with fenders and two seats, to carry a mechanic if necessary or permitted. Cars such as the Bugatti Type 35 were equally at home in Grands Prix and endurance events, but specialisation started to differentiate the sports-racer from the Grand Prix car; the legendary Alfa Romeo Tipo A Monoposto started the evolution of the true single-seater in the early 1930s. During the 1930s, French constructors, unable to keep up with the progress of the Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union cars in GP racing, withdrew into domestic competition with large-capacity sports cars – marques such as Delahaye and the Bugattis were locally prominent. Through the 1920s and 1930s the roadgoing sports/GT car started to emerge as distinct from fast tourers and sports cars, whether descended from roadgoing vehicles or developed from pure-bred racing cars came to dominate races such as Le Mans and the Mille Miglia. In open-road endurance races across Europe such as the Mille Miglia, Tour de France and Targa Florio, which were run on dusty roads, the need for fenders and a mechanic or navigator was still there.
As Italian cars and races defined the genre, the category came to be known as Gran Turismo, as long distances had to be travelled, rather than running around on short circuits only. Reliability and some basic comfort were necessary. After the Second World War, sports car racing emerged as a distinct form of racing with its own classic races, from 1953, its own FIA sanctioned World Sportscar Championship. In the 1950s, sports car racing was regarded as as important as Grand Prix competition, with major marques like Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin investing much effort in their works programmes and supplying cars to customers. Top Grand Prix drivers competed in sports car racing. After major accidents at the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 1957 Mille Miglia the power of sports cars was curbed with a 3-litre engine capacity limit applied to them in the World Championship from 1958. From 1962 sports cars temporarily took a back seat to GT cars with the FIA replacing the World Championship for Sports Cars with the International Championship for GT Manufacturers.
In national rather than international racing, sports car competition in the 1950s and early 1960s tended to reflect what was locally popular, with the cars that were successful locally influencing each nation's approach to competing on the international stage. In the US, imported Italian and British cars battled local hybrids, with very distinct East and West Coast scenes; the US scene tended to featu
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