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17. The United States of America (Spojené státy americké)

The USA is a federation of 50 states. The country spreads on the whole of North America from the Atlantic coast on the east to the Pacific coast on the west. It neighbours on Canada in the north and on Mexico in the south (the Rio Grande forms the border with Mexico). The USA also includes Alaska on the very north of the continent and the Hawaii Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The USA has a varied landscape. The biggest mountain ranges are on the west (Sierra Nevada, Cordilleras, Rocky Mountains Great Canyon). The highest peak is Mt Mc Kinley (6,194m). The longest river is Mississippi (the Mississippi Lowland), other known are the Colorado, the Missouri, the Ohio, the Columbia, ….. and the Niagara with the famous Niagara Falls on the border with Canada. The Great Lakes are situated here, too. In the north, the climate is mild, though because of the Labrador Current it is much colder than what we know in our country. The southern part of the US lies in the subtropical zone. Florida, the Gulf of Mexico and the Hawaii are located in the tropical zone. Alaska is naturally the coldest area as it lies in the arctic zone. There are many well-known national parks in the US: Death Valley Desert (it is the hottest and driest place in the USA – the temperature measured in the shadow was 57oC), Yellowstone, Grand Canyon,…. The number of inhabitants is almost 300 million, with about 80 per cent living in towns and cities, especially those in the North-East. Official language of the US is English. The National flag has 50 white stars symbolizing 50 states and 13 stripes (6 white and 7 red) symbolizing the original 13 colonies. The US has one of the strongest economies in the world. The American dollar is used for trade in countries across the globe. The USA is very rich in mineral resources. There are deposits of gold, silver, platinum and petroleum mainly in Alaska. Petroleum and natural gas is produced in huge amounts in Texas, Oklahoma and in the Gulf of Mexico. The head of American democracy is the President. He is elected for four years and may only be elected twice. His power is relatively great. The Congress consists of two houses: the Senate and the House or Representatives. Washington D.C. is the capital of the US and seat of the federal government. Washington is not a state, it is a federal district. In the centre of the city there is the Capitol where the Congress meets. The president works and lives nearby in the White House.

Washington D.C. is the capital city of the United States. It’s named after the first president, George Washington. It is the first city in the world especially planned and built as a capital. The capital is not a part of any of the 50 states. It lies on the Potomac River on the eastern coast of the USA. In the centre – on Capitol Hill – is the Capitol, seat of the Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Nearby is the White House. Important buildings include Pentagon – the centre of military forces.

New York is situated on the eastern coast of the USA. It is the biggest city in the USA, an important seaport, and financial, business and cultural centre. There are four airports and it has the largest subway system of the world. The most important part of NY is Manhattan. Broadway runs across the streets and avenues. Times Square is the centre of entertainment. Wall Street is the financial centre of the world. Harlem is a black quarter with many poor and unemployed people. The Statue of Liberty is a cooper statue given to the USA by France. The statue stands on Liberty Island near the port. It is the symbol of NY and it has become the symbol of hope and freedom.

San Francisco (California) – a picturesque city with steep streets and cable cars. The Golden Gate Bridge (1,280 m long) is said to be the most photographed bridge in the world. The prison Alcatraz where Al Capone and other dangerous criminals were imprisoned is nearby.
Los Angeles is the capital of the film world (Hollywood). It is the second largest city in the USA.

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