The United States of America, popularly called “The States”. “U.S.A”, “The Land of Liberty” is a vast country stretching across the middle of North America. This country which at one time inhabited by Red Indians, is now the home of “nation of nations”. as people from every part of the world have gone to live in this land of wealth and promise. These settlers met, mingled, and worked with great enterprise, and as a result of their efforts, the United States has become one of the most important countries in the world.
In 1620 the; Pilgrim Fathers, a band of Puritans in England who sought freedom of worship, set forth for America in the sailing-ship Mayflower. Three months after leaving Plymouth Harbour, they reached the shores of what is now called new England, and Founded the America township of Plymouth. Although they often had difficult times with the native Red Indian tribes, the colony soon prospered and more and more settlers joined them. The Indians used a new kind of grain, which the settlers called “Indian corn” (now termed maize) and they ate strange birds called turkeys. On the fourth Thursday of November the Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a feast of turkey and Indian corn.
A great many emigrants went from European countries to America and thirteen colonies were formed, all of them under English rule. The government in England, however, took little interest in the American colonies, except from the point of view of trade. When certain taxes and laws were ordered by the English Parliament, the colonists opposed them and it gradually led to war. At first the colonists fared badly, but later they rallied and eventually won final victory, under the able leadership of George Washington.
Shortly after the discovery of the New World by Columbus, many Spaniards travelled northward from Mexico and settled along the western coast of America. That is why many places in this area such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara have Spanish names. In 1849 the chance discovery of gold brought many people to California and numerous mining towns sprang up in a very short time. “The Golden Gate” (the channel connecting the harbour of San Francisco with the Pacific Ocean) was so called because many of the seekers of the precious yellow metal passed this way to and from the rich gold-fields.
In American cities, men have built huge buildings (skyscrapers) some as many as fifty flats high. The national capital of the United States is Washington and the White House is the home of the President. The famous Statue of Liberty in New York harbour was a gift from France.
While English is the national language of the country, some immigrants have continued the manners, customs, and even tongue of their homeland, and newspapers, in all languages, may be seen in the book-stalls. Here are some common English words, for which the Americans have different names: sweets-candies, shop-store, motor-car-automobile, pavement-sidewalk, petrol-gas, lift-elevator, dust-bin, garbage-can, holiday-vacation, trousers-pants, waistcoat-vest, a jug-pitcher. There are also differences in the spelling of certain words: colour-color, honour-honor, programme-program.
The national banner of the United States of America, commonly known as “The Starts and Stripes” or “Old Glory”, is a flag bearing 50 stars and 13 stripes. Each star represents a present-day state and each stripe stands for one of the original colonies. The national anthem is the “Star Sprangled Banner” and the national emblems are the eagle and the buffalo. The national sport may be said to be baseball.