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United States Culture, Geography and History
Culture and Customs of United States
With immigration playing an important part in the development of America, it's now a nation made up of many different cultures. The population is made up of immigrants hailing from Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America and beyond - it’s no wonder modern America is rich with a variety of cultural traditions, cuisines, religions and festivals. Because of this, a large diversity of holidays are celebrated in America. You’re just as likely to see Kwanza, Hanukah and Chinese New Year celebrated, as Christmas and Easter. Annual holidays like 4th of July and Thanksgiving are usually celebrated by all regardless of religion or political persuasion, and give people a chance to reconnect with family and friends around the dinner table or grill.
From sports to soul music, popular culture to philosophy, and fine art to folk art, the tastes and desires of Americans vary around the country - from north to south, cities to small towns. A love of sport unifies the nation - it doesn’t matter if you live in a city loft or a trailer, sports like ice hockey, basketball, baseball and gridiron all attract a strong following, regardless of age, sex, income or race.
With an emphasis on freedom and achievement, entrepreneurs like Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg are respected, celebrated and held up as an example of how anything is possible when living in America. Sporting legends, celebrities, actors and pop stars are viewed as valuable commodities by most, leading to the recent explosion of ‘celebrity culture’.
In contrast to this, many Native Americans live on reservations and fight to retain their traditions and preserve their heritage, although when visiting reservations don’t be surprised to see Native Americans wearing modern clothing. With much of the language and many of the customs lost over the years, Native Americans strive to live a life of deep spirituality and in connection with the earth, as their ancestors did for centuries.
Geography and Environment of United States
From the lush everglades of Florida, through the red-hot deserts of Nevada and on to the urban jungles of New York and Philadelphia, the United States has many different environments and ecosystems within its boundaries. Sharing borders with Canada in the north and Mexico in the south, the United States has deserts, glaciers, freshwater lakes, rapid-filled rivers, mountain ranges, sprawling plains, forested national parks, beaches and bays.
The major national parks of America – Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, Denali and Joshua Tree offer a glimpse into what much of America looked like before development. Lush vegetation, majestic mountains and sparkling lakes give deer, moose, bears, bison and many other species of wildlife a fertile home to live in.
When travelling, you’re likely to see modern cities filled with traffic, skyscrapers and high-density housing, as well as sleepy towns, trailer parks and Native American reservations. A complex network of highways connect the major cities, making overland travel a popular choice with visitors and locals alike. The great American road trip is still alive and well.
History and Government of United States
Use this list of major events as a guide to the United States' rich history:
- 1620 - The Mayflower lands at Plymouth Rock
- 1775 to 1783 - American Revolution period
- 1776 - The Declaration of Independence is signed
- 1789 - George Washington elected as president
- 1790 - US Supreme Court meets for the first time
- 1860 - Abraham Lincoln is elected president
- 1861 to 1865 - The Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy
- 1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation grants freedom for some slaves
- 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is assassinated
- 1867 - The US buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million
- 1876 - Custer’s army is defeated by Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull
- 1929 - Wall Street stock market crash marks the beginning of the Great Depression
- 1944 - Pearl Harbor is bombed by the Japanese
- 1955 - Rosa Parks is arrested for breaking segregation laws and becomes a crucial figure in the civil rights movement
- 1963 - JFK is assassinated and Martin Luther King delivers his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech
- 1964 - The Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination
- 1968 - Martin Luther King is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee
- 1969 - Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon and Woodstock rocks a farm in White Lake, New York
- 1973 - America withdraws from the Vietnam War
- 1974 - President Nixon resigns after the Watergate Scandal
- 1977 - Elvis Presley dies
- 1981 - MTV music channel debuts on television
- 1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger explodes and kills all onboard
- 1992 - The LA riots are started after police bash Rodney King
- 2001 - The World Trade Center and Pentagon are attacked by terrorists
- 2005 - Hurricane Katrina causes widespread damage and loss of life in New Orleans
- 2009 - President Obama inaugurated
About UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
As one of the world’s most influential nations, major moments and events in American history ripple throughout the rest of the world.
The First Settlers interrupted the traditional way of life that Native Americans had been living for centuries, and soon brought disease, famine and dispossession of land to the tribes of North America.
Over the years, America has seen battles fought between its citizens (like the Civil War) and externally with other nations (Vietnam War and Gulf War). It has also endured terrorist attacks, natural disasters, depressions, recessions and other hardships. The American people are known for their resilience and irrepressible nature, and it is this spirit that allows them to continue to contribute to the world economically, scientifically and creatively.
In recent history, America has enjoyed the historic highs of the moon landings and the devastating lows of Hurricane Katrina. The world has seen American companies like Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Starbucks change the face of the world. And people like Steven Spielberg, Lance Armstrong, Maya Angelou and Sidney Poitier create masterpieces, break records and win countless awards.
United States at a glance
- Washington DC
- 313.2 million
- (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
- Type A (North American/Japanese 2-pin), Type B (American 3-pin)
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