50 states of the United States

Alabama

Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th-most extensive and the 23rd-most populous of the 50 United States. At 1,300 miles (2,100 km), Alabama has one of the longest navigable inland waterways in the nation.

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many Southern states, suffered economic hardship, in part because of continued dependence on agriculture. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, White rural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s, as it did not regularly reapportion the legislature from 1901 to 1961; urban interests and African Americans were markedly under-represented. African Americans and poor whites were essentially disenfranchised altogether by the state constitution of 1901, a status that continued into the mid-1960s before being alleviated by federal legislation.

Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth as the economy of the state transitioned from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The power of the Solid South in Congress gained the establishment or expansion of multiple United States Armed Forces installations, which helped to bridge the gap between an agricultural and industrial economy during the mid-20th century. The state economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.

Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the “Heart of Dixie” and the Cotton State. The state tree is the Longleaf Pine, and the state flower is the Camellia. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city, and largest city by total land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists.
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Alaska
Alaska is a U.S. state situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent. Bordering the state to the east is Yukon, a Canadian territory, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia (specifically, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug and Kamchatka Krai) further west across the Bering Strait. Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area, the 4th least populous and the least densely populated of the 50 United States. Approximately half of Alaska’s 735,132 residents live within the Anchorage metropolitan area. Alaska’s economy is dominated by the oil, natural gas, and fishing industries, resources which it has in abundance. Tourism is also a significant part of the economy.

Although it had been occupied for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, from the 18th century onward, European powers considered the territory of Alaska ripe for exploitation and trade. The United States purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire on March 30, 1867, for $7.2 million ($121 million adjusted for inflation) at approximately two cents per acre ($4.74/km²). The area went through several administrative changes before becoming organized as a territory on May 11, 1912. It was admitted as the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.

The name “Alaska” (Аляска) had been introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used to refer to the peninsula. It was derived from an Aleut, or Unangam idiom, which figuratively refers to the mainland of Alaska. Literally, it means object to which the action of the sea is directed. It is also known as Alyeska, the “great land”, an Aleut word derived from the same root.

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Arizona
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western United States and of the Mountain West states. It is the sixth largest and the 15th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. It has borders with New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona’s border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, on the northern border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912. It was previously part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain before being passed down to independent Mexico and later ceded to the United States after the Mexican–American War. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Arizona is noted for its desert climate in its southern half, with very hot summers and mild winters. The northern half of the state features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; some mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments. About one-quarter of the state is made up of Indian Reservations that serve as the home of a number of Native American tribes.

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Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the Southern region of the United States.  Its name is of Siouan derivation, denoting the Quapaw Indians. The state’s diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta. Known as “the Natural State”, the diverse regions of Arkansas offer residents and tourists a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Arkansas is the 29th largest in square miles and the 32nd most populous of the 50 United States. The capital and most populous city is Little Rock, located in the central portion of the state, a hub for transportation, business, culture, and government. The northwestern corner of the state, including the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area and Fort Smith metropolitan area, is also an important population, education, and economic center. The largest city in the eastern part of the state is Jonesboro.

The Territory of Arkansas was admitted to the Union as the 25th state on June 15, 1836. Arkansas withdrew from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. Upon returning to the Union, the state would continue to suffer due to its earlier reliance on slavery and the plantation economy, causing the state to fall behind economically and socially. White rural interests continued to dominate the state’s politics until the Civil Rights movement in the mid-20th century. Arkansas began to diversify its economy following World War II and now relies on its service industry as well as aircraft, poultry, steel and tourism in addition to cotton and rice.

The culture of Arkansas is observable in museums, theaters, novels, television shows, restaurants and athletic venues across the state. Despite a plethora of cultural, economic, and recreational opportunities, Arkansas is often stereotyped as a “poor, banjo-picking hillbilly” state, a reputation dating back to early accounts of the territory by frontiersmen in the early 1800s. Arkansas’s enduring image has earned the state “a special place in the American consciousness”, but it has in reality produced such prominent figures as politician and educational advocate William Fulbright, former President Bill Clinton, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark, Walmart magnate Sam Walton and singer-songwriter Johnny Cash.

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California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is the most populous U.S. state, home to one out of eight people who live in the U.S., with a total of 38 million people, and it is the third largest state by area (after Alaska and Texas). California is bordered by Oregon to the north, Nevada to the east, Arizona to the southeast, and the Mexican state of Baja California to the south. It is home to the nation’s second and fifth most populous census statistical areas (Greater Los Angeles Area and San Francisco Bay Area, respectively), and eight of the nation’s 50 most populated cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland).  Sacramento is the state capital, and has been since 1854.

What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions throughout the 16th and 17th centuries? It was then claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Alta California in the larger territory of New Spain. Alta California became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence, but would later be ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican-American War. The western portion of Alta California was soon organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic change, with large-scale immigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.

California’s diverse geography ranges from the Pacific Coast in the west, to the Sierra Nevada in the east – from the Redwood–Douglas fir forests of the northwest, to the Mojave Desert areas in the southeast. The center of the state is dominated by the Central Valley, a major agricultural area. California contains both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States (Mount Whitney and Death Valley), and has the 3rd longest coastline of all states (after Alaska and Florida). Earthquakes are a common occurrence because of the state’s location along the Pacific Ring of Fire: about 37,000 are recorded annually, but most are too small to feel.

At least half of the fruit produced in the United States is now cultivated in California, and the state also leads in the production of vegetables. Other important contributors to the state’s economy include aerospace, education, manufacturing, and high-tech industry. If it were a country, California would be the 8th or 9th largest economy in the world and the 34th most populous.

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Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state encompassing most of the Southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. Colorado is part of the Western United States, the Southwestern United States, and the Mountain States. Colorado is the 8th most extensive and the 22nd most populous of the 50 United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Colorado was 5,355,866 on July 1, 2014, an increase of 6.50% since the 2010 United States Census.

The state was named for the Colorado River, which Spanish travelers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy (Spanish: colorado) silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it became a state 28 days after the centennial of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and Arizona to the southwest, at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers, and desert lands.

Denver is the capital and the most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are properly known as “Coloradans”, although the archaic term “Coloradoan” is still in use.

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Connecticut
Connecticut is the southernmost state in the region of the United States known as New England. Connecticut is also often grouped into the area known as the Tri-State area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut). It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital city is Hartford, and its most populous city is Bridgeport. The state is named after the Connecticut River, a major U.S. river that approximately bisects the state. The word is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for “long tidal river.”

Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, and the fourth most densely populated of the 50 United States. Called the Constitution State, the Nutmeg State, the Provisions State, and the Land of Steady Habits. It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with the majority of the state’s population) is part of the New York metropolitan area: three of Connecticut’s eight counties are statistically included in the New York City combined statistical area, which is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut’s center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County, which is also located within the Tri-State area.

Connecticut’s first European settlers were Dutch. They established a small, short-lived settlement in present-day Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut rivers, called Huys de Goede Hoop. Initially, half of Connecticut was a part of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. The first major settlements were established in the 1630s by England. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded what would become the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven Colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This colony was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.

The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition, which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial-services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County. As of the 2010 Census, Connecticut features the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States. Although it is a wealthy state by most measures, the income gap between its urban and suburban areas is unusually wide.

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Delaware
Delaware is a state located in the Northeast megalopolis region and the Northeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, to the northeast by New Jersey, and to the north by Pennsylvania. The state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia’s first colonial governor, after whom what is now called Cape Henlopen was originally named.

Delaware is in the northeastern portion of the Delmarva Peninsula and is the second smallest, the sixth least populous, but the sixth most densely populated of the 50 United States. Delaware is divided into three counties, the lowest number of counties of any state. From north to south, the three counties are New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. While the southern two counties have historically been predominantly agricultural, New Castle County has been more industrialized.

Before its coastline was explored by Europeans in the 16th century, Delaware was inhabited by several groups of American Indians, including the Lenape in the north and Nanticoke in the south. It was initially colonized by Dutch traders at Zwaanendael, near the present town of Lewes, in 1631. Delaware was one of the 13 colonies participating in the American Revolution and on December 7, 1787, became the first state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby becoming known as The First State.

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Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state capital is Tallahassee, the largest city is Jacksonville, and the largest metropolitan area is the Miami metropolitan area.

Much of Florida is a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida. Its geography is notable for a coastline, omnipresent water and the threat of hurricanes. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, encompassing approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. Some of its most iconic animals, such as the American alligator, crocodile, Florida panther and the manatee, can be found in the Everglades National Park.

Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida “The Flowery” upon landing there during the Easter season, Pascua Florida – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Indians, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.

Today, Florida is distinguished by its large Hispanic community and high population growth, as well as its increasing environmental concerns. Its economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also known for its amusement parks, the production of oranges and the Kennedy Space Center.

Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; Native American, European American, Hispanic and African American heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.

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Georgia
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. Named after King George II of Great Britain, Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. It declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th most extensive and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia’s counties ranked among the nation’s 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta is the state’s capital and its most populous city.

Georgia is bordered on the south by Florida, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and South Carolina, on the west by Alabama, and on the north by Tennessee and North Carolina. The northern part of the state is in the Blue Ridge Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains system. The Piedmont extends through the central part of the state from the foothills of the Blue Ridge to the Fall Line, where the rivers cascade down in elevation to the coastal plain of the southern part of the state. The highest point in Georgia is Brasstown Bald at 4,784 feet (1,458 m) above sea level; the lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean. Georgia is the largest state east of the Mississippi River in land area, although it is the fourth largest (after Michigan, Florida, and Wisconsin) in total area, including expanses of water that are part of state territory.

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Hawaii
Hawaii is the 50th and most recent U.S. state to join the United States, having joined the Union on August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii’s diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, (wind) surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.

The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight “main islands” are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest and is often called the “Big Island” to avoid confusing the island with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.

Hawaii is the 8th-smallest, the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Hawaii’s ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, which is fourth in the United States after those of Alaska, Florida and California.

Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas and the only state with an Asian plurality. It and Arizona are the only two states that do not observe daylight saving time, and Hawaii and Alaska are the only two states that are not in the contiguous United States.

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Idaho
Idaho is a state in the northwestern region of the United States. Idaho is the 14th largest, the 39th most populous, and the 7th least densely populated of the 50 United States. The state’s largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called “Idahoans”. Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state.

Idaho is a mountainous state with an area larger than that of all of New England. It borders the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north, Montana to the northeast, Wyoming to the east, Nevada and Utah to the south, and Washington and Oregon to the west. The network of dams and locks on the Columbia River and Snake River make the city of Lewiston the farthest inland seaport on the Pacific coast of the contiguous United States.

Idaho’s nickname is the “Gem State”, because nearly every known type of gemstone has been found there. In addition, Idaho is one of only two places in the world where star garnets can be found in any significant quantities, the other being India.Idaho is sometimes called the “Potato State” owing to its popular and widely distributed crop. The state motto is Esto Perpetua (Latin for “Let it be forever”).

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Illinois
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 5th most populous state and 25th largest state in terms of land area, and is often noted as a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub. The Port of Chicago connects the state to other global ports from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean; as well as the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois River. For decades, O’Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world’s busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and politics.

Although today the state’s largest population center is around Chicago in the northern part of the state, the state’s European population grew first in the west, with French Canadians who settled along the Mississippi River, and gave the area the name, Illinois. After the American Revolutionary War established the United States, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. After construction of the Erie Canal increased traffic and trade through the Great Lakes, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River, at one of the few natural harbors on southern Lake Michigan. John Deere’s invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois’ rich prairie into some of the world’s most productive and valuable farmlands, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Railroads carried immigrants to new homes, as well as being used to ship their commodity crops out to markets.

By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars. The Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in Chicago, who created the city’s famous jazz and blues cultures.

Three U.S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was the only US President born and raised in Illinois. Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan, Land of Lincoln, which has been displayed on its license plates since 1954. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in the state capital of Springfield.

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Indiana
Indiana is a U.S. state located in the midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U.S. state on December 11, 1816.

Before it became a territory, varying cultures of indigenous peoples and historic Native Americans inhabited Indiana for thousands of years. Since its founding as a territory, settlement patterns in Indiana have reflected regional cultural segmentation present in the Eastern United States; the state’s northernmost tier was settled primarily by people from New England and New York, Central Indiana by migrants from the Mid-Atlantic states and from adjacent Ohio, and Southern Indiana by settlers from the Southern states, particularly Kentucky and Tennessee.

Indiana has a diverse economy with a gross state product of $298 billion in 2012. Indiana has several metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000 and a number of smaller industrial cities and towns. Indiana is home to several major sports teams and athletic events including the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, and the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 motorsports races.

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Iowa
Iowa is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States, a region sometimes called the “American Heartland”. Iowa is bordered by the Mississippi River on the east and the Missouri River and the Big Sioux River on the west; it is the only U.S. state whose eastern and western borders are formed entirely by rivers. Iowa is bordered by Wisconsin and Illinois to the east, Missouri to the south, Nebraska and South Dakota to the west, and Minnesota to the north.

In colonial times, Iowa was a part of French Louisiana and Spanish Louisiana; its current state flag is patterned after the flag of France. After the Louisiana Purchase, settlers laid the foundation for an agriculture-based economy in the heart of the Corn Belt.

In the latter half of the 20th century, Iowa’s agricultural economy made the transition to a diversified economy of advanced manufacturing, processing, financial services, information technology, biotechnology, and green energy production. Iowa is the 26th most extensive in land area and the 30th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines. Iowa has been listed as one of the safest states in which to live.

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Kansas
Kansas It is named after the Kansa Native American tribe which inhabited the area. The tribe’s name (natively kką:ze) is often said to mean “people of the wind” or “people of the south wind,” although this was probably not the term’s original meaning. Residents of Kansas are called “Kansans”. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the Eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the Western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison. Kansas was first settled by European Americans in the 1830s, but the pace of settlement accelerated in the 1850s, in the midst of political wars over the slavery issue.

When it was officially opened to settlement by the U.S. government in 1854, abolitionist Free-Staters from New England and pro-slavery settlers from neighboring Missouri rushed to the territory to determine whether Kansas would become a free state or a slave state. Thus, the area was a hotbed of violence and chaos in its early days as these forces collided, and was known as Bleeding Kansas. The abolitionists eventually prevailed and on January 29, 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state. After the Civil War, the population of Kansas grew rapidly when waves of immigrants turned the prairie into farmland. Today, Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states, producing high yields of corn, wheat, sorghum, and sunflowers. Kansas is the 15th most extensive and the 34th most populous of the 50 United States.

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Kentucky
Kentucky is a state located in the east south-central region of the United States. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth (the others being Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts). Originally a part of Virginia, in 1792 Kentucky became the 15th state to join the Union. Kentucky is the 37th most extensive and the 26th most populous of the 50 United States.

Kentucky is known as the “Bluegrass State”, a nickname based on the bluegrass found in many of its pastures due to the fertile soil. One of the major regions in Kentucky is the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky which houses two of its major cities, Louisville and Lexington. It is a land with diverse environments and abundant resources, including the world’s longest cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park, the greatest length of navigable waterways and streams in the contiguous United States, and the two largest man-made lakes east of the Mississippi River.

Kentucky is also home to the highest per capita number of deer and turkey in the United States, the largest free-ranging elk herd east of the Mississippi River, and the nation’s most productive coalfield. Kentucky is also known for horse racing, bourbon distilleries, automobile manufacturing, tobacco, bluegrass music, college basketball, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Louisiana is the 31st most extensive and the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments’ equivalent to counties. The largest parish by population is East Baton Rouge Parish, and the largest by land area is Plaquemines.

Much of the state’s lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp. The two “Deltas” are located in Monroe, the parish seat of Ouachita Parish, Shreveport, the parish seat of Caddo Parish, and Alexandria, the parish seat of Rapides Parish, for the small Delta, and Monroe, Lake Charles, and New Orleans for the large Delta. They are referred to as Deltas because they form a perfect triangle shape when the points are lined up.

 These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibis and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs, and fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, and has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas. These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of orchids and carnivorous plants.

Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Spanish, Native American, and African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US. Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, the current Louisiana State had been both a French colony and a Spanish one. In addition, colonists imported numerous African slaves as laborers in the 18th century.

Many came from peoples of the same region of West Africa, thus concentrating their culture. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, and in 1915, English was made the only official language of the state. Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, and four that have not yet received recognition.

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Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south; New Hampshire to the west; and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost portion of New England. It is known for its scenery—its jagged, mostly rocky coastline, its low, rolling mountains, its heavily forested interior, and picturesque waterways—as well as for its seafood cuisine, especially lobster and clams. Maine is the northernmost U.S. state with an Atlantic coastline, but in spite of its maritime position it has a continental climate even in coastal cities such as the largest state city of Portland.

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples were the only inhabitants of the territory that is now Maine. At the time of European encounter, several Algonquian-speaking peoples inhabited the area. The first European settlement in Maine was by the French in 1604 on Saint Croix Island, by Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons. The first English settlement in Maine, the short-lived Popham Colony, was established by the Plymouth Company in 1607. A number of English settlements were established along the coast of Maine in the 1620s, although the rugged climate, deprivations, and conflict with the local peoples caused many to fail over the years.

As Maine entered the 18th century, only a half dozen European settlements had survived. Patriot and Loyalist forces contended for Maine’s territory during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until 1820 when it voted to secede from Massachusetts. On March 15, 1820, it was admitted to the Union as the 23rd state under the Missouri Compromise. Maine is the 39th most extensive and the 41st most populous of the 50 United States. With respect to crime rates, Maine is also often considered the safest state in the U.S.

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Maryland
Maryland is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. Maryland was the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution, and has three occasionally used nicknames: the Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State.

Maryland is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America, dating back to its earliest colonial days when it was made a refuge for persecuted Catholics from England by George Calvert the first Lord Baltimore, and the first English proprietor of the then-Maryland colonial grant.

Maryland is one of the smallest states in terms of area, as well as one of the most densely populated states of the United States. Maryland has the highest median household income, making it the wealthiest state in the nation. The state’s largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Although the state is officially claimed to be named after Queen Henrietta Maria,[ some Catholics believe Maryland was named after Mary, the mother of Jesus, by George Calvert, 1st Lord Baltimore prior to his death in 1632. The original intent may never be known. There is a St. Mary’s County in Maryland.

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Massachusetts
Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Massachusetts is the 7th smallest, but the 14th most populous and the 3rd most densely populated of the 50 United States. Massachusetts features two separate metropolitan areas: Greater Boston in the east and the Springfield metropolitan area in the west. Approximately two-thirds of Massachusetts’ population lives in Greater Boston. Generally the Greater Boston boundary is regarded as the Atlantic Ocean to the east and areas just north, west, and south of Interstate 495 to the west, north, and south. Western Massachusetts features one urban area – the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River – and a mix of college towns and rural areas. Many of Massachusetts’ towns, cities, and counties have names identical to ones in England. Massachusetts is the most populous of the six New England states and has the nation’s sixth highest GDP per capita.

Massachusetts has played a significant historical, cultural, and commercial role in American history. Plymouth was the site of the colony founded in 1620 by the Pilgrims, passengers of the Mayflower. Harvard University, founded in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America’s most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic world, originated from the pulpit of Northampton, Massachusetts preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the “Cradle of Liberty” for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution and the independence of the United States from Great Britain. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays’ Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected Revolutionary War veterans, led directly to the United States Constitutional Convention.

Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the temperance, transcendentalist, and abolitionist movements. In 1837, Mount Holyoke College, the United States’ first college for women, was opened in the Connecticut River Valley town of South Hadley. In the late 19th century, the (now) Olympic sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the Western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision of the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. Massachusetts has contributed many prominent politicians to national service, including members of the Adams family and the Kennedy family.

Originally dependent on fishing, agriculture, and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts’ economy shifted from manufacturing to services. In the 21st century, Massachusetts is a leader in higher education, health care technology, high technology, and financial services.

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Michigan
Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes region of the Midwestern United States. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning “large water” or “large lake”. Michigan is the ninth most populous of the 50 United States, with the 11th most extensive total area (the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and the largest city is Detroit.

Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often noted to be shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as “the U.P.”) is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. The state has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. As a result, it is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. Michigan also has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds,and a person in the state is never more than six miles (9.7 km) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 km) from a Great Lakes shoreline.

What is now Michigan was first settled by various Native American tribes before being colonized by French explorers in the 17th century and becoming a part of New France. After the defeat of France in the French and Indian War in 1762 the region came under British rule, and was finally ceded to the newly independent United States after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War. The area was organized as part of the larger Northwest Territory until 1800, when western Michigan became part of the Indiana Territory. Eventually, in 1805, the Michigan Territory was formed, which lasted until it was admitted into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state. The state of Michigan soon became an important center of industry and trade in the Great Lakes region and a popular immigrant destination.

Though Michigan has come to develop a diverse economy, it is widely known as the center of the U.S. automotive industry, being home to the country’s three major automobile companies (whose headquarters are all located within the Detroit metropolitan area). While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination as well as its abundance of natural resources, while the Lower Peninsula is a center of manufacturing, services, and high-tech industry.

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Minnesota
Minnesota is a state in the Midwestern United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and part of the Wisconsin Territory. Its name comes from the Dakota word for “clear blue water.” Owing to its large number of lakes, the state is informally known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Its official motto is L’Étoile du Nord (French: Star of the North).

Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 21st most populous of the U.S. States. Nearly 60 percent of its residents live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area (known as the “Twin Cities”), the center of transportation, business, industry, education, and government and home to an internationally known arts community. The remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation.

Minnesota is known for its relatively mixed social and political orientations and its high rate of civic participation and voter turnout. Until European settlement, Minnesota was inhabited by the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe. The large majority of the original European settlers immigrated from Scandinavia and Germany, and the state remains a center of Scandinavian American and German American culture. In recent decades, immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa, and Latin America has expanded its demographic and cultural composition. Minnesota’s standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, and the state is also among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation.

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Mississippi
Mississippi is a state located in the Southern United States. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary and comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi (“Great River”). Jackson is the state capital and largest city, with a population of around 175,000 people. The state overall has a population of around 3 million people.

Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and the 31st most populous of the 50 United States. On multiple other rankings, however, Mississippi ranks last of all states, such as in health, educational attainment, and median household income. Mississippi has been ranked the most religious state in the country since 2011.

The state is heavily forested outside of the Mississippi Delta area, which was cleared for cotton cultivation in the 19th century. Today, its catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States.

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Missouri
Missouri It is the 21st most extensive, and the 18th most populous of the fifty states. The state comprises 114 counties, and the independent city of St. Louis.

The four largest urban areas in Missouri are: St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia, as defined by the US 2010 census. The mean center of the United States population at the 2010 census was at the town of Plato in Texas County. The state’s capital is Jefferson City. The land that is now Missouri was acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became known as the Missouri Territory. Part of this territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

Missouri’s geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains, while the southern portion lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing both regions. The state lies at the intersection of the three greatest rivers of North America, with the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers near St. Louis, and the confluence of the Ohio River with the Mississippi north of the Bootheel. The starting points for the Pony Express, Santa Fe Trail, and Oregon Trail were all located in Missouri.

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Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The state’s name is derived from the Spanish word montaña (mountain). Montana has several nicknames, although none official, including “Big Sky Country” and “The Treasure State”, and slogans that include “Land of the Shining Mountains” and more recently “The Last Best Place”. Montana is ranked 4th in size, but 44th in population and 48th in population density of the 50 United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In total, 77 named ranges are part of the Rocky Mountains.

The economy is primarily based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic activities include oil, gas, coal and hard rock mining, lumber, and the fastest-growing sector, tourism. The health care, service, and government sectors also are significant to the state’s economy. Millions of tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, and Yellowstone National Park.

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Nebraska
Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Its state capital is Lincoln. Its largest city is Omaha, which is on the Missouri River.

The state is crossed by many historic trails, and was explored by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The California Gold Rush brought the first large numbers of non-indigenous settlers to the area. Nebraska became a state in 1867.

The climate has wide variations between winter and summer temperatures, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes are common. The state is characterized by treeless prairie, which is ideal for cattle-grazing. It is a major producer of beef, as well as pork, corn, and soybeans.

The largest ancestry group claimed by Nebraskans is German American. The state also has the largest per capita population of Czech Americans among U.S. states.

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Nevada
Nevada is a state in the Western, Mountain West, and Southwestern regions of the United States. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 35th most populous, and the 9th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada’s people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area where the state’s three largest incorporated cities are located. Nevada’s capital is Carson City. Nevada is officially known as the “Silver State” due to the importance of silver to its history and economy. It is also known as the “Battle Born State”, because it achieved statehood during the Civil War; as the “Sagebrush State”, for the native plant of the same name; and as “Sage Hen State”.

Nevada is largely desert and semiarid, much of it located within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are located within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada lie on the western edge. Approximately 86% of the state’s land is managed by various jurisdictions of the U.S. federal government, both civilian and military.

Prior to European contact, Native Americans of the Paiute, Shoshone, and Washoe tribes inhabited the land comprising the modern state. The first Europeans to explore the region originated from Spain. They gave the region the name of Nevada (snowy) due to the snow which covered the mountains at winter. The area formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, becoming part of Mexico when that country gained independence in 1821. The United States acquired the territory in 1848 following its victory in the Mexican-American War, and the area was eventually incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that became an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, as the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War (the first being West Virginia).

Nevada has a reputation for its libertarian laws. With a population of just over 40,000 people, Nevada was by far the least populated state in 1900, with less than half the population of the next least-populated state. However, the establishment of legalized gambling and the adoption of lenient marriage and divorce proceedings in the 20th century transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination.

Nevada is the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal, though it is illegal in Clark County and in Washoe County, which contain Las Vegas and Reno, respectively. The tourism industry remains Nevada’s largest employer, with mining continuing as a substantial sector of the economy: Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world.

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New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest, and the 9th least populous of the 50 United States.

In January 1776 it became the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of Great Britain’s authority, although it did not declare its independence at the time. Six months later, it became one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America, and in June 1788 it was the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution, bringing that document into effect. New Hampshire was the first U.S. state to have its own state constitution.

It is known internationally for the New Hampshire primary, the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income (other than interest and dividends) taxed at either the state or local level.

Its license plates carry the state motto: “Live Free or Die”. The state’s nickname, “The Granite State”, refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.

Among prominent individuals from New Hampshire are founding father Nicholas Gilman, Senator Daniel Webster, Revolutionary War hero John Stark, editor Horace Greeley, founder of the Christian Science religion Mary Baker Eddy, poet Robert Frost, astronaut Alan Shepard, and author Dan Brown. Additionally, actor Adam Sandler grew up, but was not born in, the state. New Hampshire has produced one president: Franklin Pierce.

With some of the largest ski mountains on the East Coast, New Hampshire’s major recreational attractions include skiing, snowmobiling, and other winter sports, hiking and mountaineering, observing the fall foliage, summer cottages along many lakes and the seacoast, motor sports at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Motorcycle Week, a popular motorcycle rally held in Weirs Beach near Laconia in June. The White Mountain National Forest links the Vermont and Maine portions of the Appalachian Trail, and boasts the Mount Washington Auto Road, where visitors may drive to the top of 6,288-foot (1,917 m) Mount Washington.

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New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by New York State, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania, and on the southwest by Delaware. New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state, but the 11th-most populous and the most densely populated of the 50 United States. New Jersey lies entirely within the combined statistical areas of New York City and Philadelphia. It is also the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income, according to the 2008–2012 American Community Survey.

The area was inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years, with historical tribes such as the Lenape along the coast. In the early 17th century, the Dutch and the Swedes made the first European settlements. The English later seized control of the region, naming it the Province of New Jersey. It was granted as a colony to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton. At this time, it was named after the largest of the Channel Islands, Jersey, Carteret’s birthplace.

New Jersey was the site of several decisive battles during the American Revolutionary War.

In the 19th century, factories in cities such as Camden, Paterson, Newark, Trenton, and Elizabeth helped to drive the Industrial Revolution. New Jersey’s geographic location at the center of the Northeast megalopolis, between Boston and New York City to the northeast, and Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., to the southwest, fueled its rapid growth through the process of suburbanization in the 1950s and beyond.

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New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwestern and western regions of the United States. It is usually considered one of the Mountain States. New Mexico is the 5th most extensive, the 36th most populous, and the 6th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

Inhabited by indigenous peoples of the Americas for many centuries before European exploration, New Mexico was subsequently part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. Later, it was part of the newly formed nation of Mexico for a short period before becoming a U.S. territory and eventually a U.S. state. Among U.S. states, New Mexico has the highest percentage of Hispanics, including descendants of Spanish colonists who have lived in the area for over 400 years. It also has the second-highest percentage of Native Americans after Alaska, and the fourth-highest total number of Native Americans after California, Oklahoma, and Arizona. The tribes in the state consist of mostly Navajo, Puebloan and the Apache peoples. As a result, the demographics and culture of the state are unique for their strong Hispanic and Native-American influences, both of which are reflected in the state flag. The scarlet and gold colors of the New Mexico flag are taken from the royal standards of Spain, along with the ancient sun symbol of the Zia, a Pueblo-related tribe.

New Mexico, or Nuevo México in Spanish, is often incorrectly believed to have taken its name from the nation of Mexico. However, New Mexico was given its name in 1563, and again in 1581, by Spanish explorers who believed the area contained wealthy Indian cultures similar to those of the Mexica (Aztec) Empire. Mexico, formerly known as New Spain, adopted its name centuries later in 1821, after winning independence from Spanish rule. Consequently, New Mexico was only a part of the independent federal republic of Mexico for 12 years, 1836 through 1848. The two developed as neighboring Spanish speaking communities, with relatively independent histories.

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New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. New York is the 27th-most extensive, the fourth-most populous, and the seventh-most densely populated of the 50 United States. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the west and north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State or the State of New York to distinguish it from New York City, its largest city.

New York City, with a Census-estimated population of over 8.4 million in 2013, is the most populous city in the United States. It is the nucleus of the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States—the New York City Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. New York City is also known for being the location of Ellis Island, the largest historical gateway for immigration in the history of the United States. A global power city, New York City exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York City is an important center for international diplomacy  and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.New York City alone makes up over 40 percent of the population of New York State. Two-thirds of the state’s population live in the New York City Metropolitan Area, and nearly 40% live on Long Island. Both the state and New York City were named for the 17th century Duke of York, future King James II of England.

The earliest Europeans in New York were French colonists and Jesuit missionaries who came down from settlements at Montreal for trade and proselytizing. New York was inhabited by various tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian speaking Native Americans at the time Dutch settlers moved into the region in the early 17th century. In 1609, the region was first claimed by Henry Hudson for the Dutch. They built Fort Nassau in 1614 at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, where the present-day capital of Albany later developed. The Dutch soon also settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson River Valley, establishing the colony of New Netherland based on trade and profitmaking. It was a multicultural community from the earliest days and the center of trade and immigration. The British annexed the colony from the Dutch in 1664. The borders of the British colony, the Province of New York, were quite similar to those of the present-day state. Both the Dutch and the British imported African slaves as laborers to the city and colony; African Americans were integral to the rise of the city. New York had the second-highest population of slaves after Charleston, SC.

About one-third of the battles of the Revolutionary War took place in New York. The state constitution was enacted in 1777. New York became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788. Slavery was extensive in New York City and some agricultural areas. The state passed a law for the gradual abolition of slavery soon after the Revolutionary War, but the last slave in New York was not freed until 1827.

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North Carolina
North Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. North Carolina is the 28th most extensive and the 9th most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is known as the Tar Heel State and the Old North State.

North Carolina is composed of 100 counties. North Carolina’s two largest metropolitan areas are among the top ten fastest-growing in the country: its capital, Raleigh, and its largest city, Charlotte. In the past five decades, North Carolina’s economy has undergone a transition from reliance upon tobacco, textiles, and furniture-making to a more diversified economy with engineering, energy, biotechnology, and finance sectors.

North Carolina has a wide range of elevations, from sea level on the coast to 6,684 feet (2,037 m) at Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the Eastern US. The climate of the coastal plains is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the state falls in the humid subtropical climate zone. More than 300 miles (500 km) from the coast, the western, mountainous part of the state has a subtropical highland climate.

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North Dakota
North Dakota is the 39th state of the United States, having been admitted to the union on November 2, 1889.

It is located in the Upper Midwestern region of the United States, bordered by the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba to the north, the states of Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west. The state capital is Bismarck, and the largest city is Fargo. North Dakota is the 19th most extensive but the 3rd least populous and the 4th least densely populated of the 50 United States.

North Dakota has weathered the Great Recession of the early 21st century with a boom in natural resources, particularly a boom in oil extraction from the Bakken formation, which lies beneath the northwestern part of the state. The development has driven strong job and population growth, and low unemployment.

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Ohio
Ohio is a state in the Midwestern United States. Ohio is the 34th largest (by area), the 7th most populous, and the 10th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state’s capital and largest city is Columbus.

The name “Ohio” originated from Iroquois word ohi-yo’, meaning “great river” or “large creek”. The state, originally partitioned from the Northwest Territory, was admitted to the Union as the 17th state (and the first under the Northwest Ordinance) on March 1, 1803. Although there are conflicting narratives regarding the origin of the nickname, Ohio is historically known as the “Buckeye State” (relating to the Ohio buckeye tree) and Ohioans are also known as “Buckeyes”.

The government of Ohio is composed of the executive branch, led by the Governor; the legislative branch, which comprises the Ohio General Assembly; and the judicial branch, which is led by the Supreme Court. Currently, Ohio occupies 16 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Ohio is known for its status as both a swing state  and a bellwether in national elections. Owing to its strategic electoral importance, six Presidents of the United States have called Ohio their home state.

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Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central United States. Oklahoma is the 20th most extensive and the 28th most populous of the 50 United States. The state’s name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning “red people”. It is also known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State, in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on the choicest pieces of land prior to the official opening date, and the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which opened the door for white settlement in America’s Indian Territory. The name was settled upon statehood, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged and Indian was dropped from the name. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state to enter the union. Its residents are known as Oklahomans or, informally “Okies”, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

A major producer of natural gas, oil, and agricultural products, Oklahoma relies on an economic base of aviation, energy, telecommunications, and biotechnology. In 2007, it had one of the fastest growing economies in the nation, ranking among the top states in per capita income growth and gross domestic product growth. Oklahoma City and Tulsa serve as Oklahoma’s primary economic anchors, with nearly two-thirds of Oklahomans living within their metropolitan statistical areas.

With small mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains and the U.S. Interior Highlands—a region especially prone to severe weather.  In addition to having a prevalence of English, German, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, and Native American ancestry, more than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, second only to California.

Oklahoma is located on a confluence of three major American cultural regions and historically served as a route for cattle drives, a destination for southern settlers, and a government-sanctioned territory for Native Americans.

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Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is bordered on its west by the Pacific Ocean, on its north by Washington, on its south by California, on its east by Idaho, and on its southeast by Nevada. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon’s northern boundary, and the Snake River delineates much of the eastern boundary. It is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country in 1843, the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Today, Oregon is the ninth largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. Its capital is Salem, the second most populous of its cities, with 160,614 residents (2013 estimate). With 609,456 residents (2013 estimate), Portland is the largest city in Oregon and ranks 29th in the U.S. Its metro population of 2,314,554 (2013 estimate) is 24th. The Willamette Valley in western Oregon is the state’s most densely populated area, home to eight of the ten most populous cities.

Oregon’s landscape is diverse, with a windswept Pacific coastline; a volcano-studded Cascade Range; abundant bodies of water in and west of the Cascades; dense evergreen, mixed, and deciduous forests at lower elevations; and a high desert sprawling across much of its east all the way to the Great Basin. The tall conifers, mainly Douglas fir, along Oregon’s rainy west coast contrast with the lighter-timbered and fire-prone pine and juniper forests covering portions to the east. Abundant alders in the west fix nitrogen for the conifers. Stretching east from central Oregon are semi-arid shrublands, prairies, deserts, steppes, and meadows. At 11,249 feet (3,429 m), Mount Hood is the state high point, and Crater Lake National Park is Oregon’s only national park.

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Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, and the Great Lakes region. The state borders Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and Ontario, Canada to the northwest, New York to the north and New Jersey to the east. The Appalachian Mountains run through the middle of the state.

Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest, the 6th most populous, and the 9th most densely populated of the 50 United States. The state’s five most populous cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, and Reading. The state capital is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 51 miles (82 km) of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles (92 km) of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. The state is one of the 13 original founding states of the United States.

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Rhode Island
Rhode Island is a state in the New England region of the United States. Rhode Island is the smallest in area, the eighth least populous, but the second most densely populated of the 50 US states (behind New Jersey). Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut to the west and Massachusetts to the north and east, and it shares a water boundary with New York’s Long Island to the southwest. It also has the longest official name of all the states.

Rhode Island was the first of the original Thirteen Colonies to declare independence from British rule, declaring itself independent on May 4, 1776, two months before any other colony. The state was also the last of the thirteen original colonies to ratify the United States Constitution.

Rhode Island’s official nickname is “The Ocean State”, a reference to the state’s geography, since Rhode Island has several large bays and inlets that amount to about 14% of its total area. Its land area is 1,045 square miles (2,710 km2), but its total area is significantly larger.

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South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Southeastern United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina; to the south and west by Georgia, located across the Savannah River; and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina became a slave society after rice and indigo became established as commodity crops. From 1708, a majority of the population were slaves, many born in Africa. It was the first of the 13 colonies that declared independence from the British Crown during the American Revolution.

South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation. It was the 8th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution on May 23, 1788. South Carolina later became the first state to vote to secede from the Union which it did on December 20, 1860. After the end of the American Civil War, the state was readmitted into the United States on June 25, 1868.

South Carolina is the 40th most extensive and the 24th most populous of the 50 U.S. states. Its GDP as of 2013 was $183.6 billion, with an annual growth rate of 3.13%. South Carolina comprises 46 counties. The capital and largest city of the state is Columbia with a 2013 population of 133,358. The largest MSA is Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin with a 2013 population of 850,965.

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South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes. South Dakota is the 17th most extensive, but the 5th least populous and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. Once the southern portion of the Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 159,000, is South Dakota’s largest city.

South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halves, known to residents as “East River” and “West River”. Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state’s population, and fertile soil in this area is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are located in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is located there. South Dakota experiences a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The ecology of the state features species typical of a North American grassland biome.

Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 50s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture which has much reduced family farming.

While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 12 presidential elections. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota’s history and rural character still strongly influence the culture of the state.

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Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. Tennessee is the 36th most extensive and the 17th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia to the north, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, and Arkansas and Missouri to the west. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state’s western border. Tennessee’s capital and second largest city is Nashville, which has a population of 601,222. Memphis is the state’s largest city, with a population of 653,450.

The state of Tennessee is rooted in the Watauga Association, a 1772 frontier pact generally regarded as the first constitutional government west of the Appalachians. What is now Tennessee was initially part of North Carolina, and later part of the Southwest Territory. Tennessee was admitted to the Union as the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union and join the Confederacy at the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War in 1861. Occupied by Union forces from 1862, it was the first state to be readmitted to the Union at the end of the war.

Tennessee furnished more soldiers for the Confederate Army than any other state, and more soldiers for the Union Army than any other Southern state. Beginning during Reconstruction, it had competitive party politics, but a Democratic takeover in the late 1880s resulted in passage of disfranchisement laws that excluded most blacks and many poor whites from voting. This sharply reduced competition in politics in the state until after passage of civil rights legislation in the mid-20th century. In the 20th century, Tennessee transitioned from an agrarian economy to a more diversified economy, aided by massive federal investment in the Tennessee Valley Authority and, in the early 1940s, the city of Oak Ridge. This city was established to house the Manhattan Project’s uranium enrichment facilities, helping to build the world’s first atomic bomb, which was used during World War II.

Tennessee has played a critical role in the development of many forms of American popular music, including rock and roll, blues, country, and rockabilly. Beale Street in Memphis is considered by many to be the birthplace of the blues, with musicians such as W.C. Handy performing in its clubs as early as 1909. Memphis is also home to Sun Records, where musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Charlie Rich began their recording careers, and where rock and roll took shape in the 1950s. The 1927 Victor recording sessions in Bristol generally mark the beginning of the country music genre and the rise of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s helped make Nashville the center of the country music recording industry. Three brick-and-mortar museums recognize Tennessee’s role in nurturing various forms of popular music: the Memphis Rock N’ Soul Museum, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, and the International Rock-A-Billy Museum in Jackson. Moreover, the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, an online site recognizing the development of rockabilly in which Tennessee played a crucial role, is based in Nashville.

Tennessee’s major industries include agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism. Poultry, soybeans, and cattle are the state’s primary agricultural products, and major manufacturing exports include chemicals, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation’s most visited national park, is headquartered in the eastern part of the state, and a section of the Appalachian Trail roughly follows the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Other major tourist attractions include the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga; Dollywood in Pigeon Forge; the Parthenon, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville; the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg; and Elvis Presley’s Graceland residence and tomb, the Memphis Zoo, and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

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Texas
Texas is the second most populous (after California) and the second largest of the 50 U.S. states (after Alaska) in the United States of America. Geographically located in the south central part of the country, Texas shares an international border with the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the south and borders the U.S. states of New Mexico to the west, Oklahoma to the north, Arkansas to the northeast, and Louisiana to the east. Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles (696,200 km2) and a growing population of over 26.9 million residents (July 2014).

Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States, while San Antonio is the second largest in the state and seventh largest in the United States. Dallas–Fort Worth and Greater Houston are the eighth and tenth largest United States metropolitan areas, respectively. Other major cities include El Paso and Austin—the state capital. Texas is nicknamed the Lone Star State to signify Texas as a former independent republic and as a reminder of the state’s struggle for independence from Mexico. The “Lone Star” can be found on the Texas state flag and on the Texas state seal today. The origin of the state name, Texas, is from the word, “Tejas”, which means ‘friends’ in the Caddo language.

Due to its size and geologic features such as the Balcones Fault, Texas contains diverse landscapes that resemble both the American South and Southwest. Although Texas is popularly associated with the Southwestern deserts, less than 10 percent of the land area is desert. Most of the population centers are located in areas of former prairies, grasslands, forests, and the coastline. Traveling from east to west, one can observe terrain that ranges from coastal swamps and piney woods, to rolling plains and rugged hills, and finally the desert and mountains of the Big Bend.

The term “six flags over Texas”, as can be seen in the Grand Prairie-based large national and international amusement park operator Six Flags, came from the several nations that had ruled over the territory. Spain was the first European country to claim the area of Texas. France held a short-lived colony in Texas. Mexico controlled the territory until 1836 when Texas won its independence, becoming an independent Republic. In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846. A slave state, Texas declared its secession from the United States in early 1861, and officially joined the Confederate States of America on March 2 of the same year. After the consequent Civil War and the restoration of its representation in the federal government, Texas entered a long period of economic stagnation.

One Texas industry that thrived after the Civil War was cattle. Due to its long history as a center of the industry, Texas is associated with the image of the cowboy. The state’s economic fortunes changed in the early 20th century, when oil discoveries initiated an economic boom in the state. With strong investments in universities, Texas developed a diversified economy and high tech industry in the mid-20th century. As of 2010 it shares the top of the list of the most Fortune 500 companies with California at 57. With a growing base of industry, the state leads in many industries, including agriculture, petrochemicals, energy, computers and electronics, aerospace, and biomedical sciences. Texas has led the nation in export revenue since 2002 and has the second-highest gross state product.

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Utah
Utah is a state in the western United States. It became the 45th state admitted to the Union on January 4, 1896. Utah is the 13th-largest, the 33rd-most populous, and the 10th-least-densely populated of the 50 United States. Utah has a population of about 2.9 million, approximately 80% of whom live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. Utah is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast.

Approximately 62% of Utahns are reported to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS (Mormons), which greatly influences Utah culture and daily life. The world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is located in Utah’s state capital, Salt Lake City. Utah is the most religiously homogeneous state in the United States, the only state with a Mormon majority, and the only state with a majority population belonging to a single church.

The state is a center of transportation, education, information technology and research, government services, mining, and a major tourist destination for outdoor recreation. In 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Utah had the second fastest-growing population of any state. St. George was the fastest–growing metropolitan area in the United States from 2000 to 2005. A 2012 Gallup national survey found Utah overall to be the “best state to live in” based on 13 forward-looking measurements including various economic, lifestyle, and health-related outlook metrics.

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Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Vermont is the 6th smallest in area and the 2nd least populous of the 50 United States. It is the only New England state not bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Champlain forms half of Vermont’s western border, which it shares with the state of New York. The Green Mountains are within the state. Vermont is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, New Hampshire to the east across the Connecticut River, New York to the west, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north.

Originally inhabited by two major Native American tribes (the Algonquian-speaking Abenaki and the Iroquois), much of the territory that is now Vermont was claimed by France during its early colonial period. France ceded the territory to the Kingdom of Great Britain after being defeated in 1763 in the Seven Years’ War (in the United States, referred to as the French and Indian War). For many years, the nearby colonies, especially New Hampshire and New York, disputed control of the area (then called the New Hampshire Grants).

Settlers who held land titles granted by these colonies were opposed by the Green Mountain Boys militia, which eventually prevailed in creating an independent state, the Vermont Republic. Founded in 1777 during the Revolutionary War, the republic lasted for fourteen years. Aside from the Thirteen Colonies, Vermont is one of only four U.S. states (along with Texas, Hawaii, and California) to have been a sovereign state in its past. In 1791, Vermont joined the United States as the 14th state, the first in addition to the original 13 Colonies. Vermont was the first state to partially abolish slavery while still independent.

Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States. The state capital is Montpelier with a population of 7,855, making it the least populous state capital in the country. Vermont’s most populous city is Burlington, with a 2013 population of 42,284, which makes it the least populous city in the United States to be the largest city within a state. Burlington’s metropolitan area has a population of 214,796. Vermont is one of the most racially homogeneous states; 94.3% of its population identified as white in 2010.

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Virginia
Virginia is a U.S. state located in the South Atlantic region of the United States. Virginia is nicknamed the “Old Dominion” due to its status as a former dominion of the English Crown, and “Mother of Presidents” due to the many U.S. presidents having been born there. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth’s estimated population as of 2014 is over 8.3 million.

The area’s history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony’s early politics and plantation economy. Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution and joined the Confederacy in the American Civil War, during which Richmond was made the Confederate capital and Virginia’s northwestern counties seceded to form the state of West Virginia. Although the Commonwealth was under single-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia.

The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. The state government has been repeatedly ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States. It is unique in how it treats cities and counties equally, manages local roads, and prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia’s economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley; federal agencies in Northern Virginia, including the headquarters of the Department of Defense and CIA; and military facilities in Hampton Roads, the site of the region’s main seaport. Virginia’s economy changed from primarily agricultural to industrial during the 1960s and 1970s, and in 2002 computer chips became the state’s leading export.

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Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, “the District”, or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country’s East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any U.S. state.

The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.

Washington, D.C., had an estimated population of 658,893 in 2014, the 23rd-most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is a part, has a population of 5.8 million, the seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.

The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations.

A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the U.S. Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.

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Washington

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States located north of Oregon, west of Idaho, and south of the Canadian province of British Columbia on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Named after George Washington, the first President of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory which had been ceded by Britain in 1846 by the Oregon Treaty as a settlement of the Oregon Boundary Dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889.

Washington is the 18th most extensive and the 13th most populous state. Approximately 60 percent of Washington’s residents live in the Seattle metropolitan area, the center of transportation, business, and industry along the Puget Sound region of the Salish Sea, an inlet of the Pacific consisting of numerous islands, deep fjords, and bays carved out by glaciers. The remainder of the state consists of deep temperate rainforests in the west, mountain ranges in the west, central, northeast and far southeast, and a semi-arid basin region in the east, central, and south, given over to intensive agriculture. After California, Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States.

Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa and white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. The state is the biggest producer of apples, hops, pears, red raspberries, spearmint oil, and sweet cherries, and ranks high in the production of apricots, asparagus, dry edible peas, grapes, lentils, peppermint oil, and potatoes. Livestock and livestock products make important contributions to total farm revenue and the commercial fishing catch of salmon, halibut, and bottomfish makes a significant contribution to the state’s economy.

Manufacturing industries in Washington include aircraft and missiles, shipbuilding and other transportation equipment, lumber, food processing, metals and metal products, chemicals, and machinery. Washington has over 1,000 dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam, built for a variety of purposes including irrigation, power, flood control, and water storage.

Although its official name is “The State of Washington,” the state is often referred to as “Washington state” to distinguish it from Washington, D.C. Another nickname is “the Evergreen State.” Its largest city is Seattle, situated in the west, followed by Spokane, located in the east, and its capital is Olympia.

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West Virginia
West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States.  It is bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the north (and, slightly, east), and Maryland to the northeast. West Virginia is the 41st largest by area and the 38th most populous of the 50 United States. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, in which 50 northwestern counties of Virginia decided to break away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863, and was a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state and was one of two states formed during the American Civil War (the other being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).

The Census Bureau and the Association of American Geographers classify West Virginia as part of the South. The northern panhandle extends adjacent to Pennsylvania and Ohio, with the West Virginia cities of Wheeling and Weirton just across the border from the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, while Bluefield is less than 70 miles (110 km) from North Carolina. Huntington in the southwest is close to the states of Ohio and Kentucky, while Martinsburg and Harpers Ferry in the Eastern Panhandle region are considered part of the Washington metropolitan area, in between the states of Maryland and Virginia. The unique position of West Virginia means that it is often included in several geographical regions, including the Mid-Atlantic, the Upland South, and the Southeastern United States. It is the only state that is entirely within the area served by the Appalachian Regional Commission; the area is commonly defined as “Appalachia”

The state is noted for its mountains and rolling hills, its historically significant logging and coal mining industries, and its political and labor history. It is one of the most densely karstic areas in the world, making it a choice area for recreational caving and scientific research. The karst lands contribute to much of the state’s cool trout waters. It is also known for a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including skiing, whitewater rafting, fishing, hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and hunting.

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Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States, in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin is the 23rd state by total area and the 20th most populous. The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state comprises 72 counties.

Wisconsin’s geography is diverse, with the Northern Highland and Western Upland along with a part of the Central Plain occupying the western part of the state and lowlands stretching to the shore of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin is second to Michigan in the length of its Great Lakes coastline.

Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland” because it is one of the nation’s leading dairy producers, particularly famous for cheese. Manufacturing, especially paper products, information technology, and tourism are also major contributors to the state’s economy.

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Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. Wyoming is the 10th most extensive, but the least populous and the second least densely populated of the 50 United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High Plains. Cheyenne is the capital and the most populous city in Wyoming, with a population estimate of 62,448 in 2013.

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