Commonly known to many worldwide as America, the USA, or simply the U.S., the United States of America was founded on July 4, 1776, after gaining independence from Great Britain.
It has a population of 331,449,281 people (as of 2020), making it the 3rd most populous country in the world.
The U.S. is located primarily in the North American continent, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south.
With a total of 3,796,742 square miles (9,833,520 square kilometers) of land and water, it is the 3rd largest country in the world, ranking behind Russia and Canada, respectively.
The most populous city in the U.S. is New York City, while the country’s capital is Washington, D.C.
Here we’re going to look at 50 facts about America, covering facts about each and every state.
The most religious state in the U.S. is Alabama.
The Pew Research Center found that 86% of adults in Alabama were polled as Christian, with 49% being Evangelical Protestants.
It should come as no surprise then that religion is considered to be a pretty big deal in the Yellowhammer State, with 77% of adults polled reporting religion to be “very important” in their lives.
Bonus Fact: Around 50% of Alabamans look to religion for answers when they need to choose between what’s right and wrong.
Alaska ranks number one when it comes to people going missing.
Reports of missing persons in Alaska were made famous by Christopher McCandless, the character from Into the Wild, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
On average, about five out of every 1,000 people are reported missing in Alaska, which is twice the national average.
With a population of 731,000 people, that means that in Alaska, some 3,655 people are reported missing annually!
The world’s first McDonald’s drive-thru was built in Arizona.
The concept of a drive-thru has been around since the early 20th century; it came a few years after the invention of the automobile.
But, McDonald’s didn’t get onto the scene much later.
In 1975, McDonald’s Sierra Vista in Arizona had a problem — there were plenty of potential customers from the nearby military base, but they weren’t allowed to dine in while wearing uniforms!
The ingenious owner literally knocked a hole in the wall and installed a window, becoming the first McDonald’s in the world to accept orders via drive-thru!
The state of Arkansas is home to the U.S.’ only active diamond mine.
Amazingly enough, it’s actually a state park! The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas lies on top of an old volcanic crater.
It is the only place in the world that allows the public to freely search for diamonds — and keep what they find!
More than 600 diamonds are found by visitors annually, with the most valuable found to date selling for a hefty 34 thousand dollars!
There used to be illegal U.S. immigrants in California.
Before California was a U.S. state, it was actually Alta California, a part of Mexico.
During the early 19th century, much of the region was undeveloped and loosely controlled. As a result, many from the U.S. came to live there both legally and illegally.
When the Mexican government attempted to restrict what rights the illegal U.S. immigrants had, they tried to revolt, founding the incredibly short-lived California Republic!
Bonus Fact: California’s official state flag was based mainly on the California Republic’s flag!
The world’s largest hot springs swimming pool can be found in Colorado.
The Glenwood Hot Springs resort in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, sure is a sight to behold.
The resort is impressive, with 100+ rooms, a restaurant, a gift shop, a gym, and a large spa – but that’s nothing compared to the hot springs!
The hot springs feed into a massive swimming pool that’s kept at a cozy temperature of 90° – 93°F (32° – 34°C), which is just the perfect temperature for lazing about!
Legendary U.S. author Mark Twain wrote some of his most famous novels at his home in Connecticut.
Did you know that his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens? Mark Twain was just his pen-name!
He was actually born in Missouri but moved to Hartford, Connecticut, in 1874, where he lived for the next seventeen years.
The most notable novels that Mark Twain wrote during this time include A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution was Delaware.
When the Thirteen Colonies rebelled against Great Britain and declared their independence, it soon became apparent that a unified set of rules was necessary to form the basis of their new country’s laws.
The U.S. Constitution was eventually drafted and then signed by delegates from the former thirteen colonies before being sent to each state to be voted on.
Delaware was the first of the new U.S. states to sign the Constitution on December 7, 1787.
The University of Florida designed Gatorade to help their NFL players perform better.
Back in the ’60s, the Florida Gators assistant coach sat down with a bunch of the university’s scientists and concluded that their players were all struggling on hot days partially due to lost electrolytes and a lack of carbohydrates.
After much time in the lab, they devised a drink that replaced the salt, electrolytes, and carbohydrates players lost during intense games, naming it Gatorade after the Florida Gators football team.
The Gators started regularly beating teams that were normally tipped to come out on top, and it wasn’t long before you were considered to be at a significant disadvantage if you didn’t provide Gatorade to your players!
You may also like these 15 Fun Facts About Florida.
A tree in the U.S. owns itself and the land underneath it.
The first tree that owned itself was a white oak tree in Athens, Georgia, whose owner had loved it so much that he decided to deed the tree and the land it was on to the tree itself after he died.
Unfortunately, this tree was blown down in a storm in 1942, but residents of Athens planted an acorn from the original tree in its place.
The new tree that grew from this is considered the son of the original tree and allowed to continue owning the land due to inheritance law!
Hawaii is the only U.S. state to be made up of a chain of islands.
Not only that, but Hawaii is actually the largest chain of islands in the world.
132 islands make up this isolated state, but only seven of these are inhabited: Niihau, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii (Big Island).
This picture-perfect chain of islands was formed by shifts in the Earth’s crust, causing lava to rise to the ocean’s surface, which solidified into islands after it cooled off.
The largest beagle in the world lives in Idaho and isn’t a living dog.
Known as Sweet Willy, this 30-foot (9.14 m) tall beagle is a bed and breakfast!
Sweet Willy lives among 60 other much smaller dog sculptures crafted in various poses in Dog Bark Park, just outside of Cottonwood, Idaho.
The owners of Sweet Willy have been called barking mad along the way, but they don’t care – they keep pumping out more and more chainsaw-carved dog statues every year!
The first skyscraper in the world was built in Chicago, Illinois.
It’s somewhat ironic that it was named the Home Insurance Building, considering it was built in 1895, but shortly after, much of Chicago burnt down in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
The way the Home Insurance Building was constructed was revolutionary for its time, built with a steel frame which made it much more fire-resistant.
Using steel frames also allowed it to be much taller than previous buildings, so when construction was finished, it stood an impressive 138 feet (42 m) tall!
You may also like these 15 Impressive Facts About Illinois.
The founder of KFC wasn’t actually from Kentucky but Indiana!
That’s right, the man behind KFC was born and raised in Henryville, Indiana.
The first place he sold his fried chicken wasn’t in Kentucky, either, but in Salt Lake City, Utah!
It was only when Colonel Sanders was getting old and running out of money that he decided to begin the KFC restaurant franchise in earnest, starting with his first KFC restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky.
The world’s largest bike-touring event is held every year in Iowa.
The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) began in 1973 when two writers from the Des Moines Register decided to cycle across Iowa.
They wrote articles as they went, along with anyone who wished to join them on their six-day route.
Both the articles were written about their trip, and the trip itself was an instant hit, with many who missed out requesting it be held the following year again.
These days more people want to bike across Iowa than there is space on the roads, so numbers are limited to about 8,500 participants yearly.
You can visit Dorothy Gale’s house replica from The Wizard of Oz in Liberal, Kansas.
Fans of the timeless 1939 film have long wondered where in Kansas Dorothy was from.
So, the City of Liberal decided to claim Dorothy as one of their own. A replica of Dorothy’s house was constructed with a yellow brick road.
If that doesn’t convince you to visit, they also happen to now have a so-called Tornado Simulation Room!
There’s so much whiskey in Kentucky that there are more than twice as many barrels as there are residents!
Believe it or not, that’s just counting the barrels of Kentucky bourbon whiskey!
Given the world’s never-ending demand for Kentucky Bourbon, It’s no surprise that Kentucky houses so many barrels.
That said, with a population of 4.5 billion and 9,266,228 (and counting!) barrels of bourbon, it’s still a little crazy!
Forget France; the Frog Capital of the World is actually in Louisiana!
Back in 1941, Rayne was home to the Louisiana Frog Company Plant, the world’s largest supplier of edible frogs at the time.
But the demand for the slimy snack lessened over time.
So in 1973, the town’s residents started throwing an annual frog festival to keep their crown as the capital of all things frog-related.
Nowadays, the frog festival has a range of attractions, including a parade, ample frogs to kiss, and even frogs dressed up in cute outfits!
You may also like these 15 Fascinating Facts About Louisiana.
Most of Stephen King’s horror stories are set in the sleepy New England state of Maine.
Stephen King has truly managed to capture the spirit of small-town America, and much of it is thanks to where he lives – Maine.
A lifelong resident, King is constantly being inspired by what he sees around him, modeling much of the background of his stories of it — with a dark twist, of course!
Hilariously, most of the scenes in the movie adaptions of his novels weren’t set in Maine.
The first American-born woman to be canonized lived in Maryland.
Elizabeth Ann Seton was born in New York City in 1774, but it wasn’t until later in the early 1800s that she began to truly make a difference in the world.
Then, she moved to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.
Elizabeth Seton was deemed saintly much later in 1975, partially for her charitable works, but most importantly for sowing the seed for countless charitable organizations that give aid to the needy both in the U.S. and abroad.
Basketball was invented in Massachusetts to keep students fit and active over winter.
In December 1891, James Naismith faced a problem – the usual sports played in warmer summer months outdoors weren’t suited for winter.
He worked on several ideas with his class before finally coming up with thirteen rules that defined the basics of a new game, basketball.
Basketball was an instant hit and rapidly spread to colleges nationwide and overseas!
You may also like these 15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Massachusetts.
There’s only one floating post office in the world, and it anchors in Michigan.
Have you also been kept at night wondering how on earth people manage to mail letters to ships sailing on the Great Lakes in Michigan?
Fret no longer, as we’re here to tell you that it’s all thanks to a ship called the J.W. Westcott II.
This floating post office and predecessors have been delivering various goods from letters, pizza, and even a goat since 1874!
The source of the mighty Mississippi River is actually in Minnesota.
While it’s undoubtedly one of the greatest of the U.S.’ rivers, the Mississippi River is realistically only the second longest river in the nation at 2,350 miles long (the longest is the Missouri River, one of the Mississippi’s tributaries).
Lake Itasca, the river’s source, had been well known to the local Native Americans, but the first European to discover this was Henry Schoolcraft on July 13, 1832.
The glacial lake appears insignificant compared to the expansive Mississippi River, covering just 1.8 square miles (4.7 square kilometers).
You may also like these 15 Magnificent Facts About Minnesota.
Both the world’s first heart and lung transplants were performed in Mississippi.
Until the 1960s, if either your heart or one of your lungs failed, you were pretty much doomed.
In 1963, Dr. James Hardy set it upon himself to figure out this problem and attempted the world’s first lung transplant in Mississippi, with the patient living an extra eighteen days.
Dr. Hardy’s next breakthrough was in 1964 when he transplanted a chimpanzee’s heart into a man’s chest, which unfortunately ceased to beat after an hour.
The first commercially available pancake mix was invented in Missouri.
There was more flour going around in the 1880s than anyone knew what to do with, so a couple of young entrepreneurs set out to find a way to make it more profitable.
Through this, they came upon the idea to sell packaged mixes of self-raising pancake flour, the first of its kind.
Their pancake mix is none other than the timeless Aunt Jemima pancake mix, which is still available today!
You may also like these 15 Marvelous Facts About Missouri.
The largest snowflake to ever be recorded landed in Montana.
There are probably thousands if not millions of snowflakes that have fallen throughout Earth’s history, which dwarf this one, but from the ones we humans have seen and recorded, it’s incredibly impressive.
No, we’re not talking some measly 5-inch snowflake, but an absolute whopper measuring in at 15 inches (38 cm) across!
This was reported back in 1887 at Fort Keogh, Montana.
The first-ever ski lift was invented not in the mountains but on the Great Plains of America!
Skiing wasn’t that popular before the 1930s, primarily because there were no ski lifts!
In the 1930s, the Union Pacific Railroad Company built an unseen style of a luxury ski resort, all hoping to make more people ride their trains.
Their engineers in Omaha, Nebraska, toiled day and night to devise a solution to make skiing more accessible to those who didn’t want to hike up the mountain — and succeeded!
The U.S. Government’s infamous Area 51 is located deep in the deserts of Nevada.
Officially named the Nevada Test and Training Range and claiming to be merely a U.S. Air Force base, Area 51 has fallen under much suspicion over the years.
Since the 1940s, there have been reports of downed flying saucers and aliens being shipped off to be studied at this “secretive” desert base in Nevada, and who are we to deny them?
More than fifty percent of adult Americans believe that the U.S. government isn’t telling them all they know about the existence of aliens and their strange aircraft.
The U.S.’ most patriotic icon, Uncle Sam, was based on a real guy who lived in New Hampshire.
Samuel Wilson was one of the men responsible for inspecting and delivering meat packages to U.S. troops during the War of 1812.
All packages he inspected were stamped with the nation’s initials, “U.S.”
When Sam was making his delivery rounds, some soldiers jokingly connected the letters and Sam.
They soon started calling him Uncle Sam, a name that later became one of the U.S.’ most iconic characters!
You may also like these 15 Fascinating Facts About New Hampshire.
The last passenger airship exploded mid-air while attempting to dock in New Jersey.
The ill-fated LZ 129 Hindenburg airship was initially designed to run off helium, a non-flammable gas, but due to helium’s rarity, hydrogen gas was used instead.
It’s remarkable that the airship successfully made several flights, considering it was a giant inflatable ticking time bomb.
On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg seemed to randomly explode while docking at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, marking the end of global all attempts to use airships as passenger vehicles.
The wastelands of New Mexico were used as the testing site for the world’s first atomic bomb.
The bomb, nicknamed Trinity, resulted from decades of work from some of the nation’s greatest brains, brought together by the Manhattan Project.
The final stages of development were completed in Los Alamos, New Mexico before the test site was chosen.
Spectators witnessing the never-before-seen event from a distance of more than 10,000 feet (3,048 m) were flabbergasted by the explosion’s mushroom cloud, which stretched as high as 40,000 feet (12,144 m) into the sky!
New York City’s Grand Central Terminal is the world’s largest train station.
Located in the central district of New York City, Grand Central Terminal was opened to the public in 1913 and is still truly a sight to be seen today.
The train station was built to house 44 platforms across two levels, with 67 train tracks running through it.
It’s not just the largest train station in the world due to its capacity, but also due to its sheer size — the entire building takes up a shocking 49.95 acres (19 hectares)!
Why not check out these 15 fascinating facts about New York State.
The world’s first successful plane flight took off and landed in North Carolina.
Orville and Wilbur Wright, otherwise known as the Wright Brothers, designed the aircraft over many years in their home state of Ohio.
But North Carolina can claim to be the state of the first flight.
After countless failures and subsequent modifications, the Wright Brothers happened to choose a location just outside of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, to test their later flights.
It’s here that the first successful plane flight happened, lasting a total of 12 seconds and covering a distance of 12 feet (40 meters).
North America’s geographical center lies in North Dakota.
In 1928, the U.S. Geological Survey Department made an incorrect calculation that positioned the continent’s geographical center to lie somewhere between the towns of Balta and Rugby, with Rugby soon after staking claim to being the home of North America’s center.
Funnily enough, the calculation was only discovered to be incorrect in 2017 by a Geography professor who found the actual location.
In a shocking twist, the Geographical Center of North America is, I kid you not, in a town called Center, in North Dakota!
People in the U.S. used to send their children to relatives via the US Postal Service.
The US Postal Service (USPS) first started transporting parcels back in 1913, and it wasn’t long before people started sending some rather unique packages.
The first known case of someone mailing their child using the USPS happened in Ohio.
Mr. and Mrs. Beagle realized that it was quite cheap and possible at the time to have their eight-month-old baby shipped to their grandmother a few miles away.
The only known case of a person being struck by space junk happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On January 22, 1997, Lottie Williams was out for a wander in her neighborhood park, just like she would regularly do, when the sky fell on her head.
Fortunately, the piece of space junk that struck her had lost nearly all speed and size while burning up in the atmosphere during re-entry, so she walked away unscathed.
NASA never confirmed nor denied responsibility, but they did admit that one of their rockets had broken up in the atmosphere, and it was possible that a piece of this landed in the Tulsa region.
The Malheur National Forest in Oregon is home to the world’s largest living organism.
Amazingly, it’s a colony of mushrooms, Armillaria ostoyae (or honey mushroom).
This single colony of mushrooms has been dated to be about 2,400 years old and covers an immense 2,200 acres (880 hectares) of the forest.
It’s easy to spot where the colony is, as it sprouts mushrooms by killing trees and using them as a food source.
The potato chip capital of the United States is in Pennsylvania, which seems to be a bit mad about snacks in general.
People in Pennsylvania, especially Hanover County, care deeply about their potato chips.
Instead of resigning themselves to a fate of boring mass-produced chips, there are hundreds of small independent chip companies, all claiming to make the best potato chips in the world.
Some likely do, considering there are more potato chips produced in Pennsylvania alone compared to any other location in the world!
The first American colony to declare its independence from Britain was Rhode Island.
The Rhode Island colony had much to lose from new taxes pushed onto them by their British overlords, so they struck out first and declared themselves to be an independent state on May 4, 1776.
Two months later, the rest of the Thirteen Colonies followed suit and rebelled against Britain.
Rhode Island was wary of joining the other colonies in founding the United States of America for quite some time.
Despite being the first to rebel, they were the last to ratify the U.S. constitution in 1790.
Tucked away in remote South Carolina lies the U.S.’ only UFO welcome center.
Far from being any official establishment, the UFO welcome center was constructed over many years, beginning in 1994 by a local UFO enthusiast.
The center is somewhat dilapidated, constructed out of odd bits and pieces that the owner, Joseph Pendarvis, was able to scavenge.
Vaguely shaped like two UFOs stacked on top of each other, it is equipped with a toilet, air conditioning, and a guest book for visitors to sign.
South Dakota is home to one of the U.S.’ greatest monuments.
This is none other than the impressive Mount Rushmore, the towering carved likeness of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.
To carve out the presidential heads, some 450,000 tons (408,233 tonnes) of stone were extracted from the cliff-face, taking fourteen years to complete.
While it’s undoubtedly a fantastic tribute to some of the U.S.’ most influential leaders, it was originally designed to merely promote tourism to South Dakota.
Tennessee is the only state to have an Official State Rap Song.
Don’t get your hopes up that it’s some sort of musical masterpiece; it is titled A Tennessee Bicentennial Rap: 1796 to 1996, after all.
Tennessee is quite familiar with official state songs, having more than any other state, but perhaps they should have skipped this one.
The song’s creators thought it would make it easier for Tennesseans to learn their state’s history through a fun song, but it’s hard to take anything in when you’re cringing that much.
Texas alone is larger in size than every single European nation.
Despite measuring 268,597 square miles (695,662 km²), Texas isn’t even the largest U.S. state, itself being dwarfed by Alaska.
Texas, of course, isn’t larger than all European nations combined but larger than each of them individually.
The largest European country, France, is pretty close but just a little smaller at 248,573 square miles (643,801 km²).
More than half the population of Utah are Mormons.
Long before Utah was a state, it was chosen by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints as a place of refuge, where they could practice their religion freely away from those who shunned them for their unorthodox practices.
The church and its members essentially built Utah from the ground up, practically running the place until it became a state in 1896.
These days the church still has massive sway in the goings-on of the state, which is possible mainly because some 55% of the population are Mormon!
The first U.S. state to allow same-sex civil unions was Vermont.
Unlike many other parts of the U.S. in the 1990s, Vermont fought hard to protect its members of the gay and lesbian community, which they did by the introduction of laws that allowed same-sex couples to adopt children.
Vermont’s progressive streak in the 90s continued into the 2000s, with same-sex civil unions becoming possible through laws introduced on March 15, 2000.
That said, it took quite a while for same-sex marriage to be allowed, with Vermont being the 4th state to legalize it on September 1, 2009.
The world’s largest office building can be found in Arlington, Virginia.
When you think about it, it makes sense that the largest office building in the world houses the U.S. Department of Defense, considering the scale of the U.S. military activities.
We’re talking about the Pentagon, of course, which was constructed back in 1943.
The building is an engineering marvel, as, despite its 17.5 miles (28 km) of corridors and 6.5 million square feet (603,870 m²) of floor space, it takes a maximum of seven minutes to walk between the furthest two points of the Pentagon!
Starbucks only sold coffee beans when it was founded in Seattle, Washington.
The company itself was founded in 1971 by three unlikely individuals, two teachers, and a writer, who all shared a deep passion for coffee.
At first, they focused on sourcing high-quality coffee beans and roasting them locally, producing a quality of coffee that was hard to come by elsewhere.
They even expanded to six stores in Seattle just off this simple business model.
It wasn’t until the trio sold the company in 1987 that Starbucks started taking steps to become the coffee shop conglomerate we know and love today.
The first Mother’s Day celebration took place in the small town of Grafton, West Virginia.
Notions of a day to celebrate mothers had been going around for several years already when Ann Jarvis started campaigning for it, but all other attempts ran out of steam and ultimately died off.
Ann Jarvis herself died in 1905 before actualizing her dream, and it was her daughter, Anna, who took it upon herself to make it a reality.
On May 12, 1907, Anna Jarvis organized the first-ever Mother’s Day celebration at the church where her mother taught in Grafton, their hometown.
The Republican Party was founded in Wisconsin based on fighting against slavery.
In 1854, the laws on how the U.S. states voted for “free” states or “slave” states were changed, tipping the balance in favor of the slave states.
Most northern states, including Wisconsin, were outraged mainly by this and quickly started organizing meetings to find ways to fight the new laws.
One such meeting took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, where all the attendees were so outraged by the changes that they founded the Republican Party to try and fight them.
The world’s first National Park was founded in Wyoming in 1872.
Established by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was the first of its kind.
The land the park covers has held a special place in the hearts of Native Americans for tens of thousands of years, and its beauty captivated European Americans so much that they sought to protect it as much as possible.
These days Yellowstone National Park covers some 3,468 square miles (8,983 km²) and contains the Yellowstone Caldera, North America’s largest supervolcano, along with more than half of the world’s geysers!
When it comes to the sheer diversity of life, culture, geography, and historical backgrounds, there’s no other nation in the world that even comes close to the United States of America.
Many see the U.S. as a single giant mass, but when you look at the U.S. on a state-by-state basis, you truly get a sense of how incredible the nation is.
From the old, settled east coast to the recently wild west, the windswept Great Plains to the towering Rocky Mountains, there’s so much to explore in the U.S. that it’s no wonder most Americans never manage to leave it – there’s too much to do at home!