The United States of America (USA) or simply the States is a federal republic consisting of 50 states and a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries.
It originated in the American Revolution, the successful rebellion of the colonies on the eastern coast against British rule in 1775-83. The original 13 states that formed the Union drew up a federal constitution in 1787, and George Washington was elected the first president in 1789. In the 19th century the territory of the U.S. was extended across the continent through the westward spread of pioneers and settlers and acquisitions such as that of Texas and California from Mexico in the 1840s. After a long period of isolation in foreign affairs, the U.S. participated on the Allied side in both world wars and emerged from the Cold War as the world’s leading military and economic power.
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