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United States of America: modernity and nature

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The United States of America is a presidential republic. This nation which is the most important among the industrialized countries is made up of a confederation of 50 states and a federal district (District of Columbia, the city of Washington, capital of the United States and seat of the federal government).

The country borders Canada to the north, Mexico to the south. The coasts of the United States are washed by two oceans: to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, while to the west by the Pacific Ocean. Instead, to the south are the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The island of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean is an associated state with the United States. American dependencies in the Caribbean are: the US Virgin Islands, the island of Navassa (between Haiti and Jamaica) and the Bay of Guantánamo in Cuba.

While are dependent territories of the United States on the Pacific Ocean the following: American Samoa, the island of Guam, the Midway islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the islands of Wake, Palmyra, Baker, Howland, Jarvis, Johnston, Kingman Reef, Petrel, Serranilla Bank. The main cities are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Seattle, Miami, and Washington.


The territory of the United States extends from just north of the Tropic of Cancer to almost 50 ° north latitude. The country has a large variety of landscapes and natural environments. In fact, starting from the east and going west we find: the coast along the Atlantic Ocean, the Appalachian mountain range, the great Central Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the belt of the highlands, and, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, the massifs coastal mountains.


The coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, from Cape Hatteras to the border with Canada are high and jagged, with numerous coves, while south of Cape Hatteras are low and edged by sand dunes and lagoons, the conformation of the coast continues in Florida and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where sometimes the cost is also swampy.


Inside the eastern United States, extending from south-west to north-east for 2500 km beyond the border with Canada, are the Appalachian Mountains, characterized by peaks not very high, reaching the highest height with the Mount Mitchell (2,037 metres), in Blue Ridge Mountains.


To the west of the Appalachians are the immense Central Plains. These plains have the characteristic of being crossed by the courses of the great American rivers such as Mississippi and Missouri.

North of the Central Plains is the Great Lakes region of which only Lake Michigan (58,016 sq km) belongs exclusively to the United States. In fact the other four large lakes are divided between Canada and the United States. These are Lake Superior (84,131 sq km, the second largest lake in the world after the Caspian Sea), Lake Huron (61,797, fourth lake in the world), Lake Erie (25,612 sq km) and Lake Ontario (18,941 sq km).


The Central Lowland extends around the Great Lakes, then to the south we find the alluvial plain of Mississippi. To the west of the Missouri course is the Great Plains region, formed by high plateaus averaging between 700 and 1,200 meters high. Here there are extensive cereal crops and also huge areas used for cattle breeding. In this region are also the Bad Lands (South Dakota), a semi-desert area formed by badlands.


To the west of the Great Plains stands for more than 3,000 km, from south-east to north-west, the chain of the Rocky Mountains, the southern part of the chain traverses the states of New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming and presents, the highest peaks of the mountainous range, exceeding 4,000 metres in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Blanca Peak 4,372 meters) in the Front Range (Grays Peak 4,350 meters), the San Juan Mountains (Uncompahgre Peak 4,361 meters ), in the Mosquito Range (Mount Lincoln 4,354 metres), and in the Sawatch Range, Colorado, where is the highest mountain, Mount Elbert (4,401 metres).

The central and northern part of the chain passes through the states of Utah, Wyoming, and Montana has mountains exceeding 4,000 meters as in the Uinta Mountains in Utah (Kings Peak 4,123 meters), in the Bighorn Mountains (Cloud Peak 4,013 meters) in the Wind River Range (Gannett Peak 4,207 meters) and Grand Teton (4,197 meters) in Wyoming.


To the west of Rocky Mountain are the plateau furrowed by Colorado and Columbia rivers, the Columbia Plateau, is entirely covered by lava layers, while Colorado Plateau, which is located at an average of 2,000 -3,000 meters it comprises of successive layers of limestone and sandstone, excavated dramatically from the erosive action of the Colorado River, which formed the famous Grand Canyon.


To the west of Colorado Plateau is an extremely arid area, the Great Basin, there are high mountains as the Wheeler Peak (3,982 m) and deep depressions like Death Valley, California which is located – 86 metres below sea level, the lowest point of the entire American continent.


Before reaching the coast of the Pacific Ocean, rise the coastal mountainous of Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range. In the Sierra Nevada is the highest mountain in the United States (excluding Alaska), Mount Whitney (4,421 metres).


In Cascade Range are significant volcanoes as the Mount Rainer (4,392 m), Mount Adams (3,742 meters), Mount Baker (3,285 meters) in the state of Washington, Mount Hood (3,429 meters) in Oregon and Mount Shasta (4,322 meters) in California. The coast of the Pacific Ocean is mostly high and rocky.


Regarding the rivers the United States have their main water basin area in the system of Mississippi and Missouri rivers, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico with a broad delta. This is the third river basin by extension in the world (3,328,000 sq km) and the fourth in the world for length (5,970 km). Other major rivers are the Columbia, Colorado, Rio Grande, Hudson, Delaware, Potomac, Savannah and the left tributaries of the Mississippi as Ohio, Tennessee and Illinois.


From an economic point of view the United States of America are the most important and developed economy of the world.


Agriculture is highly mechanized, enormous is the production of cereals such as maize, wheat, rye, oats, barley, rice.

Also very important are the cultivation of cotton, soybeans, tobacco, sugar beet, fruits (apples, peaches, pears), tomatoes, beans, citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons), grapes. The United States is the leading producer of timber in the world. Very important is livestock, mainly cattle and pigs, and fishing.


Huge are mineral resources, including energy sources such as oil, natural gas, coal, between minerals are extracted mainly iron, copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, radio, uranium, vanadium and mercury. As for the industry, those important are steel, mechanical, textile, information technology, chemical and petrochemical. Noteworthy is the tourist flow.

Official page of the United States government.

  • Area: 9,372,614 sqkm. (Arable 19,1%, Pastures 24,4%, Forests and Woodlands 31,6%, Uncultivated and Unproductive 24,9%)
  • Population: 303,000,000 (agg. 2007) (Europeans 74.7%; Africans 12.1%; Asian 4.3%; American Indians 0.8%; data 2005).
  • State Capital: Washington.
  • Language: The official language is English. The Spanish is spoken by 10% of the population (29,600,000), followed by the Chinese (2,200,000), the French (1,800,000) (data 2003).
  • Religion: Christian 79,8% (Protestant 53% (Baptist 17,2%, Methodist 7,2%, Lutheran 4,9%, Presbyterian 2,8%), Roman Catholic 25,9%), Jewish 1,4%, Muslim 0,6%, Buddhist 0,5%, Hindu 0,4%.
  • Currency: American Dollar (USD)
  • Time: UTC -5 to -10 hours (Summer (DST) UTC -4 to -10 hours).

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