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Credit is only due if a book has quality. Quantity alone is no substitute for quality. An act intended to decieve or trick. Something that has been established or accepted by fraudulent means. Who on earth would, after retirement, and most probably with a handsome sum of money, to around the globe umpteen times, dig and shove around, just to publish a book with the INTENTION to deceive or trick the world?

There are criticisms about: 1 Gavin Menzies's basic seamanship and navigation skills. Has the critic ever thought of a simple fact - to declare to the world that he is the ex-Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy Submarine, and then to have no claims from the Royal Navy side that he is a Fraud, that itself speaks volume of his experience. Would he be as so confused as the critic have said, he would have the submarine sunk aeons ago.

My bottomline? Give credit where it is due, even if there are mistakes in the book; 2 some points concerning the long-lost map, and the guesswork for history. There are one thousand and one points in the book, from the Maize to the chickens and horses, from the wall drawings to folk tales, from the Asian physical features to cultural practices, and we onlysee people coming up and asking 'Where is the map? Where is map? With regard to guessworks, I ask: If the Pyramid has no archaelogical evidence left of its construction, are we to call ALL analytical studies, Presumptions, Assumptions, and finally Intelligent Guesses, 'Hoax'?

If there isn't any, then who are to call which a hoax? Especially so for if the author has done so much research before declaring, and not just sit in the office shaking his leg before coming up with a totally groundless imaginary idea. THAT, is not an 'intelligent guess'. By and large, you don't need a professor to realise that some critics are just trying to find holes to dig and explore, so as to satisfy their own egos. Furnish's challenges to this book were quite clear.

A study last year said the ink on the parchment map was made in the 20th century. But chemist Jacqueline Olin, a retired researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said on Tuesday her analysis shows the ink was made in mediaeval times. The authenticity of the map has been debated since the s, when philanthropist Paul Mellon gave it to Yale. The university has not taken a position on its authenticity. The map depicts the world, including the north Atlantic coast of North America. It includes text in mediaeval Latin and a legend that describes how Leif Eiriksson, a Norseman, found the new land called Vinland around the year The map has been dated to around Some scholars have speculated that Columbus could have used the map to find the New World in Last summer, Ms Olin and other researchers announced that carbon dating of the parchment showed it was made around - exactly the right time for the map to be genuine.

However, researchers from University College in London examined the ink on the map and announced last summer that it cannot be more than years old. Tests in the s by Mr Walter McCrone - who also had disputed the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin - found the ink contained anatase, a form of titanium dioxide that is common in inks made after Anatase is found in nature, but the crystals of anatase were too regular-shaped to have been natural, Mr McCrone said.

Ms Olin's study looked at various minerals found in the ink, including aluminium, copper and zinc. All these minerals, she said, would have been byproducts of the mediaeval ink manufacturing process. Also, she said that anatase could have ended up in the ink because of the manufacturing process, and its crystal size and shape could have changed over time. Research is continuing into the Latin writing on the map.

Is Gavin Menzies Right or Wrong?

One of the more obvious clues is the crude attempt to distort details on the Piri Reis maps which can be seen in chapter 5. The book has to be some kind of hoax because it isn't credible that the author could be so confused about basic seamanship and navigation. If junior cadets wrote that kind of nonsense they would be given a spell of bilge cleaning duty to focus their minds! What's wrong with his claim? You never actually tell us Which part has gone wrong. Now again , what's wrong with this claim? Where on earth can you show 'REAL evidence' of, say a thousand years' old civilisation, if DNA and carbon-dating aren't even your top choice for evidence and history-writting?

Build a time machine, duh. If so, then let me explain a simple fact: there is a vast difference between a college history teacher and an experienced sailor. There are things that will changed overtime, some in split seconds. History can be re-written and re-made, but stars don't. The sunny and starry skies don't. And certianly not the Earth, which includes her seasonal winds, currents, magnetic fields and poles, the horizon, and many many others.

Tides come and go, but there are Laws to everything single thing that happens in nature. That is also WHY a retired Commander can speak with so much a confidence, while a college teacher can only come so far as to 'tell his students'. What on earth has gotten into you, Mr Furnish? Haven't you, as you claimed, read the entire book well enough? Mr Menzies has already wrote so specifically THAT, if and ever if, the Chinese were the ones who ruled the world, it would certainly have come to be a much much more pleasant and peaceful place to live in, for from the Emperor right down to the commoners, everyone in that era were eager to learn, and willing to share and trade.

Not once did China, if you would so willingly to agree on her wealth, power and influence then, invaded or INtended to invade, any other country in that period. There is this great man who lived in the post-war Japan, Josei Toda, who pointed out there are two grave mistakes the modern human beings have made, and one of them is the mixed-up of Fact and Truth. The Earth revolving around the Sun.

This simple example also carries the lives of Galilleo, Copernicus and other 'truthful' scientists. And this is one simple thing the White House will never give you and I. Dear Dr Furnish, as a historian you clearly know a great deal about how to conduct scientific research and some of the critical points you made about "" seem justified. Since you made a number of notes while reading the book, I wonder if you could also give some examples where Gavin Menzies claims can be backed up by other scientific research.

I read the book - not as i would read a scientific paper - I doubt it was intended to be one- and found the whole idea fascinating and fairly convincing. So for me and hopefully others a scientific review that includes praise for well researched facts as well as criticism on leaps of imagination would be quite helpful. I wish there where more people with the time, ambitions and not the least the financial resources to try and rewrite bits of history - Gavin Menzies book certainly made a far more interesting read than say the "DaVinci Code".

So if you have a spare hour, why don't you write a introduction to "" from an historian's point of view. Thanks Kerstin. After feeling a certain creeping scepticism I was also happy to find Tim's interesting criticism. I think he makes some good points and is probably right. Having said that, Menzies is making some really fascinating leaps of faith and raising all kinds of interesting ideas, especially about the longitude. We are so used to using accurate time-keeping for its calculation, we have almost forgotten the possible astronomical alternatives at least one of which was developed and promoted at Greenwich in the 18th century.

By the way, does anyone know why Menzies retired from the Navy at the rather young age of 33? Does it have any connection with the collision of his submarine with the USS Endurance in the Phillipines in ? If he has been working on this book for 14 years what did he do for the 20 years before that?

He has made me curious about himself as well as Chinese navigation! Finally, if anyone has become interested in the history of applied maths as a result of this book, there is a brilliant exhibition on the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India: "The Great Arc - Years", just finished at the Atlantis Gallery, Brick Lane, London and shortly to move to Manchester. This story is undoubtedly true and just as incredible in its own way. Let's celebrate them all!

Given his other comments made on this site, Dr. Furnish's tone is understandable. Maybe not "bitter," but definitely condenscending. Eg: Third, Menzies relies upon, and constantly reminds the reader of, his own naval expertise which gives him a mystical understanding that landlubbers lack. And why did you chose "mystical" as your modifier of choice, save to imply to your reader than Menzies is a loon. Same with "landlubbers. Are the four examples that you list the crux of the argument, or just four at random?

Questionable speculative leaps are also Menzies's stock-in-trade. Interesting work, but as similarly unconvincing as Menzie's work is proclaimed to be. In Tikal, a Maya ruin of the Classic era, one sees an "altar stone" from around AD on which is a human figure wearing a conical hat similar to those worn today in southeastern Asia.

Have Maya scholars translated the Maya glyphs on this stone? Do they allude to a visit to Tikal by a Chinese dignitary? Anyone who knows how to sail knows there's a lot of intuition needed to be a good sailor. Menzies not only has the right to his assertion but the experience to back it up.

I used to live in the Caribbean - many of my co-workers had considerable sailing experience and owned yachts or catamarans. They used to say something along the lines that a sailor without good intuition is sunk! Accurate intuition has been the muse to scientists, artists, explorers, athletes, writers and many others - even historians. Can you hear me now I think you're a closet case Menzies supporter by getting us lowly plebians all riled up!

Have you read the book word for word, cover to cover? I've been curious about these mysterious stones for years - 's theory makes the most sense. Amazing how people can only see what they want to see. Amy, please tell me just which of my comments were "bitter," and how so. I don't care whether Menzies is right or wrong. I simply lay out, as a historian, the flaws in his arguments. If you wish to critique my critique, please make it logically substantive and not simply shrill emoting.

Hayabusa, In fact I read the entire Menzies book and took copious notes. And what does whether or not I speak or read Chinese have to do with anything? But none of this is relevant, either. Stubborn, close-minded academia rears its bitter head yet again in review written by Furnish.

Or are you inciting us to respond? It worked. You guys are supposed to be fascinated with possible revelations about history. Arguments about the Vikings still rage on when we know they were in North America well before Did the Chinese get any maps from Nordic sources? Sail on! Es un gran herror afirmsr que los catalanes eran buenos marinos.. Los que fueron realmente marinos de oceano fueron los vascos,ya sea como cazadores de ballenas como de exploradores. I'm a reserve Navy officer and I like reading history books. I have just read the book and at the beginning I was very perplexed about Menzies's thesis.

When I've read about half the book I had changed my mind. Many "evidences" were obviously naives but others were really interesting , i. Of course I had no possibility to check the vericidity of these evidences I was in holiday far from my books and my internet access but most of these evidences matched with the informations that I rememembered by heart.

That map was included in the book. Menzies says that America west coast is clearly marked and he can recognize many spots There is only a line to mark the end of the land by then already explored. There is even the statement in latin "after this line nothing is known"! So who is Menzies? I would like to know if it's true that Magellano knwwhis references to Anyway I like Furnish comments. Furnish, do you speak or read Chinese?

Have you read all of Mr. Menzies' book? Have you read all the evidence and references that he includes in his book and the website? Obviously the answer is no. Furnish is nothing more than a debunker with an agenda. Very unprofessional to say the least. The Chinese, then and most likely even now, are superstitious. They feared the wrath of their elders and of the long-dead ancestors. Every flood, storm, typhoon and earthquake is an act of vengeance wreaked by some entity they have offended somehow. So, it is no surprise that, after a lightning storm had destroyed a good sized portion of the rebuilt Forbidden City, and after thousands of its citizens had perished from the ensuing fire, the governing officials would see that the endeavors the emperor had undertaken with the shipbuilding and naval exploring had indeed offended someone real badly.

Thus, their gods had spoken and they must cease and desist. The author briefly mentioned this in his narration of the storm and the destruction. To my fellow Americans and Chinese readers regarding this voyage of Zheng He. The questions have been rasised regarding 1. If the Chinese had discovered America would they have been as territorial as the Westerner.

Wadhams received his Ph. Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment. Your information Friend's information Close. Abstract Man-induced global warming does not involve a steady change over the whole planet. Biography Dr. All events Primary source. Date: 24 Apr Ticket All Drop in First come first served Invitation only Registration in advance Tickets to be booked in advance Tickets to be purchased in advance. Long stretches of below freezing temperatures are common during the winter season across the Northern Midwest and Northern Northeast, getting milder as you travel south, therefore, travelers should prepare to dress accordingly: American weather can be violent and unpredictable.

What is now the United States was initially populated by indigenous peoples who migrated from northeast Asia. Today, their descendants are known as Native Americans, or American Indians. Although Native Americans are often portrayed as having lived a mundane and primitive lifestyle which consisted of day to day survival, the truth is that prior to European contact, the continent was densely populated by many sophisticated societies. For example, the Cherokee are descended from the Mississippian culture which built huge mounds and large towns that covered the landscape, while the Anasazi built elaborate cliff-side towns in the Southwest.

As was the case in other nations in the Americas, the primitive existence attributed to Native Americans was generally the result of mass die-offs triggered by Old World diseases such as smallpox which spread like wildfire in the 15th and 16th centuries. By the time most Native American tribes directly encountered Europeans, they were a post-apocalyptic people. During the late 16th and 17th centuries, multiple European nations began colonizing the North American continent.

Of those early settlements, it was the original British colonies in Virginia and Massachusetts that formed the cultural, political, legal and economic core of what is now the United States. Massachusetts was first settled by religious immigrants, known as Puritans, who later spread and founded most of the other New England colonies, creating a highly religious and idealistic region.

Its neighbor to the southwest, Rhode Island, was founded by refugees from the religious fanatics of Massachusetts. Other religious groups also founded colonies, including the Quakers in Pennsylvania and Roman Catholics in Maryland. Virginia, on the other hand, became the most dominant of the southern colonies.

Because of a longer growing season, these colonies had richer agricultural prospects, specifically cotton and tobacco. As in Central and South America, African slaves were imported and forced to cultivate in large plantations.

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Slavery became an important part of the economy in the South, a fact that would cause tremendous upheaval in the years to come. By the early 18th century, the United Kingdom had established a number of colonies along the Atlantic coast from Georgia north into what is now Canada.

On July 4th, , colonists from the Thirteen Colonies, frustrated with excessive taxation and micromanagement by London and encouraged by the ideals of Enlightenment philosophy, declared independence from the UK and established a new sovereign nation, the United States of America. The resulting American Revolutionary War culminated in the surrender of 7, British troops at the Battle of Yorktown in This forced the British government to initiate peace negotiations that led to the Treaty of Paris of , by which the victorious Americans assumed control of all British land south of the Great Lakes between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River.

British loyalists, known as Tories, fled north of the Great Lakes into Canada, which remained stubbornly loyal to the British crown and would not become fully independent until Although the Thirteen Colonies had united during the war in support of the common objective of getting rid of British tyranny, most colonists' loyalties at the end of the war lay with their respective colonial governments. In turn, the young country's first attempt at establishing a national government under the Articles of Confederation was a disastrous failure.

The Articles tried too hard to protect the colonies from each other by making the national government so weak it could not do anything. In , a convention of major political leaders the Founding Fathers of the United States drafted a new national Constitution in Philadelphia. After ratification by a supermajority of the states, the new Constitution went into effect in and enabled the establishment of the strong federal government that has governed the United States ever since.

George Washington, the commanding general of American forces during the Revolutionary War, was elected as the first President of the United States under the new Constitution. By the turn of the 19th century, a national capital had been established in Washington, D. As American and European settlers pushed farther west, past the Appalachians, the federal government began organizing new territories and then admitting them as new states.

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This was enabled by the displacement and decimation of the Native American populations through warfare and disease. In what became known as the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee tribe was forcibly relocated from the Southeastern United States to present-day Oklahoma, which was known as "Indian Territory" until the early 20th century. The Louisiana Purchase of brought French-owned territory extending from the Mississippi River to parts of the present-day Western United States under American control, effectively doubling the country's land area.

The United States fought the War of with Britain as a reaction to British impressment of American sailors, as well as to attempt to capture parts of Canada. Though dramatic battles were fought, including one that ended with the British Army burning the White House, Capitol, and other public buildings in Washington, D. Territorial boundaries between the two nations remained nearly the same. Nevertheless, the war had disastrous consequences for the western Native American tribes that had allied with the British, with the United States acquiring more and more of their territory for white settlers.

Florida was purchased in from Spain after the American military had effectively subjugated the region. The next major territorial acquisition came after American settlers in Texas rebelled against the Mexican government, setting up a short-lived independent republic that was absorbed into the union. After , the borders of the continental United States reached the rough outlines it still has today. Many Native Americans were relegated to reservations by treaty, military force, and by the inadvertent spread of European diseases transmitted by large numbers of settlers moving west along the Oregon Trail and other routes.

Tensions between the US and the British government administering Canada continued to persist because the border west of the Great Lakes was ill-defined. The Oregon Treaty of failed to adequately address the complex geography of the region; the boundary dispute remained unsettled until Meanwhile, by the late s, many Americans were calling for the abolition of slavery. The rapidly industrializing North, where slavery had been outlawed several decades before, favored national abolition. Southern states, on the other hand, believed that individual states had the right to decide whether or not slavery should be legal.

These events sparked the American Civil War. To date, it is the bloodiest conflict on American soil, with over , killed in combat and a overall death toll exceeding , In , Union forces prevailed, thereby cementing the federal government's authority over the states. The federal government then launched a complex process of rehabilitation and re-assimilation of the Confederacy, a period known as Reconstruction. Slavery was abolished by constitutional amendment, but the former slaves and their descendants were to remain an economic and social underclass, particularly in the South.

The United States purchased Alaska [AK] from Russia in , and the previously independent Hawaii was annexed in after a brief revolution fomented by American settlers. After decisively defeating Spain in the Spanish-American War , the United States gained its first "colonial" territories: Cuba granted independence a few years later , the Philippines granted independence shortly after World War II , Puerto Rico and Guam which remain American dependencies today. In , the new country of Panama promptly granted the United States control over a swath of territory known as the Canal Zone.

In the eastern cities of the United States, Southern and Eastern Europeans, and Russian Jews joined Irish refugees to become a cheap labor force for the country's growing industrialization. Many African-Americans fled rural poverty in the South for industrial jobs in the North, in what is now known as the Great Migration. Other immigrants, including many Scandinavians and Germans, moved to the now-opened territories in the West and Midwest, where land was available for free to anyone who would develop it.

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  • A network of railroads was laid across the country, accelerating development. However after the war, despite strong support from President Woodrow Wilson, the United States refused to join the newly-formed League of Nations, which substantially hindered that body's effectiveness in preventing future conflicts. Real wealth grew rapidly in the postwar period. During the Roaring Twenties , stock speculation created an immense "bubble" which, when it burst in October , contributed to a period of economic havoc in the s known as the Great Depression.

    On the other hand, it helped forge a culture of sacrifice and hard work that would serve the country well in its next conflict. President Herbert Hoover lost his re-election bid in as a result of his ineffective response to the Depression.

    The victor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt "FDR" pledged himself to a "New Deal" for the American people, which came in the form of a variety of aggressive economic recovery programs. While historians still debate the effectiveness of the various New Deal programs in terms of whether they fulfilled their stated objectives, it is generally undisputed that the New Deal greatly expanded the size and role of the US federal government. By the end of World War II, with much of Europe and Asia in ruins, the United States had firmly established itself as the dominant economic power in the world; it was then responsible for nearly half of the world's industrial production.

    The newly developed atomic bomb, whose power was demonstrated in two bombings of Japan in , made the United States the only force capable of challenging the Communist Soviet Union, giving rise to what is now known as the Cold War. After World War II, America experienced an economic resurgence and growing affluence on a scale not seen since the s. Meanwhile, the racism traditionally espoused in various explicit and implicit forms by the European-American majority against the country's African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic-American, Native American, and other minority populations had become impossible to ignore.

    While the US was attempting to spread democracy and the rule of law abroad to counter the Soviet Union's support of authoritarian Communist governments, it found itself having to confront its own abysmal failure to provide the benefits of democracy and the rule of law to all of its own citizens. However, in the s a civil rights movement emerged which eliminated some institutional discrimination against African-Americans and other ethnic minorities, particularly in the Southern states.

    A revived women's movement in the s also led to wide-ranging changes in gender roles and perceptions in US society, including to a limited extent views on homosexuality and bisexuality. The more organized present-era US 'gay rights' movement first emerged in the late s and early 70s. During the same period, in the final quarter of the 20th century, the United States underwent a slow but inexorable transition from an economy based on a mixture of heavy industry and labor-intensive agriculture, to an economy primarily based on advanced technology the "high-tech" industry , retail, professional services, and other service industries, as well as a highly mechanized, automated agricultural industry.

    In the s, s, and s, millions of US manufacturing jobs fell victim to outsourcing. In a phenomenon since labeled "global labor arbitrage," revolutionary improvements in transportation, communications, and logistics technologies made it possible to relocate manufacturing of most goods to foreign factories which did not have to pay US minimum wages, observe US occupational safety standards, or allow the formation of unions. The outsourcing revolution was devastating to many cities, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, whose economies were overly dependent upon manufacturing, and resulted in a group of hollowed-out, depressed cities now known as the Rust Belt.

    The United States also assumed and continues to maintain a position of global leadership in military and aerospace technology through the development of a powerful "military-industrial complex", although as of the turn of the 21st century, its leadership is increasingly being challenged by the European Union and China. US federal investments in military technology also paid off handsomely in the form of the most advanced information technology sector in the world, which is primarily centered on the area of Northern California known as Silicon Valley.

    US energy firms, especially those based in petroleum and natural gas, have also become global giants, as they expanded worldwide to feed the country's thirst for cheap energy. The s saw the beginnings of a major shift of population from rural towns and urban cores to the suburbs. These population shifts, along with a changing economic climate, contributed heavily to Urban decay from the s until the late s.

    The postwar rise of a prosperous middle class able to afford cheap automobiles and cheap gasoline in turn led to the rise of the American car culture and the convenience of fast food restaurants. The Interstate Highway System , constructed primarily from the s to the s, became the most comprehensive freeway system in the world, at over 47, miles in length. It was surpassed by China only in , although the US is believed to still have a larger freeway system when non-federal-aid highways are also included.

    In the late 20th century, the US was also a leader in the development and deployment of the modern passenger jetliner. This culminated in the development of the popular Boeing and jetliners; the is still the world's most popular airliner today. Cheap air transportation together with cheap cars in turn devastated US passenger rail, although freight rail remained financially viable. In , with the consent of the railroads, who were eager to focus their operations on carrying freight, Congress nationalized their passenger rail operations to form the government-owned corporation now known as Amtrak.

    During the 20th century, the US retail sector became the strongest in the world. US retailers were the first to pioneer many innovative concepts that later spread around the world, including self-service supermarkets, inventory bar codes to ease the tedium of accurately tallying purchases, "big box" chain stores, factory outlet stores, warehouse club stores, and modern shopping centers. American consumer culture, as well as Hollywood movies and many forms of popular music, books, and art, all combined to establish the United States as the cultural center of the world.

    American universities established themselves as the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, thanks to generous assistance from the federal government in the form of the GI Bill, followed by massive research and development investments by the military-industrial complex, and later, the Higher Education Act. The federal government derives its power from the Constitution of the United States, the oldest written constitution in the world in continuous use. Although federal law supersedes state law in the event of an express or implied conflict known in legal jargon as "federal preemption" , each state is considered to be a separate sovereign, maintains its own constitution and government, and retains considerable autonomy within the federation.

    State citizens enjoy the power to vote for federal representatives, federal senators, and the federal President. The United States has two major political parties, the Republicans and Democrats, that dominate American politics at all levels. Due to the winner-take-all electoral system, smaller "third parties" as they are known to Americans are rarely competitive in any elections at any level, and the Democrats and Republicans have won every single presidential election since The Republican and Democratic dominant leads to a heavily criticized and frequently corrupt system where necessary change is too-often subject to deadlock and bi-partisan point scoring.

    Americans value their rights to political expression strongly, and politics are fiercely debated in American society. In fact, there are many popular web sites and cable channels devoted primarily to political opinion programming. American politics are very complex and change quickly. For example, gay people were not allowed to marry in any US state as recently as , whereas gay marriage is now legal in all 50 states since Many Americans hold and passionately defend strong opinions on a wide range of political issues, many Americans, especially older Americans, are loyal to one party, and political debates often become heated and lead to insults, vulgarities, and personal attacks being exchanged.

    For these reasons, unless you are intimately familiar with American politics or already know and agree with the political views of the person you are talking to, you are best off not talking about politics at all! American elections are frequent and lengthy, especially the presidential election. The November election is preceded by a six-month period from January to June wherein all 50 states, 5 overseas territories, and D. One of these two nominees will be elected President in November. The current president is Donald Trump. He was elected in November and sworn in on January Federal elections for Congressional positions take place every two years in November.

    Compared to Western European Democracies, there are an extraordinary number of elected positions in the United States. On a single election day, there might be simultaneous elections for dozens of positions. Typically, the average American would be voting for school board members, city councilmen, mayors, deputy mayors, governors, state representatives, state senators, congressmen, senators, the president, and a number of other positions, such as tax assessor or coroner.

    The President of the United States is elected indirectly every four years and serves as the head of government and head of state. Each state is allocated electoral votes, and whichever candidate gets the most votes in a state get all of that state's electoral votes. Though rare, this means that a candidate can win the "electoral vote" and thus the presidency while gaining fewer popular votes than his opponent.

    Most recently, this happened in the and presidential elections. The Congress is bicameral; the lower House of Representatives has seats assigned to the states proportionally, while the upper house, the Senate, comprises exactly two seats per state. By way of contrast, the District of Columbia and the overseas territories have limited federal representation, as they can only elect "delegates" to the federal House of Representatives who cannot participate in votes by the Committee of the Whole on the House floor.

    Because they lack state sovereignty, the governments of D. The laws and legal systems of the U. State and territorial laws can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another, meaning that the US actually consists of at least 54 separate legal systems with regard to any area of law not within the purview of federal law. State and territorial laws are quite uniform in some areas e. If this was not confusing enough, sovereign Native American tribes are allowed to operate their own legal systems separate from both federal and state law.

    What's more, the U. Which are pieces of land or properties owned by the Federal government under a agreement of the state or territory. A example are U. As Federal owned land and property, most state and territorial laws do not apply. Examples are state and territorial anti-discrimination, minimum wage, and criminal laws. While state and territorial laws such as juvenile delinquency, restraining order laws still apply.

    The federal government consists of the President of the United States and his administration acting as the executive branch, the United States Congress acting as the legislative branch, and the Supreme Court of the United States and lower federal courts acting as the judicial branch. State government structures are organized similarly, with governors, legislatures, and judiciaries. The United States is made up of many diverse ethnic groups and its culture varies greatly across the vast area of the country and even within cities - a city like New York will have dozens, if not hundreds, of different ethnicities represented within a neighborhood.

    Despite this difference, there exists a strong sense of national identity and certain predominant cultural traits. Generally, Americans tend to believe strongly in personal responsibility and that an individual determines his or her own success or failure, but it is important to note that there are many exceptions and that a nation as diverse as the United States has literally thousands of distinct cultural traditions.

    Note that holidays observed on Mondays or Fridays are usually treated as weekend-long events. A weekend consists of a Saturday and a Sunday. Federal holidays — i. If a federal holiday with a fixed calendar date such as Independence Day falls on a weekend, federal and most state and local government offices will be closed on the nearest non-weekend day.

    Since the early s, several federal holidays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day, have been observed on a certain Monday rather than on a fixed date for the express purpose of giving federal employees three-day weekends. The private sector besides banks are usually open for business on most holidays with people working except New Years, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas when a vast number of non-retail businesses do close or open partial hours in observance.

    Due to the number of major holidays in close proximity to each other, many Americans refer to the period between Thanksgiving in late November and New Year's Day as simply "the holidays. From a foreign traveler's point of view, there are two major services affected by federal holidays: visas and mail. First, if you are a foreigner who needs to apply for a US visa, it is important to note the federal holidays marked in bold italics.

    All US embassies worldwide close on those days, in addition to the official holidays of the host country and are unable to process applications on those days. Second, United States Postal Service retail counters are closed on federal holidays, and in high-crime areas, the entire post office stays closed.

    However, mail deposited at a post office or in a mailbox will not be processed until after the holiday is over. Other federal services like national parks and airport security operate days a year regardless of federal holidays. Many state governments also observe official holidays of their own which are not observed in other states or by the federal government. The United States is the only industrialized country that has still not adopted metric units of measure in daily life it still uses the customary English units that were in use prior to the revolution, similar to the later British imperial system, but typically with smaller units as one of the major differences , except for scientific, engineering, medical, and military applications.

    All road signs and speed limits are posted in miles and miles per hour respectively. Other capacities of liquid products are normally quoted and sold per gallon, quart, or ounce although liters are often indicated and sometimes exclusively used, as with some soda, wine, and other liquor products. Temperatures are reported in Fahrenheit only; 32 degrees with units unspecified is the temperature at which water freezes equivalent to 0 degrees Celsius.

    The vast majority of Americans, though, have little day-to-day exposure to the metric system apart from having studied it a little in school and will assume some understanding of customary measures. In addition, the US government does not regulate apparel or shoe sizes. Although there are informal standard sizes, they are not strictly enforced. The only thing you can count on is that sizes tend to be consistent within the same brand. If you plan to shop for apparel or shoes, you will have to do some trial-and-error for each brand to determine what fits, because you cannot rely on any brand's sizes as equivalent to another's.

    Please note that, as the average body size of Americans tends to be larger than that of those living in other countries, a concept known as vanity sizing the labeling of larger garments with smaller sizes exists in many clothing retailers, especially those aimed at women. It is very possible for people with smaller body types to have some difficulty finding suitably sized clothing. NEMA 1 plugs have two flat, blunt blades don't worry, they're not sharp , one of which may or may not be polarized slightly larger than the other , to ensure that the hot and neutral blades are inserted correctly for devices for which that matters.

    NEMA 5 plugs add a round grounding pin below the blades. All US buildings constructed or renovated after the early s are required to have three-hole outlets that accept the two blades and one pin of NEMA 5 plugs, as well as both polarized and unpolarized NEMA 1 two-blade plugs. If you are arriving from outside of those areas, you will need to verify whether your electrical devices are compatible with US electricity and plugs.

    Japan uses the same plugs as the US, but has a unique standard of V with frequency of either 50 or 60Hz depending on region. Most of the rest of the world uses V at 50Hz, for the simple reason that they began large-scale electrification at much later dates than the US and after wire insulation technology had significantly advanced.

    This meant they could select a higher voltage and lower frequency, which required less conductor material meaning less use of expensive metals but at the expense of more insulation and larger, more heavily insulated plugs. Most consumer electronics, computers, and shavers are already designed as "dual voltage" devices capable of accepting voltages from V up to V and between Hz. For those devices, a plug adapter is sufficient.

    Purchase your adapter at home before you depart. The differences in voltage and frequency are most frequently an issue for travellers with hair long enough to require the use of a hair dryer for proper hair care. Foreign visitors regularly find their hair dryers to be starved for power in the US; conversely, Americans' hair dryers are regularly burned out and destroyed by high voltages overseas. Apart from doing without or waiting an annoying long time to dry one's hair, the solutions are to either. The US federal government sets foreign policy, while the states deal with tourism.

    As such, the federal government provides the best information about legal requirements for entry, while information about places to visit and see is best provided by state and local tourism bureaus. Contact information is available in the individual state articles. At state borders, highway rest stops sometimes feature visitor centers and often offer travel and tourism information and materials, almost all of which is also available on-line or can be requested in advance by mail. Nearly every rest stop has a posted road map with a clearly indicated "You Are Here" marker.

    Some also offer free paper road maps to take with you. Note that government tourism bureaus and their Web sites tend to be rather indiscriminate in their recommendations, since for political reasons they cannot be seen as overly favorable towards any particular area within their jurisdiction. The United States is composed of 50 states , various overseas territories, as well as the city of Washington, D.

    Below is a rough grouping of these states into regions, from the Atlantic to the Pacific:. Politically, the US is a federation of states , each with its own rights and powers hence the name. The US also administers a motley collection of non-state territories around the world, the largest of which are Puerto Rico which has the special status of a "commonwealth" and the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean plus American Samoa , Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands also has special status of a "commonwealth" in Oceania , along with many others.

    The United States has over 10, cities, towns, and villages. The following is a list of just ten of the most notable. Other cities can be found in their corresponding regions. There is no airside transit without US entry between international flights. All travelers must disembark and proceed through immigration and customs inspection to enter the United States at first port entry, even if you're only staying for the two to four hours needed to transit between flights.

    Therefore, all travelers must be able to enter the United States on the Visa Waiver Program or other visa exemption or obtain a visitor's B1 or B2 or transit C1 visa. See below. The CBP's Office of Field Operations operates 20 Field Operations offices which supervise immigration and customs inspection stations at over ports of entry. All travelers entering the United States must undergo immigration and customs inspection to ensure lawful entry.

    If you attempt to unlawfully cross a US land border at any other point besides a port of entry, you may encounter the U. Border Patrol, which is also part of CBP. If you attempt to unlawfully come ashore in the US from a body of water at any other point besides a port of entry, you may encounter the U. ICE operates a system of immigration detention facilities. Strict compliance with US law during your stay is strongly recommended.

    However, the requirements for Guam, the Marianas Islands, and American Samoa are different and are listed below. For Canadians and Bermudians , the entry period is normally for a maximum of six months. However, entry may still be refused on the basis of a criminal record. Those who have criminal records should seek out a US embassy for advice on whether they need a visa. For travelers under the Visa Waiver Program , the entry period is strictly limited to 90 days see additional requirements below.

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    • Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia , the Marshall Islands , and Palau may enter, reside, study, and work in the US indefinitely with only a valid passport. Virgin Islands, but a valid police certificate may be required for those over the age of Attempting to enter through any other port of entry, whether by land, sea, or air, requires a valid visa. However, Bahamaian citizens are not exempted from visa requirements for traveling to American Samoa.

      If traveling by air or cruise ship, a police certificate will be needed to travel to the States, Puerto Rico, Guam, or the Northern Mariana Islands. However, passport holders of the British Virgin Islands do not need a police certificate to travel to the U. Virgin Islands as only a passport will be needed. Travel under the Visa Waiver Program is limited to transit, tourism, or business purposes only; neither study, employment, nor journalism is permitted under the VWP.

      The day limit cannot be extended nor will travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean reset the day limit. If granted, it allows the traveler to commence their journey to the US but as with any visa or entry permit it does not guarantee entry. Entry under the Visa Waiver Program by air or sea also requires that you are using a signatory carrier. It is a fairly safe assumption that commercial scheduled services to the US will be fine, but if you are on a chartered flight or vessel you should check the status of the carrier, as you may require a visa.

      A criminal record, including arrests, will generally make a potential traveler ineligible for visa-free travel with the following exceptions:. The ESTA application contains a questionnaire, which if answered truthfully will direct you to apply to a visa if you are ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program for reasons of criminal history, etc.

      If you have any concerns, complete the ESTA application well in advance of your departure to allow time to apply for a visa if directed to do so. There are disadvantages and restrictions to entering under the Visa Waiver Program. Under normal circumstances, these include the following:. For the rest of the world, or for those who don't fit the profile of a Visa Waiver Program entry e.

      This fee is sometimes waived under very limited circumstances, namely for people requesting certain exchange visitor visas. Under US law, all persons requesting entry as non-immigrants are presumed to be immigrants that is, trying to permanently migrate until they overcome that presumption by presenting evidence of "binding ties" to their home country as well as sufficient proof that the visit will be temporary.

      To obtain a visa, face-to-face interviews at the nearest US embassy or consulate are required for nearly all nationalities. When the US rejects a visa application, it is usually because the applicant did not show enough binding ties to his or her home country to convince the consular officer that they will not try to overstay their visa. Since waits for interview slots and visa processing can add up to several months, you must start researching how to obtain a visa well in advance of your planned departure date.

      If you do not live close to a US consulate, you will need to set aside a day or two to travel to the closest consulate for the visa interview. For technical and scientific fields of work or study, processing a non-immigrant visa application can take up to 70 days, as it can require eight weeks to receive approval from authorities in Washington.

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      This especially applies to military and dual-purpose fields which are mentioned in a so-called technical alert list. Note that a visa does not guarantee entry into the US. It only authorizes you to proceed to a port of entry and request admission. Be sure you apply for the right visa for your visit. Residents of Taiwan must present a valid R. National Identification Card in addition to an R. Citizens of Russia are eligible for parole essentially the same as visa-free travel to enter the Northern Marianas Islands only.

      Because of differences in entry requirements, a full immigration check is done when traveling between Guam and the CNMI as well as on flights to the rest of the US currently, only Guam-Hawaii flights. However, US and American Samoan citizens can live, work, and travel freely in both territories. American Samoa lies outside federal immigration jurisdiction and has separate entry requirements, which even apply to US citizens. Entry is allowed for 30 days extendable to 60 days for tourism with a valid passport and proof of onward travel or local employment.

      However, a entry permit will be issued upon arrival. Entry requirements are somewhat different for Americans with US citizenship. US citizens are required to have only a six month valid passport, a entry ticket, and a exit ticket. US citizens can live, work, and travel freely for a unlimited time in American Samoa. Only some form of government ID example; a driver's license is needed for proof of citizenship.

      Any US and American Samoan citizen can live, work and travel freely for a unlimited time in both territories.