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The United States of America

3.06.2010

The United States of America is situated in the central and southern part of the North American continent. The present territory of the USA consists of three separate parts: two of them, the USA proper and Alaska, are situated in North America. The Hawaiian Islands, situated in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, are the third part. Administratively the country is divided into 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has an area of 540.939 square miles. It is bounded by Canada in the north and Mexico in the south. The country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the east, the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The population of the country is 239 million people, who are called Americans.


The official language of the United States is American English. The continental part of the USA consists of the highland regions and two lowland regions. The highest regions are the Appalachian mountains in the east and the Cordillera in the west. Between the Cordillera and the Appalachian Mountains are the central lowlands which are called prairie and the eastern lowlands are called the Mississippi valley. The highest top in America situated in Alaska is McKinley, it is 6.194 metres high; in the Cordillera – Witny, it is 4418 metres high, in the Appalachian Mountains the highest top is Michel, it is 2.037 metres high.


The Mississippi together with the Missouri form the longest river in the world (7.300km). The greatest rivers of the USA are the Columbia, the Colorado, the Saint Lawrence River and the Hudson river. The Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon are visited by million of tourists from all over the world. A mass of water is falling over a cliff 50 metres high with a terrible noise, and the roar of the waterfalls can be heard at a distance of 25 kilometres. You can enjoy a fantasy of rainbow.


As for the Grand Canyon, it stretches over 347 kilometres long, and its depth is more than 1500 kilometres. It is impossible to describe its wonderful play of colours.


The chain of lakes situated between the USA and Canada is known as the Great Lakes. The region of the five Great Lakes includes Lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario. The Great Lakes contain about half of the world’s total supply of fresh water.


The climate of the country is mostly temperate but varies from tropical (Hawaii) to arctic (Alaska). The USA is a very large country, so it has some climatic regions. The coldest regions are in the north where much snow falls in winter. The south has the subtropical climate. The temperature may go down to-40° C in the northern part in winter; in the south the temperature may be as high as +49° C in summer.


About one third of the United States is forestland. The forests include pine, oak, maple, birch, walnut, chestnut, palm-tree etc. On the north-west coast one finds the forests of huge sequoia. Some of these trees are 3000 years old. The tallest trees in the world are the Californian redwoods, most of them are more than 90 metres high. The animal life of the continental part is diverse, with numerous red foxes, squirrels, minks, antelopes, mountain goats, black bears, white-tailed deer, bisons and a great number of smaller animals and birds. In arctic zones one can see whale, seal, polar bear, wolverine, deer and a great number of birds.


There are 32 national parks in the USA. The most interesting among them is Yellowstone park, where you can see a lot of wild animals such as the elk, bison, bear, deer, small animals and birds. Nearly 10 thousand geysers, wonderful lakes, hot springs, cliffs and waterfallsjcmiieJbund4 from different countries enjoy the beautiful nature of the park. The USA is rich in oil, coal and natural gas, gold, silver, mercury, magnesium, titanium. Heavy industry prevails in the USA, including such branches as mining, ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy,oil and gas industry, shipbuilding, ship-repairing, mechanical engineering and chemical industries. Being well developed light industry includes textile and footwear industries. Computers and automatic systems characterize the advance in technology. The USA has a highly developed automobile industry. It would be no exaggeration to say that cars have


become the symbol of American way of life. Shipbuilding is developed along the Atlantic coast. The food industry is also well developed. Agriculture is prominent in the economy of the United States. The USA produces half of the world’s corn, soy-bean, wheat, tobacco, rice, cotton and barley. The country grows tomatoes, strawberries, onions, oranges, tangerines, lemons and grapefruit, tobacco. Live-stock, poultry are highly developed in the country.         


Speaking about American character it is necessary to say that the Americans are very energetic and are proud of their independence, their right to make up their own minds. At the same time they are considered sentimental. They can laugh at themselves and their country, they can be self-critical, remaining intensely patriotic. The capital of the country is Washington D.C. (District of Columbia). It was named in honour of the first president. Washington is the beautiful administrative city with practically no industry. The main seaports of the USA are New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles.


The USA is a federal state of fifty states and the District of Columbia. The basic law of the country is the Constitution, adopted in 1787. According to the Constitution the Federal power is divided into three main branches: the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The executive branch includes President, Vice-President. The President’s Cabinet is responsible for administrating and executing the laws. President and Vice-President are elected for 4 years. President elections are held every leap year in November. President of the USA is also Commander -in-Chief of the army and Navy of the USA. The legislative branch of the government is the Congress. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 100 members, two from each of the 50 states, elected by the population for a period of 6 years. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members, their number is determined by the population of each state. The members of the House of Representatives are elected for 2 years. The Congress makes laws and finances the operation of the government. The Cabinet gives the advice to the President, it consists of the heads of 12 departments.


The flag of the USA consists of 13 alternate stripes: seven red and six white. It is called “The Stars and Stripes”. The 13 stripes represent the 13 original English colonies, which in 1776 declared themselves free and independent of England. The fifty pointed white stars, representing the present number of states in the Union (from 1959) are placed in nine horizontal rows alternately of six and five against a blue field in the upper left corner of the flag. The coat -of-arms of the USA represents an eagle with wings outspread, holding a bundle of rods, symbol of administration, in the left claw, and the olive twig, emblem of love, in the right claw.



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