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USA States Map Collection


USA Physical Map

List of 50 USA States Maps


The United States is a country in the Western Hemisphere. It consists of forty-eight contiguous states in North America, Alaska, a peninsula which forms the northwestern most part of North America, and Hawaii, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. There are several United States territories in the Pacific and Caribbean. The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, means the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands of the United States. The country shares land borders with Canada and Mexico and maritime (water) borders with Russia, Cuba, and The Bahamas in addition to Canada and Mexico.

The United States shares land borders with Canada (to the north) and Mexico (to the south), and a territorial water border with Russia in the northwest, and two territorial water borders in the southeast between Florida and Cuba, and Florida and the Bahamas. The contiguous forty-eight states are otherwise bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast. Alaska borders the Pacific Ocean to the south, the Bering Strait to the west, and the Arctic Ocean to the north, while Hawaii lies far to the southwest of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.

Forty-eight of the states are in the single region between Canada and Mexico; this group is referred to, with varying precision and formality, as the continental or contiguous United States, and as the Lower 48. Alaska, which is not included in the term contiguous United States, is at the northwestern end of North America, separated from the Lower 48 by Canada. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city, Washington, District of Columbia, is a federal district located on land donated by the state of Maryland. (Virginia had also donated land, but it was returned in 1847.) The United States also has overseas territories with varying levels of independence and organization.

The continental United States contains two harbor indented coasts of several thousand miles from which well watered coastal plains rise to two mountain ranges between which is an arable plain overlaid by thousands of miles of interconnected and navigable rivers. The Texas continental crossroads, the southerly deserts, and the basin and range country of Utah and Nevada complete the picture. The combination of rivers navigable thousands of miles inland, running throughout virtually all of the largest contiguous area of farm land in the world, has helped to make the United States the world's breadbasket and wealthiest nation by far. Considering both the natural features and the political unity of the states of the region of the Great Plains, contrasted with the river systems and political disunity of Europe as an example, nothing quite like it exists anywhere else in the world. New Orleans--purchased along with the French territory of Louisiana in 1803--is the key to the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Red river system of North America. In turn, Texas, with its own, unnavigable rivers, but productive land, acts as a buffer to protect New Orleans from the south and west.