Statistics/ Fun Facts/ Did You Know?
Total area of the 50 states and the District of Columbia: 9,826,630 sq km
Size of the U.S. compared to other countries/ continents:
About one-half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about one-half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; about two and one-half times the size of Western Europe.
The U.S. has 19,924 km. of coastline.
The lowest point in the U.S. is Death Valley at 86 m. below sea level.
The highest point is Mt. McKinley at 6,194 m. above sea level.
A 2008 estimate puts the population of the U.S. at 304,059,724.
The U.S. is known as the melting pot, due to a variety of religions, languages, and ethnicities prevalent throughout the country.
The U.S. is the leading industrial power in the world with a diverse array of industries.
A 2006 estimate put the industrial production growth rate at 4.2%.
The U.S. has over 14,800 airports, over 6,400,000 total km. of roadways, and over 226,000 km. of railways.
The capital of the U.S. is Washington, D.C.
U.S. Embassy in Germany
U.S. Census Bureau
Brief History/ Important Dates in History
1492- Christopher Columbus lands in Puerto Rico.
1513- Juan Ponce de Leon sets foot on the continental U.S.
1607- The first American settlers land and colonize in Jamestown, Virginia.
1775- The Battle of Lexington and Concord. This battle starts the Revolutionary War, and George Washington is appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.
1776- The U.S. becomes an independent country after British General Charles Cornwallis surrenders to George Washington in Yorkstown, Virginia.
1789- The Constitution becomes the governing document of the newly formed United States of America.
1803- Thomas Jefferson purchases the Louisiana Territory from France. This territory included most of the land that now makes the Midwest United States.
1845- The U.S. acquires the territory of Texas from Mexico.
1861- Many of the Southern states secede from the Union, forming their own country: the Confederate States of America.
1863- Northern, or Union, forces defeat the Confederate army in the Battle of Gettysburg. 63,000 are killed. Additionally, President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg address, which frees all slaves.
1865- Confederate forces surrender to the Union at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, bringing the Civil War to an end.
1867- Alaska is purchased from Russia.
1917- The U.S. declares war on Germany and officially enters the first world war.
1919- The Treaty of Versailles is signed at Paris Peace Conference, ending World War I.
1929- The Stock Market crashes, signaling the start of the Great Depression.
1940-1945- U.S. involved in World War II (officially enters in 1941).
1948- Presidential Election of 1948 where Truman defeats Dewey. Considered one of the greatest election upsets of all time, and secured the Democratic party as the majority party for the next two decades.
1949- The Soviet Union tests its first atomic bomb, Cold War in full effect.
1955- Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat, inciting the Montgomery Bus Riots. The fight for Civil Rights begins the U.S.
1957- Soviets launch Sputnik, the "space race" begins.
1959- Alaska and Hawaii become the 49th and 50th states.
1961- Vietnam War begins with a landing in Saigon.
1963- The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.
1968- Civil Rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy assassinated.
1973- Roe V. Wade Supreme Court case over-turns state laws on abortion.
1980- The U.S. boycotts the summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1981- Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
1990-1991- The Gulf War.
2001- September 11th terrorist attack on The World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
2008- Barack Obama, the first American of African descent to be nominated by a major party to run for the office of President, is elected President of the United States in the 2008 presidential election.
National Holidays and Celebrations
New Year’s – January 1st
Martin Luther King Day – January 15th (since assassination in 1968)
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
Presidents’ Day – Third Monday in February
St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th
Easter – Sunday in April (Varies)
Memorial Day – Fourth Monday of May
Fourth of July – July 4th (signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776)
Labor Day – First Monday in September
Jewish High Holy Days – Throughout September
Columbus Day – Second Monday in October
Halloween – October 31st
Veterans Day – November 11th
Thanksgiving – The fourth Thursday in November, dates back to 1621!!
Christmas – December 25th
Source: “Portrait of the USA” US Department of State
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Around five million people visit the park every year. The park spans 1,904 square miles. The canyon itself can be up to 18 miles in width, and as deep as 6,000 feet. The geology of the canyon contains two million years of the earth’s history. The area became a national park in 1919.
Due to the extreme heat in the summer, and deep snow in the winter, spring and fall are the ideal times to visit the park.
Popular attractions include mule rides, scenic helicopter rides, white water rafting on the Colorado River, and nature hikes.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Declared a national park in 1872, Yellowstone is the oldest national park in the U.S. It is one of the earth’s largest ecosystems, and contains many areas of geothermal activity. Contains numerous species of endangered and popular animals, and is known for its geysers, the most well known being Old Faithful. Yellowstone is decidedly the most iconic park in the U.S.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Congress did not set boundaries in this park until 1986, and it is one of the smaller national parks. The park is open year round and offers many different seasonal attractions.
Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet, is the tallest mountain on the east coast north of Brazil.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite has 1,200 miles of wilderness, known for the stunning valleys, waterfalls and ancient sequoia trees. Due to the diversity and difficulty of climbing opportunities, Yosemite is known as a rock climbing location, but is a park full of wonder and beauty for all. Yosemite is the oldest state park of California. Main attractions include Yosemite Falls, the highest waterfall in North America, Mariposa Grove, and Half Dome, a towering slab of granite seemingly sliced in half.
Denali National Park, Alaska
Originally named Mount McKinley National Park, it is centered around the tallest mountain in the U.S. In 1980 it was officially renamed to Denali, which means “the great one.” Sable Pass is a prime spot to view Grizzly Bears.
Another main attraction, Muldrow Glacier, flows for 35 miles. If you visit the park in June, there are 21 hours of sunlight.