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1. United States of America The United States of America is one of the most admired and most despised nations in the world today. As a dominant world power, the US is known for its military might, economic strength and democratic government. In addition, American culture has spread across the globe through its popular films, music and commercial products such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s hamburgers and Levi jeans. Because of its influence around the world, the US provokes strong reactions. Many people either love or hate the US. The US is the fourth largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada and China), stretching across the North American continent from the Atlantic coast in the east to the Pacific coast in the west. It occupies a land area of 9, 372,615 square km and crosses four standard time zones. The mainland is bordered by Mexico in the south and Canada in the north. The US also includes Alaska in the north of the continent and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country is so vast that it covers a wide variety of distinct geographical regions. You can find there Cascade mountain range, Cordillera mountain range, Rocky Mountains, famous Grand Canyon, Appalachian mountains which are geographically the oldest in the US. The highest peak can be found in Alaska – it is Mt. McKinley (6,194m). The US has also many rivers. The largest rivers are the Mississippi and the Missouri. The climate varies with the geography in the US. There are vast climatic differences across the fifty states. The best climates can be found in Hawaii, Florida and California where there are tropical and semi-tropical regions. In contrast, in the northeast and Midwest the climate is more severe, featuring four seasons and cold winters. However the most extreme arctic climate can be found in Alaska. The US is federation consisting of fifty states. In the American democratic system, rights and powers are divided between the individual states and federal government. Each state has its own government and makes its own laws concerning sales taxes, education, speed limits, environmental protection, unemployment benefits, gambling, drinking and divorce. The federal government controls national taxes and the armed forces. Washington D.C. is the national capital of the US and the seat of the federal government. Approximately 265 million people inhabit the US. The country is the third most populous in the world behind China and India. As a land of immigrants, the American population is very diverse. The history of slavery and colonization has also contributed significantly to the ethnic diversity of US citizens. Less than 1 percent of the people are actually true natives to the land inc. Aleuts, Eskimos, Native Americans of different tribes, 82 percent of the population is white with European ancestry, 12 percent is African American, 9 percent is Hispanic and 4 percent Asian and Pacific Islanders. Because of the variety of races and cultures living side by side in the same country, racism is an important issue in the US. The official language of the US is English, however, because of the large numbers of immigrants, many different languages are spoken throughout the fifty states. In states with high percentage of Hispanics {California, Texas and New York} a growing number of people speak Spanish. In these states, many schools are bilingual and children are taught in both Spanish and English. The US has one of the strongest economies in the world. The American dollar is used for trade in countries across the globe. The US is a leading country in agriculture, in the chemical, car and machinery industry, and in minerals and raw materials. Currently, the fastest growing industries in the US are aeronautics, space technology and computers. Although strong in industry, two thirds of Americans work in the service sector - providing services in tourism, banking and transportation. Agriculture plays a large role in the US economy. The quality of soil in North America is excellent. The US produces the majority of the world` s corn, soybeans, tomatoes, apples, oranges and tobacco. Although the US produces 20 percent of the world` s food, less than 2 percent of the population works in agriculture. The US is rich in minerals. It has one of the world` s largest recourses of coal, concentrated in the Appalachia mountains and by the Lake Michigan. The US also has strong oil and natural gas mining operations in Texas, Oklahoma, Gulf of Mexico and Alaska. The US` s main trading partners are Canada and Japan.

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