«MEET the United States of America» Window on America library Center Svitlana Usenko is the Head of Center 2010
Geographical position The United States of America, a federal respublic, is the fourthlargest country in the world (after Russia, Canada and China). It occupies thesouthern part of North America and stretches from the Pacific to the AtlanticOcean. It also includes Alaska in the north and Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.The total area of the country is about nine and a half million squarekilometers. The USA borders on Canada in the north and on Mexico in thesouth. It also has a sea-boarder with Russia.
AreasThe USA is divided into three areas: Eastern area is a highland, central areais a plain and Western area is mountains including the Rocky Mountainsand the Sierra Nevada. There are five great lakes in the northern part of theUSA. There are: Huron, Michigan, Supireo, Ontario and Erie. Americaslargest rivers are the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Rio Grande and theColumbia.
Mountain ranges cross the country from north to south anddont protect it against cold air from the north and warm onefrom the south. The highest mountains are the RockyMountains, the Cordillera and the Sierra Nevada. The highestpeak is Mount McKinley which is located in Alaska.
History The history of the USA began a little more than 500 years ago. In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America to the whole world. He thought that it was India.
Native Americans in the UnitedNative Americans States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-dayIndians continental United States, including parts of Alaska and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as intact political communities. The terms used to refer to Native Americans are controversial; according to a 1995 US Census Bureau set of home interviews, most of the respondents with an expressed preference refer to themselves as American Indians or Indians.
In 1776 on the 4th of Julythe Declaration ofIndependence was adopted. Itproclaimed “Life, Liberty andthe pursuit of Happiness as thehuman natural rights”. In 1787the constitution of the USA waswritten.
The First President In 1789 on the 6th of April Americans elected the first President of the USA. George Washington served two terms (1789-1797). The newly-built capital of the country was named Washington.
National Symbols The flag of the USA is calledFlag “Stars and Stripes”. There are three colours on the flag of the USA. They are red, white and blue. As there are fifty states in the USA, there are fifty stars on the American flag: one star for each state. The American flag has thirteen stripes. The stripes are red and white. There is one stripe for each of the first thirteen colonies which in 1776 became independent of England.
Cast in London, England in 1752, National Symbols the Liberty Bell rang when theThe Liberty Bell Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence and has become the symbol of freedom in the United States. The bell weighs about 2000 pounds and is made mostly of copper (70%) and tin (25%). Made for the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), the Liberty Bell was ordered by the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penns 1701 Charter of Privileges. Shortly after its arrival in Philadelphia the Bell cracked. Local craftsmen recast the bell using the metal from the old bell, but this one also proved defective. A third was cast by John Pass and John Stowe. Their names appear on the bell, along with the city and date, along with this inscription: "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof - Lev. XXV, v. x. By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania [sic] for the State House in Philada.
Bald eagle The eagle became the official national symbol of the country in 1782. It holds an olive branch (a symbol of peace) and arrows (symbol of strength) in its paws. The USA has official song. Its called The Spangled Banner.
National Floral Emblem -The Rose The rose, said to be about 35 million years old, has been used as a symbol of love, beauty, war, and politics throughout the world. The flowers are generally red, pink, white, or yellow and grow naturally throughout North America. The rose became the official flower of the United States in 1986. In October 1985, the Senate passed a resolution that declared the rose as the National Floral Emblem of the United States. Senate Joint Resolution 159 was passed by the House of Representatives on September 23, 1986. President Reagan signed the resolution on October 7, 1986 in a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. On November 20, 1986, President Reagan issued Proclamation 5574: The National Floral Emblem of the United States of America: The Rose. Did you know? Thr first President, George Washington, bred roses, and a variety he named after his mother is still grown today.
Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty, proud lady of welcome for millions of newly arrived Americans, stands atop her pedestal in New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty is a gift from the French, the statue was set in place in 1876.
National SymbolsIndependence Hall Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Independence Hall was built between 1732 and 1756 as the State House or capitol. At this building, colonial leaders met to plan the future of the new nation. Many of the most important documents in U.S. history were written at Independence Hall. The Declaration of Independence was adopted here on July 4, 1776 (Independence Day). The Articles of Confederation were ratified here in 1781. The Constitution was written here and signed on September 17, 1787. Independence Hall was also the home of the Liberty Bell for over 200 years.
National Symbols In the Black Hills of South Dakota, stands the national memorial, Mount Rushmore, created by Gutzon Borglum. It was designed as aMount Rushmore testament to the growth of the country and its great leaders. This magnificent rock carving depicts the 60-foot high (18.3 m) faces of four great U.S. Presidents. They are: George Washington Thomas Jefferson Theodore Roosevelt Abraham Lincoln Borglum started drilling into the 6,200-foot mountain in 1927; however, he died in 1941 before it could be completed. The head of Washington was completed first, followed by Jefferson and Lincoln. Roosevelts head was unfinished when Borglum died. The memorial was finished later that year by his son, Lincoln. Borglums original design was a sculpture of the four presidents to their waists, but time and money only provided for their heads. A similar memorial honoring Crazy Horse, the Oglala Sioux chief, is currently under development nearby.
National Symbols Built on a hill popularly calledCongress of USA Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the U.S. Capitol has been the home of the House of Representatives and the Senate since 1800. In March 1792, a design contest was announced to design the U.S. Capitol. All of the 16 plans submitted were rejected. A late entry by William Thornton, amateur architect from the British West Indies, was accepted in fall 1792. President Washington liked it because of its "grandeur, simplicity and convenience." The iron dome, also white, is surmounted by a statue of a woman representing Freedom, by the American sculptor Thomas Crawford. The height of the Capitol from the baseline on the east front to the top of the statue is 287.5 ft (87.6 m)
White House is symbol of freedom Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the White House is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The White House has been the official residence of all the presidents of the United States with the exception of George Washington. The house was rebuilt and restored after it was burned by the British in August 1814. The White House has six floors--two basements, two public floors, and two floors for the First Family. Visitors who tour the White House are able to see the most beautiful and historic rooms in the house including the East Room, the Green Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room, and the State Dining Room. These rooms are used by the President and First Lady to entertain guests and to receive leaders of other countries. The Oval Office is where the President does the business of the country--signing bills and Executive Orders and meeting with staff, visitors, and guests.
The Supreme Court Building Located in Washington, DC near the Capitol, this building has housed the Supreme Court since 1935. Initially, the Court met in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. When the capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the Court moved first into Independence Hall and later to City Hall. Then when the capital moved to its permanent location, Washington, DC, Congress lent the Court space in the new Capitol Building, until a permanent location was established for the Court. Sixteen marble columns may be found at the main entrance of the Court. Above the entrance to the Supreme Court Building appears engraved motto "Equal Justice Under Law", which was designed by Cass Gilbert.
Arlington National Cemetery Located in Arlington, Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery honors those men and women who served in the Armed Forces. Currently, there are over 260,000 people buried in there and approximately 5,400 burials are conducted each year. Arlington National Cemetery contains veterans from all the nation’s wars, from the American Revolution through the Persian Gulf War, as well as presidents, chief justices, and astronauts. It is one of two national cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army (the other being Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home in Washington, DC). Approximately four million people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year. Some of the more popular sites in Arlington National Cemetery include the Tomb of the Unknowns and the grave of former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. With his grave marked with an eternal flame, John F. Kennedy is one of only two presidents to be interred into Arlington National Cemetery. The other president, William Howard Taft, is also one of only two former Chief Justices interred in Arlington National Cemetery (the other Chief Justice is Earl Warren).
Pentagon - the largest building in America The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia. As a symbol of the U.S. military, "the Pentagon" is often used metonymically to refer to the Department of Defense rather than the building itself.
The Washington Monument The Washington Monument is the most prominent structure in Washington, D.C. and one of the citys early attractions. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles. It was finished on December 6, 1884.
National SymbolsThomas JeffersonMemorial The words of Thomas Jefferson, some written more than 200 years ago, have shaped American ideals. Today, many of these impressive, stirring words adorn the interior walls of his memorial. The Thomas Jefferson Memorial stands as a symbol of liberty and endures as a site for reflection and inspiration for all citizens of the United States and the world.
Lincoln Memorial “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States—the Great Emancipator and preserver of the nation during the Civil War— sits immortalized in marble. As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.
American iconsAbraham Lincoln (1809-1865) he 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil, preserving the Union, ending slavery, and rededicating the nation to nationalism, equal rights, liberty and democracy.
American iconsMartin Luther King Each year on the third Monday of January schools, federal offices, post office and banks across America close as we celebrate the birth, the life and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a time for the nation to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought. A time to remember his fight for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all races and peoples. A time to remember the message of change through nonviolence
American iconsEdgar Allan Poe ( 1809 –1849) He was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre.
American icons Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977)- was an English comic actor and filmCharlie Chaplin director of the silent film era. He became one of the best-known film stars in the world before the end of the First World War. Chaplin used mime, slapstick and other visual comedy routines, and continued well into the era of the talkies, though his films decreased in frequency from the end of the 1920s. His most famous role was that of The Tramp, which he first played in the Keystone comedy Kid Auto Races at Venice in 1914
Julia Fiona Roberts (born October 28, 1967) is an American actress. She became a Hollywood star afterAmerican icons headlining the 1990 romantic comedy Pretty Woman, which grossed $464 million worldwide. After receiving Academy Award nominations for Steel Magnolias in 1990 and Pretty WomanJulia Roberts in 1991, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her performance in Erin Brockovich. Her films My Best Friends Wedding, Mystic Pizza, Notting Hill, Runaway Bride, Valentines Day, The Pelican Brief, Oceans Eleven and Twelve have collectively brought box office receipts of over $2.4 billion, making her one of the most successful actors in terms of box office receipts. Roberts had become one of the highest- paid actresses in the world, topping the Hollywood Reporters annual "power list" of top-earning female stars from 2002 to 2006. Her fee for 1990s Pretty Woman was $300,000; in 2003, she was paid an unprecedented $25 million for her role in Mona Lisa Smile. As of 2007, Robertss net worth was estimated to be $140 million.
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. Pitt has received two Academy AwardAmerican icons nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, winning one. He has been described as one of the worlds most attractive men, a label for which he has received substantial media attention. Pitt began his acting career with television guest appearances, including a role on the CBS prime-time soap opera Dallas in 1987. Pitt received his second Academy Award nomination for his title role performance in the 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Angelina Jolie (born Angelina Jolie Voight; June 4, 1975) is an American actress. She has received an Academy Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards. Jolie promotes humanitarian causes, and is noted for her work with refugees as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She has been cited as one of the worlds most attractive people, as well as the worlds "most beautiful" woman, titles for which she has received substantial media attention.
Florida (Listeni /ˈ flɒrɪdə/) is a state of the United States. It is located in the SoutheasternSouth United States, bordering Alabama to the northwest and Georgia to the north. Much of the states land mass is a large peninsula with the Gulf of Mexico to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Caribbean to the south. FloridaFlorida was admitted as the 27th U.S. state in 1845, after a three hundred year period of European colonization. With an area of 65,758 square miles (170,312 km2), it is ranked 22nd in size among the 50 U.S. states. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, encompassing approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km). The state has four large urban areas, a number of smaller industrial cities, and many small towns. Florida is nicknamed the "Sunshine State" because of its generally warm climate— subtropical in the northern and central regions of the state, with a true tropical climate in the southern portion. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the state population was 18,537,969 in 2009, ranking Florida as the fourth most populous state in the U.S. Tallahassee is the state capital, Jacksonville is the largest city, and the South Florida metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area.
The City and County of DenverWest (pronounced /ˈ dɛnvər/) is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado.Denver Denver is a consolidated city- county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the High Plains, just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is located immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12.8 miles (21 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is nicknamed the "Mile- High City" because its elevation is one mile, or 5,280 feet (1,609 m) above sea level.
The Rocky Mountains (or Rockies)Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The North American Rocky Mountains stretch more thanRocky Mountains 3,000 miles (4,830 km) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States. The ranges highest peak is Mount Elbert located in Colorado at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) above sea level. Though part of North Americas Pacific Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges (as named in Canada) or the Coast Range (as it is known in the United States) which are located directly adjacent to the Pacific coast, as well as, the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada which lie further inland from the coast.
California (pronounced Listeni /kælɪˈf ɔrnjə/) is the most populous state in the United States and theWest third-largest by land area, after Alaska and Texas. California is also the most populous sub-national entity in North America. Its on the U.S. West Coast,California bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and by the states of Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, Baja California, Mexico, to the south. Its 5 largest cities are Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, and Long Beach, with Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose each having at least 1 million residents. Like many populous states, Californias capital, Sacramento is smaller than the states largest city, Los Angeles. The state is home to the nations 2nd- and 6th-largest census statistical areas and 8 of the nations 50 most populous cities. California has a varied climate and geography and a multi-cultural population.
CitiesLos Angeles Often known by its initials, L.A., and nicknamed the City of Angels, Los Angeles is a world center of business, international trade, entertainment, culture, media, fashion, s cience, technology, and education. It is home to renowned institutions covering a broad range of professional and cultural fields, and is one of the most substantial economic engines within the United States. In 2008, Los Angeles was named the worlds eighth most economically powerful city by Forbes.com, third in the U.S. behind New York City and Chicago
North Mount McKinley or Denali (Athabaskan for "The High One") in Alaska, USA is the highest mountainAlaska - Mount McKinley peak in North America and the United States, with a summit elevation of 20,320 feet (6,194 m) above sea level. The CIA World Factbook lists its summit elevation as 6,198 metres (20,335 ft). It is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve.
Happiest States, 2009 is Hawaii ɪ Hawaii (Listeni /həˈwa.iˈ/ or /həˈwaʔiˈ/ in English; Hawaiian: ɪ Mokuˈāina Hawaiˈi is the newest o )Hawaii of the 50 U.S. states (August 21, 1959), and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It occupies most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of Australia. Hawaii’s natural beauty, warm tropical climate, inviting waters and waves, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oˈahu .
The National Park System Started with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park on March 1, 1872, the system includes not only the most extraordinary and spectacular scenic exhibits in the United States, but also a large number of sites distinguished for their historic or prehistoric importance, scientific interest, or superior recreational assets. The National Park System is made up of 388 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state except Delaware. It also includes areas in the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. A list of the areas follows, excluding those without “national” status.
“Gambling capital of the world” Las Vegas (pronounced /lɑˈsLas Vegas ˈ veɪɡəs/) is the most populous city in Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. Las Vegas, which bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is famous for the number of casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city, it is the 28th most populous city in the United States with an estimated population by the U.S. Census Bureau of 567,641 as of 2009. The 2009 population estimate of the Las Vegas metropolitan area was 1,902,834.
“Automotive capital of the world” Detroit is a major port city on the Detroit River, inDetroit the Midwest region of the United States. Located north of Windsor, Ontario, Detroit is the only major U.S. city where Canada can be viewed by looking to the south. It was founded on July 24, 1701, by the Frenchman Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. Its name originates from the French word détroit (pronounced: [detʁwa] ( listen)) for strait, in reference to its location on the river connecting the Great Lakes. Known as the worlds traditional automotive center, "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the citys two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown. Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including City of Champions beginning in the 1930s for its successes in individual and team sport, Arsenal of Democracy (during World War II), The D, D-Town, Hockeytown (a trademark owned by the citys NHL club, the Red Wings), Rock City (after the Kiss song "Detroit Rock City"), and The 3-1-3 (its telephone area code).
CustomsIndependence Day Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States
CustomsThanksgiving Day Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. While it may have been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday. In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
Customs Christmas or Christmas Day is a holiday observed mostly on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The date is not known to be the actual birthday of Jesus, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nineChristmas months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar, or one of various ancient winter festivals. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days. Although nominally a Christian holiday, Christmas is also widely celebrated by many non-Christians, and many of its popular celebratory customs have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of greeting cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) is a popular folklore figure in many countries, associated with the bringing of gifts for children. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.