How It All Started. The Discovery of America.
America was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Christopher was born in Italy. His father and both grandfathers were cloth makers. Columbus was a seaman and made many sea voyages, and one of them was destined to be of crucial importance to the humanity.
Most people in Columbus's days thought that the earth was flat and they did not believe that beyond the Atlantic Ocean lay India. In 1492 the King and the Queen of Spain gave him money to go to India. He decided to sail west as he was sure that our planet was round. There were 3 caravels: the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta. After sailing 4000 miles he reached some land.
The crew saw something like a white cliff and cried out: "Tierra! Tierra!" Columbus thought 'that it must be India but it was not. It was a new land - a new continent. It was America. Columbus named the land they had reached San Salvador ("Holy Saviour"). People began to speak about the land as "The New World".
Columbus was mistaken in thinking he had reached India. Columbus, who was as confused as anybody who has been at sea for a long time, called the first people he saw "Indians". Accompanied by his followers, Columbus made several other voyages in search of India. Try as he might, however, he kept discovering America and finally returned to Spain to die.
Brief History of the USA.
The history of the USA dates back only to the 15th century. In the 15th century there was no USA at all. The present territory of the USA was divided among some countries. In the 15th-16th centuries some territory of the USA belonged to Great Britain (northern and western lands); southern parts (California, Florida, New Mexico, Texas) belonged to Spain, then - to Mexico; the central part, the territory was called Louisiana - to France; Alaska was possessed by Russia; some territories remained to be under Indians control.
In 18th century there were only 13 Britain's American colonies and they broke with Great Britain in 1776 and later were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America, following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded their frontiers across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions.
There were three most dramatic experiences in the nation's history: the Civil War (1861-1865), the Great Depression of the 1930s and Vietnam War of the 1960s-70s.
After its involvement in victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the USA remains the world's most powerful state. The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and great advances in technology.
Nowadays USA is world's third-largest country by size (after Russia and Canada) and by population (after China and India). It is about half the size of Russia or slightly larger than China or Brazil.
"Why was Washington made the capital of the United States?"
After the War of Independence the United States needed a capital city. Different cities in different parts of the country wanted to be the nation's capital. In the end it was decided to build a new city. In 1791 George Washington, the first president, chose the place where the city now stands. The land round the city was called the District of Colombia, after Christopher Columbus; and the city on it was named Washington, in honor of the country's first president. The architect of the new city planned straight streets with trees on both sides, beautiful buildings, and monuments to honor great men. The buildings for the Congress of the United States and some other buildings were erected on a hill. These buildings were called the Capitol. Then the hill was renamed Capitol Hill. In 1800 President John Adams, the second president, and other members of the government moved to the new city of Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia)
So nowadays Washington, D. C. is the federal district containing the city of Washington only. It is the centres of all three branches of the US federal government, as well as the headquarters of most federal agencies. Washington also serves as the headquarters for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other national and international institutions. All of this has made Washington D.C. the frequent focal point of massive political demonstrations and protests. Washington D.C. is also the site of numerous national landmarks, museums, and sports events, and is a popular destination for tourists.
New York City, officially named the City of New York, is the most populous city in the United States, and the most densely populated city in North America. Located in the state of New York, New York City has a population of 8.2 million people within an area of 830 square km. It is at the heart of the New York Metropolitan Area, which is one of the largest urban conglomerations in the world. The city comprises five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.
The city is at the centre of international finance, politics, manufacturing, entertainment, and culture, and is one of the world's major global cities (along with London, Tokyo and Paris). It has a unique collection of museums, galleries, international corporations, and stock exchanges. The city is also home to the United Nations and all of the international missions associated with it.
New York City attracts large numbers of immigrants from over 180 countries, as well as many people from all over the United States, who come to the city for its culture, energy, cosmopolitanism, and by their own hope of making it big. New York City is home to more than 500 companies. If the city were a nation, it would have the 17th highest gross domestic product in the world, more than that of Switzerland and nearly equalling that of Russia.
New York is a city of great museums with the Metropolitan Museum of Arts collection of historic art, the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum's 20th century collection, and the American Museum of Natural History and its Hayden Planetarium focusing on the sciences.
persecution - преследование
to reach - достигать
confusion - путаница
voyage - путешествие
to possess - иметь, владеть
to remain - оставаться
to recognize - зд. признавать
treaty - договор, конвенция
to acquire - получать, приобретать
to expand - увеличивать, расширять
frontier - граница
powerful - мощный
steady - стабильный, устойчивый
unemployment - безработица
advance - продвижение вперед, прогресс, улучшение