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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America, consisting of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million square kilometers), it is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area. With a population of more than 328 million people, it is the third most populous country in the world. The national capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.

Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago, and European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Disputes over taxation and political representation with Great Britain led to the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), which established independence. In the late 18th century, the U.S. began vigorously expanding across North America, gradually acquiring new territories, oftentimes killing and displacing Native Americans, and admitting new states; by 1848, the United States spanned the continent. Slavery was legal in the southern United States until the second half of the 19th century when the American Civil War led to its abolition. The Spanish–American War and World War I established the U.S. as a world power, a status confirmed by the outcome of World War II. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in various proxy wars but avoided direct military conflict. They also competed in the Space Race, culminating in the 1969 spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. The revolutions of 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 ended the Cold War. This left the United States as the world's sole superpower, with immense authority in global geopolitics.

The United States is a federal republic and a representative democracy with three separate branches of government, including a bicameral legislature. It is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), NATO, and other international organizations. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. ranks high in international measures of economic freedom, quality of life, and quality of higher education. Despite considerable income and wealth disparities, especially across racial divisions compared to other rich countries, the United States continuously ranks high in measures of socioeconomic performance and receives relatively high ratings for human rights, despite criticism for its high incarceration rates, being the only Western country to regularly use capital punishment, and its lack of universal health care among other issues. It is also one of the most racially and ethnically diverse nations in the world, often called a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. Its population has been profoundly shaped by centuries of immigration.

A highly developed country, the United States accounts for approximately a quarter of global gross domestic product (GDP) and is the world's largest economy by nominal GDP. By value, the United States is the world's largest importer and the second-largest exporter of goods. Although its population is only 4.2% of the world total, it holds 29.4% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share held by any country. Making up more than a third of global military spending, it is the foremost military power in the world and is a leading political, cultural, and scientific force internationally.

United States Media

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The upper reaches of Frost Bank Tower, a prominent Austin, Texas, skyscraper

The upper reaches of Frost Bank Tower, a prominent Austin, Texas, skys...

Title, date, and keywords based on information provided by the photographer. The 33-story building was developed by Cousins Properties from November 2001 to December 2003. It was the first high- rise building t... more

Steam locomotives in the roundhouse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Scenic Railroad in Durango, Colorado

Steam locomotives in the roundhouse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow ...

Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer. Credit line: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photograp... more

Grand Rounds Scenic Byway - Huge Lego Spaceship in the Mall of America

Grand Rounds Scenic Byway - Huge Lego Spaceship in the Mall of America

The original finding aid described this photograph as: Original Caption: A lego spaceman hovers in the air above mall walkers. Location: Location: Minnesota (44.854° N 93.243° W) Status: Public domain. Photo... more

Hackberry General Store, Route 66, Hackberry, Arizona

Hackberry General Store, Route 66, Hackberry, Arizona

Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer. Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Gift and purchase ; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-201... more

Stained glass in Neiman Marcus store, San Francisco, California

Stained glass in Neiman Marcus store, San Francisco, California

Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer. This stain glass in Neiman Marcus on Union Square, was once in The City of Paris store. The architectural centerpiece of the building is the original rotu... more

Pops Route 66 Restaurant and gift shop, Arcadia, Oklahoma

Pops Route 66 Restaurant and gift shop, Arcadia, Oklahoma

Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer. Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Gift and purchase; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-2010... more

Neon sign at the Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Neon sign at the Horseshoe Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Digital image produced by Carol M. Highsmith to represent her original film transparency; some details may differ between the film and the digital images. Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer.... more

Detail of a historic car with license plates from the 1940s. San Francisco, California

Detail of a historic car with license plates from the 1940s. San Franc...

Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer. Credit line: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs... more

Historic Electric City sign, restored in 2008, shines again. Scranton, Pennsylvania

Historic Electric City sign, restored in 2008, shines again. Scranton,...

Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer. Credit line: Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Gift and purchase ; Carol M. Highsmith; 2009; (DLC/PP-201... more

Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, Louisiana

Mardi Gras Parade, New Orleans, Louisiana

Title, date, and subjects provided by the photographer. Mardi Gras is organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; the most common are strings of plastic colorful beads, doubloons... more

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, San Francisco, California

The Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, San Francisco, California

Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer. Street names commemorate two early San Francisco leaders: Pioneer and exchange banker Henry Haight and Munroe Ashbury. The district is noted for its role ... more

Memorial Church on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California

Memorial Church on the Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, Califo...

Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer. Credit line: The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Pr... more

Steam locomotives in the roundhouse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Scenic Railroad in Durango, Colorado

Steam locomotives in the roundhouse of the Durango & Silverton Narrow ...

Title, date and keywords based on information provided by the photographer. Credit line: Gates Frontiers Fund Colorado Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photograp... more

America

America

Anonymous, Netherlandish, 16th century ?

America from The Four Continents

America from The Four Continents

Julius Goltzius (Netherlandish, died ca. 1595)

Cosmographiae introductio

Cosmographiae introductio

Martin Waldseemüller has been recognized as the first European cartographer to depict the New World discoveries as a separate continent, which he named "America." Waldseemüller was a member of a small group of ... more

Orbis typus uniuersalis iuxta hydrographorum traditionem

Orbis typus uniuersalis iuxta hydrographorum traditionem

Waldseemüller may have had second thoughts about his 1507 proposal for naming the new continent "America." In 1513, he issued a fourth publication, a new edition of Claudius Ptolemy's Geographia. In it he incl... more

Tipus orbis uniuersalis iuxta Ptolomei cosmographi traditionem et Americi Vespucii alior[um]que

Tipus orbis uniuersalis iuxta Ptolomei cosmographi traditionem et Amer...

Although in his later publications Waldseemüller apparently retracted his depiction of a separate continent named America, other publishers quickly accepted his initial concept and imitated the shapes and nome... more

Oceani occidetalis seu terre nove tabula

Oceani occidetalis seu terre nove tabula

Ocenunus occidentalis Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Map of America by Diego Ribero 1529.

Map of America by Diego Ribero 1529.

Spanish; title in English. Pen-and-ink and blue watercolor, mounted on cloth, mounted on paper. Traced from a map by Diego Ribero. On label affixed in upper right corner: 41. Available also through the Library ... more

Eastern South America from BL Royal 20 E IX, f. 28

Eastern South America from BL Royal 20 E IX, f. 28

Map of the Eastern part of the South America and of a part of the Tierra del Fuego. Image taken from f. 28 of Boke of Idrography (The 'Rotz Atlas'). Written in English.

Eastern South America from BL Royal 20 E IX, ff. 27v-28

Eastern South America from BL Royal 20 E IX, ff. 27v-28

Map of the eastern part of the South America and a part of the Tierra del Fuego. Image taken from ff. 27v-28 of Boke of Idrography (The 'Rotz Atlas'). Written in English.

Universale della nuovamente parte del mondo ritrovata

Universale della nuovamente parte del mondo ritrovata

Relief shown pictorially. In upper left corner: 455. In upper right corner: 456. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Vault

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

Americae sive novi orbis, nova descriptio Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

Ortelius's map of the Americas was one of the most identifiable and most famous cartographic representations of the western hemisphere created during the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography. It enjoyed great popula... more

La Florida

La Florida

Pervviæ avriferæ regionis typis | Gvastecan Reg Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Americae et proximar regionvm orae descriptio

Americae et proximar regionvm orae descriptio

Relief shown pictorially. Prime meridian: Ferro. Second state. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Acquisitions control no. 95-34 Vault

Le novveav monde descovvert et illvstre de nostre temps

Le novveav monde descovvert et illvstre de nostre temps

Relief shown pictorially. Woodcut. Includes illustrations and notes. LC copy mounted on cloth. Gift ; Lessing J. Rosenwald ; June 29, 1948. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

Americae siue noui orbis, noua descriptio

In 1587, Ortelius revised the map of the Americas that appeared in his Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The changes found on this second edition are more extensive than generally thought, and are evidence of the care t... more

Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta : primum ab Anglis inuenta, sumtibus Dn. Walteri Raleigh, Equestris ordinis Viri, Anno Dn̄i. MDLXXXV regni Vero Sereniss. nostræ Reginæ Elisabethæ XXVII, hujus vero Historia peculiari Libro descripta est, additis etiam Indigenarum Iconibus /

Americæ pars, nunc Virginia dicta : primum ab Anglis inuenta, sumtibus...

Scale ca. 1:1,700,000. Has watermark. Oriented with north to the right. Relief shown pictorially and by hachures. Pictorial map. Covers coastal region from Cape Fear to Chesapeake Bay. From Thomas Hariot's A br... more

America sive novvs orbis respectv Evropaeorvm inferior globi terrestris pars

America sive novvs orbis respectv Evropaeorvm inferior globi terrestri...

America sive novus orbis respectu Europaeorum inferior globi terrestris pars Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Titelpagina van het pamflet: Den Spaenschen ende Arragoenschen spiegel. Inde welcke men mach claerlick ende waerachtich sien tot wat eynde (...) het voornemen is (...) van 't Spaensche Crijchsvolck, dat hem desen Winter heeft gehouden in den Westphaelschen Creyts, 1599

Titelpagina van het pamflet: Den Spaenschen ende Arragoenschen spiegel...

Titelprent van een pamflet getiteld: Den Spaenschen ende Arragoenschen spiegel. Inde welcke men mach claerlick ende waerachtich sien tot wat eynde ... het voornemen is ... van 't Spaensche Crijchsvolck, dat hem... more

America

America

Abraham Bosse (French, Tours 1602/1604–1676 Paris)

America (part of a set of four)

America (part of a set of four)

The scene on these plates (59.208.30–.33) are copied from engravings by Cornelis van Daten the Younger (1638–1664) of designs by Dirk Barentsz (1534–1592). After a composition by Cornelis van Daten the Younger ... more

America.

America.

Relief shown pictorially. Described in: The mapping of North America / Philip D. Burden. 1996. p. 165. Includes notes, ill., and cartouche with text. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a... more

America
Lion Hunt ("America")

Lion Hunt ("America")

Probably by Leonardus Quesi

America

America

Amerique Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Vrouw uit Virginia

Vrouw uit Virginia

Speelkaart met een voorstelling van een staande vrouw in exotische dracht uit Virginia. Tekst in ondermarge. Genummerd linksboven: 9.

America, noviter delineata

America, noviter delineata

Relief shown pictorially. Includes insets of Greenland and Antarctica and ill. of native figures and town views in margins. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Acquisition... more

[Map of northern coast of S. America, showing mouths of Amazon and Orinoco rivers. Illus. with dwellings, boats, animals; Indians killing boa]

[Map of northern coast of S. America, showing mouths of Amazon and Ori...

Illus. in: Reys-Boeck van het rijcke, Brasilien (Dordrecht?,1624). This record contains unverified, old data from caption card, and subsequent revisions. Caption card tracings: Maps; South America; Snakes; Braz... more

Virginia /

Virginia /

Sixth state. Relief shown pictorially. Oriented with north to the right. Accompanied by 2 exhibit notes and LC jacket note. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

New England.

New England.

Available also through the Library of Congress web site as a raster image. Vault

A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World: Viz. Asia, Affrica, Europe, America, with...Grecia, Roman Empire, Germanie, Bohemia, France, Belgia, Spaine, Italie, Hungarie, Denmarke, Poland, Persia...Together with...Great Brittaines empire

A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World: Viz. Asia, Affrica, ...

John Speed (British, Farndon, Cheshire 1551/52–1629 London)

America, siue, India Nova : ad magnae Gerardi Mercatoris aui vniversalis imitationem in compendium redacta

America, siue, India Nova : ad magnae Gerardi Mercatoris aui vniversal...

America, sive, India Nova Courtesy of Boston Public Library

America nouiter delineata

America nouiter delineata

America noviter delineata Courtesy of Boston Public Library

The figure of the Indians' fort or palizado in New England and the manner of the destroying it by Captayne Underhill and Captayne Mason / RH.

The figure of the Indians' fort or palizado in New England and the man...

The village of the Pequot Indians which was attacked and destroyed by Captain Underhill and Captain Mason in 1637. Illus. in: Nevves from America / John Underhill. London : Printed by J.D. for Peter Cole, [...]... more

Title page of John Underhill, Newes from America, London, J.D. for Peter Cole, 1638

Title page of John Underhill, Newes from America, London, J.D. for Pet...

Illus. in: John Underhill, Newes from America, London, J.D. for Peter Cole, 1638, title page. No file print. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Indians Wars Pequ... more

[Map of Atlantic Coast of North America from the Chesapeake Bay to Florida].

[Map of Atlantic Coast of North America from the Chesapeake Bay to Flo...

Shows coastal features, Native American nations and settlements, and other geographical entities. Pen-and-ink and watercolor. Attributed to Joan Vinckeboons by comparison with his other Dutch maps in Henry Harr... more

Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt.

Noort Rivier in Niew Neerlandt.

Relief shown pictorially. Depths shown by soundings. Shows the Hudson River from Manhattan Island to Albany, natural features, and other geographical entities in the region. Pen-and-ink and watercolor. Attribut... more

Caert vande Svydt Rivier in Niew Nederland.

Caert vande Svydt Rivier in Niew Nederland.

Relief shown pictorially. Depths shown by soundings. Shows the region of the Delaware Bay and river, natural features, and other geographical entities. Pen-and-ink and watercolor. Attributed to Joan Vinckeboons... more

Chest
America noviter delineata /

America noviter delineata /

Relief shown pictorially. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Includes insets of north and south polar regions. Acquisitions control no. 3-85

America
Chest

Chest

Probably made in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

America, from 'Game of Geography' (Jeu de la Géographie)

America, from 'Game of Geography' (Jeu de la Géographie)

Etched by Stefano della Bella (Italian, Florence 1610–1664 Florence)

Virginia, from 'Game of Geography' (Jeu de la Géographie)

Virginia, from 'Game of Geography' (Jeu de la Géographie)

Etched by Stefano della Bella (Italian, Florence 1610–1664 Florence)

Mulier ex Virginia

Mulier ex Virginia

Vrouw uit Virginia, Amerika. Overgenomen van Thoedor de Bry, naar tekening van John white in Thomas Harriot's A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virgina, Frankfurt, 1590.

Chest
Chest
Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae Nec Non Partis Virginiae

Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae Nec Non Partis Virginiae

Published by Nicolas Joannis Visscher (Dutch, 17th century)

America Septentrionalis /

America Septentrionalis /

Relief shown pictorially. Appears in v. 3 of Nieuwen atlas, ofte vverelt-beschrijvinge, vertonende de voornaemste rijcken ende landen des gheheelen Aerdt-Bodems. Amstelodami : Apud Ioannem Ianssonium, 1652-3. E... more

Americae nova descriptio

Americae nova descriptio

Collection of old maps Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Americae nova tabula

Americae nova tabula

Collection of old maps Courtesy of Boston Public Library

Nova America descriptio

Nova America descriptio

Relief shown pictorially. Sheet issued as part of a set of 5 maps; one map covers entire world and 4 maps cover individual continents. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. ... more

West-Indische paskaert waer in de graden der breedde over weder zijden vande middellijn wassende so vergrooten dat die geproportioneert sijn tegen hunne nevenstaende graden der lengde. vertonende behalve Europaes zuydelijcste alle de seekusten van Africa en America, begrepen in 't Octroy bij de H.M.H. Staten Generael der vereenigde Nederl. verleent aende Generale West Indische Compagnie.

West-Indische paskaert waer in de graden der breedde over weder zijden...

Shows the west coast of North America from Belle Isle, Newfoundland, both coasts of South America, mediterranean Europe, and the east coast of Africa. Includes illustrations. Available also through the Library ... more

Nova totivs Americae descriptio

Nova totivs Americae descriptio

Nova totius Americae descriptio Courtesy of Boston Public Library