The United States of America, or the United States for short, is a democratic federal presidential republic in North America, stretching between the Atlantic Ocean in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west. It borders Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Thanks to the state of Alaska, the territory of the United States of America extends to the shores of the Arctic Ocean.
The US also includes some Pacific islands, such as Hawaii. The United States consists of 50 states and one federal territory with the capital and seat of the president (Washington District of Columbia), six dependent territories (Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Palmyra Atoll) and ten small islands or cliffs. With an area of 9.8 million square kilometers, the United States is the third largest country in the world and at the same time is the third most populous with 327 million inhabitants.
According to most criteria, they are the most militarily powerful countries in the world. Forty percent of the world’s military spending is on the United States. American culture, especially pop culture, has gained global influence - Hollywood, Disney, jazz, rock n roll, rap, television series - as well as the American lifestyle - motoring, fast food - so much so that outside the US began to talk about American cultural imperialism or the Americanization of life. American science and education are achieving excellent results (the university system led by Harvard, the invention of the atomic bomb, the Internet, landing on the moon).
Basic information about the USA
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Why go to the US
The United States of America welcomes us with countless attractions. When visiting the country, it is not possible to create an itinerary to see everything. There will always be a lot of interesting things missing. The American experience includes green pastures and waves-washed beaches, snow-capped peaks and endless pine forests, large cities teeming with restaurants and endless blue skies. There are iconic cities such as New York, San Francisco or Chicago. Lots of skyscrapers, large national parks.
The capital, as many people believe, is not New York, but Washington. It was named in memory of the first American president George Washington. To avoid confusion with the US state of Washington of the same name, the capital was nicknamed D.C. or District of Columbia. Washington has a population of approximately 650,000.
The history of the city is not very long. In 1776, when the country declared independence, the idea arose to establish a new capital by 1800. It had to meet all the preconditions of the time. The area with a total area of 260km² was located along the Potomac River and between the cities of Alexandria and Georgetown. Today’s territory is smaller as Alexandria was moved to the state of Virginia. Washington was built in 9 years and already in 1846 there lived over 50,000 inhabitants. After World War II, the city began to flourish. The Pentagon, the seat of the state’s armed forces, was built here. To this day, it is the largest military building in the world.
When visiting Washington, we should not forget to see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington National Cathedral, the White House, the Library of Congress, the United States Capitol and much more.
- Delaware (December 7, 1787)
- Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)
- New Jersey (December 18, 1787)
- Georgia (January 2, 1788)
- Connecticut (January 9, 1788)
- Massachusetts (February 6, 1788)
- Maryland (April 28, 1788)
- South Carolina (May 23, 1788)
- New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)
- Virginia (June 25, 1788)
- New York (July 26, 1788)
- North Carolina (November 21, 1789)
- Rhode Island (May 29, 1790)
- Vermont (March 4, 1791)
- Kentucky (June 1, 1792)
- Tennessee (June 1, 1796)
- Ohio (March 1, 1803)
- Louisiana (April 30, 1812)
- Indiana (December 11, 1816)
- Mississippi (December 10, 1817)
- Illinois (December 3, 1818)
- Alabama (December 14, 1819)
- Maine (March 15, 1820)
- Missouri (August 10, 1821)
- Arkansas (June 15, 1836)
- Michigan (January 26, 1837)
- Florida (March 3, 1845)
- Texas (December 29, 1845)
- Iowa (December 28, 1846)
- Wisconsin (May 29, 1848)
- California (September 9, 1850)
- Minnesota (May 11, 1858)
- Oregon (February 14, 1859)
- Kansas (January 29, 1861)
- West Virginia (June 20, 1863)
- Nevada (October 31, 1864)
- Nebraska (March 1, 1867)
- Colorado (August 1, 1876)
- North Dakota (November 2, 1889)
- South Dakota (November 2, 1889)
- Montana (November 8, 1889)
- Washington (November 11, 1889)
- Idaho (July 3, 1890)
- Wyoming (July 10, 1890)
- Utah (January 4, 1896)
- Oklahoma (November 16, 1907)
- New Mexico (January 6, 1912)
- Arizona (February 14, 1912)
- Alaska (January 3, 1959)
- Hawaii (August 21, 1959)
The US flag consists of thirteen horizontal stripes, seven of which are red and six white and blue canton, depicting fifty white five-pointed stars in nine rows. The stripes on the flag symbolize the founding unions of the country and the stars the current number of unions in the country. Throughout its history, the flag has undergone 27 changes. The last 28th change took place on July 4, 1960, when the last union, Hawaii, joined. George Washington is said to be behind the individual elements of the flag. The flag, as we know it today, was designed by a 16-year-old student from Ohio as part of his schoolwork and brought to Washington himself. From more than a thousand proposals, then-President Dwight Eisenhower chose this flag, as it was the only one transported to Washington in person.
The United States is a huge state, so it’s no wonder that its population is very diverse. In the past, large numbers of immigrants from all over the world went to the United States. People came here mostly with the vision of a better life, fleeing poverty or religious customs. Because there was freedom, people had a vision of possible enrichment. Previously, mainly Europeans immigrated to the USA, and today they are mostly Asians or Latin Americans. The population is growing rapidly here, while in 2006 there were about 300 million inhabitants, in 2019 it is already 330 million.
According to the latest estimates from 2005, the racial composition of the population is approximately 74% of white Americans, which are people from Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Hispanics. The second most numerous race is African Americans, who make up 12% of the population. Asian Americans make up 4.3%, American Indians less than one percent, and Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders make up 0.1% of the population. Of the total population, 47.9% are whites, 42.2% are other races such as brothers, etc., 2% are blacks and 1.6% are Asians and Indians.
Holidays in the USA
- 1.1. New Year
- Third Monday in January - Birth of Martin Luther King
- Third Monday in February - Birth of George Washington.
- Good Friday. (Good Friday) - The crucifixion of Jesus Christ
- Last Monday in May - Remembrance Day. (Memorial Day) - in memory
- all American soldiers who fell in the wars
- 4.7. Independence Day. (Independence Day) - adoption of the Declaration of Independence
- July 4, 1776
- First Monday in September - Labor Day
- 12.10. Christopher Columbus Day - the day of the discovery of America
- 11.11. Veterans Day. (Veterans Day) - Celebration of the end of the First World War
- Fourth Thursday in November - Thanksgiving Day
- 25.12. Christmas Day
The US coat of arms consists of the obverse of the state seal. It was first used in public in 1782. The authors of this seal are Charles Thompson and William Barton.
The obverse of the emblem depicts the national symbol of the country, the bald eagle in flight. The eagle is designed to symbolize the thirteen founding states of the United States, the original immigrants, and the desire for peace. The eagle holds in its beak a ribbon with the Latin slogan E Pluribus Unum, which means “one of many”. On the back of the seal is a brick pyramid with thirteen floors and above it an eye in a blue triangle. It is in a ring made of golden rays to symbolize God’s providence. The foundations of the pyramid are set with a Roman inscription from the numbers MDCCLXXVI or 1776, which is the year of the Declaration of Independence with the establishment of the USA.
Time zones in the United States cover the length range 113 ° 17 ‘, which corresponds to the time difference of the easternmost and westernmost tip territory of the United States 7.55 hours. This difference is administratively divided up to 6 time zones. Seasonal time change is introduced in most areas. The Federal Code of Laws of the United States of America defines nine standard time zones in relation to UTC. At the same time, the actual territory of the USA lies in six zones and three zones are intended for territories outside. The boundaries of the zones and the determination of the seasonal change of time are within the competence of the Department of Transportation.
What time is it in major American cities when it’s 5 pm in Prague:
- Washington, D.C - 11h (-6h)
- Los Angeles - 8h (-9h)
- New York : 11h (-6)
- Las Vegas: 08h (-9h)
- Chicago : 10h (-7h)
- Miami : 11h (-6h)
- Boston : 11h (-6h)
- Houston : 10h (-7h)
- New Orleans : 10h (-7h)
- Honolulu: 05h (-12h)
- Phoenix : 08h (-9h)
The main and only currency in the USA is the US dollar. It was introduced on July 6, 1785. We can also meet here with the colloquial name “buck”. The US dollar is also the official currency of other countries, such as Panama, Ecuador, El Salvador, East Timor and Zimbabwe. It is the most widely used currency in international transactions. In April 2004, nearly $ 700 billion was in circulation, about two-thirds outside the United States. The reason is that many central banks hold it together with gold as a reserve (especially in the Middle East).
In the US, paying by card even in cash, even in larger cities, card payment is preferred. If you go to America, make sure you go with the card embossed. This is one that has printed letters. They do not have electronic terminals everywhere and payment is made by fingerprinting the card data.
Prices in the USA
Approximate prices. Food prices in large centers:
- 2 liter soft drink for $ 1
- milk 1 liter approx. $ 1-2
- bread 1.5 - 2.5 $
- Eggs (12 pcs) approx. $ 2
- Yogurt approx. $ 0.7
- package of sliced cheese approx. $ 3
- package of sliced ham approx. $ 3
- Chicken breast (boneless, skinless) (1 kg) approx. $ 7
- 1 kg of apples approx. $ 2
- 1 kg orange approx. $ 1.20
- Potatoes (1 kg) approx. $ 2
- 1 kg of bananas approx. $ 1
- vino 1 litr 4 - 8 $
- beer 0.4 l 2.5 - 5 $
- Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) $ 6
- Petrol (1 liter) approx. $ 1
- Taxi 1km (Normal tariff) $ 1.5
Eating out in restaurants is relatively expensive, but you can choose from a wide range of ready meals. The restaurant costs $ 6-12 for lunch, and $ 8-15 for dinner. You can indulge in beer for $ 2.5-5 (alcohol from the age of 21). Prices in fast food (McDonald, Burger King) are comparable to prices in the Czech Republic. The Big Mac costs about $ 3.5 and the cheeseburger costs 75 cents.
Visa to the USA
If you do not intend to stay in the US for an extended period of time (more than 90 days), simply fill out a simple form that will allow you to enter the country. It is a visa-free travel so-called ESTA. Thanks to the fact that the Czech Republic has been participating in the visa-free program since 2008, it is enough to fill in this electronic form. ESTA is charged $ 14 and consists of a processing fee and an approval fee. You will not receive a notification of the application by e-mail, but you will receive it directly on the ESTA website. The visa is valid for 2 years or until the passport expires. During this time, you can travel to the United States repeatedly.
Detailed information is available here:
- Fill out the ESTA registration at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/
Interesting facts about the USA
Ferris wheel - The first ferris wheel in the world was built in Chicago, which was more than 80 meters high. Unfortunately, in 1906 it was deified and the first place was taken over by the ferris wheel in Singapore. But the Americans did not delay for a long time and built a larger, 167.6 m high ferris wheel in Las Vegas and then in New York with a total height of 192 meters.
Traffic Control - In America, traffic control is taken very seriously. If your car is stopped, you have to stop the car’s engine, lower all 4 windows so that the policeman can see the whole car. Your hands should be placed on the steering wheel. If your documents are in the compartment, you must warn the police officer that you need to reach for them.
How are you? - If you meet an American and ask you, “hi, how are you?", It doesn’t mean he’s interested in how you’re doing, but it’s a polite form of greeting that only answers “hello. “.
Obese People - A diet high in sugar and fat and a variety of calories explains the fact that the average American is not just “chubby” or “paid,” but almost “obese.” Two-thirds of women and three-quarters of men have weight problems. 13% of the population is medically obese, making it the most obese population on Earth.
Gun - Statistics show that an average of 9 out of 10 Americans own a gun.
Where to call in case of an emergency in the USA?
- 911 emergency line
- 911 Police
- First aid 911
- Firefighters 911
US phone code is +1.
Contacts at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington DC:
Embassy of the Czech Republic Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20008
Further contacts can be found at www.mzv.cz/washington