January 27, 2022
The United States, officially the United States of America, abbreviated USA (English: United States of America, abbreviated as USA or US), often referred to (totum pro parte) America (America), is a federation of 50 states and the District of Columbia, mostly located in North America. With over 332 million inhabitants (2020), the United States is the third largest country in the world in population, after the People's Republic of China and India. It is also the third largest country in area after Russia and Canada. The US is bordered to the north by Canada and to the south by Mexico. The west coast is formed by the Pacific Ocean while the Atlantic Ocean is east and the Gulf of Mexico is south of the country. The maritime border with Russia runs between the Diomede Islands: Greater Diomede (in Russia) and Lesser Diomede (in Alaska). The two islands are only a few kilometers apart. Alaska has its northern border on the Arctic Ocean. Several islands and island territories in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, including Puerto Rico and Guam, also belong to the US. Washington D.C. is the capital and political center, New York is the largest city and economic center. The first human inhabitants of the Americas probably crossed the line between 20,000 and 10,000 BC. across the Bering Strait from Siberia. The European colonization of America resulted in the rapid expulsion and murder of the native Indian population from the 16th century onwards. The present-day United States originated in the thirteen British colonies on the East Coast. The American Revolution, the American Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence in 1776 paved the way to independence. The 19th century was marked by rapid expansion south and west and by the American Civil War (1861-1865), which ended in the abolition of slavery. Through industrialization and further expansion, the US grew into a world power in the 20th century, with leading roles in the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War. Because of this dominant role of the US, which was reinforced once again after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, it is sometimes referred to as the Pax Americana. The United States economy is post-industrial and is the largest in the world measured by GDP. The United States Armed Forces is the world's largest armed forces. As a co-founder, the US is a member of the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization of American States, among others. The country has far-reaching cooperation agreements with the independent countries of Marshall Islands, Palau and Micronesia. Known as the Compacts of Free Association, these agreements govern the United States' financial aid and defense to these countries, as well as general military use of territories within them. In addition, the US is linked in NAFTA with neighboring countries Mexico and Canada.