Fun Facts: United States
"America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true."
—James T. Farrell
See also puzzles about U.S. states and U.S. history and American Civil War facts.
George Washington, early military and political leader of the United
States, was born, according to the Julian calendar in use at the time, on
February 11. However, according to the Gregorian calendar, his birthday
would be on February 22. In 1752, Great Britain and its colonies adopted
the Gregorian calendar, so his birthday is given as February 22 in modern
documents. The United States has a holiday to commemorate Washington's
Birthday. It is celebrated on the third Monday in February, which always
falls between February 15 and February 21 and so can
never fall on either February 11 or February 22.
The northernmost state in the contiguous 48 United States is
Minnesota, specifically the "Northwest Angle", which consists of
around 125 square miles of territory projecting north of the 49° line
adjoining the Lake of the Woods.
"Idaho", the name of one of the states in the United States of America,
doesn't mean anything in any language.
The state of Virginia extends farther west than the state of West Virginia.
The states of Tennessee and Missouri are each bordered by eight
other states—Missouri by Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa,
Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and Tennessee by Missouri, Kentucky,
Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia.
In the United States of America, Independence Day could have been celebrated on July 2. On that date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted independence from Great Britain. The next day, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more." In the 19th century, historians uncovered the letter and published it, with "Second" replaced by "Fourth."
While serving in Congress, Thomas Jefferson introduced a bill that would
prohibit slavery in any state admitted to the United States in future. This
measure, which could have prevented the American Civil War decades later, was
defeated by a single vote.
The worst law ever passed by the United States federal government may
have been the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Fugitive slave legislation
had been around since 1793, but the new act gave law
enforcement officers in the Northern States carte blanche
to pursue and arrest fugitive slaves, and even to compel civilians to assist.
Slaves so captured would be sent back south, without being able to defend
themselves or produce evidence that they were not in fact slaves. Furthermore,
the arresting officer received a bounty of $10 for each slave returned.
Despite the significant incentives to catching slaves, only about 300 slaves
were captured and returned between 1850 and 1861. The only real effect that
the Fugitive Slave Act had was to exacerbate bad feelings between the
southern states and the northern states, which would lead to the U. S. Civil War in 1861.
In the year 1789, United States President George Washington's salary accounted for 2% of the state budget of the United States. With 300 slaves and a large plantation, it has been estimated that, in inflation-adjusted terms, Washington's net worth was $525 million.
Between 1784 and 1788 there was a portion of the United States known as
the state of Frankland, or Franklin, after Benjamin Franklin. It is now part of Tennessee. (source)
In the entire state of Ohio in 1895, there were only two cars on the road,
and the drivers of these two cars crashed into each other.
In 1915, when 100 million people lived in the United States of America,
there were 6.5 million farms. In 2006, when 300 million people lived in
the United States of America, there were only 2.1 million farms.
In 1938, a United States presidential commission concluded that the nation's population
would never reach 140 million. The population exceeded that figure only eight years later.
There is a state holiday in Illinois that celebrates someone who never went anywhere near Illinois. On the first Monday in March, there is a holiday in honour of Casimir Pulaski (ca. 1748–1779). Pulaski was initially a military hero in Poland in the 1760s and 1770s, but failed to prevent the Partition of Poland. Pulaski then fled Poland and was later recruited by Benjamin Franklin to help the rebels in America in their fight against the British.
India is the world's second most populous country, with a population
of more than 1,000,000,000. The world's third most populous country,
the United States, has a population less than 30% of that of India.
The official state song of Maryland, "Maryland, My Maryland,"
describes the United States as "scum."
Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable long.
The only royal palace in the United States is the Iolani Palace, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Eight states in the United States are named after Indian tribes:
Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.
The place-name Washington, which honours George Washington, can be found
as the name of a state, the only state named after an American, the capital
of the United States, 29 counties, and 33 towns.
The state of Maine is the only state bordered by exactly one state,
namely New Hampshire.
The two places in the contiguous 48 states that are the farthest
distance apart are Cape Flattery, Washington, and a point on the coast
of Florida below Miami, which are 3,385 miles apart.
Under the terms of the 1845 annexation of Texas to the United States,
Texas has the right to divide itself into up to five states at any time.
The U.S. state of Texas was under five different flags in the
nineteenth century. At the start of the century it was under Spanish
rule as a part of Mexico. Mexico achieved independence in 1821.
From 1836 to 1845 Texas was an independent state under its own flag.
From 1845 to 1860 Texas was part of the United States; in 1861 it briefly
reverted back to its own flag before joining the Confederate States of
America during the American Civil War, after which it rejoined the United
When the area that is now Washington, D.C. was chosen as the national
capital of the United States, many criticized the location as being too far
to the west.