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United States Cruises

About United States

The United States spans the width of the North American continent. The country was built on the labor of millions, from the first settlers to slaves from West Africa, from old-world Europeans to Latin Americans, earning the nation a reputation as the melting pot of the world. Abundant natural beauty also stirs the soul here, from the breathtaking heights of California redwoods to the coastal charms of the Atlantic Coast.

Indigenous peoples flourished for millennia in North America, establishing their own cultures and governments. Tribes along the Eastern Seaboard lived off the rich waters of the Atlantic and the fertile river valleys. Cahokia, located in present-day Illinois along the Mississippi River, was one of the most important pre-Columbian cities. Native Americans even thrived in the desert Southwest, where you can still find artifacts, ruins and petroglyphs that testify to the sophistication of their societies.

The European colonization of America came with serious consequences for the indigenous population. While there were times of peace and partnership, European expansion, persecution and diseases greatly reduced their numbers.

Many of the major European powers claimed territory in the New World, including England, France, Spain and even Russia. The story of the modern United States begins in 1776, when the thirteen colonies formally rejected English rule with the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. The document added fuel to the fire of the Revolutionary War, which lasted until 1783, leaving a new nation in its wake. The Constitution was ratified five years later.

As the nascent nation grew into an agrarian society, slave labor became commonplace, particularly in the Southern states. Aside from slavery, many disagreements between the North (the Union) and the South (the Confederacy) boiled over into the Civil War. The cataclysmic conflict ended in 1865 with the defeat of the Confederacy, and the end of slavery.

As the period of Reconstruction drew to a close, overseas conflicts simmered and erupted into World War I. Many scholars see US involvement in that war as a tipping point that firmly established the nation as a global power, a strength that it reasserted as an Allied power during World War II.

The United States continues to make major contributions on the world stage, from the technology of Silicon Valley to finance and business. The “Great Experiment” that began in the late 18th century has thrived on the shoulders of immigrants whose descendants continue to look forward.

United States Lifestyle and Culture

The United States was built on an unwavering sense of rugged individualism, whether among titans of industry such as Nelson Rockefeller or fearless leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. It’s a characteristic that endures in Silicon Valley, the nation’s capital of technology, and in countless corners of the country.

Since its founding, people from all over the world have imported cultures and traditions to the United States. Many have evolved over time, giving them a quintessentially American feel. Holidays such as Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day and Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo are celebrated in many parts of the country. American cuisine, too, has enjoyed worldwide influence. A simple stroll down any street in New York or Los Angeles reveals kosher delis, Thai restaurants and cuisine from Italy, Greece, Cuba, Argentina, Nepal, Ethiopia, Russia and any number of nations. American cuisine, too, tempts the palate with New England clam chowder, the Key lime pie of Key West and fried gator in Miami, and the famed California-style pizza of Los Angeles.

The United States has made major contributions in arts and entertainment. The blues were developed on the shores of Southern bayous. American Romantics of the 19th century, from painters to writers, defined an era and boosted nationalism. Los Angeles’s Hollywood and New York City’s Broadway, with their exciting innovations and endless energy, emerged as major entertainment capitals of the world. The nation’s robust contributions to culture are numerous and varied.

United States Sights and Landmarks

The United States is a vast country, and is home to countless points of interest. Visitors to New York City can catch a Broadway show, explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art or view the skyline from atop the Empire State Building. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, welcomes people to America’s shores from her island in New York Harbor.

The White House, Capitol Building and Smithsonian museums are just a few reasons to visit Washington, DC. History buffs will want to visit the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The monolithic Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall pays tribute to Americans lost in that conflict. The National World War II Memorial stands in remembrance of those who fell in the European and Pacific wartime theaters of operations.

In Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, see where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted. The Art Institute of Chicago hosts many of the finest examples of American painting and sculpture. New Orleans sits on the Gulf of Mexico, and offers travelers the chance to enjoy delicious Cajun dishes, jazz music and the annual Mardi Gras celebration. The Pacific Coast is home to magnificent cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, ideal cities for innovative cuisine, stunning cityscapes and spectacular coasts.

And this broad country is replete with diverse natural beauty. The nation’s national parks system, often called “America’s Best Idea,” protects some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. Colorado’s soaring Rocky Mountains, Arizona’s sweeping Grand Canyon, Florida’s spectacular Everglades and Massachusetts’s dreamy Cape Cod seashore are just a few examples of the inspiring beauty that stretches from sea to shining sea.