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How Many States in America?

Key Takeaway:

  • The United States consists of 50 states and a federal district, with Puerto Rico and other dependent areas associated with the U.S. counting as territories.
  • Important events in statehood history include Alaska and Hawaii joining the Union in 1959, Washington D.C. being a Federal District, Puerto Rico being a U.S. Commonwealth, and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands.
  • There are various types of territories in the U.S., including unincorporated territories and organized incorporated territories, with different political relationships with the U.S. government.
  • Each state has a governor and a designated capital, with California and New York being popular and well-known states. There is also a significant difference in state and territory size, with the largest state being Alaska and the smallest state being Rhode Island.
  • The significance of state size and location relates to the diverse geographic, economic, and cultural benefits of each state, with territories in the Pacific Ocean playing a significant role in U.S. military strategy.

The Number of States and Territories in the U.S.

The U.S. has many states and territories. States have their own government. Territories are owned by the federal government. To show this, one can make a table. It should have columns for each. Alphabetically list the states, then the territories. The table could also include data such as population and area. This gives a simple way to learn about the U.S. and its subdivisions.

It’s important to note the number of territories has changed. Some became states. Others were added or removed. Each territory has a special relationship with the federal government. Some may become states one day. Knowing the differences is key to understanding the U.S.’s political makeup and history. This shows the importance of the number of states and territories.

The following table shows the states and territories of the United States, along with their year of admission:

State/Territory Year of Admission
Alabama 1819
Alaska 1959
Arizona 1912
Arkansas 1836
California 1850
Colorado 1876
Connecticut 1788
Delaware 1787
Florida 1845
Georgia 1788
Hawaii 1959
Idaho 1890
Illinois 1818
Indiana 1816
Iowa 1846
Kansas 1861
Kentucky 1792
Louisiana 1812
Maine 1820
Maryland 1788
Massachusetts 1788
Michigan 1837
Minnesota 1858
Mississippi 1817
Missouri 1821
Montana 1889
Nebraska 1867
Nevada 1864
New Hampshire 1788
New Jersey 1787
New Mexico 1912
New York 1788
North Carolina 1789
North Dakota 1889
Ohio 1803
Oklahoma 1907
Oregon 1859
Pennsylvania 1787
Rhode Island 1790
South Carolina 1788
South Dakota 1889
Tennessee 1796
Texas 1845
Utah 1896
Vermont 1791
Virginia 1788
Washington 1889
West Virginia 1863
Wisconsin 1848
Wyoming 1890
American Samoa*
Northern Mariana Islands*
Puerto Rico*
U.S. Virgin Islands*

Statehood History

On July 4, 1776, the United States of America declared independence from Great Britain. This marked an important step in the history of statehood. Initially, the nation was made up of thirteen colonies under British rule. Over the following decades, the country grew westward, with more states joining the Union.

The process of achieving statehood had various requirements that changed throughout time. For instance, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 created a procedure for admitting new states. Ohio became the first state to join, outside of the original thirteen. With the country expanding westward, more territories became states. By 1912, the contiguous United States had fifty states.

An interesting detail regarding statehood in America is the territorial acquisition process. The United States acquired territories via purchase, war, and negotiations. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 opened up many areas to the United States. The Mexican-American war of the 1840s resulted in the current states of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Negotiations with Great Britain in the 1840s and 1850s enabled the acquisition of the Pacific Northwest. This set the path for future statehood. This unique blend of acquisition through war, purchase, and negotiation shaped the rich history of statehood in America.

Types of Territories in the U.S.

In the US, it is important to be aware of the Types of Territories. There are 5 main types, consisting of Commonwealths, Territories, Federal Districts, Insular Areas, and Indian Reservations. The table shows their names, legal statuses, and when they were acquired/established.

Type of Territory Legal Status Year Acquired/ Established
Commonwealths Autonomy Puerto Rico – 1952
Territories Limited Self-Rule Guam – 1898
Federal Districts Federal District Washington, D.C. – 1800
Insular Areas No Constitutional Rights Midway Islands – 1867
Indian Reservations Semi-Autonomous Various Dates

Each type has its own legal and political characteristics. Commonwealths, like Puerto Rico, have autonomy. Territories, like Guam, have limited self-rule. Insular Areas, like Midway Islands, don’t have the same constitutional rights as the mainland states.

The U.S. expanded in the 19th century. The Louisiana Purchase and Mexican-American War of ’46-’48 added lots of territories. These were then put into different types, each with its own legal and political features.

State Governors and Capitals

The United States of America has 50 states. Each has its own government and capital city. The state governor leads the executive branch. They are responsible for implementing the laws. To help you keep track, here’s a table of the governors and their capitals:

State Governor Capital
Alabama Kay Ivey Montgomery
Alaska Mike Dunleavy Juneau
Arizona Doug Ducey Phoenix
Arkansas Asa Hutchinson Little Rock
California Gavin Newsom Sacramento
Colorado Jared Polis Denver
Connecticut Ned Lamont Hartford
Delaware John Carney Dover
Florida Ron DeSantis Tallahassee
Georgia Brian Kemp Atlanta
Hawaii David Ige Honolulu
Idaho Brad Little Boise
Illinois J.B. Pritzker Springfield
Indiana Eric Holcomb Indianapolis
Iowa Kim Reynolds Des Moines
Kansas Laura Kelly Topeka
Kentucky Andy Beshear Frankfort
Louisiana John Bel Edwards Baton Rouge
Maine Janet Mills Augusta
Maryland Larry Hogan Annapolis
Massachusetts Charlie Baker Boston
Michigan Gretchen Whitmer Lansing
Minnesota Tim Walz St. Paul
Mississippi Tate Reeves Jackson
Missouri Mike Parson Jefferson City
Montana Greg Gianforte Helena
Nebraska Pete Ricketts Lincoln
Nevada Steve Sisolak Carson City
New Hampshire Chris Sununu Concord
New Jersey Phil Murphy Trenton
New Mexico Michelle Lujan Grisham Santa Fe
New York Andrew Cuomo Albany
North Carolina Roy Cooper Raleigh
North Dakota Doug Burgum Bismarck
Ohio Mike DeWine Columbus
Oklahoma Kevin Stitt Oklahoma City
Oregon Kate Brown Salem
Pennsylvania Tom Wolf Harrisburg
Rhode Island Dan McKee Providence
South Carolina Henry McMaster Columbia
South Dakota Kristi Noem Pierre
Tennessee Bill Lee Nashville
Texas Greg Abbott Austin
Utah Spencer Cox Salt Lake City
Vermont Phil Scott Montpelier
Virginia Ralph Northam Richmond
Washington Jay Inslee Olympia
West Virginia Jim Justice Charleston
Wisconsin Tony Evers Madison
Wyoming Mark Gordon Cheyenne

It’s fascinating! The capital cities are not always the biggest or central cities in each state. For instance, Albany is New York’s capital, but New York City is the state’s largest city. Similarly, Austin is Texas’s capital, but there are bigger cities like Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. Don’t forget, the state governor and capital are an important part of each state’s unique government system.

State and Territory Size Comparison

The United States is vast. It has many states and territories that come in different sizes. These areas have their own landscapes, cultures, and traditions. To understand the differences, we compare their sizes. The largest state is Alaska at 665,384 square miles. The smallest is the District of Columbia with only 68.34 square miles. Texas, California, Puerto Rico, and Guam are in between.

These places differ in more than size. There are differences in demographics, economies, and politics. Some of the smaller territories, like American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, don’t have much power. According to World Atlas, Alaska is the biggest state in the United States. It spans 665,384 square miles.

Five Facts About How Many States in America:

  • ✅ The United States of America has 50 states and Washington D.C. on the mainland, with Alaska and Hawaii situated away from the mainland. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Washington D.C. is a federal district under Congress’s authority, with a mayor and 13-member city council. Its residents can vote in Presidential elections since 1961, and it is represented by a nonvoting delegate in Congress. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ Puerto Rico is a commonwealth associated with the U.S., and its inhabitants are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in Presidential elections. They elect a nonvoting resident commissioner to the U.S. House of Representatives. (Source: Team Research)
  • ✅ The United States also has five major territories and various minor islands, with each state and territory having its own constitution and government. (Source: Wikipedia)
  • ✅ The U.S. Congress can admit more states, but it cannot create a new state from territory of an existing state or merge of two or more states into one without the consent of all involved, and each new state is admitted on an equal footing with the existing states. (Source: Wikipedia)

FAQs about How Many States In America?

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