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Flag of United StatesThe United States of America is in North America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and lies between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska to the west of Canada and Hawaii in the Central Pacific Ocean became States in 1959.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean, is a dependent of the USA but retains commonwealth status. The United States Virgin Islands is a US Caribbean Territory. The US also has Territories in Oceania.

There are 50 US states and 1 district: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia,

Washington DC (District of Columbia) is the capital and New York is the USA’s largest city.

The US has a very large central plain and is mountainous in the west (Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada) and east (Appalachians). The Mississippi-Missouri is the USA’s longest river.

The climate of the US is very diverse; it is tropical in the States of Florida and Hawaii with arctic weather conditions in Alaska. Various parts of the US are prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and forest fires.

Environment
The terrain of the US includes mountains, forests, grasslands, deserts, lakes, rivers and coastline. The Grand Canyon, a gorge, created by the Colorado River, is one of the most spectacular sights in the US.

The varied landscape and weather conditions produce many different types of flora. Plant life, bird species and animals are conserved in the National Parks. Animals include bears, moose, deer, raccoons, chipmunks and alligators.

National Parks on the World Heritage list are Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Everglades National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Olympic National Park, Redwood National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Yosemite National Park.

Architecture
Architecture of the Anasazi (the Ancient Ones) civilization can be found on the Mesa Verde plateau in Colorado.

Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, is the site of eleventh and twelfth century stone structures, built by Pueblo peoples. Other historical sites are the Cahokia Mounds (St Louis) and Pueblo de Taos (Rio Grande).

Early European colonists used the local abundance of timber to build homes and towns. Examples of Colonial architecture can be seen in New Orleans.

America’s most famous home is the White House, the residence of the President of the United States, designed by the Irish-born architect James Hoban at the end of the eighteenth century.

Perhaps the USA’s most well-known architect is Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) who designed a variety of buildings: houses (Fallingwater), municipal buildings (the Guggenheim Museum) and skyscrapers (the Price Tower).

The US, New York in particular, is known for its skyscrapers. However on 11 September 2001 New York’s skyline lost the World Trade Center Twin Towers in terrorist attacks on both of the Towers.

Just under eighteen months after the destruction of 11 September, a proposal for the redevelopment of the site in New York was accepted. The Polish born architect Daniel Libeskind, who became a US citizen in 1965, was chosen in February 2003 as the architect to plan the reconstruction of the area known as “Ground Zero” Subsequently, fellow architect David Childs worked with Libeskind on the design.

Libeskind’s proposal featured a 1,776 ft. spire, symbolic for the year of American Independence. (Libeskind is famous for his design of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, opened in 2001).

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