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
Iowa is a state in the Midwestern United States, bordered by the Mississippi River to the east and the Missouri River and Big Sioux River to the west. It is bordered by six states. In colonial times, Iowa was a part of Spanish Louisiana. After the Louisiana Purchase, people laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt. In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa's agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, financial services, information technology and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 U. S states, its capital and largest city by population is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in, its nickname is the Hawkeye State. Iowa derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many Native American tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east.
The southern border is the Des Moines River and a not-quite-straight line along 40 degrees 35 minutes north, as decided by the U. S. Supreme Court in Missouri v. Iowa after a standoff between Missouri and Iowa known as the Honey War. Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are formed by rivers. Iowa has 99 counties; the state capital, Des Moines, is in Polk County. Iowa's bedrock geology increases in age from west to east. In northwest Iowa, Cretaceous bedrock can be 74 million years old. Iowa is not flat. Iowa can be divided into eight landforms based on glaciation, soils and river drainage. Loess hills lie along the western border of the state. Northeast Iowa along the Upper Mississippi River is part of the Driftless Area, consisting of steep hills and valleys which appear mountainous. Several natural lakes exist, most notably Spirit Lake, West Okoboji Lake, East Okoboji Lake in northwest Iowa. To the east lies Clear Lake. Man-made lakes include Lake Odessa, Saylorville Lake, Lake Red Rock, Coralville Lake, Lake MacBride, Rathbun Lake.
The state's northwest area has many remnants such as Barringer Slough. Iowa's natural vegetation is tallgrass prairie and savanna in upland areas, with dense forest and wetlands in flood plains and protected river valleys, pothole wetlands in northern prairie areas. Most of Iowa is used for agriculture; the Southern part of Iowa is categorised as the Central forest-grasslands transition ecoregion. The Northern, drier part of Iowa is categorised as the Central tall grasslands and is thus considered to be part of the Great Plains. There is a dearth of natural areas in Iowa; as of 2005 Iowa ranked 49th of U. S. states in public land holdings. Threatened or endangered animals in Iowa include the interior least tern, piping plover, Indiana bat, pallid sturgeon, the Iowa Pleistocene land snail, Higgins' eye pearly mussel, the Topeka shiner. Endangered or threatened plants include western prairie fringed orchid, eastern prairie fringed orchid, Mead's milkweed, prairie bush clover, northern wild monkshood.
There is little proof to suggest that the explosion in the number of high-density livestock facilities in Iowa has led to increased rural water contamination and a decline in air quality. In fact, covered manure storage in modern barns prevent that manure from washing away into surface water, as it does in open lots as snow melts and thunderstorms occur. Other factors negatively affecting Iowa's environment include the extensive use of older coal-fired power plants and pesticide runoff from crop production, diminishment of the Jordan Aquifer. Iowa has a humid continental climate throughout the state with extremes of both cold; the average annual temperature at Des Moines is 50 °F. Winters are harsh and snowfall is common. Spring ushers in the beginning of the severe weather season. Iowa averages about 50 days of thunderstorm activity per year; the 30 year annual average Tornadoes in Iowa is 47. In 2008, twelve people were killed by tornadoes in Iowa, making it the deadliest year since 1968 and the second most tornadoes in a year with 105, matching the total from 2001.
Iowa summers are known for heat and humidity, with daytime temperatures sometimes near 90 °F and exceeding 100 °F. Average winters in the state have been known to drop well below freezing dropping below −18 °F. Iowa's all-time hottest temperature of 118 °F was recorded at Keokuk on July 20, 1934. Iowa has a smooth gradient of var
Washington, D. C. formally the District of Columbia and referred to as Washington or D. C. is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father; as the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually; the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U. S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, the District is therefore not a part of any state; the states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land ceded by Virginia. Washington had an estimated population of 702,455 as of July 2018, making it the 20th most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth largest, had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents. All three branches of the U. S. federal government are centered in the District: Congress and the U. S. Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments, museums situated on or around the National Mall; the city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, professional associations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, the American Red Cross.
A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, Congress may overturn local laws. D. C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961. Various tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people inhabited the lands around the Potomac River when Europeans first visited the area in the early 17th century. One group known as the Nacotchtank maintained settlements around the Anacostia River within the present-day District of Columbia. Conflicts with European colonists and neighboring tribes forced the relocation of the Piscataway people, some of whom established a new settlement in 1699 near Point of Rocks, Maryland. In his Federalist No. 43, published January 23, 1788, James Madison argued that the new federal government would need authority over a national capital to provide for its own maintenance and safety.
Five years earlier, a band of unpaid soldiers besieged Congress while its members were meeting in Philadelphia. Known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security. Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution permits the establishment of a "District as may, by cession of particular states, the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States". However, the Constitution does not specify a location for the capital. In what is now known as the Compromise of 1790, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would pay each state's remaining Revolutionary War debts in exchange for establishing the new national capital in the southern United States. On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River; the exact location was to be selected by President George Washington, who signed the bill into law on July 16.
Formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles on each side, totaling 100 square miles. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, founded in 1751, the city of Alexandria, founded in 1749. During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including a free African American astronomer named Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the borders of the federal district and placed boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new federal city was constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the three commissioners overseeing the capital's construction named the city in honor of President Washington; the federal district was named Columbia, a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800. Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 that organized the District and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal
Mixed-sex sports known as mixed-gender or coed sports, are sports where the participants are not of a single sex. This can take the form of team sports involving people of different sexes. In organised sports settings, rules dictate the number of people required of each sex in a team; such rules account for the sex differences in human physiology, with males being larger and stronger than females on average. In informal settings, mixed-sex sports involves groups of friends and/or family engaging in sport without regard to the sex of the participants. Sports which are mixed-sex as standard are ones where the differences between the sexes do not affect the ability of the competitor, for example equestrian sports. Sports in which the sex of a competitor affects their ability to compete have single-sex divisions, with mixed-team variants comprising the mixed-sex element of the sport, for example mixed doubles tennis. Mixed-sex sports have been encouraged as a way of boosting female sports participation and improving social harmony between the sexes.
Mixed-sex play and sports is common among young children, among whom differences are less pronounced. It is uncommon in most organised sports to find individuals of different genders competing head-to-head at elite level, principally due to the differences between the sexes. In sports where these differences are less linked to performance, it is standard practice for men and women to compete in mixed-sex fields; these open-class sports prove accommodating to intersex athletes, who challenge the sex-defined rules of both single-sex sport and mixed-sex sports with defined male and female roles. In equestrian sports and female riders compete against each other in eventing and show jumping disciplines. Female jockeys compete alongside male ones in horse racing, though the former constitute a minority of jockeys overall. Beyond the athletes, the horses used for racing are a mixed of male and female, with a 60/40 split at the top level between colts and fillies. In snooker, the professional tour is open to men and women, although only one woman has competed on the tour for a full year, although others have played in individual tournaments.
There is a separate women only tour to encourage female participation in the sport. During an Ultimate game, teams of 7 players play in direct competition with each other, while most people of the same gender mark each other, it is not uncommon to see match ups between people of different gender. A common form of mixed-sex sports involves pairs with one female team member. Sports based on dancing have male/female pairings, such as pair figure skating, ice dancing, ballroom dancing and synchronised swimming duets. In these sports the male and female participants physically work together to produce an artistic and athletic performance. Mixed doubles involves two mixed-sex pairs competing against each other with all four competitors in open play; this is prominent in racket sports, including tennis, table tennis, badminton and racquetball. Mixed pairs and mixed teams events are organised in contract bridge. Pairs may compete in turn-based games, where men and women take turns alternately; this is found in more strategy-based sports, including mixed doubles curling, mixed golf, mixed bowling and mixed team darts.
Separate male and female performances may be combined to produce mixed team results in such sports as diving. Synchronised diving is found in mixed-sex format. Mixed tag team matches are found in professional wrestling, where wrestlers are not explicitly competing in a turn-based manner, but are obliged to only face their opponent of the same sex. In non-vehicular racing sports the physiological differences between the sexes preclude head-to-head competition between people of different sexes at the elite level; as a result, mixed-sex events are most held with a relay race format. In running, a 4 × 400 metres mixed relay race was introduced at the 2017 IAAF World Relays, will be added to the 2019 World Championships in Athletics and 2020 Summer Olympics. In cross-country running, a 4 × 2 km mixed relay race was added at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. In swimming, mixed relay races were introduced at the 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships and the 2015 World Aquatics Championships.
The event will debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics. In triathlon, the ITU Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships mixed relay race has been held since 2009; the triathlon at the Youth Olympic Games has a mixed relay race since 2010. As in standard triathlons, each triathlon competitor must do a segment of swimming and running. In biathlon, a mixed relay race was first held at the Biathlon World Championships 2005 in Khanty-Mansiysk, it was added to the 2014 Winter Olympics; the mixed division is a staple of Ultimate, it is the only division, showcased at both the 2013 World Games and the 2017 World Games. Mixed-sex forms of ball sports involve set numbers of each sex per team, sometimes pre-defined roles in the team which people of that gender can play. Examples include korfball, coed softball and wheelchair rugby. Mixed-sex sport has a long history at the Olympic Games, dating back to the 1900 Summer Olympics, the first in which women participated. Two women competed against men in the equestrian, the croquet competition was mixed-sex, while Hélène de Pourtalès was the sole female sailor and first mixed-sex team champion, being part of a gold medal-winning
Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, the District of Columbia to its south and west. The state's largest city is Baltimore, its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, the Chesapeake Bay State, it is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary. Sixteen of Maryland's twenty-three counties border the tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay estuary and its many tributaries, which combined total more than 4,000 miles of shoreline. Although one of the smallest states in the U. S. it features a variety of climates and topographical features that have earned it the moniker of America in Miniature. In a similar vein, Maryland's geography and history combines elements of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions of the country. One of the original Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain, Maryland was founded by George Calvert, a Catholic convert who sought to provide a religious haven for Catholics persecuted in England.
In 1632, Charles I of England granted Calvert a colonial charter, naming the colony after his wife, Queen Mary. Unlike the Pilgrims and Puritans, who enforced religious conformity in their settlements, Calvert envisioned a colony where people of different religious sects would coexist under the principle of toleration. Accordingly, in 1649 the Maryland General Assembly passed an Act Concerning Religion, which enshrined this principle by penalizing anyone who "reproached" a fellow Marylander based on religious affiliation. Religious strife was common in the early years, Catholics remained a minority, albeit in greater numbers than in any other English colony. Maryland's early settlements and population centers clustered around rivers and other waterways that empty into the Chesapeake Bay, its economy was plantation-based, centered on the cultivation of tobacco. The need for cheap labor led to a rapid expansion of indentured servants, penal labor, African slaves. In 1760, Maryland's current boundaries took form following the settlement of a long-running border dispute with Pennsylvania.
Maryland was an active participant in the events leading up to the American Revolution, by 1776 its delegates signed the Declaration of Independence. Many of its citizens subsequently played key military roles in the war. In 1790, the state ceded land for the establishment of the U. S. capital of Washington, D. C. Although a slave state, Maryland remained in the Union during the U. S. Civil War, its strategic location giving it a significant role in the conflict. After the war, Maryland took part in the Industrial Revolution, driven by its seaports, railroad networks, mass immigration from Europe. Since the Second World War, the state's population has grown to six million residents, it is among the most densely populated states in the nation; as of 2015, Maryland had the highest median household income of any state, owing in large part to its close proximity to Washington, D. C. and a diversified economy spanning manufacturing, higher education, biotechnology. Maryland has been ranked as one of the best governed states in the country.
The state's central role in American history is reflected by its hosting of some of the highest numbers of historic landmarks per capita. Maryland is comparable in overall area with Belgium, it is the 42nd largest and 9th smallest state and is closest in size to the state of Hawaii, the next smaller state. The next larger state, its neighbor West Virginia, is twice the size of Maryland. Maryland possesses a variety of topography within its borders, contributing to its nickname America in Miniature, it ranges from sandy dunes dotted with seagrass in the east, to low marshlands teeming with wildlife and large bald cypress near the Chesapeake Bay, to rolling hills of oak forests in the Piedmont Region, pine groves in the Maryland mountains to the west. Maryland is bounded on its north by Pennsylvania, on its west by West Virginia, on its east by Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean, on its south, across the Potomac River, by West Virginia and Virginia; the mid-portion of this border is interrupted by District of Columbia, which sits on land, part of Montgomery and Prince George's counties and including the town of Georgetown, Maryland.
This land was ceded to the United States Federal Government in 1790 to form the District of Columbia.. The Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state and the counties east of the bay are known collectively as the Eastern Shore. Most of the state's waterways are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the exceptions of a tiny portion of extreme western Garrett County, the eastern half of Worcester County, a small portion of the state's northeast corner. So prominent is the Chesapeake in Maryland's geography and economic life that there has been periodic agitation to change the state's official nickname to the "Bay State", a nickname, used by Massachusetts for decades; the highest point in Maryland, with an elevation of 3,360 feet, is Hoye Crest on Backbone Mountain, in the southwest corner of Garrett County, near the bo
The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary in the U. S. states of Virginia. The Bay is located in the Mid-Atlantic region and is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Delmarva Peninsula with its mouth located between Cape Henry and Cape Charles. With its northern portion in Maryland and the southern part in Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay is a important feature for the ecology and economy of those two states, as well as others. More than 150 major rivers and streams flow into the Bay's 64,299-square-mile drainage basin, which covers parts of six states and all of Washington, D. C; the Bay is 200 miles long from its northern headwaters in the Susquehanna River to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 2.8 miles wide at 30 miles at its widest. Total shoreline including tributaries is 11,684 miles, circumnavigating a surface area of 4,479 square miles. Average depth is 21 feet; the Bay is spanned twice, in Maryland by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge from Sandy Point to Kent Island and in Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connecting Virginia Beach to Cape Charles.
Known for both its beauty and bounty, the Bay has become "emptier", with fewer crabs and watermen in past years. Recent restoration efforts begun in the 1990s have been ongoing and show potential for growth of the native oyster population; the health of the Chesapeake Bay improved in 2015, marking three years of gains over the past four years, according to a new report by the University of Maryland. The word Chesepiooc is an Algonquian word referring to a village "at a big river", it is the seventh oldest surviving English place-name in the United States, first applied as "Chesepiook" by explorers heading north from the Roanoke Colony into a Chesapeake tributary in 1585 or 1586. The name may refer to the Chesapeake people or the Chesepian, a Native American tribe who inhabited the area now known as South Hampton Roads in the U. S. state of Virginia. They occupied an area, now the Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach areas. In 2005, Algonquian linguist Blair Rudes "helped to dispel one of the area's most held beliefs: that'Chesapeake' means something like'great shellfish bay.'
It does not, Rudes said. The name might have meant something like'great water,' or it might have just referred to a village location at the Bay's mouth." In addition, the name is always prefixed by "the" in usage by local residents: "The Chesapeake", "The Chesapeake Bay" and "The Bay". The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary to the North Atlantic, lying between the Delmarva Peninsula to the east and the North American mainland to the west, it is the ria, or drowned valley, of the Susquehanna River, meaning that it was the alluvial plain where the river flowed when the sea level was lower. It is not a fjord, because the Laurentide Ice Sheet never reached as far south as the northernmost point on the Bay. North of Baltimore, the western shore borders the hilly Piedmont region of Maryland; the large rivers entering the Bay from the west have broad mouths and are extensions of the main ria for miles up the course of each river. The Bay's geology, its present form, its location were created by a bolide impact event at the end of the Eocene, forming the Chesapeake Bay impact crater and the Susquehanna River valley much later.
The Bay was formed starting about 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age flooded the Susquehanna River valley. Parts of the Bay the Calvert County, coastline, are lined by cliffs composed of deposits from receding waters millions of years ago; these cliffs known as Calvert Cliffs, are famous for their fossils fossilized shark teeth, which are found washed up on the beaches next to the cliffs. Scientists' Cliffs is a beach community in Calvert County named for the desire to create a retreat for scientists when the community was founded in 1935. Much of the Bay is shallow. At the point where the Susquehanna River flows into the Bay, the average depth is 30 feet, although this soon diminishes to an average of 10 feet southeast of the city of Havre de Grace, Maryland, to about 35 feet just north of Annapolis. On average, the depth of the Bay is 21 feet, including tributaries; because the Bay is an estuary, it has salt water and brackish water. Brackish water has three salinity zones: oligohaline and polyhaline.
The freshwater zone runs from the mouth of the Susquehanna River to north Baltimore. The oligohaline zone has little salt. Salinity varies from 0.5 ppt to 10 ppt, freshwater species can survive there. The north end of the oligohaline zone is north Baltimore and the south end is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge; the mesohaline zone has a medium amount of salt and runs from the Bay Bridge to the mouth of the Rappahannock River. Salinity there ranges from 10.7 ppt to 18 ppt. The polyhaline zone is the saltiest zone, some of the water can be as salty as sea water, it runs from the mouth of the Rappahannock River to the mouth of the Bay. The salinity ranges from 18.7 ppt to 36 ppt. The climate of the area surrounding the Bay i
Holyoke is a city in Hampden County, United States, that lies between the western bank of the Connecticut River and the Mount Tom Range. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 39,880; as of 2017, the estimated population was 40,341. Sitting 8 miles north of Springfield, Holyoke is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Area, one of the two distinct metropolitan areas in Massachusetts. Holyoke is among the early planned industrial cities in the United States. Built in tandem with the Holyoke Dam to utilize the water power of Hadley Falls, it is one of a handful of cities in New England built on the grid plan. During the late 19th century the city produced an estimated 80% of the writing paper used in the United States and was home to the largest paper mill architectural firm in the country, as well as the largest paper and alpaca wool mills in the world. Although a smaller number of businesses in Holyoke work in the paper industry today, it is still referred to as "The Paper City". Today the city contains a number of specialty manufacturing companies, as well as the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, an intercollegiate research facility which opened in 2012.
Holyoke is home to the Volleyball Hall of Fame and known as the "Birthplace of Volleyball", as the internationally played Olympic sport was invented and first played at the local YMCA chapter by William G. Morgan in 1895. While working for the Holyoke Water Power Company in the 1880s, hydraulic engineer Clemens Herschel invented the Venturi meter to determine the water use of individual mills in the Holyoke Canal System; this device, the first accurate means of measuring large-scale flows, is used in a number of engineering applications today, including waterworks and carburators, as well as aviation instrumentation. Powered by these municipally owned canals, Holyoke has among the lowest energy rates in the Commonwealth, as of 2016 between 85% and 90% of the city's energy was carbon neutral, with administrative goals in place to reach 100% in the immediate future. English colonists arrived in the Connecticut River Valley in 1633, when traders from the Plymouth Plantation established a post at Windsor, Connecticut.
In 1636, Massachusetts Bay Colony assistant treasurer and Puritan iconoclast William Pynchon led a group of settlers from Roxbury, Massachusetts to the Valley to establish Springfield on land scouts had found to be advantageous for farming and trading. This settlement was built north of the Connecticut River's first major falls, Enfield Falls, where seagoing vessels had to transfer cargo into smaller shallops to continue northward on the river. Due to its proximity to the banks of the river Springfield became a successful settlement on the Bay Path to Boston, as well as the Massachusetts Path to Albany; the settlement spanned both sides of the river but was partitioned in 1774 with the land on the western bank becoming West Springfield, Massachusetts. This area allotted to landowners on the east side of the river in Springfield, was settled by colonists by 1655. Holyoke as a geographic entity was incorporated as a parish; the area's first post office, "Ireland", was established June 3, 1822, with Martin Chapin as first postmaster.
Another, "Ireland Depot", was established February 26, 1847, with John M. Chapin as first postmaster, assumed the town name upon Holyoke's incorporation. Though the name Hampden was considered, the area was subsequently named for earlier Springfield settler William Pynchon's son-in-law, Elizur Holyoke, who had first explored the area in the 1650s. Following land acquisitions and development by the Hadley Falls Company, the town of Holyoke was incorporated on March 14, 1850; the first official town meeting took place a week on March 22, 1850. A part of Northampton known as Smith's Ferry was separated from the rest of the town by the creation of Easthampton in 1809; the shortest path to downtown Northampton was on a road near the Connecticut River oxbow, subject to frequent flooding. The neighborhood became the northern part of Holyoke in 1909. Holyoke had few inhabitants until the construction of the dam and the Holyoke Canal System in 1849 and the subsequent construction of water-powered mills paper mills, the first and last to operate in the city, being those of the Parsons Paper Company.
At one point over 25 paper mills were in operation in the city. The Holyoke Machine Company, manufacturer of the Hercules water turbine, was among many industrial developments of the era. Holyoke's population rose from just under 5,000 in 1860 to over 60,000 in 1920. Due to this staggering growth the municipality was incorporated as a city on April 7, 1873, only 23 years after its initial incorporation as the "Town of Holyoke"; that year the city elected its first mayor, William B. C. Pearsons, who, a quarter-century earlier, had established himself among the first lawyers in the city, was the first editorial writer of the area newspaper-of-record, the Hampden Freeman, best known as the Holyoke Transcript-Telegram. In 1888, Holyoke's paper industry spurred the foundation of the American Pad & Paper Company, which as of 2007 is one of the largest suppliers of office products in the world. Holyoke was previously the location of the headquarters of the American Writing Paper Company, a trust company established in 1899 with the merging of 23 rag paper mills, 13 of which were located in Holyoke.
At one point the company was the largest producer of fine papers in the world, however incompetent leadership lacking technical knowledge of the industry, a