United States of America
United States is a land of great variety
with an unusual blending of all sorts of customs and cultures from
all over the world. It is the 4th
largest country in the world, with an area 9.83 million square
kilometers and a population of approximately 310,000,000 people. The
US comprises of 50 states and the national capital – Washington
D.C. The national bird of the US is the bald eagle.
gives way further inland to deciduous forests and rolling hills of
the Piedmont –
a plateau region
located in the eastern United States . The Appalachian Mountains
divide the eastern seaboard from the Great Lakes and the grasslands
of the Midwest. The Mississippi–Missouri River, the world's fourth
longest river system, runs from
north to south
through the heart of the country. The flat, fertile prairies
of the Great Plains stretch to the west, interrupted by a highland
region in the southeast. The Rocky Mountains, at the western edge of
the Great Plains, extend north to south across the country, reaching
altitudes higher than 4,300 m in Colorado. Further
west are the Great Basin and deserts such as the Mojave. The Sierra
Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges run close to the Pacific coast. At
m, Alaska's Mount McKinley is the tallest peak in the country and in
North America. Active volcanoes are common throughout Alaska's
Aleutian Islands and
The supervolcano underlying Yellowstone National Park in the Rockies
is the continent's largest volcanic feature.
its large size and geographic variety, the
most climate types. In
the east, the
climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid
subtropical in the south. The southern tip of Florida is tropical, as
is Hawaii. The Great Plains to
are semi-arid. Much of the w
mountains are alpine. The climate is arid in the Great Basin, hot
in the Southwest, Mediterranean in coastal California, and oceanic in
coastal Oregon, W
and southern Alaska. Most of Alaska is subarctic or polar. T
states bordering the Gulf of Mexico are prone to hurricanes, and most
of the world's tornadoes occur within the country, mainly in the
Midwest's Tornado Alley.
US is a republic with 3 major branches of power. The Executive Branch
includes the president as the head of state who is elected to a
maximum of 2 of four-year terms. The Legislative Branch is made up
Congress. Congress is divided into the Senate with 100 members (2
from each state elected for six-year terms), and the House of
Representatives with 435 members elected for two-year terms from each
state depending on the population. The Judicial Branch is made up of
the Supreme Court and other courts of law. The two main political
parties are the Democrats, with a blue donkey as their symbol, and
the Republicans, with their symbol of a red elephant. Each state has
quite a lot of power to make its own laws, therefore laws tend to
vary from state to state.
is no typical lifestyle for the entire United States. Throughout the
states, it is as varied as can possibly be. The life of a New Yorker
is different than the life of a rancher in Wyoming while the life of
someone living in the mountains is different from the life of someone
living in the desert. The US contains many small towns each having
their own character and history. These towns differ greatly from
large cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.
England's landscape varies from farmlands to mountains to coastline,
and the entire region is famous for its marvelous display of color in
the autumn. The area was named by the the English explorer, John
Smith, when he declared the area the perfect place for a new colony
in 1614. Famous historical events such as the Boston Tea Party or the
first revolutionary battle at Bunker Hill took place in New England.
Boston is the area's most major city containing the famous
universities of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of
is the smallest state with miles of shoreline, beaches, and
woodlands, making it a popular nature retreat. Rhode Island's
capital, Providence, is home to the famous Brown University. The
state is famous for its magnificent mansions where wealthy New
Yorkers spend their summers.
is another small state with miles of coastline and beaches. It is
home to the famous Yale University in New Haven. The capital,
Hartford, is famous for once being the home of the author Mark Twain.
is famous for its culture and for its capital, the aforementioned
Boston. Other famous sites are the city of Salem, the location of the
1692 witch trials, Plymouth, the location of the first permanent
European settlement, and Cape Cod, an area of cute villages and
is dominated by the Green Mountains, making it a popular skiing and
hiking destination. It is famous for its maple syrup and cranberry
is famous for its forests and it is also a popular hiking
is known for its lobster, fishing, and colonial villages. Maine is
home to Acadia National Park, with beautiful views, hiking trails,
beaches, and lighthouses.
Lower Northeast is made up of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
most famous for its city of the same name, is the location of the
National Baseball Hall of fame in Cooperstown, and many beautiful
places such as the Adirondack Mountains or Niagara Falls.
nicknamed the Garden State, is a state of rolling hills, small towns,
and farms. It is one of the nation's biggest producers of blueberries
and cranberries. The gambling paradise of Atlantic City offers the
residents of New Jersey a famous pastime.
is famous for Philadelphia, the city where the original 13 British
colonies signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It also
served as the nation's capital for a few years. In Philadelphia we
can admire Independence Hall, the location of the signing of the
Declaration and the US Constitution, and the US Mint, the place where
most of the country's coins are made. Hershey is another popular town
in Pennsylvania because it is home to the Hershey chocolate factory.
Hershey's is something similar along the lines of the Czech Orion.
Pennsylvania is also home to a large Amish population, a religious
group farming the land and rejecting modern conveniences.
is famous for its crab fishing and yachting. The largest city,
Baltimore, is known for its Science Center and National Aquarium.
is the nation's second smallest state. It was the first of the 13
colonies to sign the Declaration, and so it is nicknamed the First
Virgina lies entirely in the Appalachian Mountain range. It is the
location of many national parks, forests, and rivers. The New River
Gorge is where some of the nation's best white-water rafting can be
done. The state is also known for its old-fashioned woodwork,
quilting, and other crafts.
Was established as the nation's capital in 1790. All federal
government institutions, including Congress, the Supreme Court, and
the White House, are housed here, as well as a number of memorials
commemorating former presidents. In this city, tourists can explore a
number of museums such as the Smithsonian Institute, the National
Gallery of Art, or the National Air and Space Museum.
south from the US capital to Florida's tip, this region contains
Virgina, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee,
Kentucky, and Florida. This is the region where the colony Jamestown
was founded in 1607 in Virgina. Colonies in this area prospered
because of tobacco, indigo, and rice plantations, which were tended
to by slaves. In 19th
century, these states formed the Confederacy that fought against the
abolition of slavery by the Union in the Civil War. The South also
known for its lengthy dialect known as the drawl, Kentucky Fried
Chicken, and Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The South gave the world blues,
country music, and number of literary works dealing with the history
is a place for history lovers. Williamsburg offers visitors a taste
of colonial times with blacksmiths, horse-drawn carriages, and
Carolina is where we can find the so called “research triangle”
of the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and technology
businesses in the area. The town of Kill Devil Hills, the location
where the Wright Brothers launched their first airplane in 1903, can
also be found in North Carolina.
is the location of Fort Sumter, where the first shot of the Civil War
was fired. Myrtle beach on the Atlantic Coast is a popular
destination for students during spring break. In Charleston, some
former plantation homes and their large gardens are open to public.
is famous for its large city of Atlanta. Boasting one of the nation's
largest airports, the city is also home to the World of Coca-Cola,
the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and a large
population of African Americans.
is the location of the twin music cities of Nashville and Memphis.
Nashville is the capital of country music with the Country Music hall
of Fame. Memphis is home to many music museums and venues, the
National Civil Rights Museum, and the location of Martin Luther King
Jr.'s assassination in 1968. The state is dominated by the Great
takes its pride from its equestrian tradition, horse racing, and
horse breeding. The annual Kentucky Derby horse race is run in
Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
is a very popular state for many reasons. Walt Disney World is
located in Orlando, The Kennedy Space center is the location of the
launching of many space shuttles, Miami is a popular tourist
destination due to its beaches as well as its Cuban culture, and the
Everglades National Park is an attraction full of swamps,
alligators, and many different bird species.
Great Lakes Region
this region, all of the states, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio,
and Illinois, border the Great Lakes. It is the home to many Czech
immigrants. The entire region is an industrial powerhouse.
is a state which industrially combines tire production and
agriculture. The major city of Cleveland became significant through
steel production and is home to German and Irish immigrants, while
Cincinnati made its fortune through slaughterhouses. In southern
Ohio, we can find archaeological remains of the first American
civilizations. The Mound-builder culture left many piles of earth in
various shapes that were once probably used for ceremonial or burial
is a rural area due to its many rivers. Corn is grown in half of the
state, making it the origin of a lot of American popcorn. The largest
city, Indianapolis, hosts the Indy 500 car race annually on the
is home to Chicago, the third largest US city. Chicago is well known
for its modern architecture and its Sears Tower is one of the world's
tallest buildings. The metropolis has a large Czech population. In
fact, by the turn of the 19th
century, Chicago was the 3rd
largest Czech city in the world after Prague and Vienna. The rest of
Illinois is mainly rural. Abraham Lincoln, the 12th
US president, was born in the Springfield, the state's capital and
perhaps home of the Simpsons.
is divided into 2 halves by Lake Michigan. The Upper Peninsula is a
popular tourist attraction due to natural attractions and old lumber,
mining, and fishing towns. The Lower Peninsula is the location of
Detroit, the city where Ford and General Motors have their
is the nation's main cheese and beer producer. Milwaukee, the largest
city, contains many breweries, which were contributed to by German
immigrants. The state also has many cow farms, contributing to its
nickname of “America's Dairyland.”
is a center of aquatic sports. The state contains thousands of lakes,
making it popular for swimming, fishing, and boating.
landscapes and farmlands characterize this region with the states of
North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri. The
history of these states is closely tied to Native Americans. The most
popular career here is farming. Many acres of land are devoted to
corn, wheat, cattle, and pigs. Some of the nation's worst weather is
also found in this area, consisting mainly of tornadoes, floods,
thunderstorms, scorching summer heat, and harsh winter blizzards.
is a major grain producer, and grows more sunflowers than any other
state. The official state beverage is milk.
is known for Mt. Rushmore. It is a mountain carving in the Black
Hills of the faces of former US presidents George Washington, Thomas
Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and George Washington. Badlands
National Park, a huge area with sharply eroded buttes and spires
carved out of stone, is also located in South Dakota.
has more rivers than any other state, and is dominated by farmland. A
large portion of the Oregon Trail, the main wagon route from Missouri
to Oregon, passes through Nebraska. The state's capital, Omaha, is
the location of the Lied Jungle, the world's largest indoor rain
is the nation's largest agricultural producer. It is also a popular
destination for Czech immigrants. Cedar Rapids is home to the
National Czech and Slovak Museum, and a Czech Village which sells
is known for it's Gateway Arch in the state's capital of St. Louis.
It's the tallest monument in the US and it symbolizes the gateway
between the eastern and western United States. St. Louis is also the
home of the largest beer brewery in the nation. During the World's
Fair of 1904 hosted in St. Louis, iced tea and the ice cream cone
were invented. In Kansas City, we can find more boulevards than Paris
and more fountains that any city except Rome.
is associated with wheat production, and buffalo hunts. It also
played an important role in history as an Indian resettlement
region is known as the birthplace of jazz, Cajun food, and the civil
rights movement, and comprises of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi,
Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas.
is well known thanks to its largest city: New Orleans. It is a place
for good music, tasty food, and great parties such as its Mardi Gras
festival. The original inhabitants of the state, French Canadian
immigrants, brought with them Cajun food and culture. Creole food is
also popular in Louisiana. A popular dish originating from Louisiana
is gumbo, a stew combining French, African, and Spanish cuisine.
is a state of mountains, valleys, forests, and plains. It was the
first state in which black students were sent to high school in 1957,
making integration possible.
is the birthplace of blues, Elvis Presley, and Oprah Winfrey.
is where much of the struggle for civil rights took place. Shops,
schools, restaurants, and even buses where segregated. Martin Luther
King Jr. was from Alabama.
has the largest Native American population of any state. The state's
rural history includes oil wells and cowboys. A significant part of
the historical Route 66 runs through Oklahoma.
is the 2nd
largest state. It was originally a part of Mexico, and was taken over
by Americans during the Battle of the Alamo in 1835. Linked to the
state's fortunes are cattle and cowboys. Houston is the city where
the Space Center, functioning as mission control for all US space
flights, is located.
Rocky states are named after the Rocky mountain range running trough
them and are Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. These states have
small populations but also a lot of natural beauty and outdoor
activities. The landscape ranges from flat plains and prairies to
towering and majestic mountains.
is famous for producing potatoes. It is home to the deepest river
gorge in North America, carved by the Snake River in Hells Canyon
National Recreation Area, a place much loved by kayakers and
whitewater rafters. The 1st
ski lift in the world was built in Sun Valley in 1936.
has the most species of mammals of any state, including buffalo,
moose, elk, antelope, deer, and grizzly bears. Montana's population
is very sparse and spread out. It is nicknamed the Big Sky State due
to the sense of freedom a glimpse at the sky gives you. Two famous
national parks, Yellowstone, the world's 1st
national park, and Glacier, are located in Montana.
is classic cowboy country. It has the smallest population, but it was
state to give women the right to vote. The southern part of
Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming.
is known as the best place to ski in the US. It is home to the famous
ski resort called Aspen. The capital city, Denver, is known for its
museums including the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of
Nature and Science. Denver also claims the invention of the
cheeseburger. Colorado Springs is the location of the US Air Force
Academy. Mesa Verde National Park is the location of a four-story
city carved into rock by the Peublo people over 1000 years ago.
Southwest states are New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. They are
characterized by beautiful desert landscapes, deep canyons, and high
mesas. The population is a mix of Native Americans, Hispanics, and
whites. The place where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet
is called 4 corners, and it is the only place in the US where you can
be in 4 states at once.
annually hosts the world's largest hot air balloon festival in
Albuqerque. The capital city, Santa Fe, is a city filled with
interesting Native American architecture and adobe buildings. We can
admire the remains of Native American cultures in Chaco Canyon and
Bandelier National Monument.
is home to the Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River. Though the
south of Arizona is mostly desert, rattlesnakes, and cacti, the North
is forested and mountainous. In Flagstaff, we can visit the Lowell
Observatory where Pluto was first discovered. The famous Monument
Valley is located in Arizona. As for weather, Arizona is famous for
is a state filled with natural wonders and national parks such as
Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. The state's capital,
Salt Lake City, is where the 2002 Winter Olympics were held. Next to
the city is the largest slat lake in North America: Great Salt Lake.
is famous for its city of Las Vegas. It is a city of many casinos,
neon lights, massive hotels, making it a gambler's paradise. Hoover
Dam, one of the highest concrete dams in the world, is located in
States in the west coast of the US are Alaska, Washington, Oregon,
and California, and we mustn't forget the only island state of
is a famous, 1,300 km long state. A large immigrant population gives
it a ethnic mix. Hordes of people were led to move to the area during
the Gold Rush in 1849. California is define by the north and the
south, giving the impression that it is 2 separate states. The south
is dominated by Los Angeles, movie stars, and beaches. LA is home to
Hollywood, California's fortune maker. Hollywood's glamorous look can
be seen in the luxury restaurants, hotels, and clubs along the famous
street Sunset Strip. The Walk of Fame has more than 2,000 polished
marble stars with names of celebrities. LA has many theme parks such
as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and Knott's Berry Farm.
In San Diego, California's city on the border with Mexico, we can
find the famous theme park called Sea World. The most prominent city
in the north is the open minded city of San Francisco. It is famous
for the Golden Gate Bridge, street cars, and Alcatraz. It has a
famous waterfront area with museums, shops, and seafood restaurants
called Fisherman's wharf. There a lot of outdoor activities to do in
California as well. Lake Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain are famous for
their ski resorts, Yosemite National Park for its canyons, gigantic
trees, and waterfalls, and Death Valley for being the hottest place
on Earth (once having recorded a temperature of 57°
in the shade.) Other attractions include Mono Lake, Sequoia National
Forest, Redwood National Park, the views along the Pacific Coast
Highway, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and America's only castle: Hearst
are characterized by mountains, rivers, and forests. In Oregon you
can visit Mount Hood in the Cascade Mountains, where you can ski
year-round. Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest lake in the USA
created by the collapse of a volcano after its eruption. Portland,
Oregon, is the birthplace of Matt Groening, the creator of The
Washington is traditionally a logging and fishing state. It's known
for its high-tech companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Intel. The
state receives a lot of rain and is home to the nation's only
continental rainforest. Washington also produces more apples than any
other US state. The active volcano, Mt. St. Helen's, is located in
was bought from Russia in 1867 and became the 49th
state in 1959. It is the largest state and home to icy natural beauty
and the highest US mountain: Mt. McKinley, located in Denali National
Park. The state, located partially above the Arctic Circle, is an
important source of oil. Dog mushing is the official state sport. The
capital, Juneau, is only accessible by boat or plane.
state, is an archipelago in the Pacific. The largest 5 islands are:
Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai. Since the islands are
volcanic, eruptions are common. The most famous volcanoes is Mauna
Loa and Mauna Kea. Hawaii is a very popular tourist destination due
to its beaches, and water sports such as surfing and snorkeling.
Hawaii has a rich Polynesian culture, stemming from its original
children attend public schools which are free of charge, but paid
private schools are also an option.
is based on an A-F system which excludes the letter E. A is the best
grade, while F means fail.
children start with kindergarten between the ages of 5 and 6. Some
children attend pre-school, which has to be pain for, from as early
as 3 or 4 years.
covering 5 or 6 years, formally starts compulsory education.
Particular school districts determine the curriculum, but mainly
essential subjects, such as math, English, and science, are taught.
The daily schedule includes a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance
before class each morning.
grade to 8th
grade, children attend Junior
also called Middle School.
last form of compulsory education, High
consists of 4 years, each with a different name. In order, they are
freshman yeah, sophomore year, junior year, and senior year. In some
states, only the 1st
two years are compulsory and students can leave school after
completing their sophomore year. High schools offer academic courses
as well as vocational courses such as mechanics and computers.
Testing takes place in the form of quizzes, essays, and other
projects. As juniors, students take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or
the SAT. This four hour test determines the students' levels of
language, writing, math, and critical thinking skills. Scores from
these tests determine if students are capable of getting into the
universities of their choice. Graduation is celebrated with a
ceremony in which students dress in long gowns of their school
colors, receive diplomas, and toss flat hats in the air. At the end
of senior year, students attend a graduation dance called prom.
the US, there are over 2,000 universities and colleges ranging from
Ivy League Schools such as Yale or Harvard, to state universities or
community colleges. A Bachelor's or undergraduate degree usually
takes 4 years, and an additional 2 years of education earn you a
Master's or graduate degree. It is possible to continue to earn a PhD
or doctorate degree.
America, professional sport is very popular and big in business.
Making millions of dollars a year are teams in the National Football
League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, and
National Hockey League. Famous baseball teams are the New York
Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Boston Red Sox. Famous
football teams are the Oakland Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, and
the Pittsburgh Steelers. Famous basketball teams are the Los Angeles
Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Sacramento Kings. These
first class players all come from college teams. The most popular
sports are football and basketball. Top games are televised and
millions of Americans watch their favorite teams.
most popular American sport kicks off in September and ends in
different time throughout winter. On Friday nights, people gather to
watch local high school teams compete, and Saturday is for colleges
and universities. The best college teams are invited to play in bowl
games. The oldest bowl game is the Rose Bowl, which takes place in
LA. The most famous bowl game is the Super Bowl, the championship
game of the NFL. It is considered and unofficial national holiday,
and it is the most-watched American television broadcasts. Even fancy
commercials are specially made for this broadcast. Super Bowl Sunday
is the largest day for US food consumption after Thanksgiving. People
who don't even like football will get together on this day and drink
and eat and watch.
is the celebration of bringing in the New Year. A popular tradition
is gathering in Times Square in New York to watch a large ball drop
during the last 10 seconds of the old year. This is event is
televised. Many Americans make New Year's Resolutions.
Luther King Jr. Day,
honoring the famous man who spoke for civil rights and equality, is
on the 3rd
Monday of January. To honor this day we had a Hands Across Campus
Rally in school to celebrate the equality of all cultures.
on February 2nd
is the day that determines if spring is on its way or not. If the
groundhog doesn't see his shadow, then spring is around the corner.
school is held on President's
on the 3rd
Monday of February, which is closely followed by Lincoln's
on February 12th.
a popular day for lovebirds. On this day, people exchange boxes of
chocolates, flowers, and cards.
is the day for wearing green. Chicago even dyes it's river green. If
someone is caught without something green on, they are pinched.
or Fat Tuesday, is mainly celebrated in New Orleans with a display of
elaborate floats in parades, confetti, and masked balls.
the famous Christian holiday, is celebrated in the US with Easter Egg
hunts in backyards. The Easter Bunny supposedly leaves baskets of
Easter treats for children to find in the morning.
on May 10th
is when a lot of mothers and daughters dine out together.
The last Monday in May
is Memorial Day, commemorating fallen soldiers.
celebrating the adoption of the 1st
American flag. Today the flag has 13 stripes which represent the
original 13 colonies, and 50 stars which represent the 50 states.
This is a day to review proper flag etiquette.
America's birthday, is on July 4th
It is a day of family gatherings, BBQ's, hamburgers, hot dogs,
patriotic displays and parades, the colors of the flag, and
Monday in September is Labor
a day of many parades, which marks the end of summer and the time of
going back to school. In California, school starts the Thursday after
celebrating the discovery of America, is on the 2nd
Monday in October.
on October 31st
is a time o pumpkin carving, costume and pumpkin contests, parties,
haunted houses, and trick-or-treating. Trick-or-treating usually
takes place between 5-8 PM and consists of dressing up in a costume
and going around the neighborhood collecting candy. Many people
decorate their houses for this occasion with gravestones, skeletons,
and other spooky elements.
another occasion for parades, is on November 11th
is a very important US holiday. It is held on the 4th
Thursday of November and celebrates the 1st
bountiful harvest that the pilgrims had with the help of the Native
Americans upon arriving in America. This is a time of families
gathering together and enjoying a feast of turkey, stuffing, mashed
potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry sauce,
cornbread, and pumpkin pie. Leftover turkey from Thanksgiving can
often haunt in the form of leftovers for days. No one should be left
hungry on Thanksgiving so there are many food drives for the needy.
The Day after Thanksgiving is the day when stores start getting ready
for Christmas so they have large sales and many people swamp in
stores. This day is known as Black Friday.
a popular holiday especially for children. Unfortunately, it has
become quite commercialized. In the US, families put up Christmas
trees and decorate their homes with lights and blow-up Santas a few
weeks before Christmas. In LA, there is a famous area called Candy
Cane Lane where all of the inhabitants go all out to decorate their
houses in a big style. Children hoping for small treats put up
stockings on the fireplace. On Christmas Eve, a dinner similar to the
one on Thanksgiving is eaten. Milk and cookies are left out for Santa
Claus, and carrots for his reindeer. Santa supposedly arrives at
night on his sleigh drawn by reindeer, climbs down the chimney, and
leaves presents under the tree, which are unwrapped the next morning.