Fort Toulouse called Fort des Alibamons and Fort Toulouse des Alibamons, is a historic fort near the city of Wetumpka, United States, now maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission. The French founded the fort in 1717, naming it for comte de Toulouse. In order to counter the growing influence of the British colonies of Georgia and Carolina, the government of French Louisiana erected a fort on the eastern border of the Louisiana Colony in what is now the state of Alabama; the fort was referred to as the Post of the Alabama, named after the Alabama tribe of Upper Creek Indians, who resided just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on the upper reaches of the Alabama River. The number of troops in garrison varied between 50 French Colonial Marines. Living and working at the fort, the Marines traded extensively with the local Creek Native Americans and cultivated friendly relations with them; the French would trade European goods such as Flintlock guns and gunpowder, iron tools, glass beads, copper pots, wool blankets in exchange for local food stuffs and deerskins.
According to tradition, the French commander Captain Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand married the high-status Creek woman Sehoy in about 1720. Generations of Sehoy's descendants include the Creek chiefs Alexander McGillivray, William Weatherford, who inherited their status in the matrilineal tribe from their mothers' clans. Due to the poor living conditions at the fort, neglected by the French government, the troops mutinied in 1722, they captured the other officers, tying them up before leaving the fort. The imprisoned officers managed to escape, with the help of nearby Creek, they captured the mutineers and sent them to Fort Conde in Mobile for punishment. By the early 1740s, conditions had improved at the fort. Many soldiers had intermarried with the local Creek, they and other settlers developed numerous farms nearby. The humid climate caused deterioration of the fort by the late 1740s, the French planned for a third fort to be built. Under the direction of Captain Francois Saucier, soldiers finished the reconstruction of Fort Toulouse about 1751.
It cost nearly half of the military budget for the whole Louisiana colony. In 1763 the Treaty of Paris ended the Indian War; as the French had been defeated by the British and ceded their territory, the French garrison spiked their cannons and left for New Orleans and an eventual return to France for some. The British chose not to occupy the Fort, which collapsed into decay. In 1776 the naturalist William Bartram noted visiting the area while studying local fauna. During the War of 1812 and the simultaneous Creek War, General Andrew Jackson encamped his troops on the site of the old Fort Toulouse, he ordered construction of a larger fort, named Fort Jackson by General Joseph Graham in honor of Jackson's victories against the Creek and in the Battle of New Orleans. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark by the Department of Interior in 1960. During the American Bicentennial, local groups supported reconstruction of Fort Toulouse, but the replica was incorrectly built upon the outline of the much larger Fort Jackson rather than the historic French fort.
In the 1980s the park was acquired by the Alabama Historical Commission. It dismantled the incorrect replica and constructed a replica of Fort Toulouse near its original site; this will allow for a future reconstruction of Ft. Jackson on its site. Archeological excavations have been continuing at the site, supervised by Dr. Craig Sheldon of Auburn University at Montgomery; the Fort Toulouse-Fort Jackson State Historic Site has living history programs to portray and interpret the lives of the Creek inhabitants, the French colonists and the U. S. military troops associated with the War of 1812. The fort is located southwest of Wetumpka, off of U. S. Highway 231. List of National Historic Landmarks in Alabama Heldman, Donald P. "Fort Toulouse of the Alabamas and the Eighteenth-Century Indian Trade". World Archaeology 5.2: 163-169. Fort Toulouse - Fort Jackson Official Website Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson - Alabama Historical Commission Fort Toulouse Unofficial Community website Google books.com
The Coosa River is a tributary of the Alabama River in the U. S. states of Georgia. The river is about 280 miles long; the Coosa River begins at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers in Rome and ends just northeast of the Alabama state capital, where it joins the Tallapoosa River to form the Alabama River just south of Wetumpka. Around 90% of the Coosa River's length is located in Alabama. Coosa County, Alabama, is located on the Coosa River; the Coosa is one of Alabama's most developed rivers. Most of the river has been impounded, with Alabama Power, a unit of the Southern Company, owning seven dams and powerhouses on the Coosa River; the dams produce hydroelectric power, but they are costly to some species endemic to the Coosa River. Native Americans had been living on the Coosa Valley for millennia before Hernando de Soto and his men became the first Europeans to visit it in 1540; the Coosa chiefdom was one of the most powerful chiefdoms in the southeast at the time. Over a century after the Spanish left the Coosa Valley, the British established strong trading ties with the Creek bands of the area around the late 17th century, much to the dismay of France.
With a base in Mobile, the French believed that the Coosa River was a key gateway to the entire South and they wanted to control the valley. The main transportation of the day was by boat; the convergence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers near present-day Montgomery forms the Alabama River, which has its mouth at Mobile Bay, the port used by the French for travel around the Caribbean and to France. They wanted to retain control of both the the Alabama rivers. In the early 18th century all European and Indian trade in the southeast ceased during the tribal uprisings brought on by the Yamasee War against the Carolinas. After a few years, the Indian trade system was resumed under somewhat reformed policies; the conflict between the French and English over the Coosa Valley, much of the southeast in general, continued. It was not after Britain had defeated France in the Seven Years' War that France relinquished its holdings east of the Mississippi River to Britain; this was stated in the Treaty of Paris signed by both nations in 1763.
By the end of the American Revolutionary War, the Coosa Valley was occupied in its lower portion by the Creek and in the upper portion by the Cherokee peoples, who had a settlement near its start in northwest Georgia. After the Fort Mims massacre near Mobile, General Andrew Jackson led American troops, along with Cherokee allies, against the Lower Creek in the Creek War; this culminated in the Creek defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Afterward, the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814 forced the Creek to cede a large amount of land to the United States, but left them a reserve between the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers in northern Alabama. There the Creeks were encroached on by European-American settlers who had begun moving into their territory from the United States. During the 1820s and 1830s the Creek and all the southeastern Indians were removed to Indian Territory; the Cherokee removal is remembered as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee capital city of New Echota was located on the headwater tributaries of the Coosa River, in Georgia, until the tribe's removal.
The Creek and Choctaw removals were similar to the Cherokee Trail of Tears. After the removals, the Coosa River valley and the southeast in general was wide open for American settlers; the cotton gin made short-staple cotton profitable to process, it was a new cotton hybrid that could be grown in the upland regions. The first river town to form in the Coosa Basin was at the foot of the last waterfall on the Coosa River, the "Devil's Staircase." Settlers soon adopted the native name Wetumpka for this new community. The Coosa River was an important transportation route into the early 20th century as a commercial waterway for riverboats along the upper section of the river for 200 miles south of Rome; however and waterfalls such the Devil's Staircase along the river's lowest 65 miles blocked the upper Coosa's riverboats from access to the Alabama River and the Gulf of Mexico. The building of the dams on the Coosa - Lay and Jordan — allowed Alabama Power to pioneer new methods of controlling and eliminating malaria, a major health issue in rural Alabama in the early 1900s.
So successful were their pioneering efforts in this area, that the Medical Division of the League of Nations visited Alabama to study the new methods during the construction of Mitchell Dam. For a time, the Popeye the Sailorman cartoons were inspired by Tom Sims, a Coosa River resident in Rome, Georgia, familiar with riverboat life and characters of the early 1900s; the following table describes the seven impoundments on the Coosa River from the south to north built by the Alabama Power Company as well as the tailwater section below Jordan Dam. Harvey H. Jackson III in a book Putting Loafing Streams To Work characterized the importance of the first Coosa River dams as follows: In the Middle Coosa River Watershed, 281 occurrences of rare plant and animal species and natural communities have been documented, including 73 occurrences of 23 species that are federal or state protected. Ten conservation targets were chosen: the riverine system, matrix forest communities, gray bat, riparian vegetation, mountain longleaf pine forest communities, red-cockaded woodpecker, critically imperiled aquatic species, southern hognose snake
An arboretum in a general sense is a botanical collection composed of trees. More a modern arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants and is intended at least in part for scientific study. An arboretum specializing in growing conifers is known as a pinetum. Other specialist arboreta include saliceta and querceta; the term arboretum was first used in an English publication by John Claudius Loudon in 1833 in The Gardener's Magazine but the concept was long-established by then. Related collections include a viticetum. Egyptian Pharaohs cared for them. Hatshepsut's expedition to Punt returned bearing thirty-one live frankincense trees, the roots of which were kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage, it is reported that Hatshepsut had these trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahri mortuary temple complex. Arboreta are special places for the cultivation and display of a wide variety of different kinds of trees and shrubs. Many tree collections have been claimed as the first arboretum, in most cases, the term has been applied retrospectively as it did not come into use until the eighteenth century.
Arboreta differ from pieces of woodland or plantations because they are botanically significant collections with a variety of examples rather than just a few kinds. Of course there are many tree collections that are much older than the eighteenth century in different parts of the world; the most important early proponent of the arboretum in the English-speaking transatlantic world was the prolific landscape gardener and writer, John Claudius Loudon who undertook many gardening commissions and published the Gardener's Magazine, Encyclopaedia of Gardening and other major works. Loudon's Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum, 8 vols. is the most significant work on the subject in British history and included an account of all trees and shrubs that were hardy in the British climate, an international history of arboriculture, an assessment of the cultural and industrial value of trees and four volumes of plates. Loudon urged that a national arboretum be created and called for arboreta and other systematic collections to be established in public parks, private gardens, country estates and other places.
He regarded the Derby Arboretum as the most important landscape-gardening commission of the latter part of his career because it demonstrated the benefits of a public arboretum. Commenting on Loddiges' famous Hackney Botanic Garden arboretum, begun in 1816, a commercial nursery that subsequently opened free to the public, for educational benefit, every Sunday, Loudon wrote: "The arboretum looks better this season than it has done since it was planted... The more lofty trees suffered from the late high winds, but not materially. We walked round the two outer spirals of this coil of shrubs. There is no garden scene about London so interesting". A plan of Loddiges' arboretum was included in The Encyclopaedia of 1834 edition. Leaves from Loddiges' arboretum and in some instances entire trees, were studiously drawn to illustrate Loudon's encyclopaedic book Arboretum et Fruticetum Britannicum which incorporated drawings from other early botanic gardens and parklands throughout the United Kingdom. One example of an early European tree collection is the Trsteno Arboretum, near Dubrovnik in Croatia.
The date of its founding is unknown, but it was in existence by 1492, when a 15 m span aqueduct to irrigate the arboretum was constructed. The garden was created by the prominent local Gučetić/Gozze family, it suffered two major disasters in the 1990s but its two unique and ancient Oriental Planes remained standing. Udhagamandalam Arboretum, The Nilgiris, IndiaThe arboretum at Ooty was established in 1992 with an aim of conserving native and indigenous trees, it was established during the year 1992 and maintained by Department of Horticulture with Hill Area Development Programme funds. The micro watershed area leading to Ooty lake where the arboretum is now located, had been neglected and the feeder line feeding water to Ooty was contaminated with urban waste and agricultural chemicals; the area is the natural habitats of both indigenous and migratory birds. During the year 2005-2006, it was rehabilated with funds provided by the Hill Area Development Programme by providing permanent fencing, a footpath, other infrastructure facilities.
Both indigenous and exotic tree species are included. The following tree species were planted: Celtis tetrandra, Dillenia pentagyna, Elaeocarpus ferrugineus, Elaeocarpus oblongus, Evodia lunuankenda, Glochidion neilgherrense, Ligustrum perrotetti, Litsaea ligustrina, Litsaea wightiana, Meliosma arnotiana, Meliosma wightii, Michelia champaca, Michelia nilagirica, Pygeum gardneri, Syzygium amothanum, Syzygium montanum, Alnus nepalensis, Viburnum erubescens, Podocarpus wallichianus, Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, Rapanea wightiana, Ternstroemia japonica, Microtropis microc
Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state; the city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area. Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River, it was near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king. The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language phrase we-wau tum-cau; the name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
After being forced west to Indian Territory, by United States soldiers under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Muscogee named their major settlement there Wetumka, after their historic village. Wetumpka was long settled by the Muscogee people, whose territory extended through present-day Georgia and Alabama, their largest towns were on the banks of the Coosa and at its confluence with the Tallapoosa River, at Wetumpka and Talisi, respectively. After moving the 1702 settlement of Mobile to Mobile Bay in 1711, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville sent an expedition up the Alabama River to establish a fort in the interior of the colony, known as La Louisiane or New France, to stop the encroachment of British colonists and to foster trade and goodwill with the Creek. Bienville directed the construction of Fort Toulouse along the Coosa River in 1714, 4 miles above the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers and the Creek village of Taskigi. Bienville selected this area as a strategic locale for a fortification.
The French traded at Wetumpka and garrisoned Fort Toulouse until 1763, when they ceded the territory to the British following defeat in the Seven Years' War. For nearly a quarter century, the British had control of this area. Several Scots and Irish traders, such as McGillivray and Weatherford, were active in the region, they married into the Creek matrilineal aristocracy and claimed vast land grants. Their descendants became important Creek leaders because of their mothers' status. After Britain was defeated in the American Revolutionary War, it ceded its territory east of the Mississippi River to the United States in 1783. In 1798 the US made this area part of the Mississippi Territory, after cessions from the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Between 1800 and 1812, European-American pioneers began to arrive, many with enslaved African-American laborers, encroach on the lands of the Southeast Indian tribes. By the early 19th century, there were tensions among the Creek, with young men of the Upper Creek promoting a revival of religion and traditional culture, the Lower Creek, more influenced by settlement and trade with European Americans in Georgia, becoming more assimilated.
In addition, in 1811, the Shawnee chief Tecumseh of the upper Northwest appealed to the Creek to join his Western Confederacy to try to drive out and exterminate the European settlers west of the Appalachians. When the U. S. declared war on Britain in June 1812, the Upper Creek lost the assistance of the British, but they persisted with war against American settlers in the area. Upon receiving the news of the massacre at Fort Mims, whose refugees included many Lower Creek, American settlers appealed for government help. General Andrew Jackson led a militia with members from Tennessee and Georgia and attacked the Creek in Alabama; the path the militia traveled became known as "Jackson's Trace". Jackson's forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, he moved on to Fort Toulouse. During his absence, the site was renamed Fort Jackson in his honor. Jackson made the fort his headquarters during the War of 1812; the newly created Montgomery County held its courts there. The defeated Creek were forced to sign the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded to the United States 23,000,000 acres of Creek lands: much of the remainder of their territory in Georgia and most of central Alabama.
After the war, many of Jackson's Tennessee militia returned home, collected their families and belongings, brought them back to settle near the fort. Settlers from Georgia and the Carolinas, flooded into the fertile land that the Creeks had been forced to give up. With its strategic location at the river confluence, Wetumpka became an important center of agricultural trade; the city was formally incorporated in 1834. Cotton was the commodity crop of the new state of Alabama, with cultivation of short-staple cotton in the upland areas made possible by Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin, which reduced the labor of processing. From the scattered fields and large plantations worked by slave labor in the interior, cotton was carted overland to Wetumpka. At the fall line of the Coosa River, the port shipped out cotton bales by steamboats which went downriver to the markets at Mobile for sale. Wetumpka became a cotton boom town; the new city was divided in half. The part on the eastern bank of the river was commercial, with banks and hotels, was located in Coosa County.
The western section in Autauga County was residential, with houses and c
William Bartram was an American naturalist. The son of Ann and the naturalist John Bartram, William Bartram and his twin sister Elizabeth were born in Kingsessing, Pennsylvania; as a boy, he accompanied his father on many of his travels to the Catskill Mountains, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, New England, Florida. From his mid-teens, Bartram was noted for the quality of his ornithological drawings, he had an increasing role in the maintenance of his father's botanic garden, added many rare species to it. In 1773, he embarked upon a four-year journey through eight southern colonies. Bartram made many drawings and took notes on the native flora and fauna, the native American Indians. In 1774, he explored the St. Johns River, where he had memorable encounters with aggressive alligators, visited a principal Seminole village at Cuscowilla, where his arrival was celebrated with a great feast, he met chief of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe. When Bartram explained to the Cowkeeper that he was interested in studying the local plants and animals, the chief was amused and began calling him Puc Puggy.
Bartram continued his explorations of the Alachua Savannah. William Bartram wrote of his experiences exploring the Southeast in his book Travels through North & South Carolina, East & West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, the Country of the Chactaws, Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians, published in 1791 and, today known as Bartram's Travels. E. G. Squier and Edwin Hamilton Davis, in their book, Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, name Bartram as "the first naturalist who penetrated the dense tropical forests of Florida." William Bartram arrived in Charleston on March 31, 1773. He learned that a Native American congress was to take place in Augusta, Georgia in June and was invited by Superintendent of Indian affairs, John Stuart, to join the party that would survey a new land cession. After attending to some business Bartram travelled on to Savannah, arriving in that city on either April 11 or 12.
While he awaited the beginning of the Native American congress he travelled to the coast of Georgia. He first visited some rice plantations in Midway travelled on to Darien where he was the guest of Lachlan McIntosh. In Travels Bartram related an incident at this point that most took place in 1776; as he travelled through the sparsely populated country of South Georgia, he encountered an "intrepid Siminole" who had resolved upon killing the next white man he met, but was disarmed by Bartram's unexpected friendliness. During his trip along the coast Bartram revisited the region of Fort Barrington on the Altamaha River. John and William Bartram had discovered two new trees there in 1765, but they had no flowers for the season was late. William described these trees in the Franklin tree and fevertree; the story of the Franklin tree is fascinating for it no longer exists in the wild and all living trees are descended from seeds collected by William Bartram. Bartram travelled to Augusta and explored the area while he awaited the conclusion of the Native American congress.
The conference ended on June 1773 with the Treaty of Augusta. In return for dissolving their debts to the traders in Augusta, the Creeks and Cherokees gave up 674,000 acres of land in northeast Georgia. Bartram joined the survey party. An incident occurred at a place known as the Great Buffalo Lick when the Native Americans questioned the accuracy of the surveyor's course; when the surveyor said it was right because the compass told him so the chief, Young Warrior, said that... the little wicked instrument was a liar. This mistake displeased the Indians. Bartram returned to Savannah in mid-July and spent the fall and winter on the coast of Georgia, exploring the Altamaha River, writing his report, preparing his seeds for shipment to England. In March, 1774, Bartram began his much anticipated trip to East Florida, he landed on the north end of Amelia Island and travelled through Old Fernandina to Lord Egmont's plantation where modern Fernandina now stands. Bartram was entertained by Stephen Egan, Egmont's agent, who rode with him around the entire island observing the plantation and Indian mounds.
Bartram and Egan sailed from Amelia Island through the Intracoastal Waterway to the St. Johns River and to the Cow Ford where Bartram purchased a little sailboat. In three days Bartram landed at the plantation of Francis Philip Fatio at Switzerland. There he received information concerning the recent disturbances at Spalding's Stores, he paused the next day at Fort Picolata. Bartram kept to the west bank, or Indian shore, the river being the division between Indian country on the west bank and English land on the east, he observe
The Tallapoosa River runs 265 miles from the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, United States and westward into Alabama. It is formed by the confluence of McClendon Creek and Mud Creek in Georgia. Lake Martin at Alexander City, Alabama is a large and popular water recreation area formed by a dam on the river; the Tallapoosa joins the Coosa River about 10 miles northeast of Montgomery near Wetumpka to form the Alabama River. There are four hydroelectric dams on the Tallapoosa: Yates, Thurlow and Harris dams, they are important sources of electricity generation for Alabama Power and recreation for the public. The Tallapoosa River its lower course, was a major population center of the Creek Indians before the early 19th century; the contemporary name of the river is from the Creek words Talwa posa, which mean "Grandmother Town". The Creek consider the Tallapoosa branch of their tribe to be one of the oldest. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, a U. S. National Military Park managed by the National Park Service, is located along the banks of the Tallapoosa River just upstream from Lake Martin.
It preserves a battle site associated with the Creek War. The river below Thurlow Dam provides a short run of outstanding Class II, III and IV whitewater kayaking. Tallapoosa, Georgia is named for the river; the first hydroelectric dam in Alabama was built on the Tallapoosa River in 1902, by Henry C. Jones, an Auburn University electrical engineer, at the site of the current Yates Dam, it was rebuilt. The dam belonged to the Montgomery Light & Water Power Company. In 1928 it was replaced by the Yates Dam. There are four hydroelectric dams on the Tallapoosa River: Yates Dam, Thurlow Dam, Martin Dam, R. L. Harris Dam; the table below outlines the four impoundments on the Tallapoosa River from south to north. The Tallapoosa River's drainage has many significant tributaries which reflected below based on their location within the watershed; the Coosa-Alabama River Improvement Association, founded in 1890 in Gadsden, Alabama to promote navigation on the Coosa River is a leading advocate of the economic and environmental benefits of the Coosa and Tallapoosa River systems.
The Alabama Rivers Alliance works to unite the citizens of Alabama to protect peoples right to clean, waters. Alabama Water Watch is dedicated to volunteer citizen monitoring of water quality in Alabama Rivers; the Alabama Power Foundation is a non-profit foundation providing grants for watershed and community projects along the Tallapoosa River and within the state of AlabamaThe Coosa River Basin Initiative is a grassroots environmental organization with the mission of informing and empowering citizens so that they may become involved in the process of creating a clean and economically viable Coosa River Basin. A number of significant cities lie on the banks of the Tallapoosa River, they include: Heflin, Alabama - headwaters Buchanan, Georgia - headwaters Tallapoosa, Georgia - headwaters Wedowee, Alabama - near R. L Harris Lake Lineville, Alabama - near R. L harris Lake (Lake Wedowee Alexander City, Alabama - north flank of Lake Martin Dadeville, Alabama - south flank of Lake Martin Tallassee, Alabama - site of Lower Tallassee Dam Wetumpka, Alabama - near confluence with Coosa River forming the Alabama River Montgomery, Alabama - Tallapoosa River is major source of drinking water for city.
Atkins, Leah Rawls. "Developed for the Service of Alabama" - The Centennial History of the Alabama Power Company 1906-2006. Birmingham, Alabama: Alabama Power Company. ISBN 978-0-9786753-0-1. Jackson, Harvey H. III. Putting Loafing Streams To Work-The Building of Lay, Mitchell and Jordan Dams, 1910-1929. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0879-2. Jackson, Harvey H. III. Rivers of History-Life on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and Alabama. Tuscaloosa, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0-8173-0771-0. "Tallapoosa, a river of Georgia and Alabama". The American Cyclopædia. 1879
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