Chota (Cherokee town)
Chota is a historic Overhill Cherokee town site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Developing after nearby Tanasi, from the late 1740s until 1788 Chota was the most important of the Overhill towns, replacing Tanasi as the de facto capital of the Cherokee people. A number of prominent Cherokee leaders were born or resided at Chota, among them Attakullakulla, Old Hop, Old Tassel, Hanging Maw, Nancy Ward; the former Chota and Tanasi sites are listed together on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 1979, both sites have been submerged by the Tellico Lake impoundment of the Little Tennessee River. Archeological excavations were conducted; the Chota townhouse site was found during the excavations. This area was raised above the reservoir's operating levels and connected via a causeway to the mainland; the Chota monument, situated directly above the ancient townhouse site, consists of eight pillars —one for each of the seven Cherokee clans, one for the nation. The grave of Chief Oconostota, uncovered in the 1969 excavations, was re-interred next to the monument.
This site is now managed by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. The Little Tennessee River enters Tennessee from its source in the Appalachian Mountains and flows for just over 50 miles through parts of Blount and Loudon counties before emptying into the Tennessee River near Lenoir City. Tellico Lake, created by the completion of Tellico Dam in 1979, spans the lower 33 miles of the river; the Chota site is located 27 miles above the mouth of the river, opposite a sharp bend in the river known as Bacon's Bend. Both Chota and Tanasi were developed by the Cherokee on a flat terrace flanked by steep hills rising to the south; these hills are part of the Appalachian Ridge-and-Valley Physiographic Province, characterized by narrow, elongate ridges and steep hills. The Great Smoky Mountains and the Unicoi Mountains, both part of the main Appalachian crest, rise a few miles to the southeast and southwest, respectively; the Tanasi and Chota monuments are located just off Highway 360 on Bacon Ferry Road, which ends in a cul-de-sac parking lot.
A short, maintained trail connects the parking lot to the Chota monument. Chota does not appear in historical records until around 1745. Tanasi is first mentioned much earlier in the century, namely as the base or destination of various traders and diplomats. Tanasi appears on multiple maps of the Overhill territory produced in the 1720s and 1730s, but Chota does not; this suggests that Chota may have been part of Tanasi, or may not have been considered a town before the 1740s. In the 1720s, the head man of Tanasi— known as the "Tanasi Warrior"— was the chief of the Overhill towns in what is now Tennessee and the Middle and Valley towns in North Carolina. In 1730, Moytoy of Tellico, with the help of flamboyant emissary Alexander Cuming, was crowned "Emperor of the Cherokee." This shifted the overall capital to his town of Great Tellico, where Moytoy was chief. When Moytoy died in 1741, his son, attempted to succeed him as emperor. Old Hop, the head man at Chota, began to consolidate power, by 1753 Chota had usurped Great Tellico as the "mother town" of the Overhill Cherokee.
Around this time, on the eve of the French and Indian War, the Cherokee were leaning toward the French side, prompting the English colonies of Virginia and South Carolina to increase contact with the Overhill towns. Virginia sent Major Andrew Lewis with 60 men to build a fort at Chota, completed in August 1756, it was never garrisoned. That year, South Carolina sent engineer William de Brahm with 300 men to build Fort Loudoun, completed in March 1757. By 1760, relations between the British and Cherokee had soured, breaking into conflict in the Anglo-Cherokee War; the warriors took spoils from the sack of Fort Loudoun to Chota. After the fall of Fort Loudoun, the Overhill towns sued for peace, granted in the Treaty of Long Island in 1761. Virginia dispatched, he reached Chota in late December 1761, accompanied by Ostenaco. At a ceremony inside the Chota townhouse, Ostenaco ceremoniously buried a hatchet, symbolizing peace between the British and Cherokee. Timberlake spent the night. Timberlake's "Draught of the Cherokee Country" reported a townhouse at Chota.
Conocotocko was listed as governor of both Tanasi. The 175 warriors available at Chota made up the second-largest contingent among the Overhill towns, behind only Citico. At the outbreak of the American Revolution, the Cherokee aligned with the British, hoping to expel American colonists from their territory. In 1776, Dragging Canoe and Old Abraham of Chilhowee led an unsuccessful two-pronged attack against Fort Watauga and Heaton's Station. In response, Virginia sent Colonel William Christian with a small force to subdue the Overhill towns. Christian entered the Little Tennessee Valley unopposed and negotiated a truce with Attakullakulla and Oconastota; when Dragging Canoe refused to negotiate, Christian destroyed the towns of Great Tellico, Mialoquo and Toqua. In 1780, John Sevier, who had just returned from the Battle of Kings Mountain, led an invasion of t
Williamsburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia, United States. As of the 2010 U. S. Census, the population was 14,068. In 2014, the population was estimated to be 14,691. Located on the Virginia Peninsula, Williamsburg is in the northern part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, it is bordered by James City York County. Williamsburg was founded in 1632 as Middle Plantation, a fortified settlement on high ground between the James and York rivers; the city served as the capital of the Colony and Commonwealth of Virginia from 1699 to 1780 and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution. The College of William & Mary, established in 1693, is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the only one of the nine colonial colleges located in the South. S. Presidents as well as many other important figures in the nation's early history; the city's tourism-based economy is driven by Colonial Williamsburg, the restored Historic Area of the city.
Along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, Williamsburg forms part of the Historic Triangle, which attracts more than four million tourists each year. Modern Williamsburg is a college town, inhabited in large part by William & Mary students and staff. Prior to the arrival of the English colonists at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia in 1607, the area which became Williamsburg was within the territory of the Powhatan Confederacy. By the 1630s, English settlements had grown to dominate the lower portion of the Virginia Peninsula, the Powhatan tribes had abandoned their nearby villages. Between 1630 and 1633, after the war that followed the Indian Massacre of 1622, the English colonists constructed a defensive palisade across the peninsula and a settlement named Middle Plantation as a primary guard station along the palisade. Jamestown was the original capital of Virginia Colony, but was burned down during the events of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676; as soon as Governor William Berkeley regained control, temporary headquarters for the government to function were established about 12 miles away on the high ground at Middle Plantation, while the Statehouse at Jamestown was rebuilt.
The members of the House of Burgesses discovered that the'temporary' location was both safer and more pleasant environmentally than Jamestown, humid and plagued with mosquitoes. A school of higher education had long been an aspiration of the colonists. An early attempt at Henricus failed after the Indian Massacre of 1622; the location at the outskirts of the developed part of the colony had left it more vulnerable to the attack. In the 1690s, the colonists tried again to establish a school, they commissioned Reverend James Blair, who spent several years in England lobbying, obtained a royal charter for the desired new school. It was to be named the College of Mary in honor of the monarchs of the time; when Reverend Blair returned to Virginia, the new school was founded in a safe place, Middle Plantation in 1693. Classes began in temporary quarters in 1694, the College Building, a precursor to the Wren Building, was soon under construction. Four years in 1698, the rebuilt Statehouse in Jamestown burned down again, this time accidentally.
The government again relocated'temporarily' to Middle Plantation, in addition to the better climate now enjoyed use of the College's facilities. The College students made a presentation to the House of Burgesses, it was agreed in 1699 that the colonial capital should be permanently moved to Middle Plantation. A village was laid out and Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg in honor of King William III of England, befitting the town's newly elevated status. Following its designation as the Capital of the Colony, immediate provision was made for construction of a capitol building and for plotting out the new city according to the survey of Theodorick Bland, his design utilized the extant sites of the College and the almost-new brick Bruton Parish Church as focal points, placed the new Capitol building opposite the College, with Duke of Gloucester Street connecting them. Alexander Spotswood, who arrived in Virginia as lieutenant governor in 1710, had several ravines filled and streets leveled, assisted in erecting additional College buildings, a church, a magazine for the storage of arms.
In 1722, the town of Williamsburg was granted a royal charter as a "city incorporate". However, it was a borough. Middle Plantation was included in James City Shire when it was established in 1634, as the Colony reached a total population of 5,000.. However, the middle ground ridge line was the dividing line with Charles River Shire, renamed York County after King Charles I fell out of favor with the citizens of England; as Middle Plantation and Williamsburg developed, the boundaries were adjusted slightly. For most of the colonial period, the border between the two counties ran down the center of Duke of Gloucester Street. During this time, for 100 years after the formation of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States, despite practical complications, the town remained divided between the two counties. Williamsburg was the site of the first attempted canal in the United States. In 1771, Lord Dunmore, who would turn out to be Virginia's last Royal Governor, announced plans to connect Archer's Creek, which leads to the James River with Queen's Creek, leading to the York River.
It was not completed. Remains of this c
Charles Pinckney (governor)
Charles Pinckney was an American planter and politician, a signer of the United States Constitution. He was elected and served as the 37th Governor of South Carolina serving two more non-consecutive terms, he served as a US Senator and a member of the House of Representatives. He was first cousin once removed of fellow signer Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Pinckney's descendants included seven future South Carolina governors, including men related to the Maybank and Rhett families. Pinckney was educated in Charleston, South Carolina, his father, Colonel Charles Pinckney, was planter. His mother was Frances Brewton, daughter of a goldsmith and his wife, sister of Miles Brewton and Rebecca Brewton Motte, who were both prominent in Charleston history, his father had signed a loyalty oath to the British after they occupied Charleston in 1780 during the American Revolutionary War. This enabled him to keep his property. On his death in 1782, the senior Pinckney bequeathed Snee Farm, a plantation outside the city, his numerous slaves, to his eldest son Charles.
Busy with the war and his political career, Pinckney did not marry until 1787. He married Mary Eleanor Laurens, daughter of Henry Laurens, the wealthy and politically powerful South Carolina slave trader, they had at least three children. Among his in-laws were Colonel John Laurens and U. S. Representative David Ramsay. A brother-in-law married the daughter of South Carolina Governor John Rutledge, he was elected as a delegate to the Third Continental Congress. He started to practice law in Charleston in 1779 at the age of 21. About that time, well after the War for Independence had begun, young Pinckney enlisted in the militia, he became a lieutenant, served at the siege of Savannah. When Charleston fell to the British the next year, the young Pinckney was captured, he did not return to Charleston until 1783. Pinckney was elected again to the Continental Congress following the war, serving 1784–87, he was elected to the state legislature for several terms. As a nationalist, he worked hard in Congress trying to ensure that the United States would receive navigation rights from Spain to the Mississippi River and to strengthen congressional power.
Pinckney owned several plantations and a townhouse in Charleston in addition to Snee Farm: Frankville and Hopton, situated on both sides of the Congaree River, five miles from Columbia. After Pinckney married Eleanor Laurens in 1788, the elegant three-storied brick home at 16 Meeting Street in Charleston became his principal residence. In the 1790 federal census, he is recorded as holding "14 slaves in St. Philip's and St. Michael's Parish, 52 slaves in St. Bartholomew, 45 slaves in the Orangeburg District", all in addition to Snee Farm, where his father's probate record had listed 40 slaves in 1787. Pinckney's role in the Constitutional Convention is controversial. Although one of the youngest delegates, he claimed to have been the most influential one and contended he had submitted a draft, known as the Pinckney Plan, the basis of the final Constitution; this was disputed by James Madison and some of the other framers. Pinckney submitted an elaborate form of the Virginia Plan, proposed first by Edmund Randolph, but it was disregarded by the other delegates.
Historians assess him as an important contributing delegate. Pinckney boasted that he was 24, allowing him to claim distinction as the youngest delegate, but he was 29 years old at the time of the convention, he attended full-time and and contributed to the final draft and to resolution of problems that arose during the debates. He worked for ratification of the constitution in South Carolina. At the Convention, Pierce Butler and Pinckney, both from South Carolina, introduced the Fugitive Slave Clause. James Wilson of Pennsylvania objected, saying that it was special protection for slaveholders, requiring all state governments to enforce it at taxpayers' expense, in places where no one or most residents did not own slaves. Butler withdrew the clause. But, the next day, a southerner reinstated the clause and the Convention adopted it without further objection; this clause was added to the clause. No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.
This clause was first applied to fugitive slaves and required that they be extradited upon the claims of their masters. Despite the clause, free states sometimes declined to enforce it; the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 increased requirements on the states and penalties for
A militia is an army or some other fighting organization of non-professional soldiers, citizens of a nation, or subjects of a state, who can be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel, or members of a warrior nobility class. Unable to hold ground against regular forces, it is common for militias to be used for aiding regular troops by skirmishing, holding fortifications, or irregular warfare, instead of being used in offensive campaigns by themselves. Militia are limited by local civilian laws to serve only in their home region, to serve only for a limited time. With the emergence of professional forces during the Renaissance, Western European militias wilted; the civic humanist ideal of the militia was spread through Europe by the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli Beginning in the late 20th century, some militias act as professional forces, while still being "part-time" or "on-call" organizations. For instance, the members of some U.
S. Army National Guard units are considered professional soldiers, as they are trained to maintain the same standards as their "full-time" counterparts. Militias thus can be paramilitary, depending on the instance; some of the contexts in which the term "militia" is used include: Forces engaged in defense activity or service, to protect a community, its territory and laws. The entire able-bodied population of a community, county, or state, available to be called to arms. A subset of these who may be penalized for failing to respond to a call-up. A subset of these who respond to a call-up, regardless of legal obligation. A private, non-government force, not directly supported or sanctioned by its government. An irregular armed force enabling its leader to exercise military and political control over a subnational territory within a sovereign state. An official reserve army, composed of citizen soldiers. Called by various names in different countries, such as the Army Reserve, National Guard, or state defense forces.
The national police forces in several former communist states such as the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact countries, but in the non-aligned SFR Yugoslavia. The term was inherited in other former CIS countries, where they are known as militsiya. In France the equivalent term "Milice" has become tainted due to its use by notorious collaborators with Nazi Germany. A select militia is composed of a small, non-representative portion of the population politicized. Militia derives from Latin roots: miles /miːles/: soldier -itia /iːtia/: a state, quality or condition of being militia /mil:iːtia/: Military serviceThe word militia dates back to ancient Rome, more to at least 1590 when it was recorded in a book by Sir John Smythe, Certain Discourses Military with the meanings: a military force, it should be noted that the term is used by several countries with the meaning of "defense activity" indicating it is taken directly from Latin. In the early 1800s Buenos Aires, by the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, was attacked during the British invasions of the Río de la Plata.
As regular military forces were insufficient to counter the British attackers, Santiago de Liniers drafted all males in the city capable of bearing arms into the military. These recruits included the criollo peoples, who ranked low down in the social hierarchy, as well as some slaves. With these reinforcements, the British armies were twice defeated; the militias became a strong factor in the politics of the city afterwards, as a springboard from which the criollos could manifest their political ambitions. They were a key element in the success of the May Revolution, which deposed the Spanish viceroy and began the Argentine War of Independence. A decree by Mariano Moreno derogated the system of promotions involving criollos, allowing instead their promotion on military merit; the Argentine Civil War was waged by militias again, as both federalists and unitarians drafted common people into their ranks as part of ongoing conflicts. These irregular armies were organized at a provincial level, assembled as leagues depending on political pacts.
This system had declined by the 1870s due to the establishment of the modern Argentine Army, drafted for the Paraguayan War by President Bartolome Mitre. Provincial militias were outlawed and decimated by the new army throughout the presidential terms of Mitre, Sarmiento and Roca. Armenian militia, or fedayi played a major role in the independence of various Armenian states, including Western Armenia, the First Republic of Armenia, the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh. Armenian militia played a role in the Georgia-Abkhazia War of 1992–1993. In the Colony of New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie proposed a colonial militia but the idea was rejected. Governor Ralph Darling felt. A military volunteer movement attracted wide
A ceremonial pipe is a particular type of smoking pipe, used by a number of Native American cultures in their sacred ceremonies. Traditionally they are used to offer prayers in a religious ceremony, to make a ceremonial commitment, or to seal a covenant or treaty; the pipe ceremony may be a component of a larger ceremony, or held as a sacred ceremony in and of itself. Indigenous peoples of the Americas who use ceremonial pipes have names for them in each culture's indigenous language. Not all cultures have pipe traditions, there is no single word for all ceremonial pipes across the hundreds of diverse Native American languages. Native American ceremonial pipes are used in prayer ceremonies. Sometimes they have been called "peace pipes" by Europeans, or others whose cultures do not include these ceremonial objects. However, the smoking of a ceremonial pipe to seal a peace treaty is only one use of a ceremonial smoking pipe, by only some of the nations that utilize them. Various types of ceremonial pipes have been used by different Native American and First Nations cultures.
The style of pipe, materials smoked, ceremonies are unique to the specific and distinct religions of those nations. The pipes are called by names in that tribe's language; the specific type of pipes smoked in Catholic conversion rituals first in Illinois and in Mi'kmaq territory were known as Calumets. Ceremonial pipes have been used to mark war and peace, as well as commerce and trade, social and political decision-making. During his travels down the Mississippi River in 1673, Father Jacques Marquette documented the universal respect that the ceremonial pipe was shown among all Native peoples he encountered those at war with each other, he claimed. The Illinois people gave Marquette such a pipe as a gift to ensure his safe travel through the interior of the land. In ceremonial usage, the smoke is believed to carry prayers to the attention of the Creator or other powerful spirits. Lakota tradition tells that White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the čhaŋnúŋpa to the people, instructed them in its symbolism and ceremonies.
Many Native American cultures still practice these ceremonies. According to oral traditions, as demonstrated by pre-contact pipes held in museums and tribal and private holdings, some ceremonial pipes are adorned with feathers, animal or human hair, quills, carvings or other items having significance for the owner. Other pipes are simple. Many are not kept by an individual, but are instead held collectively by a medicine society or similar indigenous ceremonial organization. Indigenous peoples of the Americas who use ceremonial pipes have names for them in each culture's indigenous language. There is no single word for all ceremonial pipes across the hundreds of diverse Native cultures; the Lakota sacred pipe is called a chanupa spelled chanunpa or c'anupa. In some historical sources written by colonists, a ceremonial pipe is referred to as a calumet. Calumet is a Norman word, first recorded in David Ferrand's La Muse normande around 1625–1655, used by Norman-French settlers to describe the ceremonial pipes they saw used among the native peoples of the region.
The settlers used the word to refer to the hollow decorated pipe shaft alone while the pipe bowl was a separate ritual object, a "sort of reeds used to make pipes", with a suffix substitution for calumel. It corresponds to the French word chalumeau, meaning'reed'; the Calumets smoked in Catholic conversion rituals first in Illinois and in Mi'kmaq territory were elaborately carved and decorated. The name of the Calumet Region in Illinois and Indiana may derive from the French term or may have an independent derivation from Potawatomi. There is a current Umatilla term, čalámat. Tobacco, Nicotiana rustica, was used by eastern tribes, but western tribes mixed it with other herbs and plant matter, in a preparation known as kinnikinnick. One material used for ceremonial pipe bowls in the Upper Midwest is red pipestone or catlinite, a fine-grained worked stone of a rich red color of the Coteau des Prairies, west of the Big Stone Lake in South Dakota; the pipestone quarries of what today is Minnesota, were neutral ground as people from multiple nations journeyed to the quarry to obtain the sacred pipestone.
The Sioux people use long-stemmed pipes in some of their ceremonies. Other peoples, such as the Catawba in the American Southeast, use ceremonial pipes formed as round, footed bowls. A tubular smoke tip projects from each of the four cardinal directions on the bowl. A number of Indigenous North American cultures use ceremonial pipes. However, there are Native American cultures that do not have a ceremonial smoking tradition, but make pipes for social smoking only; the types of materials used vary by locality. Some of the known types of pipe stone and pipe materials are: Clay – The Cherokee and Chickasaw both fashion pipes made from fired clay, however these are only used for social smoking, they use small reed cane pipestems made from river cane. These pipes are made from aged river clay hardened in a hot fire. Red pipestone – Catlinite is an iron-rich, soft argillite or claystone excavated from beds occurring between hard Sioux Quartzite layers below groundwater level, as the stone erodes when exposed to the weather and outside air.
Red pipestone is used by the Plains Tribes, the Western and Great Basin Tribes. The stone can be found in Minnesota, Utah. Sacred pipestone comes from Pipestone
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D. C; the composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators; each state, regardless of its population size, is represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years. There being at present 50 states in the Union, there are presently 100 senators. From 1789 until 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states; as the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, flag officers, regulatory officials, other federal executive officials and other federal uniformed officers.
In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. Furthermore, the Senate has the responsibility of conducting the trials of those impeached by the House; the Senate is considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, statewide constituencies, which led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere. The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, President of the Senate. In the Vice President's absence, the President Pro Tempore, customarily the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers; the drafters of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress as a compromise between those who felt that each state, since it was sovereign, should be represented, those who felt the legislature must directly represent the people, as the House of Commons did in Great Britain.
This idea of having one chamber represent people while the other gives equal representation to states regardless of population, was known as the Connecticut Compromise. There was a desire to have two Houses that could act as an internal check on each other. One was intended to be a "People's House" directly elected by the people, with short terms obliging the representatives to remain close to their constituents; the other was intended to represent the states to such extent as they retained their sovereignty except for the powers expressly delegated to the national government. The Senate was thus not designed to serve the people of the United States equally; the Constitution provides that the approval of both chambers is necessary for the passage of legislation. First convened in 1789, the Senate of the United States was formed on the example of the ancient Roman Senate; the name is derived from Latin for council of elders. James Madison made the following comment about the Senate: In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure.
An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, to balance and check the other, they ought to be so constituted. The Senate, ought to be this body. Article Five of the Constitution stipulates that no constitutional amendment may be created to deprive a state of its equal suffrage in the Senate without that state's consent; the District of Columbia and all other territories are not entitled to representation allowed to vote in either House of the Congress. The District of Columbia elects two "shadow U. S. Senators", but they are officials of the D. C. City Government and not members of the U. S. Senate; the United States has had 50 states since 1959, thus the Senate has had 100 senators since 1959. The disparity between the most and least populous states has grown since the Connecticut Compromise, which granted each state two members of the Senate and at least one member of the House of Representatives, for a total minimum of three presidential electors, regardless of population.
In 1787, Virginia had ten times the population of Rhode Island, whereas today California has 70 times the population of Wyoming, based on the 1790 and 2000 censuses. This means some citizens are two orders of magnitude better represented in the Senate than those in other states. Seats in the House of Representatives are proportionate to the population of each state, reducing the disparity of representation. Before the adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, senators were elected by the individual state legislatures. Problems with repeated vacant seats due to the inability of a legislature to elect senators, intrastate political struggles, bribery and intimidation had led to a growing movement to amend the Constitution to allow for the direct election of senators; the party composition of the Senate during the 116th Congress: Art
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