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The first Europeans to arrive in the territory of the modern United States were Spanish conquistadors such as Juan Ponce de León, who made his first visit to Florida in 1513; however, if unincorporated territories are accounted for, then credit would go to Christopher Columbus who landed in Puerto Rico on his 1493 voyage.The Spanish set up the first settlements in Florida and New Mexico such as Saint Augustine and Santa Fe.It is likely these represent the first of three major waves of migrations into North America.Over time, indigenous cultures in North America grew increasingly complex, and some, such as the pre-Columbian Mississippian culture in the southeast, developed advanced agriculture, grand architecture, and state-level societies.The French established their own as well along the Mississippi River.Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620.The earthworks constructed by Native Americans of the Poverty Point culture in northeastern Louisiana have also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.In the southern Great Lakes region, the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) was established at some point between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries.
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.
Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. 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.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation.
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The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U. or US) or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions.). Following the French and Indian War, numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the Declaration of Independence in 1776.