United States of America
, and a number of other territories. It is located mostly in central
. The U.S. has three land borders, two with
and one with
, and is otherwise bounded by the
. Of the 50 states, only
are not contiguous with any other state. The U.S. also has a collection of
districts, territories, and possessions
around the world. Each state has a high level of local autonomy according to the system of federalism. The U.S. traces its national origin to the
that they were free and independent states. They were recognized as such by the
Treaty of Paris
in 1783. Since then, the nation has grown to become a global
and exerts a high level of economic, political, military, and cultural influence.
colonial venture in
from 1620 until 1691. The first settlement was at New Plymouth, a location previously surveyed and named by
Captain John Smith
. The settlement, which served as the capital of the colony, is today the modern town of
. At its height, Plymouth Colony occupied most of the southeastern portion of the modern state of
Founded by a group of
separatists who later came to be known as the
Pilgrims, Plymouth Colony was, along with
Virginia, one of the earliest colonies to be founded by the English in North America and the first sizable permanent English settlement in the
New England region. Aided by
Native American, the colony was able to establish a treaty with
Chief Massasoit which helped to ensure the colony's success. The colony played a central role in
King Philip's War, one of the earliest and bloodiest of the
Indian Wars. Ultimately, the colony was annexed by the
Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.
Plymouth holds a special role in American history. Rather than being entrepreneurs like many of the settlers of Jamestown, the citizens of Plymouth were fleeing religious persecution and searching for a place to worship God as they saw fit. The social and legal systems of the colony were thus closely tied to their religious beliefs. Many of the people and events surrounding Plymouth Colony have become part of
mythology, including the North American tradition known as
Thanksgiving and the monument known as
Plymouth Rock. Despite the colony's relatively short history, it has become an important symbol of what is now labeled "American", owing largely to its treatment in American public schools.
Did you know?
Selected society biography
Nancy Davis Reagan
(born Anne Frances Robbins
on July 6, 1921) is the widow of former
United States President
First Lady of the United States
from 1981 to 1989. Born in
, her parents divorced soon after her birth; she grew up in
, living with an aunt and uncle while her mother pursued acting jobs. As Nancy Davis
, she was an
in the 1940s and 1950s, starring in films such as
, Night into Morning
Hellcats of the Navy
. In 1952 she married Ronald Reagan, who was then president of the
Screen Actors Guild
; they had two children. Nancy became the First Lady of
when her husband was
from 1967 to 1975.
She became the First Lady of the United States in January 1981 following her
husband's victory, but experienced criticism early in his first term largely due to her decision to replenish the
White House china. Nancy restored a
Kennedy-esque glamor to the White House following years of lax formality, and her interest in high-end fashion garnered much attention as well as criticism for accepting unreported loans and gifts from fashion designers. She championed
recreational drug prevention causes by founding the "
Just Say No" drug awareness campaign, which was considered her major initiative as First Lady. More controversy ensued when it was revealed in 1988 that she had consulted an
astrologer to assist in planning the president's schedule after the
1981 assassination attempt on her husband's life.
Anniversaries for November 26
Oysters Rockefeller consists of oysters on the half-shell that have been topped with a rich sauce of butter, parsley and other green herbs, and bread crumbs, then baked or broiled. Lemon wedges are the typical garnish. (
is the fourth most populous city in
and the 14th most populous
, with a 2007 estimated population of 764,976. One of the most
major cities in the US, San Francisco is part of the much larger
San Francisco Bay Area
, which is home to approximately 7.2 million people. The city is located on the tip of the
San Francisco Peninsula
, with the
to the west,
San Francisco Bay
to the east, and the
to the north.
In 1776, the Spanish
settled the tip of the peninsula, establishing a
fort at the Golden Gate and a
mission named for
Francis of Assisi. The
California Gold Rush in 1848 propelled the city into a period of rapid growth. After being devastated by the
1906 earthquake and fire, San Francisco was quickly rebuilt.
San Francisco is a popular international tourist destination renowned for its steep rolling hills, an eclectic mix of
modern architecture, and famous landmarks, including the
Golden Gate Bridge,
Alcatraz Island, the
Coit Tower, and
Chinatown. The city is also known for its diverse, cosmopolitan population, including large and long-established
Asian American and
LGBT communities. While the climate includes chilly summer fog, the winters are mild.
Selected culture biography
(born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the "noir prophet" of the
subgenre of science fiction. Gibson coined the term "
" in his short story "
" and later popularized the concept in his debut novel,
(1984). In envisaging cyberspace, Gibson created an
before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. He is also credited with predicting the rise of
and with establishing the conceptual foundations for the rapid growth of virtual environments such as video games and the Web.
After expanding on Neuromancer with two more novels to complete the dystopic
Sprawl trilogy, Gibson became a central figure to an entirely different science fiction subgenre –
steampunk – with the
alternate history novel
The Difference Engine, written in collaboration with
Bruce Sterling. In the 1990s he composed the
Bridge trilogy of novels, which focused on sociological observations of near future urban environments and late-stage capitalism. His most recent novels –
Pattern Recognition (
Spook Country (
2007) – are set in a contemporary world and have put Gibson's work onto mainstream bestseller lists for the first time.
To date, Gibson has written more than twenty short stories, nine novels (one in collaboration), a nonfiction
artist's book, and has contributed articles to several major publications and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers and musicians.
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