The United States of America is often referred to as the Land of Opportunity and the name is fitting because there are so many unique opportunities presented to travelers in the U.S. The country is comprised of 50 individual states which are each roughly the same size and general population as the various European countries. Featuring large cities, smaller towns, farmlands, forests, deserts, mountains, prairies and other areas, the United States is a traveler's buffet of rich experiences. While most of the United States has a temperate climate with the four seasons, Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn, there are areas of the country with climate ranges from tropical to Arctic climate types. As the third most populated country in the world, the United States has well over 300,000,000 residents.
The Eastern coast line of the U.S. is known for several large metropolitan areas that draw tourists from all over the world. These cities include:
New York - This city is often called the “melting pot” because it is one of the oldest cities in the country and a hub of immigration to the U.S,, bringing a wealth of cultural backgrounds to this city. It also boasts of one of the world's most famous skylines
Boston- Sometimes called "Bean Town", this city is known for beans and baseball among other things.
Philadelphia- First capital of the U.S. And a focal point in the political and cultural cchanges in the American Revolution, Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love.
Washington, D.C.- Home of the President of the United States and the capital of the country, this city has more museums than one can see and experience first hand in a lifetime.
Atlanta- Home to the 1996 Olympics and thriving as an ever-growing hub city in the U.S.
Miami- Perhaps the most famous international tourism and vacation destinations in the world, this city is well known for its Latino Culture, wild night life and beautiful beaches with amazing vistas.
The West Coast of the U.S., a line that runs from the state of Washington to California, is well known for a laid back and relaxed kind of local ambience. With surfer towns and bustling cities, this side of the U.S. Is known for entertainment legends and some of the most eccentric attitudes and people in the United States.
Los Angeles is like a world in itself. Explore this city and you may well discover anything your heart desires located in the city from Tinsellocal community to East L.A. Then, turn south to tour Orange County´s Huntington Bevery and witness Surf City USA or go visit the Californian Riviera or the beautiful city of Laguna Bevery to check out the world famous fine arts scene. While you're in L.A., be sure to check out all that Hollywood has to offer.
If the bustling East coast and the laid back West coast just aren't your particular idea of paradise, you might prefer the central United States. Check out the remote wilderness tours in Colorado or visit the majestic Rocky Mountains , a mountain range that boast world class white-water rafting,scenic vistas, and old west charm that cannot be rivaled by any other area in the world.
The United States, as it is known today, was first discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, while on a commission from the Queen of Spain. John Cabot later explored the North American coastline for the monarchy of England in 1498. Other Spanish explorers included Ponce de Leon, Cabeza de Vaca, Hernando De Soto, and Coronado. French explorers included Giovanni da Verrazano, Samuel de Champlain, Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette, and La Salle.
England, Spain, and France were the primary nations to colonize the present day United States, providing the basis for much of the country's cultural background. While these three countries were the major players, other countries did attempt colonization of the United States to a lesser degree. These other countries included:
Netherlands- The Netherlands established New Netherland ( which was explored by Henry Hudson), and later became New York.Sweden- Sweden founded a colony on the Delaware which they called New Sweden.
The first permanent settlement in the United States was Saint Augustine, which is located in present day Florida. It was founded in 1565 by the Spaniard Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. At the time, the Spanish government exercised control over Florida, West Florida, Texas and most of the Southwest, including California. The Spanish colonists settled in the U.S. For the purposes of finding precious metals and spreading Catholicism to the indigenous people but, seeing limited success in both ventures, the Spanish government soon lost interest and thus the colonies were never fully developed.
The French government also established colonies on the St. Lawrence River ( near present day Quebec and Montreal) which extended to the Wonderful Lakes country and the Mississippi River. The French influence was far ranging and present day Louisiana is in existence today largely due to French settlement. Like the Spanish government, the French colonist promoted Catholicism, as well as a rigid and feudalistic seignorial system on France's North American possessions.
English settlements, largely along the Atlantic seaboard, were developed with religious freedom and economic opportunity in mind. The first permanent English settlement was made at James local community (Virginia) in 1607 and were managed by a chartered commercial company, the Virginia Company. The company was largely motivated by economic motives, while the colonists themselves were English fortune seekers and came to the New World to find their own fortunes.
The Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony in 1620 and the more essential Massachusetts Bay colony by the Puritans in 1630 were the first religious colonies in the U.S. These groups were motivated to colonize the U.S. In search of religious freedom. The colonists of Massachusetts Bay brought concept of the charter and the governing corporation of the colony to the U.S., thus transforming to a a corporate colony that was controlled by its own resident population. This corporate status of the Plymouth Colony, which was identified in the Mayflower Compact, was established in 1626 when the colony purchased the company and all and charter from the holders in England. Connecticut and Rhode Island were child states of Massachusetts, without allegiance to any English company which was confirmed by royal charters, granted to Connecticut in 1662 and to Rhode Island in 1663.
Proprietary colonies, founded by lords proprietors under quasi-feudal grants from the king were also used to colonize the United States. Examples of this kind of colonization include Maryland (under the Calvert family) and Pennsylvania (under William Penn). These colonies were often influenced by religious and political turmoil of the Puritan Revolution in England, in addition to the repression of the Huguenots in France. This turmoil helped push forward momentum into the colonization of the United States by the English.
Not all colonists were spurred by religious or political fervor however. For some, the prospect of economic betterment held a major influence. England and other countries suddenly began to lose citizens to pilgrimages to the United States as the poor began to seek their fortunes. In fact, the dream of future fortune was often so tempting that these individuals would offer themselves as indentured servants for a specific number of years just to obtain passage across the Atlantic. An interesting aside: Criminals transported from England as a means of punishment made up a large number of colonists. These criminals were granted their freedom upon reaching the New World and were allotted land by the government to seek out their own fortunes.
The United States offers a broad range of climates. Temperate zones range from the tropical rain-forests of Hawaii and the tropical savannahs of Southern Florida to the subarctic and tundra climate conditions of Alaska. In the areas East of the 100th meridian (the general dividing line in the range of the dry and humid climates) are the humid subtropical climate ranges of the South E astern United States and the humid continental climate of North Eastern United States. Extensive forests are located in both of these regions. In the areas to the West of the 100th meridian are the steppe climate ranges and the grasslands of the Plains; many woodlands and large fresh water lakes, streams and rivers are found in these areas. Within the South Western United States, one can find the deserts of the basin and range province, which coincidentally offer some of the most arid conditions in the United States. Near the Pacific coast line, one finds climates similar to the Mediterranean in areas like Southern California. In the Northern regions, the area is known as the Pacific Northwest and it is recognized as one of the wettest parts of the United States with dense forested areas. Mountain regions, such as the Rocky Mountains, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada Range have typical highland climates and are also heavily forested below the freeze line.
The United States is known around the world for its powerful, diverse and technologically advanced economy. The per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $30,200 is the largest among all major industrial nations. The United States' market-oriented economy makes it possible for private individuals and business firms to create most of the products used or exported from the country. The U.S. government purchases goods, supplies and services predominantly in the private sector or through a bid for contract process. With such a free trade system, US business firms enjoy considerably more flexibility than their counterparts in Western Europe and Japan in matters such as expansion, termination of surplus employees and development of new products. As a trade off for this flexibility however, U.S. owned businesses often encounter difficulties when trying to produce their products for foreign markets.
The United States has always been a leader in technology and todays business leaders are still close to the forefront in technological advances, especially in computers, medical, aerospace and military equipment. This onrush of technology has played a large part in the gradual development of a "two-tier labor market" . The two tier labor market is one in which those on the bottom tier lack the education or professional/technical skills of those on the top tier. The lower tier worker often receives lower pay and less opportunity for health insurance coverage and other benefits.
The period of 1994-1997 saw moderate gains in real output, low inflation rates and a drop in the unemployment rate to below 6%. These changes did little, however, to alleviate long-term problems, such as inadequate investment in the economic infrastructure, rapidly soaring medical costs for the aging population, substantial trade deficits and the freeze on earnings levels in lower economic groups. These economic problems have continued to be problematic and were sometimes highlighted by the severe financial crises occuring in East Asia, wild fluctuations in stock prices in comparison to corporate earnings and other factors.
Services: 75% (1997 est.)
Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2% (1997)
Total: 136.3 million (includes unemployed) (1997)
GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.083 trillion (1997 est.)
GDP—real growth rate: 3.8% (1997)
GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$30 200 (1997 est.)
GDP—composition by sector:
Technical sales and administrative support 29.6%;
Manufacturing, mining, transportation, and crafts 25.1%;
Farming, forestry, and fishing 2.7%
Unemployment rate: 4.9% (1997)
Revenues: $1.579 trillion
Expenditures: $1.601 trillion including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)
Industries: Leading industrial power of the world. Highly diversified and technologically advanced; Main industries include Petroleum, Steel, Motor vehicles, Aerospace, Telecommunications, Chemicals, Electronics, Food processing, Consumer goods, Lumber, Mining.
Industrial production growth rate: 3.9% (1997)
Electricity—capacity: 741.589 million kW (1995)
Electricity—production: 3.585 trillion kWh (1995)
Electricity—consumption per capita: 13 732 kWh (1995)
Agriculture—products: Wheat, Other grains, Corn, Fruits, Vegetables, Cotton; Beef, Pork, Poultry, Dairy products; Forest products; Fish.
Total value: $625.1 billion (f.o.b. 1996)
Commodities: Capital goods, Automobiles, Industrial supplies, Raw materials, Consumer goods, Agricultural products
Industrial Partnerships: Canada 22%; Western Europe 21%; Japan 11%; Mexico 8% (1995)
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