American History and Culture

American History and Culture

Northern America

North America was settled after the end of the last ice age. A great variety of Indian cultures (North American Indians) emerged on the soil of what is now the United States. Vikings under Leif Eriksson were the first Europeans to reach the east coast around 1000 AD. In the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors advanced into Florida and the southwest. English and French settlers followed from the 17th and 18th centuries, first in Virginia and New England. France had to give up its North American colonies after the Seven Years War.

In 1776, 13 British colonies declared their independence and successfully defended them against the motherland in the North American War of Independence. In the Peace of Paris in 1783, the United States expanded its territory to include the area between the Appalachian Mountains, Mississippi, the Great Lakes and Florida, which belongs to Spain. With the constitution of 1787, the loose confederation became a federal state. Tensions between the Northern and Southern states, particularly over slavery, erupted in the American Civil War in 1861–65. United States is a country located in North America according to PHYSICSCAT.COM.

With the purchase of western Louisiana (1803) from France, western expansion (Frontier) continued, combined with the expulsion of the Indians. The acquisition of Florida (1810/19), the annexation of Texas (1845), cession of territory by Mexico (1848/49; Mexican War) and the division of Oregon (1846) rounded off the territory of the USA to the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast away. In 1867 the USA bought Alaska from Russia, in 1897 Hawaii became, in 1898 with the Spanish-American War the Philippines (1946 independent) and Puerto Rico won. Military successes, territorial gains and rapidly advancing industrialization paved the country’s rise to world power.

The US intervention in World War I in 1917 brought victory for the Western Allies. US President TW Wilson (1913-21) was unable to realize his peace plans (fourteen points). The USA also stayed away from the League of Nations founded in 1919. The Roaring Twenties ended with the global economic crisis that began in 1929. Government intervention and investment in the New Deal led the US out of the Great Depression. In terms of foreign policy, President FD Roosevelt (1933–45) gradually turned away from unilaterism. The Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor In 1941, the USA led into World War II alongside the anti-Hitler coalition.

After the victory over Germany and Japan in 1945, the understanding with the Soviet Union fell apart. A global east-west conflict developed between two opposing blocs, led by the USA and the USSR as nuclear superpowers. The USA was allied with Western European countries in NATO from 1949 onwards. The Marshall Plan (European Reconstruction Program) strengthened cohesion. The US was militarily involved in the Korean War (1950–53) and the Vietnam War. After the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Cold War confrontation gradually eased City square. Negotiations on arms control and disarmament followed.

The collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1989–91) initially strengthened the USA’s international position. Promoted by Islamist terrorism (September 11th), they intervened in the Middle East (Gulf wars) and Afghanistan (war on terrorism). A stronger political turn to Asia under President B. Obama (2009–17) accentuated the competition with the People’s Republic of China, which his successor D. Trump turned into an open trade conflict. At the same time, the US placed national interests and concerns in the foreground (“America first”).

Domestically, from the 1960s onwards, the civil rights movement to eliminate racial segregation and further emancipation efforts ushered in profound social change. Further challenges were de-industrialization and the development towards a service society from the mid-1970s. From the end of the 1990s onwards, ideologically charged conflicts such as abortion, reform of the health system and immigration polarized the political climate within the two-party system of democrats and republicans. A real estate crisis (subprime crisis) 2007/08 grew into a global financial and economic crisis. Economic stimulus programs, bank and company restructuring as well as an expansive monetary policy and initiated a long-lasting upswing in the USA in 2010.

World Heritage Sites in the USA

  • Mesa Verde National Park (K; 1978)
  • Yellowstone National Park (N; 1978)
  • Everglades National Park (N; 1979)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (N; 1979)
  • National parks Kluane, Wrangell-Saint-Elias and Tatshenshini-Alsek (with Canadian part) (N; 1979)
  • Independence Hall (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia (K; 1979)
  • Redwood National Park (N; 1980)
  • Mammoth Cave National Park (N; 1981)
  • Olympic Mountains National Park (N; 1981)
  • Prehistoric settlement of Cahokia Mounds (K; 1982)
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (N; 1983)
  • Fort La Fortaleza and Old San Juan in Puerto Rico (K; 1983)
  • Statue of Liberty of New York (K; 1984)
  • Yosemite National Park (N; 1984)
  • Home of Thomas Jefferson in Monticello and University of Virginia in Charlottesville (K; 1987)
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park (Anasazikultur) (K; 1987)
  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (N; 1987)
  • Taos Pueblo (K; 1992)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (N; 1995)
  • Waterton -Glacier International Peace Park (with Canadian part) (N; 1995)
  • Papahānaumokuākea marine reserve near Hawaii (K, N; 2010)
  • Archaeological site of Poverty Point in Louisiana (K; 2014)
  • Mission stations in San Antonio (K; 2015)

Poverty Point Earthworks (World Heritage)

The earthworks at Poverty Point owe their name to a nearby plantation from the 19th century. Here, on slightly elevated terrain in the lower Mississippi Valley, hunters and gatherers built a complex of five hills and six concentric ridges structured by shallow depressions and a central square over 3000 years ago. The community used these structures for residential and ceremonial purposes. The earthworks represent a remarkable achievement in earth building, unmatched in North America for at least 2000 years.

Poverty Point Earthworks: Facts

Official title: Earthworks from Poverty Point
Cultural monument: Erdwallanlage with municipal residues, a 23 m high mounds (diameter 200 m) and a partially destroyed octagon of 1 200 m in diameter, whose sides consist of six rows lower earthworks
Continent: North and Central America
Country: USA
Location: lower Mississippi Valley, north of the city of Monroe, Louisiana US
Appointment: 2014
Meaning: Testimony to the prehistoric Indian Poverty Point culture and the oldest earthwork in North America

American History and Culture