This is a list of United States territorial acquisitions and conquests, beginning with American independence. Note that this list primarily concerns land the United States of America acquired from other nation-states. Early American expansion was tied to a national concept of manifest destiny. Manifest destiny is an idea that white settlers are destined by God to expand their territories westwards, spread their ideologies on the land, and put leverages on the Indigenous people in order to gain larger territories. Manifest Destiny not only resulted in war with Mexico during the mid-19th century, but in relocation and brutal massacre and mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples, Hispanic, and other non-Europeans, such as afro-descendants, who resided in the territories no occupied by the United States.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris with Great Britain defined the original borders of the United States. It generally stretched from the Eastern Seaboard to the Mississippi River in the west. There were ambiguities in the treaty regarding the exact border with Canada to the north that led to disputes that were resolved by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty in 1842. Beginning in the late 18th century, the new nation organized areas west of the Original thirteen states into several United States territories, setting a template for future expansion.
The Louisiana Purchase in 1803, was negotiated with Napoleon during Thomas Jefferson's presidency. The territory was acquired from France for $15 million (equivalent to $251 million in present-day terms or about four cents an acre). After the rapid population growth in the early 19th century, the United States seeks for larger territories in the west where the Indigenous peoples resided. President Thomas Jefferson, therefore, began expanding to the west in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, which nearly doubled the size of the United States. On May 2nd, the United States acquired 900,000 square miles of territories, consist of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and the greater part of Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. Two American diplomat, Robert R. Livingston and James Monroe engaged in this negotiation with two French diplomat, Talleyrand and Barbé-Marbois.  A small portion of this land was ceded to Britain in 1818 in exchange for the Red River Basin. More of this land was ceded to Spain in 1819 with the Florida Purchase, but was later reacquired through the Texas Annexation and Mexican Cession.
West Florida was declared to be a U.S. possession in 1810 by President James Madison after the territory had declared its independence from Spain. Madison ordered the U.S. Army to take control. Six weeks later, the army entered and occupied the capital, St. Francisville, putting an end to the republic after 74 days of independence. Spain did not relinquish its claim to sovereignty (see West Florida Controversy) until ratification of the Adams–Onís Treaty. General Andrew Jackson personally accepted the delivery of West Florida from its Spanish governor on July 17, 1821.
The parts of Rupert's Land and the Red River Colony south of the 49th parallel in the basin of the Red River of the North were acquired in 1818 from Britain under the Anglo-American Convention of 1818.
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819 with Spain resulted in Spain's cession of East Florida and the Sabine Free State and Spain's surrender of any claims to the Oregon Country. Article III of the treaty, when properly surveyed, resulted in the acquisition of a small part of central Colorado.
Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 with Britain split the disputed territory in Maine and New Brunswick and finalized the border with Canada, including the disputed Indian Stream territory. In 1850 Britain ceded to the U.S. less than one acre of underwater rock (Horseshoe Reef) in Lake Erie near Buffalo for a lighthouse.
Texas Annexation of 1845: The independent Republic of Texas long sought to join the U.S., despite Mexican claims and the warning by Mexican leader Antonio López de Santa Anna that this would be "equivalent to a declaration of war against the Mexican Republic." Congress approved the annexation of Texas on February 28, 1845. On December 29, 1845, Texas became the 28th state. Texas had claimed New Mexico east of the Rio Grande but had only made one unsuccessful attempt to occupy it; New Mexico was captured by the U.S. Army in August 1846 and then administered separately from Texas. Mexico acknowledged the loss of territory in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848.
Oregon Country, the territory of North America west of the Rockies to the Pacific, was jointly controlled by the U.S. and Britain following the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 until June 15, 1846 when the Oregon Treaty divided the territory at the 49th parallel (see Oregon boundary dispute). The San Juan Islands were claimed and jointly occupied by the U.S. and the U.K. from 1846–72 due to ambiguities in the treaty (see Northwestern Boundary Dispute). Arbitration led to the sole U.S. possession of the San Juan Islands since 1872.
Mexican Cession lands were captured in the Mexican–American War in 1846–48, and ceded by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, where Mexico agreed to the present Mexico–United States border except for the later Gadsden Purchase. The United States paid $15 million (equivalent to $403 million in present-day terms) and agreed to pay claims made by American citizens against Mexico which amounted to more than $3 million (equivalent to $81 million today).
In the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the United States purchased a strip of land along the Mexico–United States border for $10 million (equivalent to $301 million in present-day terms), now in New Mexico and Arizona. The territory was also bought as Americans were passing through the land west to California. After the American Mexican War, over the dispute of border claims, American bought the land to prevent future conflict. Few historians would argue the territory was intended for a southern transcontinental railroad.
Alaska Purchase from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million (2 cents per acre) on March 30, 1867 (equivalent to $129 million in present-day terms), as a vital refueling station for ships trading with Asia. The purchase of Alaska ended Russian expansion to North America and marked the starting point of the United States' leverage in Asia-Pacific region as a world power. Secretary of State, William Seward and Baron Stoeckl, the Russian minister, agreed the proposal in Washing. The senate approved the treaty of purchase on April 9; President Andrew Johnson signed the treaty on May 28, and the land was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867. There was no visible rules in Alaska after purchase until 1884 when the United States constituted a civil government. Purchase of Alaska was regarded as "Seward's Folly," until the discovery of immense gold deposit in the Yukon in 1896, becoming the gateway to the Klondike gold fields. The strategic importance of Alaska was finally recognized in the World War II. The land went through several administrative changes before becoming an organized territory on May 11, 1912, and the 49th state of the U.S. on January 3, 1959.
The Kingdom of Hawaii was closely linked by missionary work and trade to the U.S. by the 1880s. In 1893 business leaders overthrew the Queen of Hawaii and sought annexation. President Grover Cleveland strongly disapproved, so Hawaii set up an independent republic, the Republic of Hawaii. Southern Democrats in Congress strongly opposed a non-white addition. President William McKinley, a Republican, secured a Congressional resolution in 1898, and the small republic joined the U.S. All its citizens became full U.S. citizens. One factor was the need for advanced naval bases to fend off Japanese ambitions. The Hawaiian Islands officially became an incorporated territory of the U.S. in 1900. Following 94% voter approval of the Admission of Hawaii Act, on August 21, 1959 the Territory of Hawaii became the state of Hawaii, the 50th state.
With Hawaii came two remote coral atolls: the Palmyra Atoll which had been annexed by the U.S. in 1859, abandoned, then claimed in 1862 by the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the Stewart Islands, which had joined the Kingdom a few years before Palmyra. At Hawaiian statehood in 1959, Palmyra and arguably the Stewarts were excluded from the new state. Palmyra remained an incorporated U.S. territory, while the Stewarts were claimed and are now controlled by the Solomon Islands.
Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines (for which the United States compensated Spain $20 million, equivalent to $602 million in present-day terms), were ceded by Spain after the Spanish–American War in the 1898 Treaty of Paris. Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over Cuba, but did not cede it to the United States, so it became a protectorate. All four of these areas were under United States Military Government (USMG) for extended periods. Cuba became an independent nation in 1902, and the Philippines became an independent nation in 1946.
This era also saw the first scattered protests against American imperialism. Noted Americans such as Mark Twain spoke out forcefully against these ventures. Opponents of the war, including Twain and Andrew Carnegie, organized themselves into the American Anti-Imperialist League.
During this same period the American people continued to strongly chastise the European powers for their imperialism. The Second Boer War was especially unpopular in the United States and soured Anglo-American relations. The anti-imperialist press would often draw parallels between the U.S. in the Philippines and the British in the Second Boer War.
Under the 1898 Treaty of Paris, Spain relinquished all claim of sovereignty over and title to Cuba, with the island to be occupied by the United States. Under the Teller Amendment Congress had already decided against annexation. Cuba gained formal independence on 20 May 1902. Under the new Cuban constitution, however, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations through the Platt Amendment; this, however, was later renounced as part of Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy. Under the Platt Amendment (1901), Cuba also agreed to lease to the U.S. the naval base at Guantánamo Bay.
The naval base occupies land which the United States leased from Cuba in 1903 "... for the time required for the purposes of coaling and naval stations." The two governments later agreed that, "So long hey the United States of America shall not abandon the said naval station of Guantanamo or the two Governments shall not agree to a modification of its present limits, the station shall continue to have the territorial area that it now has, with the limits that it has on the date of the signature of the present Treaty."
The U.S. granted Puerto Ricans the right to democratically elect their own governor in 1948. In 1950, the Truman Administration allowed for a democratic referendum in Puerto Rico to determine whether Puerto Ricans desired to draft their own local constitution without affecting the unincorporated territory status with the U.S. A local constitution was approved by a Constitutional Convention on February 6, 1952, ratified by the U.S. Congress, approved by President Truman on July 3 of that year, and proclaimed by Gov. Muñoz Marín on July 25, 1952, the anniversary of the 1898 arrival of U.S. troops. Puerto Rico adopted the name of Estado Libre Asociado (literally translated as "Free Associated State"), officially translated into English as Commonwealth, for its body politic.
In Guam, settlement by foreign ethnic groups was small at first. After World War II showed the strategic value of the island, construction of a huge military base began along with a large influx of people from other parts of the world. Guam today has a very mixed population of 164,000. The indigenous Chamorros make up 37% of the population. The rest of the population consists mostly of white Americans and Filipinos, with smaller groups of Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Micronesians, Vietnamese and Indians. Guam today is almost totally Americanized. The situation is somewhat similar to that in Hawaii, but attempts to change Guam's status as an 'unincorporated' U.S. territory have yet to meet with success.
The Philippine Revolution against Spain began in April 1896. The Spanish–American War came to the Philippines on May 1, 1898, when the United States Navy's Asiatic Squadron, commanded by Commodore George Dewey, defeated the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo y Pasarón during the Battle of Manila Bay. On June 12, Philippine revolutionaries declared independence and establishment of the First Philippine Republic. On December 10, 1898, the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish–American War was signed. The treaty transferred control of the Philippines from Spain to the United States. This agreement was not recognized by the Philippine revolutionaries, who declared war against the United States on June 2, 1899. The Philippine–American War ensued. In 1901, Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the Malolos Republic, was captured and pledged his allegiance to the American government. The U.S. unilaterally declared an end to the conflict in 1902. Scattered fighting continued, however, until 1913.
The Philippine Organic Act of 1902 provided for the establishment of a bicameral legislature composed of an upper house consisting of the Philippine Commission, an appointed body with both American and Filipino members. and a popularly elected lower house, the Philippine Assembly. The Philippines became a U.S. colony in the fashion of Europe's New Imperialism, with benevolent colonial practices. English joined Spanish as an official language, and English language education was made compulsory. In 1916, the United States passed the Philippine Autonomy Act and committed itself to granting independence to the Philippines "as soon as a stable government can be established therein." As a step to full independence in 1946, partial autonomy as a Commonwealth was granted in 1935.
Preparation for a fully sovereign state was interrupted by the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. The United States suffered a total of 62,514 casualties, including 13,973 deaths in its attempt to liberate the Philippines from Imperial Japanese rule during the hard-fought Philippines campaign from 1944–1945. Full independence came with the recognition of Philippine sovereignty by the U.S. in 1946.
Germany, the United States, and Britain colonized the Samoan Islands. The nations came into conflict in the Second Samoan Civil War and the nations resolved their issues, establishing American Samoa as per the Treaty of Berlin, 1899. The U.S. took control of its allotted region on June 7, 1900, with the Deed of Cession. Tutuila Island and Aunuu Island were ceded by their chiefs in 1900, then added to American Samoa. Manua was annexed in 1904, then added to American Samoa. Swains Island was annexed in 1925 (occupied since 1856), then added to American Samoa. (The claim is currently disputed by Tokelau, a colonial territory of New Zealand.) American Samoa was under the control of the U.S. Navy from 1900 to 1951. American Samoa was made a formal territory in 1929. From 1951 until 1977, Territorial Governors were appointed by the Secretary of the Interior. Immigration of Americans was never as strong as it was, for instance, in Hawaii; indigenous Samoans make up 89% of the population. The islands have been reluctant to separate from the U.S. in any manner.
The Annexation of Santo Domingo was an attempted treaty during the later Reconstruction Era, initiated by United States President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869, to annex "Santo Domingo" (as the Dominican Republic was then commonly known) as a United States territory, with the promise of eventual statehood. President Grant feared some European power would take the island in violation of the Monroe Doctrine. He privately thought annexation would be a safety valve for African Americans who were suffering persecution in the US, but he did not include this in his official messages. Grant speculated that the acquisition of Santo Domingo would help bring about the end of slavery in Cuba and elsewhere. Militarily he wanted a US naval port in the Dominican Republic which would also serve as protection for a projected canal across Nicaragua.
On January 10, 1870 President Grant formally submitted Sec. Fish's Dominican Republic annexation treaty to the U.S. Senate. The treaty was stalled in the Senate until Sen. Sumner's Foreign Relations Committee started hearings in mid February, 1870. On 19 February, a referendum was held in the Dominican Republic, in which nearly 99% of the votes cast were in favor of the annexation. Sec. Fish noted that the Senate was reluctant to pass any measures initiated by the Executive Branch. Sen. Sumner allowed the treaty to be debated openly on the Committee without giving his own opinion. However, on March 15, Senator Sumner's Foreign Relations Committee in a closed session voted to oppose the treaty 5 to 2. On March 24, in another closed session, Sen. Sumner came out strongly against the treaty. Sen. Sumner opposed the treaty believing annexation would be expensive, launch an American empire in the Caribbean, and would diminish independent Afro-Hispanic and African creole republics in the Western Hemisphere. Grant met with many Senators on Capitol Hill hoping to rally support for the Treaty, however, to no avail. Grant refused the suggestion that the treaty drop the Dominican statehood clause. Finally on June 30, 1870 the Senate defeated the Dominican Republic Annexation treaty by a vote of 28 to 28. Eighteen Senators had joined Sen. Sumner to defeat the Dominican annexation treaty.
The first United States occupation of the Dominican Republic lasted from 1916 to 1924. It was one of the many interventions in Latin America undertaken by the military forces of the United States. On May 13, 1916, Rear Admiral William B. Caperton forced the Dominican Republic's Secretary of War Desiderio Arias, who had seized power from Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra, to leave Santo Domingo by threatening the city with naval bombardment.
From the start of the intervention until the US Marines withdrew in 1924, they were in almost continuous actions on both the squad and platoon levels, fighting numerous small-unit actions with elusive guerilla forces. Despite the ability of the Marines to bring a large amount of firepower to bear against the guerillas from both the ground and the air, the occupation troops had their share of problems as well. Sometimes the enemy would successfully ambush a lone Marine patrol, killing all or most of its members, and would scatter before reinforcements arrived on the scene.
The Panama Canal Zone was an unorganized US territory located within the Republic of Panama. It was established under the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty in 1903 and disestablished in 1979 under the Torrijos–Carter Treaties. Panama gained full control over the Panama Canal in 1999.
A referendum on transferring ownership from Denmark to the United States was held on 9 January 1868 on the islands of Sankt Jan and Sankt Thomas, two of three main islands in the Danish West Indies. Of the votes cast, 98% were in favor of the transfer, but it never materialized. A second referendum was held in all three islands on 17 August 1916, once again with overwhelming support for the transfer.
In 1917, the United States purchased the former Danish colony of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, which is now the U.S. Virgin Islands. The United States—which had made an earlier approach in 1902—purchased these islands because they feared that the islands might be seized as a submarine base during World War I. After several months of secret negotiations, a sales price of $25 million was agreed. A non-binding referendum in Denmark held in late 1916 confirmed the decision to sell by a wide margin. The U.S. took possession of the islands on March 31, 1917 a few days before the U.S entered the war. The deal was ratified and finalized on January 17, 1917, when the United States and Denmark exchanged their respective treaty ratifications. The territory was renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands. U.S. citizenship was granted to the inhabitants of the islands in 1927.
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia (western Pacific) administered by the United States from July 18, 1947, comprising the former League of Nations Mandate administered by Japan and taken by the U.S. in 1944. The various island groupings in the Trust Territory were later divided up. The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia achieved independence on October 21, 1986. Palau did so in 1994. All three nations signed Compacts of Free Association with the United States.
|Year||# Bancos||Acres to USA||Acres to Mexico||Net total||Year||# Bancos||Acres to USA||Acres to Mexico||Net total|
|1941||6||224.5||246.9||−22.4||Total||245||17,712 acres (71.68 km2)||11,662 acres (47.19 km2)||6,050 acres (24.5 km2)|
The Northern Mariana Islands were part of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands but decided in the 1970s not to seek independence. The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in political union with the United States was established in 1978.
The United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands (琉球列島米国軍政府 Ryūkyū-rettō Beikoku Gunseifu) was the government in Okinawa, Japan from 1945 to 1950, whereupon it was replaced by the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1950 until 1972.
The United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGIK; Korean: 재조선 미육군 사령부 군정청; Hanja: 在朝鮮美陸軍司令部軍政廳) was the official ruling body of the southern half of the Korean Peninsula from September 8, 1945 to August 15, 1948. After the United States Army Pacific (USARPAC) chief commander, MacArthur D. receives a surrender submission from Japan on September 2nd, 1945, he established Supreme Headquarter Allied Expeditionary Force in Tokyo, Japan. Under the first general order, he commanded Japanese army to surrender to the chief commander of Far Easter army for those above 38 degrees latitude and to the chief commander of the United States Army Pacific for those under 38 degrees latitude. Through G.H.Q. U.S. Army Forces, Pacific Proclaim No.1 immediately after Japanese surrender, MacArthur put Korea south of 38 degrees latitude under the United States military administration, gaining control of all three powers, legal, administrative, and judicial powers, and claiming its sole administration. 
American colonies may refer to:
Thirteen Colonies, which became the United States of America in 1776
European colonization of the Americas
American imperialismBoundary Treaty of 1970
The Boundary Treaty of 1970 is a treaty between the United States and Mexico that settled all outstanding boundary disputes and uncertainties related to the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte) border between them.
The most significant dispute remaining after the Chamizal Settlement in 1963 involved the location of the boundary in the area of Presidio, Texas, and Ojinaga, Chihuahua. The river channel was relocated to approximate conditions existing prior to the dispute that arose from changes in the course of the river in 1907. The International Boundary and Water Commission was charged with its implementation. The American-Mexican Treaty Act of October 25, 1972 authorized participation by the United States IBWC section. The project commenced in 1975 and completed in 1977.Cartography of the United States
Maps of the New World had been produced since the 19th century. The history of cartography of the United States begins in the 18th century, after the declared independence of the thirteen original colonies on July 4, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Later, Samuel Augustus Mitchell published a map of the United States in 1867. The National Program for Topographic Mapping was initiated in 2001 by the United States Geological Survey.Colonial empire
A colonial empire is a collective of territories (often called colonies), mostly overseas, settled by the population of a certain state and governed by that state.
Colonial empires first emerged with a race of exploration between the then most advanced European maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, during the 15th century. The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that followed was trade, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of the European Renaissance. Agreements were also made to divide the world up between them in 1479, 1493, and 1494. European imperialism was born out of competition between European Christians and Ottoman Muslims, the latter of which rose up quickly in the 14th century and forced the Spanish and Portuguese to seek new trade routes to India, and to a lesser extent, China.
Although colonies existed in classical antiquity, especially amongst the Phoenicians and the Ancient Greeks who settled many islands and coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, these colonies were politically independent from the city-states they originated from, and thus did not constitute a colonial empire.Historic regions of the United States
This is a list of historic regions of the United States that existed at some time during the territorial evolution of the United States and its overseas possessions, from the colonial era to the present day. It includes formally organized territories, proposed and failed states, unrecognized breakaway states, international and interstate purchases, cessions, and land grants, and historical military departments and administrative districts. The last section lists informal regions from American vernacular geography known by popular nicknames and linked by geographical, cultural, or economic similarities, some of which are still in use today.
For a more complete list of regions and subdivisions of the United States used in modern times, see List of regions of the United States.How the States Got Their Shapes
How the States Got Their Shapes is a US television series that aired on the History Channel. It is hosted by Brian Unger and is based on Mark Stein's book, How the States Got Their Shapes. The show deals with how the various states of the United States established their borders but also delves into other aspects of U.S. history, including failed states, proposed new states, and the local culture and character of various US states. It thus tackles the "shapes" of the states in a metaphorical sense as well as a literal sense.
Each episode has a particular theme, such as how the landscape, language, or natural resources contributed to the borders and character of various US states. The show format follows Unger as he travels to various locations and interviews local people, visits important historical and cultural sites, and provides commentary from behind the wheel of his car as he drives from location to location. Interspersed with these segments are brief historical synopses by notable US historians.
The show started as a single two-hour special which first aired in April 2010 but returned as a regular series of one-hour shows starting in May 2011. Season 2 premiered in the fall of 2012, with a slightly more reality-oriented format and episodes shortened to half an hour, airing Saturdays on H2, with encore showings on Friday night on the History channel. Many of Season 2's episodes contained material already covered in Season 1.Index of United States-related articles
The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to the United States of America.Insular area
An insular area of the United States is a U.S. territory that is neither a part of one of the 50 states nor of a Federal district. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to United States Congress the responsibility of overseeing these territories, of which there are currently 14—three in the Caribbean Sea and 11 in the Pacific Ocean. These territories are classified by whether they are incorporated (by Congress extending the full body of the Constitution to the territory as it applies to the several states) and whether they have an organized territorial government established by the U.S. Congress through an Organic Act. All territories but one are unincorporated, and all but four are considered to be unorganized. Five U.S. territories have a permanent, nonmilitary population. Each of them has a civilian government, a constitution, and enjoys some degree of local political autonomy.National Atlas of the United States
The National Atlas of the United States was an atlas published by the United States Department of the Interior. Older editions were printed, but the most recent edition was available online. Since it is a publication of the United States government, the atlas and the maps contained therein remain in the public domain.
According to the U.S. National Atlas website, this atlas "provided a comprehensive, maplike view into the enormous wealth of geospatial and geostatistical data collected for the United States." Its purpose was also to increase "geographic knowledge and understanding and to foster national self-awareness." Information used to develop the National Atlas of the United States was also used in conjunction with Canadian and Mexican information to produce continental-scale tools such as the North American Environmental Atlas.
The online National Atlas of the United States contained thousands of printable maps, fully documented digital cartographic datasets, wall maps, Web map and features services that complied with Open Geospatial Consortium standards, wall maps, multimedia dynamic maps, and innovative mapping applications.
In late 2013, mapping managers at the U.S. Geological Survey decided to end the program despite the fact that nationalatlas.gov received three times the use of its other mapping service nationalmap.gov. The demise of the National Atlas was announced in February 2014 and nationalatlas.gov was taken offline on October 1, 2014.
Since the Atlas' retirement, its data remains available in two places:
Data published in the National Atlas is archived as 1997-2014 Edition of The National Atlas of the United States on the U.S. government's website.
The U.S. Geological Survey continues to make at least a subset of the National Atlas data available under its National Map Small Scale Collection. A few of the datasets have been updated since the Atlas retired.Organized incorporated territories of the United States
Organized incorporated territories are territories of the United States that are both incorporated (part of the United States proper) and organized (having an organized government authorized by an Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress, usually consisting of a territorial legislature, territorial governor, and a basic judicial system). There have been no such territories since Alaska and Hawaii were admitted as states in 1959.
Through most of U.S. history, regions that were admitted as U.S. states were, prior to admission, territories or parts of territories of this kind. As the United States grew, the most populous parts of the organized territory would achieve statehood. The remainder frequently kept at least some of the governing structure of the old legal entity (territory) and would be renamed to avoid confusion.
Some territories existed only a short time before becoming states, while others remained territories for decades. The shortest-lived was Alabama Territory at two years, while New Mexico Territory and Hawaii Territory both lasted more than 50 years.Outline of United States history
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the history of the United States.Public land
In all modern states, a portion of land is held by central or local governments. This is called public land. The system of tenure of public land, and the terminology used, varies between countries. The following examples illustrate some of the range.Roosevelt Corollary
The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition to the Monroe Doctrine articulated by President Theodore Roosevelt in his State of the Union address in 1904 after the Venezuela Crisis of 1902–1903. The corollary states that the United States will intervene in conflicts between the European countries and Latin American countries to enforce legitimate claims of the European powers, rather than having the Europeans press their claims directly.
Roosevelt tied his policy to the Monroe Doctrine, and it was also consistent with his foreign policy included in his Big Stick Diplomacy. Roosevelt stated that in keeping with the Monroe Doctrine, the United States was justified in exercising "international police power" to put an end to chronic unrest or wrongdoing in the Western Hemisphere. While the Monroe Doctrine had sought to prevent European intervention, the Roosevelt Corollary was used to justify US intervention throughout the hemisphere. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt renounced interventionism and established his Good Neighbor policy for the Western Hemisphere.State cessions
The state cessions are those areas of the United States that the separate states ceded to the federal government in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The cession of these lands, which for the most part lay between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, was key to establishing a harmonious union among the former British colonies.
The areas ceded comprise 236,825,600 acres (370,040.0 sq mi; 958,399 km2), or 10.4 percent of current United States territory, and make up all or part of 10 states. This does not include the areas later ceded by Texas to the federal government, which make up parts of five more states.Territorial evolution of the United States
The United States of America was created on July 4, 1776, with the Declaration of Independence of thirteen British colonies. Their independence was recognized by Great Britain in the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which concluded the American Revolutionary War. This effectively doubled the size of the colonies, now able to stretch west past the Proclamation Line to the Mississippi River. This land was organized into territories and then states, though there remained some conflict with the sea-to-sea grants claimed by some of the original colonies. In time, these grants were ceded to the federal government.
The first great expansion of the country came with the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, which doubled the country's territory, although the southeastern border with Spanish Florida was the subject of much dispute until it too was acquired in 1821. The Oregon Country gave the United States access to the Pacific Ocean, though it was shared for a time with the United Kingdom. The annexation of the Republic of Texas in 1845 led directly to the Mexican–American War, after which the victorious United States obtained the northern half of Mexico's territory, including what was quickly made the state of California. However, as the development of the country moved west, the question of slavery became too much to ignore, as there was a struggle to keep the number of northern free states equal to the number of southern slave states, with vigorous debate over whether the new territories would allow slavery and events such as the Missouri Compromise and Bleeding Kansas. This came to a head in 1860 and 1861, when the governments of the southern states proclaimed their secession from the country and formed the Confederate States of America. The American Civil War led to the defeat of the Confederacy in 1865 and the eventual readmission of the states to the United States Congress.
The country's expansion beyond North America began in 1856 with the passage of the Guano Islands Act, causing many small and uninhabited, but economically important, islands in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to be claimed. Most of these claims were eventually abandoned due to competing claims from other countries or the guano having been mined out. The Pacific expansion culminated in the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 and its annexation in 1898. Alaska, the last major acquisition in North America, was purchased from Russia in 1867.
Desires for expansion into Spanish territories like Cuba led to the Spanish–American War in 1898, in which the United States gained Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, and occupied Cuba for several years. American Samoa was acquired by the United States in 1900 after the end of the Second Samoan Civil War. The United States purchased the U.S. Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917. Guam and Puerto Rico remain territories; the Philippines became independent in 1946, after being a major theater of World War II. Following the war, many islands were entrusted to the U.S. by the United Nations, and while the Northern Mariana Islands remain a U.S. territory, the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau emerged from the trust territory as independent nations. The last major international change was the acquisition in 1904, and return to Panama in 1979, of the Panama Canal Zone, a region of American sovereignty to build and run the Panama Canal. The final cession of power over the region was made to Panama in 1999.
Regarding internal borders, while territories could shift wildly in size, once established states have generally retained their initial borders. Only four states – Maine, Kentucky, Vermont, and West Virginia – have been created from land claimed by another state; all of the others were created from territories or directly from acquisitions. Four states – Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, and Pennsylvania – have expanded significantly by acquiring additional federal territory after their initial admission to the Union. The last state of the contiguous United States, commonly called the "lower 48," was admitted in 1912; the fiftieth and most recent state was admitted in 1959.Territories of the United States on stamps
Territories of the United States on stamps discusses commemorative postal issues devoted to lands that have been ceded to the nation or purchased by treaty in conjunction with both war and peace. Thirteen states have been created from colonial territories, two from independent republics, four from previous states in the Union, and an additional thirty-one from United States territories.
Many aspects of acquisition, settlement and exploration have been celebrated on postage stamps. These are represented below in issues that appeared prior to 1978 (the images of subsequent stamps remain under copyright by the United States Postal Service and may not be reproduced).Timeline of United States military operations
This timeline of United States government military operations, based in part on reports by the Congressional Research Service, shows the years and places in which U.S. military units participated in armed conflicts or occupation of foreign territories. Items in bold are wars most often considered to be major conflicts by historians and the general public.
Note that instances where the U.S. government gave aid alone, with no military personnel involvement, are excluded, as are Central Intelligence Agency operations.Westward movement
Westward movement may describe:
The ideology of manifest destiny in American history
United States territorial acquisitions involving historical expansion of the United States territory westward
The mural "Westward Movement: Justice of the Plains and Law Versus Mob Rule" by American artist John Steuart Curry
Territorial expansion of the United States
Armed conflicts involving the United States Armed Forces
United States articles