Expansion of Railroads Map to 1860

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History Map: Defined
A historical map represents the different times in history. This type of map may have details such as the sides that fought in a war, or the territory that was gained in a battle. A history map also shows territories in that were taken over in a certain period, paths that explorers blazed or even areas that played a part in notable times- such as The California Gold Rush.
United States

page last updated on September 26, 2011


Introduction :: United States
Background:
 
Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Over a span of more than five decades, the economy has achieved steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.
Geography :: United States
Location:
 
North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico
 
Geographic coordinates:
 
38 00 N, 97 00 W
 
Map references:
 
North America
 
Area:
 
total: 9,826,675 sq km
country comparison to the world: 3
land: 9,161,966 sq km
water: 664,709 sq km
note: includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
 
Area - comparative:
 
about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union
 
Land boundaries:
 
total: 12,034 km
border countries: Canada 8,893 km (including 2,477 km with Alaska), Mexico 3,141 km
note: US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is leased by the US and is part of Cuba; the base boundary is 28 km
 
Coastline:
 
19,924 km
 
Maritime claims:
 
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: not specified
 
Climate:
 
mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains
 
Terrain:
 
vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east; rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska; rugged, volcanic topography in Hawaii
 
Elevation extremes:
 
lowest point: Death Valley -86 m
highest point: Mount McKinley 6,194 m
note: the peak of Mauna Kea (4,207 m above sea level) on the island of Hawaii rises about 10,200 m above the Pacific Ocean floor; by this measurement, it is the world's tallest mountain - higher than Mount Everest, which is recognized as the tallest mountain above sea level
 
Natural resources:
 
coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, rare earth elements, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, timber
note: the US has the world's largest coal reserves with 491 billion short tons accounting for 27% of the world's total
 
Land use:
 
arable land: 18.01%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 81.78% (2005)
 
Irrigated land:
 
230,000 sq km (2008)
 
Total renewable water resources:
 
3,069 cu km (1985)
 
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
 
total: 477 cu km/yr (13%/46%/41%)
per capita: 1,600 cu m/yr (2000)
 
Natural hazards:
 
tsunamis; volcanoes; earthquake activity around Pacific Basin; hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts; tornadoes in the Midwest and Southeast; mud slides in California; forest fires in the west; flooding; permafrost in northern Alaska, a major impediment to development
volcanism: the United States experiences volcanic activity in the Hawaiian Islands, Western Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and in the Northern Mariana Islands; both Mauna Loa (elev. 4,170 m) in Hawaii and Mount Rainier (elev. 4,392 m) in Washington have been deemed "Decade Volcanoes" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to their explosive history and close proximity to human populations; Pavlof (elev. 2,519 m) is the most active volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Arc and poses a significant threat to air travel since the area constitutes a major flight path between North America and East Asia; St. Helens (elev. 2,549 m, famous for the devastating 1980 eruption, remains active today; numerous other historically active volcanoes exist, mostly concentrated in the Aleutian arc and Hawaii; they include: in Alaska: Aniakchak, Augustine, Chiginagak, Fourpeaked, Iliamna, Katmai, Kupreanof, Martin, Novarupta, Redoubt, Spurr, Wrangell; in Hawaii: Trident, Ugashik-Peulik, Ukinrek Maars, Veniaminof; in the Northern Mariana Islands: Anatahan; and in the Pacific Northwest: Mount Baker, Mount Hood
 
Environment - current issues:
 
air pollution resulting in acid rain in both the US and Canada; the US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels; water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers; limited natural freshwater resources in much of the western part of the country require careful management; desertification
 
Environment - international agreements:
 
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Biodiversity, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Hazardous Wastes
 
Geography - note:
 
world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India); Mt. McKinley is highest point in North America and Death Valley the lowest point on the continent
People :: United States
Population:
 
313,232,044 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 3
 
Age structure:
 
0-14 years: 20.1% (male 32,107,900/female 30,781,823)
15-64 years: 66.8% (male 104,411,352/female 104,808,064)
65 years and over: 13.1% (male 17,745,363/female 23,377,542) (2011 est.)
 
Median age:
 
total: 36.9 years
male: 35.6 years
female: 38.2 years (2011 est.)
 
Population growth rate:
 
0.963% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
Birth rate:
 
13.83 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148
 
Death rate:
 
8.38 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
 
Net migration rate:
 
4.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 23
 
Urbanization:
 
urban population: 82% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
Major cities - population:
 
New York-Newark 19.3 million; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 12.675 million; Chicago 9.134 million; Miami 5.699 million; WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital) 4.421 million (2009)
 
Sex ratio:
 
at birth: 1.047 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
Infant mortality rate:
 
total: 6.06 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 176
male: 6.72 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
Life expectancy at birth:
 
total population: 78.37 years
country comparison to the world: 50
male: 75.92 years
female: 80.93 years (2011 est.)
 
Total fertility rate:
 
2.06 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
 
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
 
0.6% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
 
1.2 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
 
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
 
17,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
Drinking water source:
 
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 94% of population
total: 99% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 6% of population
total: 1% of population (2008)
 
Sanitation facility access:
 
improved:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 100% of population
unimproved:
urban: 0% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 0% of population (2008)
 
Nationality:
 
noun: American(s)
adjective: American
 
Ethnic groups:
 
white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)
note: a separate listing for Hispanic is not included because the US Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean persons of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin including those of Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic, Spanish, and Central or South American origin living in the US who may be of any race or ethnic group (white, black, Asian, etc.); about 15.1% of the total US population is Hispanic
 
Religions:
 
Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
 
Languages:
 
English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii
 
Literacy:
 
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
 
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
 
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2008)
 
Education expenditures:
 
5.5% of GDP (2007)
country comparison to the world: 43

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