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The United States of America ("USA", "US", "United States", "America", or "The States") is a large country in central and north-western North America. The U.S. also includes several Pacific islands (primarily represented by the state of Hawaii) and an unincorporated Caribbean territory (the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). One of the largest, richest, and most powerful countries in the world, it has a mixture of densely-populated urban areas with wide areas of low population and incredible natural beauty. With a history of immigration dating to the 17th century, the U.S. prides itself on its "melting pot" of different cultures from around the globe. Even the briefest visit to the United States is a study in contrasts.

The U.S. is difficult to characterize because of its size and diversity, both in geography and in people, but an overview will help travelers to see these differences and perhaps help to find what they are most interested in. It is not realistic to see a little of everything unless one has a very long time to spend indeed; even lifetime residents have trouble taking it all in. Part of the States' appeal is that you can experience so much in one country.

See the list below for a breakdown in regions:

Politically, the U.S. is divided further into semi-independent states.



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