United States of America or United States, popularly referred to as the United States or as America, a federal republic on the continent of North America, consisting of 48 contiguous states and the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii. Outlying areas include Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands. The conterminous 48 states are bounded on the north by Canada, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The northern boundary is partly formed by the Great Lakes and the St Lawrence River; the southern boundary is partly formed by the Rio Grande. New York is the largest city in the United States. Washington, D.C., is the capital.
The total area of the United States (including the District of Columbia) is 9,826,630 sq km (3,794,083 sq mi), of which 1,717,854 sq km (663,267 sq mi) are in Alaska and 28,311 sq km (10,931 sq mi) are in Hawaii. Inland, coastal, and Great Lakes bodies of water cover 470,129 sq km (181,518 sq mi) of the total area. Measured along the parallel of latitude that passes through West Quoddy Head, Maine, the easternmost point in the United States, the maximum width of the conterminous 48 states is about 4,421 km (2,747 mi).
The maximum length measured from the vicinity of Brownsville, Texas, due north to the Canadian frontier is about 2,572 km (1,598 mi). Mount McKinley, or Denali (6,194 m/20,320 ft), in Alaska, is the highest point in North America; Death Valley, a depression 86 m (282 ft) below sea level, in California, is the lowest point. © "United States" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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