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
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and the historical centre of Lithuanian economic and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the centre of a county in Trakai Municipality of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. In the Russian Empire, it was the capital of the Kaunas Governorate from 1843 to 1915. During the interwar period, it served as the temporary capital of Lithuania, when Vilnius was seized by Poland between 1920 and 1939. During that period Kaunas was celebrated for its rich cultural and academic life, construction of countless Art Deco and Lithuanian National Romanticism architectural-style buildings as well as popular furniture, the interior design of the time, a widespread café culture; the city interwar architecture is regarded as among the finest examples of European Art Deco and has received the European Heritage Label. It contributed to Kaunas being named as the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to be designated as a UNESCO City of Design. Kaunas has been selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2022, together with Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg.
The city is the capital of Kaunas County, the seat of the Kaunas city municipality and the Kaunas District Municipality. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. Kaunas is located at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris, is near the Kaunas Reservoir, the largest body of water in the whole of Lithuania; the city's name is of Lithuanian origin and most derives from a personal name. Before Lithuania regained independence, the city was known in English as Kovno, the traditional Slavicized form of its name. An earlier Russian name was Ковно Kovno, although Каунас Kaunas has been used since 1940; the Yiddish name is קאָװנע Kovne, the names in German include Kaunas and Kauen. The city and its elderates have names in other languages. An old legend claims; these Romans were led by a patrician named Palemon, who had three sons: Barcus and Sperus. Palemon fled from Rome. Palemon, his sons and other relatives travelled to Lithuania. After Palemon's death, his sons divided his land.
Kunas got the land. He built a fortress near the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, the city that grew up there was named after him. A suburban region in the vicinity is named "Palemonas". On 30 June 1993, the historical coat of arms of Kaunas city was re-established by a special presidential decree; the coat of arms features a white aurochs with a golden cross between its horns, set against a deep red background. The aurochs was the original heraldic symbol of the city, established in 1400; the heraldic seal of Kaunas, introduced in the early 15th century during the reign of Grand Duke Vytautas, is the oldest city heraldic seal known in the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The current emblem was the result of much study and discussion on the part of the Lithuanian Heraldry Commission, realized by the artist Raimondas Miknevičius. An auroch has replaced a wisent, depicted in the Soviet-era emblem, used since 1969. Blazon: Gules, an aurochs passant guardant argent ensigned with a cross Or between his horns.
Kaunas has a greater coat of arms, used for purposes of Kaunas city representation. The sailor, three golden balls, Latin text "Diligite justitiam qui judicatis terram" in the greater coat of arms refers to Saint Nicholas, patron saint of merchants and seafarers, regarded as a heavenly guardian of Kaunas by Queen Bona Sforza. According to the archeological excavations, the richest collections of ceramics and other artifacts found at the confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris rivers are from the second and first millennium BC. During that time, people settled in some territories of the present Kaunas: the confluence of the two longest rivers of Lithuania area, Lampėdžiai, Kaniūkai, Marvelė, Romainiai, Petrašiūnai, Sargėnai, Veršvai sites. A settlement had been established on the site of the current Kaunas old town, at the confluence of two large rivers, at least by the 10th century AD. Kaunas is first mentioned in written sources in 1361. In 1362, the castle was destroyed by the Teutonic Order.
Commander Vaidotas of the Kaunas castle garrison, with 36 men, tried to break through, but was taken prisoner. It was one of the largest and important military victories of the Teutonic Knights in the 14th century against Lithuania; the Kaunas castle was rebuilt at the beginning of the 15th century. In 1408, the town was granted Magdeburg rights by Vytautas the Great and became a centre of Kaunas Powiat in Trakai Voivodeship in 1413. Vytautas ceded Kaunas the right to own the scales used for weighing the goods brought to the city or packed on site, wax processing, woolen cloth-trimming facilities; the power of the self-governing Kaunas was shared by three interrelated major institutions: vaitas, the Magistrate, the so-called Benchers' Court. Kaunas began to gain prominence, since it was at an intersection of a river port. In 1441 Kaunas joined the Hanseatic League, Hansa merchant office Kontor was opened—the only one in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. By the 16th century, Kaunas had a public school and a hospital and was one of the best-formed towns in
The black-headed gull is a small gull that breeds in much of Europe and Asia, in coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory and winters further south, but some birds reside in the milder westernmost areas of Europe; some black-headed gulls spend the winter in northeastern North America, where it was known as the common black-headed gull. As is the case with many gulls, it was placed in the genus Larus; the genus name Chroicocephalus is from Ancient Greek khroizo, "to colour", kephale, "head". The specific ridibundus is Latin for "laughing", from ridere "to laugh"; this gull is 38–44 cm long with a 94–105 cm wingspan. In flight, the white leading edge to the wing is a good field mark; the summer adult has a chocolate-brown head, pale grey body, black tips to the primary wing feathers, red bill and legs. The hood is lost in winter. Immature birds have a mottled pattern of brown spots over most of the body, it breeds in colonies on islands in lakes, nesting on the ground. Like most gulls, it is gregarious in winter, both when feeding or in evening roosts.
It is not a pelagic species and is seen at sea far from coasts. The black-headed gull is a opportunistic feeder, it eats insects, seeds, worms and carrion in towns, or invertebrates in ploughed fields with equal relish. It is a noisy species in colonies, with a familiar "kree-ar" call, its scientific name means laughing gull. This species takes two years to reach maturity. First-year birds have a black terminal tail band, more dark areas in the wings, and, in summer, a less developed dark hood. Like most gulls, black-headed gulls are long-lived birds, with a maximum age of at least 32.9 years recorded in the wild, in addition to an anecdote now believed of dubious authenticity regarding a 63-year-old bird. To be found over much of Europe, except Spain and Greece, it is found in Japan and E China. It is an occasional visitor to the east coast of North America; the eggs of the black-headed gull are considered a delicacy by some in the UK and are eaten hard boiled. Observations on the behavior of black-headed gulls show that black-headed gulls individuals synchronize their activity with other black-headed gulls neighbors.
Synchronization in black-headed gulls groups is dependent on the distance between the black-headed gulls members. Black-headed gull stamps from many countries at bird-stamps.org Ageing and sexing by Javier Blasco-Zumeta & Gerd-Michael Heinze Feathers of Black-headed Gull at Ornithos.de BirdLife species factsheet for Larus ridibundus "Chroicocephalus ridibundus". Avibase. "Common black-headed gull media". Internet Bird Collection. Black-headed gull photo gallery at VIREO Interactive range map of Larus ridibundus at IUCN Red List maps Audio recordings of Black-headed gull on Xeno-canto. Chroicocephalus ridibundus in the Flickr: Field Guide Birds of the World Black-headed gull media from ARKive
The Nara period of the history of Japan covers the years from AD 710 to 794. Empress Genmei established the capital of Heijō-kyō. Except for a five-year period, when the capital was moved again, it remained the capital of Japanese civilization until Emperor Kanmu established a new capital, Nagaoka-kyō, in 784, before moving to Heian-kyō, modern Kyoto, a decade in 794. Most of Japanese society during this period was centered on villages. Most of the villagers followed a religion based on the worship of natural and ancestral spirits called kami; the capital at Nara was modeled after Chang the capital city of Tang dynasty. In many other ways, the Japanese upper classes patterned themselves after the Chinese, including adopting Chinese written system and the religion of Buddhism. Concentrated efforts by the imperial court to record and document its history produced the first works of Japanese literature during the Nara period. Works such as the Kojiki and the Nihon Shoki were political in nature, used to record and therefore justify and establish the supremacy of the rule of the emperors within Japan.
With the spread of written language, the writing of Japanese poetry, known in Japanese as waka, began. The largest and longest-surviving collection of Japanese poetry, the Man'yōshū, was compiled from poems composed between 600 and 759 CE. This, other Nara texts, used Chinese characters to express the sounds of Japanese, known as man'yōgana. Before the Taihō Code was established, the capital was customarily moved after the death of an emperor because of the ancient belief that a place of death was polluted. Reforms and bureaucratization of government led to the establishment of a permanent imperial capital at Heijō-kyō, or Nara, in AD 710, it is to be noted that the capital was moved shortly to Kuni-kyō in 740–744, to Naniwa-kyō in 744–745, to Shigarakinomiya in 745, moved back to Nara in 745. Nara was Japan's first urban center, it soon had some 10,000 people worked in government jobs. Economic and administrative activity increased during the Nara period. Roads linked Nara to provincial capitals, taxes were collected more efficiently and routinely.
Coins were minted, if not used. Outside the Nara area, there was little commercial activity, in the provinces the old Shōtoku land reform systems declined. By the mid-eighth century, shōen, one of the most important economic institutions in prehistoric Japan, began to rise as a result of the search for a more manageable form of landholding. Local administration became more self-sufficient, while the breakdown of the old land distribution system and the rise of taxes led to the loss or abandonment of land by many people who became the "wave people"; some of these "public people" were employed by large landholders, "public lands" reverted to the shōen. Factional fighting at the imperial court continued throughout the Nara period. Imperial family members, leading court families, such as the Fujiwara, Buddhist priests all contended for influence. Earlier this period, Prince Nagaya seized power at the court after the death of Fujiwara no Fuhito. Fuhito was succeeded by four sons, Umakai and Maro, they put the prince by Fuhito's daughter, on the throne.
In 729, they regained control. However, as a major outbreak of smallpox spread from Kyūshū in 735, all four brothers died two years resulting in temporary shrinking of Fujiwara's dominance. In 740, a member of the Fujiwara clan, Hirotsugu launched a rebellion from his base in Fukuoka, Kyushu. Although defeated, it is without doubt that the Emperor was shocked about these events, he moved the palace three times in only five years from 740, until he returned to Nara. In the late Nara period, financial burdens on the state increased, the court began dismissing nonessential officials. In 792 universal conscription was abandoned, district heads were allowed to establish private militia forces for local police work. Decentralization of authority became the rule despite the reforms of the Nara period. To return control to imperial hands, the capital was moved in 784 to Nagaoka-kyō and in 794 to Heian-kyō, about twenty-six kilometers north of Nara. By the late eleventh century, the city was popularly called Kyoto, the name it has had since.
Some of Japan's literary monuments were written during the Nara period, including the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, the first national histories, compiled in 712 and 720 respectively. Another major cultural development of the era was the permanent establishment of Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced by Baekje in the sixth century but had a mixed reception until the Nara period, when it was heartily embraced by Emperor Shōmu. Shōmu and his Fujiwara consort were fervent Buddhists and promoted the spread of Buddhism, making it the "guardian of the state" and a way of strengthening Japanese institutions. During Shōmu's reign, the Tōdai-ji was built. Within it was placed the Great Buddha Daibutsu: a 16-metre-high, gilt-bronze statue; this Buddha was identified with the Sun Goddess, a gradual syncretism of Buddhism and Shinto ensued. Shōmu declared himself the "Servant of the Three Treasures" of Buddhism: the Buddha, the law or teachings of B
Kyoto Kyoto City, is the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture, located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is best known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. In Japanese, Kyoto was called Kyō, Miyako, or Kyō no Miyako. In the 11th century, the city was renamed Kyoto, from the Chinese calligraphic, jingdu. After the city of Edo was renamed Tokyo in 1868, the seat of the Emperor was moved there, Kyoto was for a short time known as Saikyō. Kyoto is sometimes called the thousand-year capital; the National Diet never passed any law designating a capital. Foreign spellings for the city's name have included Kioto and Meaco, utilised by Dutch cartographers. Another term used to refer to the city in the pre-modern period was Keishi, meaning "urba" or "capital". Ample archaeological evidence suggests human settlement in Kyoto began as early as the Paleolithic period, although not much published material is retained about human activity in the area before the 6th century, around which time the Shimogamo Shrine is believed to have been established.
During the 8th century, when powerful Buddhist clergy became involved in the affairs of the Imperial government, Emperor Kanmu chose to relocate the capital in order to distance it from the clerical establishment in Nara. His last choice for the site was the village of Uda, in the Kadono district of Yamashiro Province; the new city, Heian-kyō, a scaled replica of the Tang capital Chang'an, became the seat of Japan's imperial court in 794, beginning the Heian period of Japanese history. Although military rulers established their governments either in Kyoto or in other cities such as Kamakura and Edo, Kyoto remained Japan's capital until the transfer of the imperial court to Tokyo in 1869 at the time of the Imperial Restoration; the city suffered extensive destruction in the Ōnin War of 1467–1477, did not recover until the mid-16th century. During the Ōnin War, the shugo collapsed, power was divided among the military families. Battles between samurai factions spilled into the streets, came to involve the court nobility and religious factions as well.
Nobles' mansions were transformed into fortresses, deep trenches dug throughout the city for defense and as firebreaks, numerous buildings burned. The city has not seen such widespread destruction since. In the late 16th century, Toyotomi Hideyoshi reconstructed the city by building new streets to double the number of north-south streets in central Kyoto, creating rectangle blocks superseding ancient square blocks. Hideyoshi built earthwork walls called odoi encircling the city. Teramachi Street in central Kyoto is a Buddhist temple quarter where Hideyoshi gathered temples in the city. Throughout the Edo period, the economy of the city flourished as one of three major cities in Japan, the others being Osaka and Edo; the Hamaguri rebellion of 1864 burnt down 28,000 houses in the city which showed the rebels' dissatisfaction towards the Tokugawa Shogunate. The subsequent move of the Emperor to Tokyo in 1869 weakened the economy; the modern city of Kyoto was formed on April 1, 1889. The construction of Lake Biwa Canal in 1890 was one measure taken to revive the city.
The population of the city exceeded one million in 1932. There was some consideration by the United States of targeting Kyoto with an atomic bomb at the end of World War II because, as an intellectual center of Japan, it had a population large enough to persuade the emperor to surrender. In the end, at the insistence of Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, the city was removed from the list of targets and replaced by Nagasaki; the city was spared from conventional bombing as well, although small-scale air raids did result in casualties. As a result, the Imperial City of Kyoto is one of the few Japanese cities that still have an abundance of prewar buildings, such as the traditional townhouses known as machiya. However, modernization is continually breaking down the traditional Kyoto in favor of newer architecture, such as the Kyōto Station complex. Kyoto became a city designated by government ordinance on September 1, 1956. In 1997, Kyoto hosted the conference.
Kyoto is located in a valley, part of the Yamashiro Basin, in the eastern part of the mountainous region known as the Tamba highlands. The Yamashiro Basin is surrounded on three sides by mountains known as Higashiyama and Nishiyama, with a height just above 1,000 metres above sea level; this interior positioning results in cold winters. There are three rivers in the basin, the Ujigawa to the south, the Katsuragawa to the west, the Kamogawa to the east. Kyoto City takes up 17.9% of the land in the prefecture with an area of 827.9 square kilometres. The original city was arranged in accordance with traditional Chinese feng shui following the model of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an; the Imperial Palace faced south. The streets in the modern-day wards of Nakagyō, Shimogyō, Kamigyō-ku still follow a grid pattern. Today, the main business district is located to the south of the old Imperial Palace, with the less-populated northern area retaining a fa
The Tokugawa Shogunate known as the Tokugawa Bakufu and the Edo Bakufu, was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867. The head of government was the shōgun, each was a member of the Tokugawa clan; the Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo Castle and the years of the shogunate became known as the Edo period. This time is called the Tokugawa period or pre-modern. Following the Sengoku period, the central government had been re-established by Oda Nobunaga during the Azuchi–Momoyama period. After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu. Society in the Tokugawa period, unlike in previous shogunates, was based on the strict class hierarchy established by Toyotomi Hideyoshi; the daimyō were at the top, followed by the warrior-caste of samurai, with the farmers and traders ranking below. In some parts of the country smaller regions, daimyō and samurai were more or less identical, since daimyō might be trained as samurai, samurai might act as local rulers.
Otherwise, the inflexible nature of this social stratification system unleashed disruptive forces over time. Taxes on the peasantry were set at fixed amounts that did not account for inflation or other changes in monetary value; as a result, the tax revenues collected by the samurai landowners were worth less and less over time. This led to numerous confrontations between noble but impoverished samurai and well-to-do peasants, ranging from simple local disturbances to much larger rebellions. None, proved compelling enough to challenge the established order until the arrival of foreign powers. A 2017 study found that peasant rebellions and collective desertion lowered tax rates and inhibited state growth in the Tokugawa shogunate. In the mid-19th century, an alliance of several of the more powerful daimyō, along with the titular Emperor, succeeded in overthrowing the shogunate after the Boshin War, culminating in the Meiji Restoration; the Tokugawa shogunate came to an official end in 1868 with the resignation of the 15th Tokugawa shōgun Tokugawa Yoshinobu, leading to the "restoration" of imperial rule.
Notwithstanding its eventual overthrow in favor of the more modernized, less feudal form of governance of the Meiji Restoration, the Tokugawa shogunate oversaw the longest period of peace and stability in Japan's history, lasting well over 260 years. The bakuhan taisei was the feudal political system in the Edo period of Japan. Baku is an abbreviation of bakufu, meaning "military government"—that is, the shogunate; the han were the domains headed by daimyō. Vassals provided military service and homage to their lords; the bakuhan taisei split feudal power between the shogunate in Edo and provincial domains throughout Japan. Provinces had a degree of sovereignty and were allowed an independent administration of the han in exchange for loyalty to the shōgun, responsible for foreign relations and national security; the shōgun and lords were all daimyōs: feudal lords with their own bureaucracies and territories. The shōgun administered the most powerful han, the hereditary fief of the House of Tokugawa.
Each level of government administered its own system of taxation. The emperor, nominally a religious leader, held no real power; the shogunate had the power to discard and transform domains. The sankin-kōtai system of alternative residence required each daimyō to reside in alternate years between the han and the court in Edo. During their absences from Edo, it was required that they leave family as hostages until their return; the huge expenditure sankin-kōtai imposed on each han helped centralize aristocratic alliances and ensured loyalty to the shōgun as each representative doubled as a potential hostage. Tokugawa's descendants further ensured loyalty by maintaining a dogmatic insistence on loyalty to the shōgun. Fudai daimyō were hereditary vassals of Ieyasu, as well as of his descendants. Tozama became vassals of Ieyasu after the Battle of Sekigahara. Shinpan were collaterals of Tokugawa Hidetada. Early in the Edo period, the shogunate viewed the tozama as the least to be loyal. In the end, it was the great tozama of Satsuma, Chōshū and Tosa, to a lesser extent Hizen, that brought down the shogunate.
These four states are called Satchotohi for short. The number of han fluctuated throughout the Edo period, they were ranked by size, measured as the number of koku of rice that the domain produced each year. One koku was the amount of rice necessary to feed one adult male for one year; the minimum number for a daimyō was ten thousand koku. Regardless of the political title of the Emperor, the shōguns of the Tokugawa family controlled Japan; the administration of Japan was a task given by the Imperial Court in Kyoto to the Tokugawa family, which returned to the court in the Meiji Restoration. While the Emperor had the prerogative of appointing the shōgun, he had no say in state affairs; the shogunate appointed a liaison, the Kyoto Shoshidai, to deal with the Emperor and nobility. Towards the end of the shogunate, after centuries of the Emperor having little say in state affairs and being secluded in his Kyoto palace, in the wake of the reigning shōgun, Tokugawa Iemochi, marrying the sister of Emperor Kōmei, in 1862, the Imperial Court in Kyoto