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United States of America (Соединенные Штаты Америки), United States — nation[ru] in North America. About 9363.2 thousand Km2. The population of 281.4 million. People (2000). The urban population is 75.2% (1990).
The racial makeup (1991,%): 83.4 white, blacks 12.4, other (immigrants from Asia and Oceania, the American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts) 4.1. The official language - English. Believers mostly Protestant (56%) and Catholics (25%).
United States - the federation of 50 states (the 48 contiguous, and Alaska and Hawaii) and federal (capital) the District of Columbia. Capital - Washington. Head of state and government - the president, elected for 4 years. Legislature - Congress (House and Senate).
About half of the main area (neighboring states) - mountain ranges, plains and plateaus of the Cordilleras; eastern outskirts of the belt of the Cordillera mountain ranges form the Rocky Mountains higher than 4,000 meters, the West - Coast Mountains, stretches along the Pacific coast. In the east of the country - Appalachian Mountains (altitude up to 2037 m). Between the Cordilleras and the Appalachians - vast inland plains (Central, Great). Along the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico - Atlantic region and Gulf Coastal Plain.
The highest point in the country - Mount McKinley (6193 m) in Alaska. Deposits of coal, oil, natural gas, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, uranium mining and chemical raw materials. The climate is mostly temperate and subtropical continental. The average January temperature of -25° C in Alaska to 20° C on the peninsula of Florida, July 14-22° C on the west coast, 16-26° C - on the east. Rainfall of 100 mm on the inland plateaus and plateaus up to 4000 mm per year in the coastal strip.
The main rivers of the United States - Mississippi tributaries Missouri and Ohio, Columbia, Colorado, Yukon. In the north-east - the Great Lakes system. Alaska - tundra and sparse forests, in the north-east - coniferous and mixed, in the south - subtropical broadleaf and mixed. On the domestic plateau Cordillera - semi-desert.
The territory of present-day United States of America was inhabited by ancient Indians (Alaska - Eskimo). In the 16th century, the beginning of European colonization of North America, in which the indigenous population displacement and exterminated; to work on the plantations of slaves imported from Africa. During the War of Independence in North America 1775-1783, respectively, it was independent states - the United States (1776).
In 1787, the constitution was adopted. The first US president, George Washington became. In 1803, the United States bought from France, Louisiana, in 1819 Spain was forced to cede it to Florida in 1840-1850-ies captured more than half of the territory of Mexico, in 1867, bought Alaska from Russia and the Aleutian Islands. In 1820-1850-ies were formed Democratic and Republican parties.
The struggle between the North and South resulted in the American Civil War of 1861-1865. The victory of the North in the war led to the destruction of slavery and paved the way for the rapid development of capitalism. In 1881 he founded the American Federation of Labor, in 1905 - the trade union "Industrial Workers of the World." As a result, the United States launched the Spanish-American War of 1898 the United States took over the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, actually turned Cuba into a colony. Since the beginning of the 20th century the United States has repeatedly carried out armed incursions into the territory of the Latin American countries. In 1917-1918, the United States participated in the side of the Allies in World War I[ru], after which he took the leading position among the nations of the world.
On March 31, 1917, the US bought the Virgin Islands from Denmark. The United States for a long time nurtured this idea, but was refused. The agreement was reached during the First World War. The islands discovered by Christopher Columbus[ru], were eventually sold for $ 25 million. During its history, the US acquired about half of all the land that make up the modern territory of the state.
The global economic crisis of 1929-1933 led to a sharp drop in production and a rise in unemployment (in 1932 to 17 million. People); Franklin Roosevelt's government has sought to overcome the crisis with the help of "New Deal". In December 1941, after the Japanese attack on the American base in the Pacific, the United States entered World War II[ru]; together with the Soviet Union and Great Britain were the main participants in the anti-Hitler coalition.
In 1960 the administration of President John F. Kennedy launched a program (policy "New Frontier") technology advances, education and poverty reduction. In the second half of the 1960s it carried out a program of social and economic measures to create a "Great Society" (funding to increase employment, care for the elderly, pension benefits, public primary and secondary schools, universities, medical centers and others.). Despite the adoption in 1965, the Voting Rights Act of African Americans in the years deteriorated sharply racial problems. The city hosts a wide Negro civil rights movement. Since 1965, the United States took over the direct management of the war in Vietnam (Paris Agreement ending the war was signed in 1973).
In the context of the "cold war" Soviet-American relations were complicated and tense. The United States in the early 1970s, made a number of steps towards dйtente, normalization and development of relations with the countries of Eastern Europe. He signed a number of Soviet-American agreements aimed at preventing the danger of nuclear war, the limitation of strategic arms. From 1985 to define a new stage in Soviet-American relations. The Soviet-American summit in late 1980 - early 1990's led to the signing of a number of agreements on the reduction of strategic nuclear and conventional weapons, as well as the conclusion of a trade agreement. Since the mid-1990s. the country entered a period of economic boom caused by the advancing compared with other countries in the development of high technologies. After the collapse of the socialist system of the United States (1991) began to put forward the concept of a unipolar world with a sole leader - the United States.
After the September 11, 2001, suicide bombers in occupied them passenger aircraft attacked World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, President George W. Bush called for the international community to combat international terrorism and led coalition launched a military operation "Retribution "in Afghanistan to destroy the terrorist bases.
United States - a highly developed industrial-agrarian country. Share in GDP in 1993 was agriculture 2%, industry 19%, transportation, communications and utilities 9%. Leading industries in the United States: mechanical engineering, chemical, oil refining, food-processing, light. Particularly rapidly growing production of aviation and aerospace equipment, electronic equipment, instruments, new construction materials.
In 1991 the United States produced 8.8 mln. Cars[ru] 88.3 million. Tons of steel, 22 million. Tons of plastics and synthetic resins. The smelting of primary non-ferrous metals (1991, thous. Tonnes): 1631 Copper, aluminum 4394, zinc 518, 466. Production of lead (1995): oil 2.3 billion. Barrels, coal 937 million. Mt. ie, natural gas 559.2 billion. m3; a significant portion of demand for mineral raw materials and fuel is covered by imports.
Electricity production in the US (1995) 3345 Bln. KW. h, t. h. (%) at TPP - 68, HPP - 9,8, NPP - 21.7. The highly mechanized agriculture bulk of production comes from large private farms of industrial type. The structure of agricultural land (excluding Alaska, according to data for 1992) on arable land accounts for 30%, 28% woods, pastures and other 42%. The share of irrigated land by 12%. About 47% of commercial agricultural production crop yields, more than 53% - livestock.
US occupies one of the leading places in the world for the production of corn and soybeans (main forage crops), wheat, cotton, tobacco, meat and milk. Cultivation of forage grasses, fruit, vegetables. Collecting (1992, mln. Tonnes): 67 Wheat, corn 190, 59 soybeans, raw cotton 3.9. Livestock (1997, mln.): 101,5 cattle, pigs 56,2, sheep 7.9. Development of poultry, in particular broiler production (6.1 bn. Units in 1991). The fish catch in 1994 5.9 mln. MT. m.
The length of railways in 1997 was 222 thousand. Km of roads 6.3 million. Km (including the city). Development of internal waterways, especially in the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, Great Lakes, coastal channel. The tonnage of merchant marine 16.8 million. Gross registered tonnes (1995).
The major US ports: Sea - New York, New Orleans, Houston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Newport News, Norfolk; lake - Chicago, Duluth, Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit. Developed pipeline transportation. Export: industrial machinery, aircraft, automobiles[ru], electronic equipment, military equipment, chemicals, coal, corn, soybeans. The main foreign trade partners: Canada, Japan, Mexico, the countries of Western Europe. Foreign tourism (45.4 million. Per year). Currency - US dollar. The average salary of men 36.5 thousand. Dollars per year, women - 26.3 thousand. Dollars (2001) (Encyclopedia of Cyril and Methodius)
November 15, 1994 the United States and Croatia signed an agreement on military cooperation. In the framework of the United States provided assistance in the preparation of the Croatian armed forces. Military advisers from the US private military company MPRI participated in the preparation of the Croatian special units and the Guards Brigade. special intelligence center for gathering information and listening to the Serbian side of the negotiations has been established.
Independence Day is considered the day of birth of the United States as a free and independent country. Most Americans simply call it a holiday for his date - Fourth of July (Fourth of July).
July 4, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration of Independence (Declaration of Independence), which was signed by the president of the Second Continental Congress, John Hancock (John Hancock) and secretary of the Continental Congress Charles Thomson (Charles Thomson). While the inhabitants of the 13 British colonies that were located along the eastern coast of the United States of today's territory, waged war with the English king and Parliament, because they believed that those treated unfairly. The war began in 1775.
During hostilities the colonists realized that fighting not just for better treatment, and for freedom from British rule. This was clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence, which was signed by the leaders of the colonies. For the first time in an official document the colonies were called the United States of America.
Currently, the Fourth of July national holiday filled with fireworks, picnics and other outdoor activities, as well as concerts and patriotic speeches, festivals and historical reconstructions.
To join the celebration of the friendly and neighboring regions of Canada, as well as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, Guatemala, and the Philippines.
Every year on the third Monday in February the United States celebrate Presidents' Day. The history of today's holiday, dedicated to the outstanding leaders of the country, is still in February 1782, when the city of Richmond (Virginia, USA) held the first public celebration of George Washington's Birthday (Washington's Birthday), the first United States President, born[ru] February 22, 1732.
By the beginning of the XIX century, this day became a real national holiday, which was known for performing luxury balls, in which prominent public figures delivered their speech. Ordinary Americans at this time of feasting in noisy taverns. There have been memorable occasions. How, for example, the celebration in 1850 in Los Angeles, California. The city authorities have organized ball, which invited only the highest members of society. Offended gutter launched in retaliation to the gym burning core, killing several and injuring a decent number of guests of honor... In 1885, 22 February was declared a national holiday in honor of the birthday George Washington.
In 1971 came into force a legislative act of Congress, the purpose of which was to simplify the calendar motley US federal holidays, shifting the celebration of some of them on Monday. Under this law, and was Washington's Birthday, which was officially celebrated on the third Monday of February.
But that is not all. Back in 1860, he came to power another great American - Abraham Lincoln (Авраам Линкольн), who, as president, joined the combatants in the civil war, southern and northern states of the country and the abolition of slavery. His birthday (12 February) for the first time mentioned in 1865, when both houses of Congress gathered to honor his memory. Although this day has never been declared a national holiday, it is still celebrated in many American states.
President Richard Milhous Nixon (Ричард Никсон) in 1971 had the idea to rename the Washington's Birthday to Presidents' Day, offering to honor not alone in Washington (in law) or Lincoln (as is customary in some states), but also others who have served their country as US President. Although the proposal was not developed into a law, it is deeply rooted in the public consciousness. Thus, the third Monday in February, many celebrated as the day of all US presidents, although officially the holiday is birthday of George Washington.
Employees of state institutions in this day rest. For the same stores and supermarkets - this is just another reason to use a three-day weekend and arrange the sale of winter patterns, interweaving the legend of advertising presidents from different times.
See also: 100 Most Common U.S. Surnames[ru].