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For other uses, see America (disambiguation), US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation). Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico.
The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones.
The war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power.
The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties.
Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620.
Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.
The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
In 1774 the Spanish Navy ship Santiago, under Juan Pérez had entered and anchored in the inlet at Nootka Sound.
The continent's first elected legislative assembly, Virginia's House of Burgesses created in 1619, the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.
Most settlers in every colony were small farmers, but other industries developed within a few decades as varied as the settlements. Extraction industries grew up in furs, fishing and lumber.
After Spain sent Columbus on his first voyage to the New World in 1492, other explorers followed.
The first Europeans to arrive in territory of the modern United States were Spanish conquistadors such as Juan Ponce de León, who made his first visit to Florida in 1513; however, if unincorporated territories are accounted for, then credit would go to Christopher Columbus who landed in Puerto Rico on his 1493 voyage.