We're off to a place of towering sky scrapers, beautiful beaches, breath-taking canyons, cool cowboys and mega movie stars! Fancy joining? Then check out our fab facts about the USA...
Official Name: United States of America
Population: 324, 057, 300
Form of Government: Constitution-based federal republic
Capital: Washington, D.C.
Area: 9, 826, 630 square kilometres
Major Mountain Ranges: Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains
Major Rivers: Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado
Languages: English, Spanish
Money: U.S. dollar
The United States of America (often referred to as the USA, or simply the US) is the world's third largest country in size (after Russia and Canada) and the third largest in terms of population (after China and India). Located in North America, the country is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Along the northern border is Canada, and along the southern border is Mexico. There are 50 states and the District of Columbia.
More than twice the size of the European Union, the United States has high mountains in the West and a vast, central plain. The lowest point in the country is in Death Valley, which sits 86m below sea level, and the highest peak is Mount McKinley, standing a whopping 6,198m tall.
The landscape varies across this large country - from the tropical beaches of Florida to the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, from the rolling prairie lands and barren deserts in the west to the huge areas of dense wilderness in the north. Interspersed throughout are the Great Lakes, the Grand Canyon, the majestic Yosemite Valley and the mighty Mississippi River.
The wildlife is as diverse as the landscape. Mammals such as American Buffalo once roamed freely across the plains, but today can only be found in protected areas. The largest carnivores are black bears, grizzlies and even polar bears, which live in the northernmost state of Alaska.
The United States works to look after its wildlife, with nearly 400 areas protected and maintained by the National Park Service, and many other parks in each state. The bald eagle, today a protected species, is the national bird and symbol of the United States.
For centuries, native peoples lived across the vast expanse that would become the United States of America. In the early 17th century, settlers moved from Europe to the ‘New World’, established colonies and displaced the native peoples.
The settlers fought for their independence from Britain in the late 18th century and formed a union of states based on a new constitution. The nation continued to expand westward and, although the country is a relatively young nation, it has become a global power since declaring independence from Britain on July 4, 1776.
Throughout its history, the United States has been a nation of immigrants. The population is diverse with people from all over the world seeking refuge and a better way of life. The country is divided into six regions - New England, the mid-Atlantic, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest and the West.
European settlers came to New England in search of religious freedom. These states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The mid-Atlantic region includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the city of Washington, D.C. These industrial areas attracted millions of European immigrants and gave rise to some of the East Coast's largest cities - New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The South includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. These states all struggled in the years following the American Civil War, which lasted from 1860-1865.
The Midwest is home to the country's agricultural base and is called the ‘nation's breadbasket'. The region comprises the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The Southwest is a beautiful stark landscape of prairie and desert. The states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas are considered the Southwest, home to some of the world's great natural marvels, including the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns.
The American West, land of the iconic western cowboy and rolling plains, is a symbol of the pioneering spirit of the United States. The West is diverse, ranging from endless wilderness to barren desert, coral reefs to Arctic tundra, Hollywood to Yellowstone National Park. The states of the West include Alaska, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Citizens over the age of 18 years old vote to elect the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The president lives in the White House in the capital city of Washington, D.C.
The part of the government that makes the country’s laws, controls the money and decides if the USA should go to war is called the Congress. There are two houses of Congress - the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 100 members, two from each of the 50 states, and each serves a six-year term. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 representatives, who must be elected every two years.
The Supreme Court is the branch of the government that interprets the laws of the USA. It is the highest court in the country and made up of nine justices, who are each picked by the president and must be approved by Congress.
Advances in the past hundred years have established America as a world leader economically, militarily and technologically. The USA’s important exports include petroleum products, aircrafts, vehicle parts and medical equipment, and the country’s big imports include cars, industrial machinery, computers and crude oil.