in O Jornal 25.06.2007
in South Coast Today 23.06.2007
in Mundo Português 20.06.2007
in O Jornal 15.06.2007
With the highest Gross Domestic Product in the whole world (in excess of 12 billion dollars), the United States are one of the main world economies as well as one of the most influential, and is also one of the most open.
In spite of the enormous natural resources and of its very strong industry and agriculture, the service industries are those which constitute the main North American sector of the economy, in which three quarters of the active population are employed. Per capita GDP is in excess of 40,000 dollars.
The USA have their main trading partner to the North – Canada – and the principal remaining partners are the European Union, Japan, Mexico and China.
As the third largest country in the world in territorial terms (9.6 million square kilometres), and with one of the widest population structure – 300 million inhabitants with a great cultural diversity and multiple ethnic origins – the United States are a presidential federal republic, constituted by 50 States and the federal District of Columbia where its capital city, Washington, is located.
Only Alaska and Hawaii are not geographically contiguous with the remaining 48 federal states, and the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Wake Island, the Northern Marianas, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa are also part of the United States.
The foundation of the Country dates from July 4, 1776, when the 13 British colonies in North America declared independence, each of these states having substituted, one year later, their colonial statute with their own constitutions, which guaranteed a high degree of autonomy, the people’s sovereignty, the separation of powers and the separation of Church from State.
In force since 1789, the constitution of the USA guarantees the separation of powers and a mutual system of control. Defence and monetary matters and foreign affairs are within the competence of the federal government, whilst the States are responsible for all remaining matters.
Although it is not the official language of all the federal States, English is that which is mostly spoken in the country, immediately followed by Spanish, due to the strong presence of the installed Hispanic communities. Many languages brought by European and Asian immigrants currently live alongside with English in many regions of the United States. This is the case with Portuguese, mainly spoken in some of the States on the Eastern Seaboard and in the State of California.