Did you know that the U.S. is one of only three countries in the world to still follow the imperial system instead of the metric system?
Thanks to its vast history, size, culture, and population, the U.S. is a fascinating place. It is the land of dreams, the melting pot of all cultures. As you prepare to move to the U.S., catch up on trivia and facts that will familiarize you with your new home.
Here are the top 19 facts about the U.S. that will make you say, “I did NOT know that!”
- Washington, D.C., was not always the capital of the U.S. According to the Residence Act, Philadelphia was the original capital between 1790 and 1800, while Washington was being built. Philadelphia still contains numerous artifacts of American history like the original Star-Spangled Banner, the Liberty Bell, Thomas Jefferson’s desk, and Abraham Lincoln’s gold pocket watch.
- Speaking of the star-spangled banner, did you know the U.S. did not have an official national anthem until “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” made a cartoon about it in 1929? “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the national anthem soon afterward.
- Alaska’s coastline is longer than that of all 49 states put together. Alaska’s history as an American state will fascinate you. The largest state in the U.S. was not even originally part of the country. It was sold to the U.S. by Russia in 1867 for a paltry $7.2 million. That’s less than 2 cents per acre! The state is also home to 17 of the 20 tallest peaks in the U.S. Here’s another fun fact: Alaskans have the lowest tax burden in the whole country and don’t have to pay personal income tax!
- Americans consume close to 100 acres of pizzas every single day. Crazy, right? That means more than 3 billion pizzas are sold in the country each year. Lombardi’s, which stakes its claim as the oldest pizzeria in the U.S., opened in New York in 1905.
- San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most iconic symbols of the U.S. Did you know that the bridge is so large that it needs hundreds of thousands of tons of paint every year to keep it rust-free? There is not a single day of the year that painting work on the bridge is halted.
- Why is U.S. currency green in color? The typical color of cash, or “greenbacks”, is because of an anti-counterfeiting measure. In the 19th century, when the design was adopted, cameras only worked in black and white. Making copies of the green-colored bills would have been difficult.
- The Liberty Bell is a crucial relic from the American Revolutionary War era. You can still see it today in its home at the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Interestingly enough, both the Liberty Bell and Big Ben (in London) were made in the same foundry, the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.
- The U.S. is the most hurricane-prone country in the world. Thanks to its vast coastline, the country has experienced more than 300 hurricanes since recordkeeping began in 1851.
- Whom do you have to thank for the GPS on your phone? That’s right—the U.S. Air Force. The Global Positioning System is entirely operated by the U.S. Air Force through its satellite network and allows users worldwide to access its positioning, navigation, and timing services. Now that’s a pretty neat invention, isn’t it?
- The Four Corners Point in the U.S. is the only point in the whole country where four states meet. It is the junction between Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.
- The American Flag has gone through 27 versions since 1776. The 50 stars represent the 50 states in the country. The 13 horizontal stripes stand for the original 13 colonies that came together to form the United States.
- The Statue of Liberty, one of New York’s most enduring symbols, isn’t actually in New York. The monument is technically part of Jersey City in New Jersey. The symbol of freedom and unity was a gift from the French government to the U.S. in 1886.
- Yellowstone National Park is the oldest and one of the largest national parks in the U.S. It is home to Old Faithful, the famous hot spring geyser that attracts millions of tourists each year.
- The U.S. is the country with the highest number of Nobel Prize winners. It also has the largest medals tally in the Olympic Games. The swimmer Michael Phelps holds the record for being the most decorated Olympic athlete in the world.
- The fast-food chain McDonald’s is easily one of the biggest employers in the U.S. Studies show that one in eight Americans has been employed by McDonald’s at some point in their lives.
- Did you know that the U.S. is home to millions of endemic animal and bird species? Because of the nation’s vast ecological biodiversity, it is one of the “megadiverse” countries of the world.
- The U.S. still follows the daylight savings system of turning clocks back an hour during the winter. This gives people more daylight hours during the short winter days. However, there are two states (Hawaii and Arizona) that have given up the practice.
- The state of Virginia is the birthplace of the largest number of American presidents. Eight U.S. presidents, including some of the Founding Fathers, were born in the “Mother of Presidents” or the “Old Dominion” state.
- New York City is the most populous city in the U.S., with a continuously growing population. It currently has more than 8.7 million residents—more people than 40 out of 50 states in the country!
Which of these facts about the U.S. surprised you the most? You will learn many more interesting tidbits about the amazing country during your move to the States.
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