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The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing. "Columbia", a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name "District of Columbia".During the Seven Years' War (in the United States, known as the French and Indian War), British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies.
Bad weather forced his ships south to about 43° north before they could begin their exploration of the coast northward.For other uses, see America (disambiguation), US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation). Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico.The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones.The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The phrase "United States" was originally plural, a description of a collection of independent states—e.g., "the United States are"—including in the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1865.The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States (OAS), and other international organizations. The singular form—e.g., "the United States is"—became popular after the end of the American Civil War. In English, the word "American" rarely refers to topics or subjects not connected with the United States.
"United States of America", "America", "US", and "USA" redirect here.