The USA Uncovered: 14 Tidbits About the Land of Opportunity

early morning in Philadelphia - Pennsylvania

About the USA

Welcome to our United States page! The United States, often referred to as the USA, is a vast and diverse nation in North America with English as its official language and the United States Dollar ($) as its currency. Explore its iconic landmarks, diverse culture, and breathtaking landscapes.

The USA’s sheer size offers an array of experiences, from the bustling streets of New York City to the serene beauty of the Grand Canyon. National parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite showcase the country’s stunning natural wonders.

Culinary adventures await you in the USA. Savor regional specialties, from Tex-Mex in Texas to clam chowder in New England. Don’t forget to try classic American comfort foods like burgers, hot dogs, and apple pie.

The United States is a land of opportunity and innovation. Discover the country’s rich history, from the colonial period to the Civil Rights Movement, through its historic sites and museums.

Immerse yourself in the diverse culture of the USA, from the jazz scene of New Orleans to the film industry of Hollywood. Explore the country’s contributions to music, art, and pop culture.

Whether you’re drawn to vibrant cities, pristine wilderness, or cultural experiences, the United States has it all. Get ready to embark on a journey through the heart of this dynamic nation.

Capital City

Washington, DC (District of Columbia)

Head of State

President Joseph R. Biden (January 2021 to present)

Government

Federal Government – composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.

Official Language(s)

English

Religion

Protestant 46.5%, Roman Catholic 20.8%, Jewish 1.9%, Church of Jesus Christ 1.6%, other Christian 0.9%, Muslim 0.9%, Jehovah’s Witness 0.8%, Buddhist 0.7%, Hindu 0.7%, other 1.8%, unaffiliated 22.8%, don’t know/refused 0.6% (2014 est.)

Currency

United States Dollar (USD) $

Population

339,665,118 (2023 est.)

National Holiday

4 July (1776) Independence Day

Area

total: 9,833,517 sq km; land: 9,147,593 sq km; water: 685,924 sq km

note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia, no overseas territories

Life Expectancy

80.75 years (2023)  Male 78.54, female 82.93

Location

North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico

6 Time Zones in the USA

Offset Time Zone Name & Abbreviation Sample City
UTC – 5 ET Eastern Time Zone New York
UTC – 6 CT Central Time Zone Chicago
UTC – 7 MT Mountain Time Zone Denver
UTC – 8 PT Pacific Time Zone Seattle
UTC – 9 AKST  Alaska Standard Time Anchorage
UTC – 10 HAST Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time Honolulu

 

NOTE: There are exceptions and variations within each time zone, especially during Daylight Saving Time (DST) when some areas may switch to a different offset from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Additionally, some U.S. territories, like Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, may use time zones different from those listed here.

50 US States + 3 Territories

Name of Sate State Capital Most visited areas
Alabama Montgomery Gulf Shores, Birmingham, Huntsville Space Center, Mobile
Alaska Juneau Anchorage, Denali National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Glacier Bay National Park
Arizona Phoenix Grand Canyon, Sedona, Saguaro National Park, Antelope Canyon
Arkansas Little Rock Hot Springs National Park, Ozark Mountains, Buffalo National River, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
California Sacramento Los Angeles (Hollywood, Disneyland), San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz), Yosemite National Park, San Diego (San Diego Zoo)
Colorado Denver Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado Springs (Garden of the Gods), Aspen, Telluride
Connecticut Hartford Mystic Seaport, Yale University (New Haven), Hartford (Mark Twain House), Litchfield Hills
Delaware Dover Wilmington, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Seashore State Park, Brandywine Valley
Florida Tallahassee Orlando (Walt Disney World, Universal Studios), Miami (South Beach), Tampa Bay, Everglades National Park, Key West
Georgia Atlanta Atlanta (Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola), Savannah, Augusta National Golf Club, Cumberland Island
Hawaii Honolulu Oahu (Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor), Maui (Haleakalā, Hana Road), Big Island (Volcanoes National Park), Kauai (Napali Coast)
Idaho Boise Sun Valley, Coeur d’Alene, Boise, Sawtooth National Recreation Area
Illinois Springfield Chicago (Millennium Park, Art Institute of Chicago), Springfield (Lincoln’s Home), Starved Rock State Park
Indiana Indianapolis Indianapolis (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Children’s Museum), Bloomington (Indiana University), Brown County State Park
Iowa Des Moines Des Moines, Iowa City (University of Iowa), Amana Colonies, Mississippi River towns
Kansas Topeka Wichita, Kansas City (Overland Park), Lawrence (University of Kansas), Flint Hills
Kentucky Frankfort Louisville (Kentucky Derby, Louisville Slugger Museum), Lexington (Horse Farms), Mammoth Cave National Park, Bourbon Trail
Louisiana Baton Rouge New Orleans (French Quarter, Mardi Gras), Baton Rouge (Louisiana State University), Plantation Country, Cajun Country
Maine Augusta Portland, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach
Maryland Annapolis Baltimore (Inner Harbor, National Aquarium), Annapolis (U.S. Naval Academy), Chesapeake Bay, Ocean City
Massachusetts Boston Boston (Freedom Trail, Fenway Park), Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Salem, Plymouth
Michigan Lansing Detroit (Motown Museum, Ford Museum), Grand Rapids, Mackinac Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Minnesota St. Paul Minneapolis (Mall of America, Guthrie Theater), Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Duluth, North Shore of Lake Superior
Mississippi Jackson Gulfport, Biloxi, Natchez, Vicksburg
Missouri Jefferson City St. Louis (Gateway Arch, Forest Park), Kansas City (Country Club Plaza, Nelson-Atkins Museum), Branson, Ozark Mountains
Montana Helena Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Bozeman, Missoula, Flathead Lake
Nebraska Lincoln Omaha (Henry Doorly Zoo, Old Market), Lincoln (Nebraska State Capitol), Sandhills, Chimney Rock
Nevada Carson City Las Vegas (The Strip, Fremont Street), Reno, Lake Tahoe, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
New Hampshire Concord White Mountains, Portsmouth, Lake Winnipesaukee, Mount Monadnock
New Jersey Trenton Atlantic City, Cape May, Princeton University, Liberty State Park
New Mexico Santa Fe Santa Fe (Historic Plaza, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum), Albuquerque (Balloon Fiesta), Taos, Carlsbad Caverns National Park
New York Albany New York City (Times Square, Central Park), Niagara Falls, Adirondack Mountains, Finger Lakes
North Carolina Raleigh Asheville (Biltmore Estate), Charlotte (NASCAR Hall of Fame), Outer Banks, Blue Ridge Parkway
North Dakota Bismarck Cleveland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Cincinnati (Cincinnati Zoo), Columbus (Ohio State University), Amish Country
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Oklahoma City (National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum), Tulsa (Philbrook Museum), Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Route 66
Oregon Salem Portland (Powell’s Books, Rose Garden), Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Coast, Mount Hood
Pennsylvania Harrisburg Philadelphia (Independence Hall, Liberty Bell), Pittsburgh (Carnegie Museum of Art), Gettysburg National Military Park, Pocono Mountains
Rhode Island Providence Newport (The Breakers, Cliff Walk), Providence (WaterFire), Block Island
South Carolina Columbia Charleston (Historic District, Plantations), Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, Fort Sumter
South Dakota Pierre Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Rapid City
Tennessee Nashville Nashville (Grand Ole Opry, Country Music Hall of Fame), Memphis (Graceland, Beale Street), Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Texas Austin Houston (Space Center Houston), San Antonio (The Alamo, River Walk), Austin (Live Music Scene), Big Bend National Park
Utah Salt Lake City Salt Lake City (Temple Square), Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park
Vermont Montpelier Burlington, Stowe (Stowe Mountain Resort), Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Green Mountains
Virginia Richmond Virginia Beach, Williamsburg (Colonial Williamsburg), Shenandoah National Park, Arlington National Cemetery
Washington Olympia Seattle (Pike Place Market, Space Needle), Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, San Juan Islands
West Virginia Charleston Harpers Ferry, New River Gorge National Park, Snowshoe Mountain, Greenbrier Resort
Wisconsin Madison Milwaukee (Milwaukee Art Museum, Harley-Davidson Museum), Madison (University of Wisconsin), Door County, Wisconsin Dells
Wyoming Cheyenne Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Hole, Devil’s Tower National Monument
Territories
American Samoa Pago Pago National Park of American Samoa, Pago Pago Harbor, Tafuna Plain
Guam Hagåtña (Agana) Tumon Bay, Two Lovers Point, War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Northern Mariana Islands Saipan Saipan (Managaha Island, Grotto), Tinian, Rota
Puerto Rico San Juan San Juan (Old San Juan, El Morro), El Yunque National Forest, Culebra Island, Vieques Island
U.S. Virgin Islands Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas (Magens Bay, Coral World Ocean Park), St. John (Virgin Islands National Park), St. Croix

History

Long before the arrival of European explorers, the vast land now known as the United States was inhabited by diverse Native American tribes, each with its own rich culture and traditions. The story of the United States as we know it today began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492, leading to a wave of European exploration. Fast forward to 1607, and the English established Jamestown, Virginia, marking the first permanent English settlement.

Over the centuries, European powers, including the English, Dutch, French, and Spanish, established colonies along the eastern coast, setting the stage for a unique blend of cultures and influences. But tensions simmered, and in 1775, the American Revolution ignited, eventually leading to the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring the colonies’ independence from British rule.

This newfound nation faced numerous challenges in its early years, including the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and the election of George Washington as its first president in 1789. The 19th century brought expansion, westward movement, and territorial acquisitions, such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Oregon Territory.

Yet, these years also saw deep divisions, particularly over the issue of slavery, which culminated in the devastating American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The war ultimately resulted in the abolition of slavery with the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 and the challenging process of Reconstruction in the South.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries witnessed the United States transforming into an industrial powerhouse, welcoming waves of immigrants, and pushing for progressive reforms. It played a pivotal role in both World Wars, emerging as a global superpower by the mid-20th century.

The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s fought for equality and an end to racial segregation, reshaping the nation’s social fabric. As the 21st century dawned, the U.S. grappled with challenges ranging from international conflicts to technological advancements, climate change, and debates on healthcare and immigration. The history of the United States is a story of resilience, innovation, and the ongoing pursuit of the American Dream in the Land of Opportunity.

American Flag

The current American flag, with 50 stars representing the 50 states and 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies, was officially adopted on July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state to join the Union. 

The flag’s 50 stars are arranged in nine rows of alternating five and six stars, set against a field of blue in the upper left-hand corner, while the 13 stripes alternate between red and white, symbolizing the country’s enduring commitment to its founding principles and its growth through history.

Iconic Food by State

Alabama: Fried Chicken – Golden, crispy, and seasoned to perfection, Alabama’s fried chicken is known for its mouthwatering flavor and juicy tenderness.

Alaska: Salmon – Alaskan salmon, whether grilled, smoked, or baked, is celebrated for its fresh, flavorful, and melt-in-your-mouth quality.

Arizona: Sonoran Hot Dogs – A delightful twist on the classic hot dog, Sonoran hot dogs feature bacon-wrapped franks topped with a colorful array of condiments.

Arkansas: Fried Catfish – Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, Arkansas’ fried catfish is a beloved Southern comfort food.

California: Avocado Toast – A trendy and nutritious dish, avocado toast features creamy avocado slices on toasted bread, often garnished with various toppings.

Colorado: Green Chili – Colorado’s green chili is a flavorful stew made with roasted green chilies and tender chunks of meat, typically served with tortillas or over burritos.

Connecticut: Lobster Roll – A seafood lover’s delight, the Connecticut lobster roll showcases succulent chunks of lobster meat on a buttery roll.

Delaware: Scrapple – A regional favorite, scrapple is a savory meatloaf made from pork scraps and cornmeal, sliced and pan-fried until crispy.

Florida: Key Lime Pie – A tangy and sweet dessert, Key Lime Pie features a zesty lime filling in a graham cracker crust, often topped with whipped cream.

Georgia: Peach Cobbler – Georgia’s famous peach cobbler is a warm, comforting dessert made with fresh peaches, a sweet biscuit topping, and a hint of cinnamon.

Hawaii: Poke – A Hawaiian staple, poke consists of marinated raw fish (often ahi tuna) mixed with various seasonings and served over rice or salad.

Idaho: Idaho Potato – Known for its versatility, the Idaho potato shines in various forms, from fluffy mashed potatoes to crispy french fries.

Illinois: Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza – A hearty pizza with a thick, buttery crust, layers of cheese, chunky tomato sauce, and various toppings, Chicago-style deep dish pizza is an iconic Windy City creation.

Indiana: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich – A Hoosier classic, the pork tenderloin sandwich features a breaded and fried pork tenderloin patty served on a bun with various toppings.

Iowa: Pork Chop on a Stick – A fairground favorite, the pork chop on a stick is a juicy, grilled or fried pork chop served conveniently on a skewer.

Kansas: BBQ Ribs – Known for its barbecue prowess, Kansas serves up mouthwatering ribs, slow-cooked to perfection and slathered in flavorful BBQ sauce.

Kentucky: Hot Brown – A rich and indulgent open-faced sandwich, the Hot Brown features turkey, bacon, and Mornay sauce broiled to a bubbly finish.

Louisiana: Gumbo – A soulful Creole dish, gumbo is a hearty stew filled with a medley of ingredients, including sausage, seafood, and okra, all served over rice.

Maine: Lobster – Maine’s succulent lobsters are renowned for their sweet, delicate meat and are often enjoyed boiled or in a lobster roll.

Maryland: Crab Cakes – Maryland crab cakes are a delectable treat, featuring luscious lump crabmeat formed into patties and lightly pan-fried.

Massachusetts: Clam Chowder – Creamy and comforting, New England clam chowder showcases tender clams, potatoes, and bacon in a creamy broth.

Michigan: Coney Dog – A Detroit specialty, the Coney dog is a hot dog topped with chili, onions, and mustard, often served with a side of chili cheese fries.

Minnesota: Hotdish – A beloved Midwestern casserole, hotdish combines ground meat, vegetables, and a starch (usually tater tots or noodles) baked to perfection.

Mississippi: Mississippi Mud Pie – A sinfully delicious dessert, Mississippi Mud Pie is a rich, chocolatey pie with layers of fudge, whipped cream, and nuts.

Missouri: Toasted Ravioli – A St. Louis favorite, toasted ravioli features crispy, breaded ravioli served with marinara sauce for dipping.

Montana: Bison Burger – Montana’s bison burgers offer a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional beef burgers, often served with regional toppings.

Nebraska: Runza – A unique Nebraskan delight, the runza is a savory pastry filled with ground beef, onions, and cabbage, baked to perfection.

Nevada: Buffet – In Las Vegas and beyond, all-you-can-eat buffets offer a wide array of international cuisines and endless dining choices.

New Hampshire: New England Clam Boil – A hearty and seafood-rich meal, New England clam boils typically feature clams, lobster, corn, and potatoes, all boiled together with flavorful seasonings.

New Jersey: Taylor Ham/Pork Roll – A popular breakfast meat, Taylor Ham (or Pork Roll) is typically served on a roll with egg and cheese, creating a satisfying breakfast sandwich.

New Mexico: Green Chile Stew – A New Mexican classic, green chile stew combines roasted green chiles, chunks of pork, and various seasonings for a spicy and flavorful dish.

New York: New York-style Pizza – Known for its thin, foldable slices with a crisp crust and a wide range of toppings, New York-style pizza is a city icon.

North Carolina: BBQ Pulled Pork – North Carolina is famous for its barbecue, particularly pulled pork sandwiches served with a vinegar-based sauce and coleslaw.

North Dakota: Lefse – A Scandinavian-inspired treat, lefse is a thin, soft flatbread often served with butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Ohio: Cincinnati Chili – Cincinnati-style chili is a unique, sweet and savory chili often served over spaghetti or hot dogs and topped with cheese and onions.

Oklahoma: Chicken Fried Steak – This Southern classic features a breaded and fried steak cutlet served with creamy gravy, often accompanied by mashed potatoes.

Oregon: Marionberry Pie – Marionberries, a type of blackberry, star in this delicious pie, known for its sweet and tart flavors.

Pennsylvania: Philly Cheesesteak – A world-famous sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak features thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, and sautéed onions on a hoagie roll.

Rhode Island: Rhode Island Clam Cake – A delightful beachside snack, Rhode Island clam cakes are fried balls of dough filled with tender pieces of clam.

South Carolina: Shrimp and Grits – A beloved Lowcountry dish, shrimp and grits pairs plump shrimp with creamy, buttery grits, often seasoned with spices and herbs.

South Dakota: Chislic – A regional delight, chislic consists of bite-sized cubes of seasoned and grilled meat, often served as an appetizer or snack.

Tennessee: Hot Chicken – Nashville hot chicken is a fiery and flavorful dish featuring spicy fried chicken served with pickles and white bread to tame the heat.

Texas: BBQ Brisket – Texas is renowned for its tender and smoky barbecue brisket, often served with a side of pickles, onions, and white bread.

Utah: Jell-O Salad – A quirky favorite, Utah’s Jell-O salad combines colorful gelatin with various ingredients like fruit, nuts, and whipped cream.

Vermont: Maple Syrup – Vermont is famous for its pure and rich maple syrup, which enhances everything from pancakes to bacon.

Virginia: Country Ham – Virginia’s country ham is a salt-cured and aged delicacy known for its bold, salty flavor and versatility in Southern cuisine.

Washington: Apple Pie – Washington state’s crisp and flavorful apples shine in classic apple pies, often served with a flaky crust and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

West Virginia: Pepperoni Roll – A regional treat, the pepperoni roll is a soft bread roll filled with pepperoni slices, perfect for a quick snack.

Wisconsin: Cheese Curds – Wisconsin is famous for its cheese, particularly cheese curds, which are fresh, squeaky, and delicious when eaten straight or deep-fried.

Wyoming: Bison Steak – In Wyoming, bison steaks offer a lean and flavorful alternative to traditional beef steaks, often enjoyed grilled or pan-seared.

These iconic foods represent the rich culinary traditions and unique flavors found across the diverse regions of the United States. Enjoy exploring these delicious dishes from coast to coast!

Reference:
https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/united-states/

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