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United States of America


The history of the United States begins in England. In the 18th century, England built a North-American empire along the Atlantic coast.

In the end of a “century of dishonour” (18th century), four millions of settlers, mainly British, repelled the American natives from their lands and occupied them. London’s desire to govern and tax the American colonies, at the time marked by a steady economical growth, started a fight between the colonists and England. The colonists wan and independence was proclaimed on July 4, 1776.


In 1787, the American states elaborated the Constitution of the United States, which consisted of the separation of the powers, the popular sovereignty and federalism. The first president of the Union, George Washington, enunciated the lines of an external policy based on isolationism.


America’s politics itself, namely concerning the independence from England’s power, brought on the colonies common desire of separation from the powerful colonizers. Shortly afterwards, a great number of revolutionary ideals arose everywhere, being the French Liberal Revolution in 1798 and the Independence of Brazil in 1820 two important examples.


After the 20th century great conflicts (the two Great World Wars), the United States grew into the world’s most powerful nation state. Similarly, the union transformed itself into an industrialized nation, thus attracting many populations searching for better work conditions.


It is important to point out the strength and power that still characterizes the United States within the international sphere, being thus the great impeller of the international institutions. After many years of an external policy based on isolationism, the United States were forced to take part in the world events, namely the participation in the Second World War, in 1941. The defeat in Vietnam brought on again a desire of isolation. However, the constant confront with communism and the development of international terrorism, which lead to the attacks in Libya (1986), Iraq (1991 and 2003) and Afghanistan (2002) proved once again that the United States had to take over the principles of “life”, “liberty” and “search for happiness”, upon which the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1779 is based.


The United States consists of fifty states with a total land area of 9.363.488 sq km and approximately 281.421.906 inhabitants, according to the 2000 census (table 1).




Land area

The United States of America have a total land area of 9.363.488 sq km.



The capital of the United States is Washington DC, located at 200Km off the Atlantic Coast, in Columbia District.



The United States’ natural environment is rich and varied, thanks to the country’s location (watered by the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Beaufort Sea, which is influenced by the Artic). Thus, the climate is mostly mild, but, for example, subtropical in the south and Mediterranean in the south of California. Summers are hot and winters cold, mainly in the north. The temperatures vary between 3 - 6ºC in January and 20 - 31ºC in July, in Washington DC.


Lakes and rivers

The largest and most important lakes in the United States are Lake of Woods, Agassiz, Bonneville, Champlain, Erie, George and Michigan. The largest and most important rivers are Mississippi, Missouri, Yokon, Arkansas, Colorado and Columbia.



The United States is a federal republic, with a strong democratic tradition. The president is the head of both the state and government. It has to governmental institutions, the Senate and the Congress.



The Constitution of the United States dates the year 1787 and consists of seven fundamental articles and twenty-two amendments. It also includes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


National Symbol

The United States’ symbol consists of an American eagle carrying the Latin expression E pluribus Unum, which means “From many, one”. This symbol is often related to the Roman Imperialism once the eagle is the symbol of the Empire.  



The North-American Flag

On August 21, 1959 the President Eisenhower adopted the final flag of the U.S.A., which consists of 13 strips (seven red ones and six white ones), representing the original 13 American states, and 50 stars representing the present 50 North-American states.



The Congress approved the anthem “The Star Spangled Banner” on March 3, 1931. It was written by the American lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key, on board of British navy ship during the British navy bombing in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1814.



The American dollar is divided into 100 cents.



According to the 2000 census, the North-American population was 281.4 million inhabitants.



North-American religion is characterized by diversity: 32% of the population is Protestant, 22% is Roman Catholic, 3% is Jewish, and 20% is Orthodox, 1% Muslin. However, these values tend to change.



English is the United States’ official language. However, due to the great diversity of ethnic groups all the languages of the world are spoken there.



The most popular American sports are athletics (all kinds), baseball, American football, swimming and tennis.



The United States’ main productions are cereal, soybean, cotton, tobacco, potato, citrine, sugar cane, oleaginous seeds, fruits, vegetables, wood, cattle, fish, coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron, zinc, gold and silver.


Economical Activities

Steel, iron, chemicals, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, computers, electronics, textiles, forestry, paper, paper paste, extractive industries, fishery.


Mechanical, electrical and electronic equipment, chemicals, grain, motor vehicles, aerospace, soybean, coal, petroleum, textiles, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, etc.



 - State of California

 - State of Massachusetts

 - State of Rhode Island

USA Flag
Azorean Emigration to USA

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