Some people call it Britain. Others say Great Britain. Many people mistakenly call the whole country England. But its real name is a mouthful: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. That’s why it’s usually just called the United Kingdom, or UK for short.
PARTS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
The United Kingdom is a country made up of four parts: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. For centuries, it was ruled by kings and queens. The United Kingdom still has a monarchy, although today its power is mostly symbolic.
Officially, its name is the United States of America. But people often call it the United States, the USA, or America.
The United States is a vast and beautiful land. It’s home to rich farmland, towering mountains, huge stands of timber, mighty rivers, and valuable mineral deposits.
Colonists from Europe founded the United States more than 200 years ago. They created a new kind of society based on the ideals of freedom and opportunity. The American people, through their ambitiousness and hard work, built one of the world’s richest and most powerful nations.
“Remember the Alamo!” is a famous battle cry from the old West. Who wanted to remember the Alamo and why?
The Alamo is an old mission (church compound) in San Antonio, Texas. Spanish priests built it from sun-dried bricks, called adobe, in the early 1700s. High walls defended the mission. It later became a fortress.
In 1836, a bloody battle was fought at the Alamo. Texan forces fought bravely against the Mexican army, but many Texans died. At that time, Texas was part of Mexico. Many Texans wanted to make Texas an independent country. “Remember the Alamo!” became a battle cry for Texas in its war of independence from Mexico.
Alabama is often called the Heart of Dixie. Dixie is an old nickname for the Southern United States. No one is sure where the name Dixie comes from. But a song called “Dixie” made the name popular in the 1800s. Alabama has played an important role in the history of the American South.
FORESTS AND FLATLAND
Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. The state takes its name from the Alabama River. The river was named after a Native American tribe that once lived there. They were called the Alibamon people.
Alaska is the northernmost state in the United States. It is often called The Land of the Midnight Sun. Because the state is so far north, you can still see the sun at midnight in summer. In winter, darkness lasts much of the day. Alaska has cold winters, but summers in most parts of the state are pleasant and mild.
Alaska is the largest state in the Union. It is more than twice the size of Texas. Alaska also has the highest mountain in the United States. Mount McKinley rises 20,320 feet (6,194 meters) above sea level. Native Americans call this mountain Denali, which means “The High One.”