A M E R I C A


Table of Contents
(More States To Be Added)

ALABAMA
CALIFORNIA
MICHIGAN
NEW YORK
OREGON


AMERICA


The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country mostly located in central North America, between Canada and Mexico. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles (9.8 million km2), it is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area. The U.S. is the third most populous country in the world. The most populous city is New York City. The capital is Washington, D.C.

America is a melting pot. The 2019 estimated population is over 328 million. It is home to nearly 45 million immigrants, more than any other country in the world. America has never declared a national language. English is the most commonly spoken language, followed by Spanish, and there are more than 350 languages spoken in the U.S.

America is often referred to as the land of the free. Americans have the right to express themselves freely in print and speech.

America is one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. In the U.S. Islam is the third largest religion after Christianity and Judaism. Christmas was illegal in the U.S. until 1836, it was considered an ancient pagan holiday.

The U.S. is the only country that has all of earth's five climate zones: tropical, dry, temperate, continental, and polar. Nearly one-third of all land in the U.S. (approximately 650 million acres) is federally owned. The U.S. ranks among the top ten countries in the world for the number of mammal, reptile, fish, and vascular plant species.

Interesting Tidbits:

The Empire State Building has its own zip code. It is 10188. New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark on May 18, 1981. In 1982 The Empire State Building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

The United States has 42,000 ZIP codes, and you can look up all but one: the president's secret zip code. The U.S. Postal Service issues a new personal zip code to each incoming president to help manage the large volume of correspondence that the first family receives. The special code ensures that important and personal mail reaches the president and his family.

The Library of Congress, in Washington D.C. has 838 miles of bookshelves. The bookshelves are long enough to stretch from Houston to Chicago. The Library of Congress has more than 38 million books and other printed materials, 3.6 million recordings, 14 million photographs, 5.5 million maps, 8.1 million pieces of sheet music, 70 million manuscripts, 5,711 incunabula, and 122,810,430 items in the non-classified (special) collections. That is more than 167 million items.

Montana, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming have more cattle than people.

Alaska is 429 times larger than Rhode Island.

The town of Whittier, Alaska, an hour southeast of Anchorage, has approximately 220 people. They live in one building under one roof.

Approximately 90 percent of Americans use the Internet, compared with approximately 54 percent of the global population.

The U.S. has more than 3.1 million square miles of forestland, the fourth most after Canada, Brazil, and Russia.

You can obtain a unicorn-hunting license from Michigan's Lake Superior State University. The late W.T. Rabe, known for his clever public relations stunts when he was a Detroit-area publicist, created the Unicorn Hunters in 1971.

Bourbon is the only U.S. native spirit, declared by Congress in 1964, in an effort to thwart competitors abroad from re-creating it. Kentucky, the birthplace of bourbon, is home to over two million more bourbon barrels than people and supplies more than 95 percent of the world's bourbon.

More than half of the U.S. states (26) have names with Native American origins.

2020: According to the National Association of Wheat Growers, an acre of Kansas wheat produces enough bread to feed nearly 9,000 people for one day. That is enough wheat in one year to feed everyone in the world for two weeks.

The U.S. produces more corn than any country in the world.


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July 20, 1969: Approximately 600 million people around the world watched when Apollo 11 traveled approximately 240,000 miles to become the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong (commander), Buzz Aldrin (lunar module pilot) and Michael Collins (command module pilot) were the crew. Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours and 36 minutes on the moon's surface.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Neil Armstrong

After returning from space, Armstrong said there was a lost word in his famous one-liner. He insisted that he had said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

Researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) and Ohio State University did an audio study to decipher Armstrong's statement. It seems that he probably did say the word "a" as he claimed. Armstrong was raised in central Ohio, where there is often a blending between words such as "for" and "a", the researchers explained. His blending of the two words, coupled with the poor sound quality of the transmission, made it difficult for people to hear the "a" word.

Research team member Laura Dilley, a MSU assistant professor of communicative sciences and disorders said, "We've bolstered Neil Armstrong's side of the story. We feel we've partially vindicated him. But we'll most likely never know for sure exactly what he said based on the acoustic information."

America completed six crewed missions on the moon from 1969 to 1972. America is the only country to have successfully conducted crewed missions to the moon. In all, twenty-four men flew to the moon. Twenty of them had been Boy Scouts and three had been Eagle Scouts. Twelve astronauts set foot on the lunar surface.


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Atrocities In America

America is certainly not the only country that has done horrific things. We cannot list everything here. Please research yourself if you want to know more information. Here are some highlights of America's most shameful actions.

Katharine Lee Bates was correct in 1893 when she wrote that America is beautiful from sea to shining sea. America is still a stunningly beautiful country, from sea to shining sea. Many Americans are kind, loving, positive, optimistic, generous, and charitable.

Sadly, in spite of the legitimate good about America and about American people, some of our most reprehensible history and most appalling truths are associated with how, in America, innocent people have been enslaved, imprisoned, abused, and murdered, including one of America's most deplorable modern day national disgraces, from April 2018 until at least October 2019, when approximately 5,400 migrant children and babies, were forcibly separated from their parents.

It fell to devastated older children to provide comfort to the terrified younger children and babies because the stonehearted, immoral adult monsters administering the program provided none. All of these children were treated indecently, and they were traumatized. Many were reprehensively housed in crowded cages like animals, improperly fed with even the most basic nutritional needs not provided, and they suffered acute psychological harm, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most American citizens, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady Hillary Clinton, former First Lady Laura Bush, and former First Lady Michelle Obama condemned this merciless and atrocious federal "policy" of separating children from their parents.


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Slaughtering of Marine Mammals: Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. Personal seal hunting is allowed in ten countries: United States, Canada, Namibia, Denmark (in self-governing Greenland only), Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland, and Sweden. Most of the world's seal hunting takes place in Canada and Greenland. Commercial sealing is conducted by five nations: Canada, Greenland, Namibia, Norway, and Russia. The United States, which had been heavily involved in the sealing industry, now bans commercial hunting of marine mammals, with the exception of indigenous peoples, who are allowed to hunt a small number of seals each year.


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Trump ignored, or was incompetently unaware of, the allegations that Russia may have paid bounties to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. This is causing serious political jeopardy for Trump as the November 2020 presidential election approaches. Many Americans, including retired and still serving military personnel, elected officials in both parties, and families of fallen soldiers, have lost confidence in Trump's commitment to U.S. troops. Some believe Trump is a threat to the U.S. Constitution.


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Pennies are expensive: The U.S. government spends 1.8 cents to mint a one-cent coin. Nickels are worth half as much as dimes, but they cost about twice as much to make.

Many Americans smile frequently and are friendly to strangers. Smiling and being excessively expressive toward strangers is not common in many other countries. Also, Americans tend to be loud compared to people from other countries.

The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other country, especially people of color.

The phrase "United States of America" was first published anonymously in the Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776.

Lasting from 1929 to 1939, The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of America.

Americans have won the most Olympic medals of all times. U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps is the most successful Olympian of all time. He has won 28 medals, including eight gold medals at 2008 Beijing Games.

The Everglades National Park in Florida is the only ecosystem in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist. Most of the Everglades cannot be reach by car or foot because it is so swampy.

Peachy: The peach became Georgia's official state fruit on April 7, 1995. Georgia grown peaches are recognized for their superior flavor, texture, appearance, and nutritious qualities. While Georgia may be the Peach State, peaches also reign as the official fruit of the Palmetto State of South Carolina that produces more peaches than Georgia. A whole lot of cities and towns in Georgia have streets with "peach" in their names. Atlanta, Georgia has more than 70 streets with "peach" in their names.

"Uncle Sam" was a New Yorker. His name was Samuel Wilson and he was a meat packer in Troy, New York. He fought in the American Revolution and later became the official meat inspector for the northern army in the War of 1812. He had a pleasant nature, which is why he was given the nickname "Uncle Sam". According to HuffPost, when he started providing and inspecting meat for the troops during the War of 1812, the soldiers from Troy, New York would joke that the initials "U.S." label on the barrels actually stood for Uncle Sam. This idea eventually expanded to all United States military items with "U.S." And that's how Uncle Sam came to be.

America is the only country that celebrates college sports and elevates college players to elite status. Many Europeans do not understand why Americans celebrate college sports. Technically, college athletes are simply students doing extracurricular activities. College football coaches are some of the highest-paid public employees in more than half of all 50 states. The three highest-paid college football coaches together were paid almost $22 million in 2016.

New York is "home" to the Statue of Liberty. However, the Statue of Liberty is not located in New York. It is in Jersey City, New Jersey. Many Americans and tourists think the Statue of Liberty is the most iconic symbol of the United States.

Morton's Toe is when your second toe is longer than your first big toe. It is an idealized form in Greek sculpture. The Statue of Liberty has this fairly common condition.

About a month after the Statue of Liberty 1886 dedication, it became a working lighthouse for 16 years, with its torch visible from 24 miles away.

Over half of the U.S. population lives in nine states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks America 37th in the world for healthcare. Many Americans eat a lot of inexpensive and non-nutritious food and drink that is loaded with calories and unhealthy chemicals. Food and drink portion sizes in the U.S. are much larger than portion sizes in many other countries. One in three Americans qualifies as obese according to BMI charts. Weight related illnesses cause the county billions of dollars in healthcare expenses. Approximately 17 percent of U.S. youth have obesity, and nearly one in three children and adolescents are either overweight or have obesity. On any given day, approximately 84.8 million adults in the U.S. consume fast food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Healthcare in America is expensive and a luxury that many Americans cannot afford.

Many Americans are sugar addicts. In numerous countries even the sweetest desserts have much less sugar than American desserts.

One of America's most popular pastimes is eating pizza.

The U.S. tends to have enormous grocery stores with a huge variety of items. Most other countries do not have large grocery stores or so many item choices.

According to the USDA, more than 11 million hungry children in the U.S. live in "food insecure" homes.

Pharmaceutical advertising is common and legal in the U.S. Consumer focused pharmaceutical advertising is not legal elsewhere, except in New Zealand.

The U.S. is one of three countries that have not officially switched to the metric system. Liberia and Burma are the other two.

The U.S. has been awarded more Nobel Prizes than any other country.

Hawaii is the only state that is a collection of individual islands.

Oregon people speak fast. Marchex studied more than four million phone calls and discovered that people in Oregon spoke six words in the time it takes slowpoke people in other states to say five words. New Yorkers, Upper Midwest states, and Massachusetts have quick speech patterns too. The slowest talkers are in Alabama, Louisiana, and the Carolinas.

Approximately 43 million Americans identify as ancestrally German, more than any other nationality.

Many Americans have larger houses, more cars, and more material items than a lot of people in other countries, but health and happiness is often less for a number of Americans. Americans usually work more hours per week, many spend a lot of time commuting to and from work each day, most have less vacation time per year than people in other countries, many Americans are excessive consumers, and they tend to be in debt more than people in other countries.

In-sink kitchen garbage disposals are common in many American homes. They are controversial in many parts of the world because of their negative environmental impact. They are banned in most European countries.

Not all, but many Americans are taught that Americans are the best, that Americans did everything first, and the rest of the world follows America's lead. This is not true.

Racism and xenophobia are more prevalent in America than many white Americans think.

GPS is used worldwide, but it is controlled and owned by the American government.

The Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky has the longest cave system in the world.

The music industry in America is huge. The majority of the music listened to worldwide come from America. There are many music superstars from every genre with origins in America.

James and Mary are the most common given names in America. Smith is the most common surname.

Americans have one of the world's best passports. U.S. citizens can travel to 116 countries without a visa requirement and get a visa on arrival in an additional 44 countries.

The soil under a George Washington statue in England was shipped from the U.S. to fulfill the president's vow never to stand on English soil after the American Revolution. The U.S. sent London some real American soil with a statue of George Washington, so the president would not have to stand on English soil. The Washington statue stands in Trafalgar Square.

Of more than 2,500 National Historical Landmarks, only two can (willfully) move: San Francisco's cable cars and New Orleans's St. Charles streetcar line.

In America it is illegal for children under the age of 18 to purchase cigarettes. However, except for the state of Nevada, it is legal for children under age 18 to smoke cigarettes in America.

America has more millionaires than Sweden has people. There are over ten million millionaires in the U.S. Sweden's population is less than ten million people.

If you have $10.00 cash and no debt, you are wealthier than approximately 15 percent of all American citizens. Many Americans borrow money or use credit cards to purchase things, especially student loans, car loans, mortgages, and medical expenses. A large portion of the American population has negative net value.

The Hawaiian flag looks like a combination of the British and American flags because then-King Kamehameha I in 1812 designed it. He wanted a flag that would appeal to Americans and the British.

The U.S. has the highest rate of tornadoes in the world, on average, more than 1000 each year. Three out of every four tornadoes in the world occur in the U.S.

The extensive U.S. coastline has had more hurricanes (close to 300) since 1851 than any other country, according to data from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

America has four cities that have an extinct volcano within their boundaries: Portland, Oregon, Pilot Butte in Bend, Oregon, Jackson Volcano in Jackson, Mississippi, and Diamond Head in Honolulu.

There are over 100,000 earthquakes in California every year. Most are minor and cause no damage.

California has many droughts. One of the worst was from December 2011 until March 2017. It was the driest in California in documented history. 164 million trees died during this time.

In the Californian White Mountains, there are trees known as Pinus longaeva. They are up to 5,060 years old or older. Written history is believed to have begun around 5,000 years ago when these magnificent trees would have just been sprouting.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California is one of the west coast's most iconic man-made landmarks. It is always being painted.

The U.S. shares the world's longest land border with its neighbor to the north, Canada, at over 5,500 miles. The border is split between the northern edge of the lower 48 states, and the eastern border of Alaska.

One of America's most symbolic examples of American independence, the Liberty Bell was made in the same place as Big Ben in London. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry made both bells and is one of the oldest, privately owned bell makers in the world. Pennsylvania is misspelled on the Liberty Bell. The spelling was an accepted spelling when the bell was engraved, but it is now considered a misspelling. The strike note of the bell is E-flat, and the bell weighs 2,080 pounds.

There are more guns than people in the U.S. There are approximately 101 guns per every 100 people, according to some estimates.

New York is a state and a city; this can be confusing to tourists.

More people live in New York City than in 40 other states.

A new species of ant have been found in NYC. The ant is nicknamed the ManhattAnt. Biologists found them in a 14-block area of the city. So far scientists have not been able to match them to any of the approximately 13,000 known ant species. NYC also has its own species of sweet bee, species of centipede, and species of white-footed mouse with small ears. Separated in various isolated areas, these unique and hearty creatures slowly evolved into new versions of their original species that thrive in the urban environment.

The Triple Five Group, in Edmonton, Canada, owns the Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Canadian group named and designed the mall with American principles of excess and commerce.

According to the USDA, foreign investors own at least 28.3 million acres of U.S. farmland, an area roughly the size of Ohio.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's 2012 figures, Americans produce approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash each day. Yes, each and every day. It is currently 2020 - that amount has surely increased since 2012. Americans are likely the most wasteful people on the entire planet.

Americans love dogs. There are an estimated 76 million dogs in America, more than double the number in Brazil, the country with the second most dogs.

Betsy Ross designed the original 13-star version of the American flag. Her American flag consists of 13 stripes and 50 stars. The stripes represent the 13 British Colonies who declared independence from Great Britain. The 50 stars represent each state in the U.S. The flag was first adopted on June 14, 1777.

Advertisers created the Pledge of Allegiance. "The Youth's Companion" was a magazine that supplied American flags to schools across the country near the end of the 19th century. On Sept. 8, 1892 they published the Pledge of Allegiance, written by an employee of the magazine, to promote nationalism, to sell flags, and to sell magazine subscriptions. The Pledge of Allegiance became popular across the country and over the years it had a few revisions. Originally the Pledge of Allegiance involved a salute modeled after the classic Roman one, which Mussolini and Hitler adopted as well. That salute in America was dropped. Also, "of the United States of America" was added to make it clear to immigrants that they were pledging to the U.S. "Under God" was added during the Red Scare.

Bob Heft, a 17-year-old who created the 50-star flag in 1958 for a history project, designed the current American flag. Heft's teacher originally awarded the banner a B-minus, but the grade was raised to an A after Heft successfully lobbied the White House to adopt the design as the official U.S. flag.


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COVID-19 Economic Crisis:

The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research estimates that the COVID-19 economic pandemic could drive as many as 580 million people around the world into poverty, the first increase in global poverty since 1990. This would be in addition to the 734 million people around the world who already live on less than $1.90 a day.

As of 2018, 38.1 million Americans met the federal government's definition of poverty. More than 38 million Americans have filed unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that number will almost certainly increase. America is facing a severe recession.

Approximately 48 percent of Americans are considered to be low income and some of the 48 percent are living in poverty.

As of January 2019, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there were almost 568,000 homeless people in America, associated with every region of the country, family status, gender category, and racial-ethnic group. This figure does not represent the growing number that is now occurring because of COVID-19. Reports state that approximately 28 million Americans are facing home evictions by October 2020 because of COVID-19.

Many Americans believe future history books will record that in 2020 the U.S. federal government cataclysmically failed America, and the world, with its negligent and politicized response to COVID-19. Many Americans believe the COVID-19 pandemic will be documented as one of the most devastating catastrophes in American history.

COVID-19 Health Pandemic In America:

As of March 28, 2020 New York had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of any state in the U.S. Nearly 50 percent of known national cases were in the state of New York, with one-third of the known cases being in NYC. New York has succeeded in its battle against COVID-19. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported that New York reached its lowest number of deaths since the pandemic begin. But, on June 28, 2020, twenty-nine other U.S. states had an alarming increase of cases as businesses and facilities reopened, and restrictions were lifted.

March 2020-June 2020: The U.S. had inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.

Arizona, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas were the states with the highest concern. Florida joined New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Texas, and Massachusetts in states reporting more than 100,000 cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, confirms the surge of new cases in Arizona, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and other states.

Since Memorial Day (05-25-20) many Americans relaxed social distancing and gathered together in close proximity. Many refused to wear masks and ignored safety guidelines. Those choices brought on a resurgence of COVID-19 across the country. Wearing masks became an extremely politicized issue in America with devastating results. The U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts that COVID-19 U.S. deaths may reach 150,000 by July 18, 2020. COVID-19 is not taking a summer break. It is wreaking havoc on America.

As of July 4, 2020 the U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.

As of July 4, 2020 America had less than five percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.

On July 4, 2020 new COVID-19 cases were increasing in 36 U.S. states. Medical experts and scientists reported that they believed the Fourth of July holiday would cause an even larger increase of new cases across the country. As predicted by medical experts and scientists, after July 4, 2020, that occurred with a vengeance. An alarming number of new COVID-19 cases spiked and rapidly spread across the U.S.

On July 15, 2020 an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases surged in 41 states. A total of 27 states were forced to roll back a variety of opening measures and do various degrees of partial or full shutdowns.

On July 15, 2020 according to Worldometer the U.S. had 3,616,747 cases and 140,140 deaths from COVID-19. The U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.

On July 23, 2020 according to Worldometer the U.S. passed the four million mark with a total of 4,143,733 cases and 146,807 deaths. The U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing. America is dying.

On July 28, 2020 according to Worldometer the U.S. had 4,497,896 cases and 152,286 deaths from COVID-19. The U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.

On August 17, 2020 according to Worldometer the U.S. had 5,582,863 cases and 173,339 deaths from COVID-19. The U.S. still had no federal guidance, no federal help, and inadequate COVID-19 testing and tracing.



Worldometer was voted as one of the best free reference websites by the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world. Scroll down on their web-page to review Worldometer's updated COVID-19 statistics, per country. They update their statistics each day.





There is much more about America. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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Alabama, USA




ALABAMA

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States of America. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most waterways of any state. In 2019 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population of Alabama was 4,903,185.

The racial composition is 68.5 percent White (67.0 percent Non-Hispanic White and 1.5 percent Hispanic White), 26.2 percent Black or African American, 3.9 percent Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.1 percent Asian, 0.6 percent American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.0 percent from some other race, and 1.5 percent from two or more races. The state officially recognized nine American Indian tribes, descended mostly from the Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast.

Most Alabama residents spoke only English at home in 2010. Alabama English is predominantly Southern, and is related to South Midland speech that was taken across the border from Tennessee.

In the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 86 percent of Alabama respondents reported their religion as Christian, including six percent Catholic, with 11 percent as having no religion. The composition of other traditions is 0.5 percent Mormon, 0.5 percent Jewish, 0.5 percent Muslim, 0.5 percent Buddhist, and 0.5 percent Hindu.

Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt, a region of numerous Protestant Christians. Alabama has been identified as one of the most religious states, with approximately 58 percent of the population attending church regularly. A majority of people identify as Evangelical Protestant.

The state is classified as humid subtropical under the Koppen Climate Classification. The average annual temperature is 64℉ (18℃). Temperatures tend to be warmer in the southern part of the state with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, while the northern parts of the state, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler.

Generally, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives an average of 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall annually and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in the southern part of the state. Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in America, with high temperatures averaging over 90℉ (32℃) throughout the summer in some parts of the state. Alabama is also prone to tropical storms and hurricanes. Areas of the state far from the Gulf are not immune to the effects of the storms, which often dump tremendous amounts of rain as they move inland and weaken. South Alabama reports many thunderstorms. The Gulf Coast, around Mobile Bay, averages between 70 and 80 days per year with thunder reported. The activity decreases further north, but even the far north reports thunder approximately 60 days per year. Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with frequent lightning and large hail; the central and northern parts of the state are most vulnerable. Alabama ranks ninth in the number of deaths from lightning and tenth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.

The European-American naming of the Alabama River and state was derived from the Alabama people, a Muskogean-speaking tribe whose members lived just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on the upper reaches of the river. Sources disagree on the word's meaning. Some scholars suggest the word comes from the Choctaw alba (meaning plants or weeds) and amo (meaning to cut, to trim, or to gather). The meaning may have been clearers of the thicket or herb gatherers, referring to clearing land for cultivation or collecting medicinal plants.

The state has numerous place names of Native American origin. However, there are no correspondingly similar words in the Alabama language. An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican proposed it meant, Here We Rest. This notion was popularized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beaufort Meek. Experts in the Muskogean languages have not found any evidence to support such a translation.

Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the Alabama region for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Trade with northeastern tribes by the Ohio River began during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BCE-700 CE) occurred and continued until European contact.

Alabama does not have an officially recognized nickname. Alabama is known as the Yellowhammer state after the state bird, the Heart of Dixie, and the Cotton State, but it has not designated an official nickname. The nicknames of Alabama's four largest cities: Birmingham, The Magic City or The Steel City; Huntsville, The Rocket City; Mobile, The Azalea City or Home of Mardi Gras; Montgomery, The Cradle of the Confederacy.

Alabama's state tree is the longleaf pine, and the state flower is the camellia. Alabama's capital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city. Greater Birmingham is Alabama's largest urban economy, its most populous urban area, and its economic center. The largest city by land area is Huntsville.

The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.

1819: Mobile, Alabama was the capital of Louisiana. Mobile was first founded as the capital of colonial French Louisiana in 1702 as part of New France. The city passed from the French, to the British, to the Spanish, and finally to the Americans, spanning 160 years, up to the Civil War. Mobile finally became part of Alabama on December 14, 1819.

By 1860, the population of Alabama had increased to 964,201 people, of which nearly half, 435,080, were enslaved African Americans, and 2,690 were free people of color.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, Alabama and six other states believed their rights to keep slaves would be abolished. Alabama seceded from the United States on January 11, 1861. In February of the same year Alabama and the six other states (South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana) formed the Confederate States of America, an unrecognized republic in the lower south region of the now USA.

These states were pro-slavery, and relied heavily upon African American slaves for their vast agricultural industries. Although comparatively few battles were fought in the state, Alabama contributed approximately 120,000 soldiers to the war effort. (In 2015, ten Civil War cannonballs were discovered buried under sidewalks at the University of Alabama.)

Alabama played a huge role in the American Civil War. Montgomery was the Confederacy's first capital. The Confederate flag was first made and flown in Alabama. The telegram that authorized the beginning of the Civil War was sent from Montgomery.

The new 1901 Constitution of Alabama included provisions for voter registration that disenfranchised large portions of the population, including nearly all African Americans and Native Americans, and tens of thousands of poor whites, through making voter registration difficult, requiring a poll tax, and a literacy test.

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many states in the southern U.S., suffered economic hardship, in part because of its continued dependence on agriculture. Similar to other former slave states, Alabamian legislators employed Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise and discriminate against African Americans from the end of the Reconstruction Era up until at least the 1970s.

Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 through the 1960s. During this time, urban interests and African Americans were strikingly under-represented.

Following World War II, Alabama grew as the state's economy changed from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The state's economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.

Beginning in 1913, the first 80 Rosenwald Schools were built in Alabama for African-American children. A total of 387 schools, seven teacher houses, and vocational buildings were completed by 1937. Several of the surviving buildings are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Continued racial discrimination, brutal lynchings, agricultural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African Americans from rural Alabama and other states to seek opportunities in northern and Midwestern cities during the early decades of the 20th century as part of the Great Migration from the South. Because of this emigration, the population growth rate in Alabama dropped by nearly half.

Alabama is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna habitats. The state is usually ranked among the top in the nation for its overall biodiversity. Alabama is in the subtropical coniferous forest biome and once boasted huge expanses of pine forest, which still form the largest proportion of forests. It currently ranks fifth in the nation for the diversity of flora. It is home to nearly 4,000 pteridophyte and spermatophyte plant species.

Indigenous animal species include 62 mammal species, 93 reptile species, 73 amphibian species, approximately 307 native freshwater fish species, and 420 bird species that spend at least part of their year within the state. Invertebrates include 97 crayfish species and 383 mollusk species. 113 of the mollusk species have never been collected outside the state.

Alabama's agriculture include poultry and eggs, cattle, fish, plant nurseries, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as The Cotton State, Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national cotton production, with Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi comprising the top three.

Alabama is the second leading catfish producing state in the U.S., surpassed only by Mississippi.

Dotham, Alabama is the peanut capital of the world. Approximately 50 percent of peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan. Alabama has approximately 900 peanut farmers and is the third largest producer of peanuts in America.

Alabama's industrial outputs include iron and steel products (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber, and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products; cars and trucks; and apparel.

Known as the steel city, Birmingham is the only place where all three ingredients needed to make iron and steel can be found in close proximity. Birmingham is the only place that has the ability to produce iron and steel with its own natural resources.

Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, the location of NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

The Saturn V rocket was built in Huntsville, where former Nazi scientist Wernher von Braun set up accommodations to design spacecraft for NASA in the 1950s. It was the Saturn V that propelled the Apollo 11 mission. The first Saturn V was launched in 1967. The rocket was approximately the height of a 36 story tall building and equaled the weight of approximately 400 elephants.

A great deal of Alabama's economic growth since the 1990s has been due to the state's expanding automotive manufacturing industry. Located in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as their various suppliers. Since 1993, the automobile industry has generated more than 67,800 jobs in the state. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation for vehicle exports.

Alabama has 24 state parks. The state is home to various attractions, natural features, and events that draw visitors from around the globe, notably the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Hangout Music Festival, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, casinos such as Victoryland, amusement parks such as Alabama Splash Adventure, the Riverchase Galleria, Guntersville Lake, and the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the oldest museum in the state.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) is among the ten largest Shakespeare festivals in the world. The festival is housed in the Carolyn Blount Theatre in Montgomery. ASF presents 6-9 productions annually, usually including three works of Shakespeare. Other plays sample various genres and playwrights, classical and modern, sometimes with an emphasis on Southern works.

ASF's Southern Writers Project nurtures the creation of new plays that reflect Southern themes. The festival stages more than 400 performances yearly, attracting more than 300,000 visitors from the United States and from more than 60 countries.

The Port of Mobile, Alabama's only saltwater port is a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile was ranked 12th by tons of traffic in the U.S. in 2009. Its expanded container terminal is ranked as the 25th busiest for container traffic in the nation during 2011. The state's other ports are on rivers with access to the Gulf of Mexico.

From beautiful white-sand beaches to clear, turquoise waters, Alabama's Gulf Coast has some of the finest beaches in America.

You can travel from Alabama to the Great Lakes entirely by boat.

Alabama's 1908 state constitution contains more than 300,000 words. It is the longest state constitution. It also has the most amendments than any state, 775.

Alabama has 67 counties. Each has its own elected legislative branch. The lack of home rule for counties has resulted in a proliferation of local legislation permitting counties to do things not authorized by the state constitution. Alabama's constitution has been amended more than 775 times, and approximately one-third of the amendments are local in nature, applying to only one county or one city. A significant part of each legislative session is spent on local legislation, taking time and attention from issues of statewide importance.

Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning the state government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages. Twenty-five of the 67 counties are "dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there are many dry municipalities in counties that permit alcohol sales.

Taxes are collected by the Alabama Department of Revenue. Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, depending on the amount earned and the filing status. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct federal income tax from their state tax, even if taking the standard deduction. Those who itemize can also deduct FICA (the Social Security and Medicare tax).

Alabama's income tax on poor working families is among the highest in the U.S. Alabama is the only state that levies income tax on a family of four with income as low as $4,600, which is barely one-quarter the federal poverty line. Alabama's threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with income taxes.

UAB Hospital is the only Level I trauma center in Alabama. UAB is the largest state government employer, with a workforce of approximately 18,000. A 2017 study found that Alabama had the least competitive health insurance market in America.

Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the purview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,496 schools provide education for 744,637 elementary and secondary students.

Normally prohibited in the West, school corporal punishment is not forbidden in Alabama. The rate of school corporal punishment in Alabama is surpassed only by Mississippi and Arkansas.

Alabama's programs of higher education include 14 four-year public universities and two-year community colleges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate universities. In the state there are four medical schools. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to a multitude of doctoral level programs. According to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had three universities ranked in the top 100 Public Schools in America (University of Alabama at 31, Auburn University at 36, and University of Alabama at Birmingham at 73). In 1892, Auburn University became the first state college to admit women.

College football is extremely popular in Alabama. Alabama has several professional and semi-professional sports teams, including three minor league baseball teams. The Talladega Superspeedway motor sports complex hosts NASCAR events. The Barber Motorsports Park hosts IndyCar series and Rolex Sports Car series races. The ATP Birmingham had a World Championship Tennis tournament held from 1973 to 1980. Alabama has hosted several professional golf tournaments.

Mobile, Alabama is known for having the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebration in America, beginning in 1703. It also hosted the first formally organized Mardi Gras parade in 1830, a tradition that continues. Mardi Gras is an official state holiday in Mobile and Baldwin counties. In 2018, Mobile's Mardi Gras parade was the state's top event, producing the most tourists with an attendance of almost 893,000.

Other top attractions in Alabama were the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville with an attendance of almost 850,000 and the Birmingham Zoo with an attendance of approximately 543,000. Of the parks and natural destinations, Alabama's Gulf Coast topped the list with approximately 6,700,000 visitors.

Alabama is a popular region for film shoots because of its diverse landscapes and contrast of environments. The movie, Norma Rae was filmed in Opelika, Alabama. The mill scenes were shot at the Opelika Manufacturing Corporation, and the motel scenes were filmed at The Golden Cherry Motel. Other movies filmed in Alabama include: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Get Out, 42, Selma, Big Fish, The Final Destination, Due Date, Need For Speed, and many more.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2008 showed obesity in Alabama is a problem, with most counties having almost 30 percent of adults obese, except for ten counties with a rate between 26-29 percent. Alabama, and the southeastern U.S. in general, has one of the highest incidences of adult onset diabetes in America.

According to County Health Rankings 2015, the percentage of adult smokers in Alabama is 22 percent. In 2011, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 23 percent of children in grades 9-12 were smokers.

On May 14, 2019, Alabama passed the Human Life Protection Act, banning abortion at any stage of pregnancy unless there is a serious health risk, with no exceptions for rape and incest. The law, if enacted, would punish doctors who perform abortions with 10-99 years imprisonment and would be the most restrictive abortion law in America. On October 29, 2019, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson blocked the law from taking effect.


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More Alabama Information

In 1836 Alabama became the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday. The federal government eventually declared December 25th a public holiday in 1870.

Until the early 19th century, numerous parts of Alabama had wooden roads.

Some famous Alabamians are George Washington Carver, Zora Neale Hurston, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Mark Childress, Fannie Flagg, Evander Holyfield, Bo Jackson, Booker T. Washington, Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Ralph Abernathy, Ruby Peckens Tartt, Angela Davis, Ellen Dorrit Hoffleit, Fannie Motley, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, Adele "Vera" Hall, Pattie Ruffner Jacobs, Jim Nabors, Hugo LaFayette, country music group Alabama, Lionel Richie, Emmy Lou Harris, and Nathaniel Adams "Nat King" Cole.

Besides famous people, several popular and well-known fictional characters hail from Alabama, including Forrest Gump and Edward Bloom.

Muscle Shoals, Alabama is home to FAME Studios, which has been the recording site for many music artists.

Alabama is known for its iron and steel natural resources, Southern hospitality, sweet tea, and fierce football rivalry between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

In Magnolia Springs, Alabama, mail is delivered by boat. It is the only solely water mail route in America.

It is a Class-B felony in Alabama to wrestle a bear. It is illegal to sell, purchase, possess, or train a bear for wrestling. Bear wrestling matches used to be common in Alabama. They became so popular that the state added a law under Section 13A-12-5 about "bear exploitation" that explicitly forbids people from engaging in bear wrestling matches. A Class-B felony is a serious charge; it is the same as being charged with manslaughter.

Scottsboro, Alabama is the final destination for unclaimed travel baggage. The city is home to a massive department store sized Unclaimed Baggage Center, which is where lost luggage is routed after attempts to locate owners have been exhausted. The goods are sold, thrift store-style, to customers.

Alabama is celebrated for a variety of food, including fresh Gulf seafood, flavorful barbecue, ethnic cuisine, and homemade food. Some of the favorite foods are homemade buttermilk biscuits, shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, cornbread or corn pone, hush puppies, red beans and rice, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, pepper-cream or red-eye gravy, fried pickles, ham hocks, bacon, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, pimiento cheese, fried pork chops, country ham, boiled peanuts, oyster casserole, oyster Rockefeller, cold slaw, sweet potatoes, fried okra, BBQ, squash casserole, congealed salads, banana pudding, bread pudding, peach cobbler, berry cobblers, pickled peaches, chess pie, pecan pie, Hummingbird cake, custard pie, various divinities, sweet tea that is very sweet, fried green tomatoes, dirty rice, biscuits and gravy, fried catfish, grits, black-eyed peas, butter beans, Brunswick stew, and homemade jams and jellies.

1807: Horace King was an American architect, engineer, and bridge builder. He is the most respected bridge builder of the 19th century Deep South, constructing dozens of bridges in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. He built the spiral staircase in Alabama's State Capitol. He was born in slavery on a South Carolina plantation September 8, 1807.

1841: Julia Strudwick Tutwiler was born August 15, 1841 in Havana, Alabama. Known as the "Angel of the Prisons" and the "Mother of Co-Education in Alabama," she was a legendary advocate for education and prison reform in Alabama. She served as co-principal of the Livingston Female Academy, and was the first (and only) woman president of Livingston Normal College (now the University of West Alabama). She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1971.

1850: Pat Garrett, the man who killed Billy the Kid, was born in Chambers County in 1850. Garrett was murdered on February 29, 1908.

1873: W.C Handy was born November 16, 1873 in Florence. He was a composer, musician, and Father of the Blues. Handy was one of the most influential songwriters in the United States. He did not create the blues genre but was the first to publish music in the blues form, thereby taking the blues from a regional music style (Delta blues) with a limited audience to a new level of greater popularity. Handy was an educated musician who used elements of folk music in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from various performers. The W.C. Handy Home and Museum houses his massive collection of artifacts, memorials, and papers. A complete collection of his work including music, trumpet, and artifacts, is stored in the museum.

1875: Hattie Hooker Wilkins was born July 28, 1875 in Selma. She was an American progressive era suffragist and women's rights activist best known for being the first woman elected to a seat in the Alabama Legislature. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1997.

1880: Helen Keller was born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia. She became deaf and blind after a having a fever when she was 19-months-old. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a college degree. Directed by Arthur Penn, the film, The Miracle Worker was produced in 1962 depicting the story of the remarkable tutor Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller. The Alabama quarter featuring Helen Keller is the first U.S. coin in circulation to feature braille.

1902: Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill Jr. was a prominent Alabama physician and pioneering surgeon during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. He is the first American physician to perform a successful surgical repair on a wounded heart. In the early morning hours of September 15, 1902, Hill was summoned by two Montgomery physicians who were attempting to treat Henry Myrick, a 13-year-old African American youth, who had been the victim of a stab wound to the heart the previous afternoon.

Six hours passed before the first physicians had been called, and another two hours passed before Hill arrived at the boy's home. Myrick's wound had been bleeding continuously, and although he was still conscious, his pulse was fading. Hill convinced the family to let him operate. The procedure lasted 45 minutes. Myrick survived and within a few weeks he recovered from his injuries. With this procedure, Hill became the first American physician to successfully repair a wounded heart in a surgery that the patient survived.

1903: In the winter of 1903, Alabaman Mary Anderson visited New York and while in a streetcar she watched the motorman leave the vehicle to wipe snow and sleet from the windshield. Anderson came up with the idea for a swinging arm device with a rubber blade. She received a patent for her car-window cleaning invention and tried to sell it to a number of companies. They rejected it because they thought it would be too distracting to drivers. By 1913 mechanical wipers became standard features on American cars.

In 1904, the city of Birmingham constructed a 56-foot (17 m) statue of the Roman god of fire and forge, Vulcan. It was shipped to St. Louis as Birmingham's entry in the 1904 World's Fair. The statue was a demonstration of the manufacturing abilities of the Birmingham area and was awarded a grand prize. The statue now rests in the Vulcan Park and Museum, atop a 123-foot (37 m) pedestal. It weighs 120,000 pounds (45,359 kg), which is the equivalent of ten elephants.

1910: In the spring of 1910, aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright opened the nation's first civilian flying school on an old cotton plantation on the outskirts of Montgomery. The flying school was short-lived because mechanical and weather-related problems forced the brothers to close the facility. The location was later used for aircraft repair during World War I and on November 8, 1922, the installation became Maxwell Field, which would evolve into what is now Maxwell Air Force Base. Wilbur and Orville Wright invented, built, and flew the world's first successful airplanes.

1910: Birmingham is home to Rickwood Field, the nation's oldest baseball park. It opened in 1910 and has hosted baseball greats such as Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Lorenzo "Piper" Davis, Willie Mays, and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

1913: James Cleveland "Jesse" Owens was born September 12, 1913 in Oakville. He was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medallist in the 1936 Olympic games. He was the son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave.

1914: Legendary boxer Joe Louis was born May 13, 1914 in Lafayette.

1923: American singer-songwriter and musician Hiram King "Hank" Williams was born on September 17, 1923 in Butler County. He is one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century.

1926: American novelist Harper Lee was born April 28, 1926 in Monroeville. Monroeville is "The Literary Capital of Alabama," and was the inspiration for the fictional town of Maycomb in Lee's novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The Monroeville courthouse is where the novelist and future Pulitzer Prize winner watched her father practice law. The courthouse is now a museum devoted to the book. Visitors can often catch a dramatization of the trial with local actors. Though the reclusive author had nothing to do with the town's commercialization of her work, she did request that a fictional cookbook stop being sold that was "allegedly" written by Calpurnia, the housekeeper in her novel.

1926: Evelyn Daniel Anderson was born August 2, 1926 in Greensboro. She was hit by a stray bullet at the age of four, became paraplegic, and used a gurney or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She considered her disability only a "physical inconvenience," and she forged ahead to become an outstanding educator, community volunteer, and advocate for the disabled. She was the catalyst for the Alabama Legislature to change a law prohibiting the handicapped from teaching, and she became the first handicapped teacher hired by Alabama Public Schools.

1927: Coretta Scott King was born April 27, 1927 in Marion. She was raised on a farm in Perry County, where she attended segregated schools. She was valedictorian of Lincoln High School and graduated from Antioch College. She became an American author, activist, civil rights leader, and the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She became the first woman to deliver the class day address at Harvard, soon after her marriage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. An active advocate for African-American equality, she was a leader for the civil rights movement in the 1960s. She was also a singer who incorporated music into her civil rights work. She met her husband while attending graduate school in Boston. They both became increasingly active in the American civil rights movement. After MLK's assassination, she worked to build the King Center in Atlanta and led the campaign to establish Dr. King's birthday as a national holiday.

1931: Baseball great Willie Howard Mays Jr. who was "The Say Hey Kid," was born in Westfield on May 6, 1931.

1934: Baseball great Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron was born in Mobile on February 5, 1934.

1938: Lilly Ledbetter was born April 14, 1938 in Jacksonville. She worked as a supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Gadsden. After retiring, she sued the company for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts. Her case went to the Supreme Court and ruled in her favor. The U.S. Congress subsequently passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. Lilly now serves as a women's equality activist.


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United States House of Representatives
Photograph - Public Domain Commons Wikimedia


John Lewis

1940: John Robert Lewis was a native Alabama son. He was born February 21, 1940 in Troy. He died July 17, 2020 in Atlanta. Lewis was a American politician and American civil rights leader, best known for his chairmanship of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and for leading the march that was halted by police violence on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, a landmark event in the history of the civil rights movement that became known as "Bloody Sunday."

Lewis was the son of Alabama sharecroppers. He attended segregated schools and was encouraged by his parents to not challenge the inequities of the Jim Crow South. Fortunately, he did challenge the inequities with nonviolent protests. In addition to numerous other honors that he received, Lewis was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize in 1975, the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2001, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's (NAACP) Spingarn Medal in 2002. In 2011 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

His memoirs are Walking with the Wind (1998; co-written with Michael D'Orso) and the March trilogy (2013, 2015, and 2016; all co-written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell), a graphic novel series for young adults that was based on Lewis's experiences in the civil rights movement. The final installment in the series received numerous honors, including the National Book Award (2016), and Lewis and Aydin shared a Coretta Scott King Book Award (2017). The documentary John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020) chronicles his life and career.

At his funeral, three former U.S. presidents eulogized Lewis: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter was unable to be there physically. A letter from President Carter was read.

At his request, on the day of his funeral, The New York Times published a valedictory essay in which Lewis lauded the Black Lives Matter movement and provided marching orders for future activists, saying in part:

"Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring."



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1944: Author, actress, and comedian Fannie Flagg was born in Birmingham as Patricia Neal on September 21, 1944. She changed her name when she applied for her Screen Actors Guild card because her name conflicted with well-known actress Patricia Neal.

1954: Condoleezza Rice, the first African-American women to serve as U.S. secretary of state was born in Birmingham on November 14, 1954.

1954: In the town of Oak Grove, on November 30, 1954, a meteorite hit Ann Hodges while she was napping on her couch. She survived and is the only confirmed person in history to have been hit by a meteorite.

1955: Referred to as the "Mother of Civil Rights Movements," Rosa Parks played an incredibly important part in American history. At a time when public buses were segregated into zones for white or colored people, Rosa stood up for her rights. On December 1, 1955, she refused to give her seat in the colored area to a white man when the white zone's seats became full. Despite being legally allowed to occupy her seat, she was arrested for civil disobedience. She challenges the arrest in court. Rosa's defiance became a symbol for the civil rights movement.

1955: Claudette Colvin, age 15, refused to move to the back of a public transport nine months prior, on March 2, 1955. Colvin was arrested and jailed. One possible theory as to why she didn't get more recognition is because Rosa Parks, an adult, may have been perceived as more appropriate to help advance the cause of civil rights than a teenager.

1959: Jennifer Kay Bellamy Chandler was born June 30, 1959 in Valley, Alabama. She is a three-meter springboard champion and she won an Olympic gold medal for diving in 1976.

1965: The Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965 guaranteed the right to vote for all African Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participated in the march. He had recently won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, which helped him draw attention to the difficulties faced by black voters, and the need for a national Voting Rights Act.

1968: The first "911" phone call in the United States was made in Alabama. On February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Speaker of the House Rankin Fite called U.S. Representative Tom Bevill at the local police station. The red phone Fite used is still on display in City Hall.

1972: Mariel Margaret Hamm-Garciaparra, better known as Mia Hamm, was born March 17, 1972 in Selma. She is an American retired professional soccer player, two-time Olympic gold medallist, and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion. Hailed as a soccer icon, she played as a forward for the United States women's national soccer team from 1987-2004.

1973: Vonetta Flowers was born October 29, 1973 in Birmingham. She is an American bobsledder and the first African-American to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics.

1980s-1990s: Carl Lewis, the famous track-and-field athlete, won nine Olympic gold medals during the 1980s and 1990s. He also won one Olympic silver medal, and ten World Championships medals, including eight gold. He was born in Birmingham.

In 1991, billionaire George Barber commissioned artist Mark Cline to construct four dinosaurs, nearly to scale, on his property around Barber Marina in Elberta. Despite their impressive size, they are not easily seen from the road. Barber also had Cline make a replica of Stonehenge.

2004: Alabama is the only state in America to have an alcoholic beverage as its official drink. The Conecuh Ridge Whiskey (called Clyde May's Alabama Style Whiskey) is a high-quality aged moonshine whiskey from Conecuh Ridge Distillery Inc. It was designated the official State Spirit of Alabama by legislative resolution in 2004.

2007: The co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales, was born in Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. In 2007, he was among the 100 most influential people in the world.

2012: Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is an American medical physicist. She created the technology that kills cancer cells with a treatment using laser-activated nanoparticles. In 2012 she earned a PhD in physics. She is one of 66 black women to earn a Ph.D. in physics in the United States between 1973 and 2012, and she is the second black woman and the fourth black person ever to earn a doctoral degree in physics from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is one of fewer than 100 black female physicists in the country. In 2016, Green founded the Ora Lee Smith Cancer Research Foundation in memory of her aunt. Green dedicates much of her spare time to speaking to and mentoring young black students. She is winner of a $1.1 million grant from the Veterans Affairs' Office of Research & Development to begin clinical trials to further develop the technology she pioneers that uses laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer.

2012: Alabama is home to the only bookstore in the world that only sells signed copies. Jacob Reiss, the owner of "Alabama Booksmith" originally sold rare and used books, but in 2012 he made the change to sell signed-only copies.

2012: Each year in Alabama, drunk driving causes a high number of traffic deaths. In 2012, according to MADD, drunk driving caused an astonishing 30 percent of Alabama's traffic deaths.

In 2017, the city council of Evergreen proclaimed Evergreen the Bigfoot Capital of Alabama.


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Civil Rights Locations
Montgomery, Alabama
(Listed in no particular order.)

In stark contrast to Alabama's long history of racism, and perhaps because of it, Alabama is the birthplace of civil rights movements for African Americans.

1. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, informally known as the National Lynching Memorial, is a national memorial to commemorate the victims of lynching in the United States. The memorial acknowledges past racial terrorism and advocates for social justice.

2. Run by Troy University, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum is a premiere Civil Rights location. Many artifacts related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott are there.

3. Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church Parsonage Museum (formerly Dexter Avenue Baptist Church) is affiliated with the Progressive National Baptist Convention. The church was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1974. In 1978 the official name was changed in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was pastor there and helped organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the church's basement. The church is located a few steps from the Alabama State Capitol. On January 1, 2008 the U.S. Government submitted it to UNESCO as part of an envisaged future World Heritage nomination and as such it is on the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage Sites. Surrounding memorials include the King-Johns Garden for Reflection and Interpretative Center.

4. The University of Alabama received art worth 4.8 million dollars from Paul R. Jones as donations in 2008. The collection included over 1,700 pieces including many sought-after African-American artworks.

5. The Holt Street Baptist Church is no longer functioning, but it is an important Civil Rights location. The church served as a meeting place for the black community during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

6. The still-in-use Frank M. Johnson Courthouse was the site of many pivotal Civil Rights decisions throughout the 1900s. In 1955, Judge Johnson legalized desegregation of buses. In 1965, he ruled the march from Selma to Montgomery was legal and could continue.

7. The First Baptist Church founded in 1867 is one of the first Black churches in the area. It was a gathering place for Civil Rights organizers during the 1960s and was associated with the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Freedom Rides.

8. Created by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, The Civil Rights Memorial Center is located across the street from the Southern Poverty Law Center's office building. A circular black granite table records the names of the martyrs and chronicles the history of the movement in lines that radiate like the hands of a clock. Water emerges from the center and flows across the top. On a curved black granite wall behind the table is an engraving of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s well-known paraphrase of Amos 5:24, "We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Civil Rights Memorial invites visitors to touch the engraved names. As Lin envisioned, the Memorial plaza is a contemplative area, a place to remember the Civil Rights Movement, to honor those killed during the struggle, to appreciate how far the country has come in its quest for equality, and to consider how far we still have to go. In addition to exhibits about Civil Rights Movement martyrs, the Memorial Center houses a 56-seat theater, a classroom for educational activities, and the Wall of Tolerance.

9. Capitol Steps: At the end of the third march from Selma to Montgomery, 25,000 activists gathered on the capitol steps to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak.

There is much more about Alabama. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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California, USA




CALIFORNIA

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States of America. The state capital is Sacramento. Nicknames for California are: The Golden State, The Land of Milk and Honey, The El Dorado State, and The Grape State. California is 1,040 miles long and 560 miles wide. It is about the same square miles as France, Spain, and Sweden.

In 2020, California is, for the most part, a liberal Democratic state. But, California is a complex state, and it has many people with differing political views. The two major political parties in California are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. There are four other parties that qualify for official ballot status: the American Independent Party, Green Party, Libertarian Party, and Peace and Freedom Party. Of the 19,696,371 California voters registered for the November 6, 2018, general election: 43.5 percent were Democrats, 24.0 percent were Republicans, 5.0 percent were affiliated with other political parties, and 27.5 percent were unaffiliated ("Decline to State" or "No Party Preference") voters.

With 39.5 million residents across approximately 163,696 miles, California is the most populous U.S. state. It is the world's thirty-fourth most populous sub-national entity. California is the most populated sub-national entity in North America. In 1850 California became the 31st state. It is the third largest state after Alaska and Texas. Approximately one-half of California land is federally owned. Despite urbanization and land loss to industry, California still leads the U.S. in agricultural production with millions of acres of farmland. Each year California grows more than 3.3 million tons of wine-grapes on over 540,000 acres, producing approximately 90 percent of all U.S. wine. California has a vast production of fruit and vegetables. It yields the majority of the country's peaches, plums, artichokes, and broccoli, although almonds are the biggest export.

National parks located throughout California are devoted to the preservation of nature and natural resources. Of the 59 national parks in the United States, California contains nine. The redwood is California's official state tree. Some giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park are more than 2,000 years old. The General Sherman in Sequoia National Park is the largest living tree in the world. It is between 1,800 to 2,700 years old. Its trunk is a little larger than 102 feet in circumference. California is home to the oldest species of pine tree, the bristle-cone pine in the Inyo National Forest. The California poppy is the official state flower. The California Valley Quail is the official state bird.

The official state animal is the grizzly bear. The grizzly bear population in California is extinct; the last sighting of a grizzly was in 1924. Before the mid-1800s, thousands of grizzly bears could be found across California. From the California Gold Rush period (beginning in 1848) until the last sighting in 1924, every grizzly in the state of California was captured or killed.

The Californian 1,100 mile long coastline is a national monument, ensuring constant conservation and guaranteeing there will not be new oil drilling within 12 nautical miles of the mainland.


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California's Spanish Missionaries

Spanish missionaries arrived in California in the 1700s. Journalist and author Elias Castillo, wrote a remarkably well-researched book, "A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions," published in 2015. Castillo is a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and has earned 13 journalism awards in a career that includes reporting for the Associated Press and the San Jose Mercury News, San Jose, California.





Castillo draws on more than eight years of meticulously researched historic documents. He presents a scathing history of the mission period between 1769 and 1833 and the subsequent Mexican and American rule. California Indians were forced to be Christianized and California missions were little more than concentration camps for the thousands of native peoples who faced slavery and genocide within their walls. Each year, Mission Dolores gives tours to thousands of schoolchildren studying the mission system. Indigenous writers and Castillo have criticized the state curriculum, claiming it glosses over the Indians' brutal treatment. A Cross of Thorns drew praise from Indian groups and major publications, and now is being taught in classes at the University of California at Berkeley, UCLA, Stanford, Monterey State University, Sonoma State University, and Oklahoma State University, plus several California community colleges.


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The California Gold Rush

On January 24, 1848, James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter from New Jersey, discovered gold flakes in the American River at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Coloma, California. Marshall was working to build a mill for John Sutter, a German-born Swiss colonizer. Sutter established Sutter's Fort in the area. Days after Marshall's discovery at Sutter's Mill, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War and leaving California in the hands of the United States.

Sutter obtained permission from the governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado, to settle in the territory. Sutter employed or enslaved Native Americans of the Miwok and Maidu tribes, the Hawaiians (Kanakas) he had brought, and also employed some Europeans. He envisioned creating an agricultural utopia, and for a time the settlement was large and prosperous. Prior to the Gold Rush, it was the destination for most immigrants entering California via the high passes of the Sierra Nevada, including the ill-fated Donner Party of 1846, for whose rescue Sutter contributed supplies.

Some Native Americans worked voluntarily for Sutter (e.g. Nisenans, Miwoks, Ochecames), but others were subjected to varying degrees of coercion that resembled slavery or serfdom. Sutter believed Native Americans must be kept "strictly under fear" in order to serve white landowners. His Native American "employees" slept on bare floors in locked rooms without sanitation, and ate from troughs made from hollowed tree trunks. If Indians refused to work, Sutter responded with violence.

Sutter attempted to keep the gold discovery quiet, but merchant and newspaper publisher Samuel Brannan returned from Sutter's Mill to San Francisco with gold he had acquired and he publicized the find. Crowds of men overran Sutter's Mill, destroying nearly everything Sutter had worked for.

Approximately three-quarters of the male population of San Francisco left San Francisco for the gold mines. Prospective gold miners came searching for fortune and California's non-native population exploded. James Wilson Marshall discovered his first gold flakes on January 24, 1848 - by August 1848 the area had more than 4,000 gold miners. The Gold Rush was the largest mass migration in United States history.

San Francisco developed a bustling economy and became the central metropolis of the new frontier. Miners extracted more than 750,000 pounds of gold during the California Gold Rush, worth approximately $2 billion.

The Gold Rush sped up California's admission to the Union as the 31st state. In late 1849, California applied to enter the Union with a constitution that barred the Southern system of racial slavery. This provoked a crisis in Congress between proponents of slavery and anti-slavery politicians. According to the Compromise of 1850, proposed by Kentucky's Senator Henry Clay, California was allowed to enter as a free state. The territories of Utah and New Mexico were left open to decide the question for themselves.


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California is home to The Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite National Park, Angel Island, Alcatraz, Disneyland, and Hollywood. The highest and lowest points in mainland U.S. are in California. Mount Whitney stands 14,495 feet, and less than 100 miles away is Death Valley which is 282 feet below sea level. Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in the country. Death Valley frequently reaches temperatures greater than 120 degrees during the summer and only has about two inches of rain each year.

Blue jeans were invented in San Francisco: Levi Strauss was born in Germany in 1829. He and his family moved to New York City in 1846 where they had a store selling clothing and other goods. In early 1853, Strauss moved to San Francisco, California to sell goods to the thriving gold mining trade. He made durable trousers for gold miners from heavy brown canvas cloth. He later switched materials and created the first denim blue jeans in 1873, catering to workingmen who needed tough garments that would withstand hard manual labor. On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis secured a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, the birth of one of the world's most famous garments: blue jeans.

American author Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) never said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." He should have said it, but he didn't. The quote is frequently incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain.

Skateboarding started in California in the 1950s. The first skateboards were made from roller skates attached to a board. Skateboarding gained popularity because of surfing. Skateboarding was initially referred to as sidewalk surfing.

The Barbie doll is a California native. Mattel, Inc., a southern California toy company, introduced Barbie, full name Barbara Millicent Roberts, an 11-inch tall plastic doll with the figure of an adult woman, on March 9, 1959. Ruth Handler, who founded Mattel with her husband, Elliot, spearheaded the introduction of Barbie.

In 1964, San Francisco's cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark.

In 1969, California became the birthplace of the Internet.

Apple Computers were invented in California. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak developed the world's first user-friendly personal computer, originally known as Apple Computers, in Jobs' garage at his home in Los Altos, California. On April 1, 1976, they debuted the Apple 1.

There are over 100,000 earthquakes in California every year. Most are minor and cause no damage.

California has many droughts. One of the worst was from December 2011 until March 2017. It was the driest in California in documented history. 164 million trees died during this time.

California has some weird laws. Here are a few: In Blythe, it is illegal to wear cowboy boots unless you own a minimum of two cows. In Fresno, park visitors cannot "annoy" lizards they encounter at the city park. Walking an elephant down Market Street in San Francisco is illegal, unless the elephant is on a leash. Between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., it is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. In Long Beach it is illegal to curse on a mini-golf course. Bowling is not legal on the sidewalk in Chico.

At the midpoint of California, there is a palm tree and a pine tree planted next to each other to signify the meeting point of Northern and Southern California.

It has been illegal to bury people in San Francisco since 1901. Because space was limited and real estate was at a premium even back in 1901, the city outlawed burials and moved all cemeteries to neighboring Colma, California.

Californians do not call California "Cali" - they say "NorCal" or "SoCal" for Northern and Southern California.

Johnny Cash Tarantula: Aphonopelma johnnycashi is a species of tarantula (family Theraphosidae). It was discovered in 2015 near Folsom Prison in California, and named after Johnny Cash, whose song, "Folsom Prison Blues," made the prison famous. The mature male tarantulas of this species are generally black, and the country music singer was known as "The Man in Black."

There is much more about California. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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Michigan, USA



MICHIGAN

Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern regions of the United States. The French colonized Michigan in the 17th century. The name possibly comes from the French version of the Ojibwe word meshi-gami, which means "large water" or "large lake". Michigan has over 150 lighthouses and navigational lights.

With a population of approximately ten million, Michigan is the tenth most populous of the 50 United States, the 11th most extensive by area, and the largest by area east of the Mississippi River. Its capital is Lansing, and its largest city is Detroit. Detroit, also called Motor City and the Paris of the Midwest, is among the nation's most populous and largest metropolitan economies. The city is known as the car capital of the world.

Michigan includes 56,954 square miles of land area; 1,194 square miles of inland waters; and 38,575 square miles of Great Lakes water area. Michigan has almost 65,000 inland lakes, ponds, and streams.

Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often called "The U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (8 km) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The Mackinac Bridge connects the peninsulas.

Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the world, and more shoreline than any other state, except Alaska. The western shore has many sand dunes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes rise 460 feet above Lake Michigan.

Living among the sand dunes is the dwarf lake iris that is Michigan's official state wildflower. Michigan’s state flower is the apple blossom, its state game mammal is the white-tailed deer, and the painted turtle is the state reptile. The state is home to 360 bird species including the rare Kirtland’s warbler.

Although Michigan is often called the "Wolverine State" they are no longer in Michigan. A 2004 sighting of a wolverine was the first confirmed sighting in Michigan in 200 years. That animal was found dead in 2010.

Apples are the largest and most valuable fruit crop in Michigan. The state has 11.3 million apple trees. Michigan is the third largest apple producing state in the U.S.

Michigan is the largest producer of cherries in the U.S.

The extinct mastodon is the state fossil. One of the most complete mastodon skeletons ever found came from an area near Owosso, Michigan. The longest trail of mastodon footprints can be found outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Mastodons were mammals; they did not appear until many millions of years after the close of the Cretaceous period. They lived in herds, similar to their distant relatives, modern elephants. Fossil evidence indicates that mastodons probably disappeared from North America approximately 10,500 years ago as part of a mass extinction of most of the Pleistocene megafauna that is believed to have been a result of human hunting pressure.

The Petoskey stone is the official state stone. It is formed from 350 million-year-old fossilized limestone and is found along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Rogers City boasts the world’s largest limestone quarry.

Spreading over more than 1,400 acres, there is a gigantic salt mine underneath Detroit. It is approximately 1160 feet below the city’s surface, formed as a result of evaporation of a sea covering the region some 400 million years ago.

The Ambassador Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America in terms of trade volume.

The Mackinac Bridge (Mighty Mac) is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. Connecting the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, it spans five miles over the Straits of Mackinac, which is where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. The Mighty Mac took three years to complete and opened in 1957.

The state capitol building with its majestic dome was built in Lansing in l879. It took six years to complete. It has more than nine acres of hand-painted surfaces. It is one of 13 capitol buildings in the U.S. that is a national historical landmark.

The Model T is an important part of American history. Henry Ford, a pioneer of mass automobile production, was born July 30, 1863 in Greenfield Township, Michigan. The Ford Motor Company is still based in Dearborn.

In 1879 Detroit, Michigan telephone customers were first in the U.S. to be assigned phone numbers to facilitate handling calls.

The art deco Fisher building, designed by celebrated architect Albert Kahn and built in 1928, is one of the most iconic features of the Detroit skyline. The Fisher building has been called Detroit's largest art object.

"Hitsville U.S.A." is the nickname given to Motown Records first headquarters, in Detroit, Michigan, purchased by Motown founder Berry Gordy in 1959. Its name, a blend of motor and town, has become a nickname for Detroit. Motown specialized in soul music with "The Motown Sound". Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular music. Many of its African American performers became celebrated artists. Following mainstream success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gordy moved the label to Los Angeles. Since 1985, the Hitsville U.S.A. building on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit has been the site of the Motown Museum, dedicated to the legacy of the record label, its artists, and its music.

Michigan has the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States. The De Zwaan Windmill in Holland, Michigan is not only a historic attraction; it is a functioning machine that produces healthy whole-wheat flour.

Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office. The J.W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships as they pass under the Ambassador Bridge. They have been operating for 125 years.

The Saugatuck Chain Ferry in the resort town of Saugatuck, built in 1838, is the only remaining chain-driven ferry in the country and it is hand propelled. It is the only floating zip code in the United States. It is addressed, Vessel Name, Marine Post Office, Detroit, Michigan, 48222.

The Cross In The Woods, located in Indian River, is the world's largest crucifix.

The Detroit Zoo in Detroit has more than 1.5 million visitors annually. It is home to more than 2,000 animals of 230 species. It is the first zoo in America to feature cage-free, open-exhibits that allows animals more freedom to roam.

The Michigan Left: In addition to having to drive in snowy conditions, the "Michigan Left" can be difficult for out-of-town drivers. The "Michigan Left" isn't found everywhere. It is scattered throughout the state. It requires drivers to turn right and then make a U-turn to go in the direction they desire. If you aren't familiar with this procedure, it is easy to get lost or to unintentionally make an illegal turn.

Colon, Michigan is home to the world’s largest manufacture of magic supplies. Colon calls itself the Magic Capital of the World. The city hosts a four-day magician convention each August.

Michigan's flaky meat filled pasties are so popular in the Upper Peninsula that the community has a pasty festival in Calumet each year. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the pasties.

Michigan is home to the National Museum of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen consisted of African-American and Caribbean-born pilots who fought against the Axis powers in World War II. The pilots were known for their aerial combat bravery and helped turn the tide of the war in favor of the Allies. The Tuskegee Airmen formed the 477th Bombardment Group and 332nd Fighter Group of the USMA. The museum is located in Warren, part of the outskirts of Detroit.

The Detroit Historical Museum has an exhibit called "Doorway to Freedom" that shares Detroit's association with the Underground Railroad when a nineteenth-century network of people and places helped American slaves escape to freedom in the North.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) was established in 1888. It is 658,000 square feet. It is one of the top six museums in the U.S. The museum has over 100 galleries. It is one of the most visited art museums in the world. It has a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh, paintings by Henri Matisse, and important American art. The museum has the remarkable Rivera Court, an enclosed courtyard with walls covered with colorful murals painted by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.

Flint, Michigan, is home to the Flint Institute of the Arts. The Institute is the second largest art museum in Michigan and one of the largest art instruction schools in the nation. It attracts students from across the country and the world.

The Flint water crisis is a water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan that began in April 2014, after the drinking water source for the city of Flint, Michigan was changed. Flint switched its treated water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors. Lead from aging pipes leached into the water with extreme levels of heavy metal neurotoxin and exposed more than 100,000 residents to elevated lead levels. Two independent studies confirmed that poisoning caused by the water was in the area's population. This resulted in numerous lawsuits, the resignation of several officials, criminal indictments, and a federal public health state of emergency for Genesee County. Flint’s drinking water system has become one of the most closely monitored in the U.S. A new lead and copper rule means that Michigan now has the strictest water standard in the nation.

Dearborn, Michigan, boasts the largest Arab-American community in the nation. The city features the first Arab-American museum in the country with exhibits, cultural displays, and literary, artistic, and sculptural works of art. The area has Arab and Arab-American owned grocery stores, cafes, restaurants, entertainment venues, and mosques.

Ann Arbor, Michigan is home to the chewing gum wall, also known as Graffiti Alley. Artist Katherine Cost painted the wall on East Liberty Street in 1999. One part of the wall is layered with chewed gum. Sticking chewed gum on the wall is a tradition done by locals and tourists since 1999.

Grand Rapids Michigan is home to the 24-foot Leonardo da Vinci horse, called Il Gavallo, the largest equestrian bronze sculpture in the Western Hemisphere.

The Michigan State University campus is home to the oldest continuously operating botanical garden in the U.S. The garden has more than 5,000 species of plants.

You can obtain a unicorn-hunting license from Michigan's Lake Superior State University. The late W.T. Rabe, known for his clever public relations stunts when he was a Detroit-area publicist, created the Unicorn Hunters in 1971.

In 1817 the University of Michigan was the first university established by any of the states. Originally named Cathelepistemian and located in Detroit, the name was changed in 1821. The university moved to Ann Arbor in 1841.

Michigan was the first state to provide in its Constitution for the establishment of public libraries.

Michigan was the first state to guarantee every child the right to tax-paid high school education.

Elsie, Michigan is home to the world’s largest registered Holstein dairy herd.

Isle Royal Park, Michigan shelters one of the largest moose herds remaining in the U.S.


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A few notable people who were born in Michigan or who have lived in Michigan:

Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963) was an American poet. He is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Although many people associate Frost with New England, he spent several years in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the 1920s, serving as the University of Michigan’s poet in residence. Frost created some of his best-known poems while living in Michigan. Frost was 86 when he read at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961. It earned Frost unofficial recognition as the poet laureate of the U.S. No one in the U.S. had officially borne that title, an honor bestowed in Britain for centuries. Frost was one of America's rare "public literary figures, almost an artistic institution." He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetic works. On July 22, 1961, Frost was named poet laureate of Vermont.


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George Snow Hill (Nov. 13, 1898 - Oct. 15, 1969) was born in Munising, Michigan. Hill was an American painter and sculptor. He is best known as a muralist. His mural work received international attention.


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Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 - July 2, 1961) was born outside of Chicago. He grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, but spent his first 21 summers at his family's vacation home, a Walloon Lake cottage in Michigan. He used northern Michigan as settings in a number of his works, most featuring his character Nick Adams. Many of his works are classics of American literature. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. The Ernest Hemingway Cottage on Walloon Lake, Michigan is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.


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Robert Hayden (August 4, 1913 – February 25, 1980) was born in Detroit, Michigan. He was an American poet, essayist, and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978, a role today known as U.S. Poet Laureate. He was the first African-American writer to hold the office. In 2012 the U.S. Postal Service issued a pane of stamps featuring ten great Twentieth Century American Poets, including Robert Hayden.


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Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938) is an American writer. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has published 58 novels, numerous plays, novellas, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. She has won many awards for her writing. She moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1962, and lived in or around Detroit for nearly 20 years. She taught at the University of Detroit, and her experiences in Detroit during the 1960s greatly influenced some of her novels and short stories.


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Francis Ford Coppola was born April 7, 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. He is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and film composer. He was a significant figure in Hollywood filmmaking of the 1960s and 1970s. He is considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.


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Scientist Robert Jarvik was born May 11, 1946 in Midland, Michigan. Along with Willem Kolff, Jarvik invented the Jarvik-7 artificial heart. He also invented a ventricular assist device, the Jarvis 2000.


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Documentary filmmaker, activist, author, and actor Michael Moore was born April 23, 1954 in Flint, Michigan. He produces documentaries, video shorts, music videos, and narrative films. He founded the Traverse City Film Festival held annually in Traverse City, Michigan in 2005. In 2009, he co-founded the Traverse City Comedy Festival, also held annually in Traverse City, where he helped spearhead the renovation of the historic downtown State Theater. In 2005, Time magazine named Moore one of the world's 100 most influential people. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humanities from Michigan State University in 2014.


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Serena Williams was born on September 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan. She is an American professional tennis player and former world No. 1 in women's single tennis. She won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second most of all time behind Margaret Court.


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There is much more about Michigan. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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New York, USA



NEW YORK

New York is a state located in the northeastern United States. It was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With more than 19 million residents in 2019, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from its city with the same name - which is located within the state, it is sometimes referred to as New York State. New York contains 13 metropolitan areas, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. Major metro areas include New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, the Capital District (Albany, Schenectady, and Troy), Poughkeepsie, Syracuse, Utica, and Binghamton. Albany, the state capital, is the sixth-largest city in New York State. There are 62 cities in New York. More people live in NYC than in 40 other states.

The 27th largest U.S. state in land area, New York has a diverse geography. The state is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island, east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the northwest. The southern part of the state is in the Atlantic coastal plain and includes Long Island and several smaller associated islands, as well as New York City and the lower Hudson River Valley.

The large Upstate New York region comprises several ranges of the wider Appalachian Mountains, and the Adirondack Mountains in the Northeastern lobe of the state. The north-south Hudson River Valley and the east-west Mohawk River Valley bisect these more mountainous regions. Western New York is considered part of the Great Lakes region and borders Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Niagara Falls. The central part of the state is dominated by the Finger Lakes, a popular vacation and tourist destination.

In 2019, New York City (abbreviated as NYC) had an estimated population of 8.34 million people distributed over approximately 303 miles. NYC is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population. The NYC metropolitan area is the most populous city in the U.S. and the premier gateway for immigration to the U.S.

Two-thirds of the state's population lives in the New York metropolitan area (including nearly 40 percent on Long Island). NYC comprises five counties (each coextensive with a borough): Bronx, New York County (Manhattan), Queens, Kings County (Brooklyn), and Richmond County (Staten Island). NYC is a global city, home to the United Nations Headquarters. It has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and the world's most economically powerful city.

Tribes of Algonquian and Iroquoian-speaking Native Americans had inhabited New York for several hundred years by the time the earliest Europeans came to New York. French colonists and Jesuit missionaries arrived southward from Montreal for trade and proselytizing.

In 1609, Henry Hudson sailing for the Dutch East India Company visited the region. The Dutch built Fort Nassau in 1614 at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk rivers, where the present-day capital of Albany later developed. The Dutch soon also settled New Amsterdam and parts of the Hudson Valley, establishing the multicultural colony of New Netherland, a center of trade and immigration. England seized the colony from the Dutch in 1664. During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), a group of colonists of the Province of New York attempted to take control of the British colony and eventually succeeded in establishing independence.

In the 19th century, New York's development of the interior, beginning with the Erie Canal, gave it incomparable advantages over other regions of the east coast and built its political and cultural ascendancy.

Many landmarks in New York are well known, including Times Square, Central Park, Niagara Falls, and Grand Central Terminal. France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. in 1886 for its centennial celebration. New York is "home" to the Statue of Liberty. However, the Statue of Liberty is not located in New York. It is in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The Empire State Building has its own zip code. It is 10188. New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark on May 18, 1981. In 1982 The Empire State Building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global hub of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, and environmental sustainability. New York has approximately 200 colleges and universities, including the State University of New York. Several have been ranked among the top 100 in the nation and in the world.

There is much more about New York State. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

In 2019, New York City (abbreviated as NYC) had an estimated population of 8.34 million people distributed over approximately 303 miles. NYC is home to more than two-fifths of the state's population. The NYC metropolitan area is the most populous city in the United States and the premier gateway for immigration to the United States.

NYC comprises five counties (each coextensive with a borough): Bronx, New York County (Manhattan), Queens, Kings County (Brooklyn), and Richmond County (Staten Island). NYC is a global city, home to the United Nations Headquarters. It has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and the world's most economically powerful city.

Much of NYC is built on swamp and other wetlands. NYC relies on a system of 753 pumps to remove 13 million gallons of water, street draining, and sewer flow each day. Without this system, many tunnels would flood with water within a few hours.

More than 800 languages are spoken in NYC, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. More Jewish and Chinese people live in NYC than any other city outside of Israel and outside of Asia. The Puerto Rican population in NYC is the largest of any city in the world.

The NYC Public Library has over 50 million books and other items. It is the second largest library system in the nation after the Library of Congress. It is the third largest library in the world.

The Empire State Building has its own zip code. It is 10188. NYC's Landmarks Preservation Commission declared the building a landmark on May 18, 1981. In 1982 The Empire State Building was listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. France gifted the Statue of Liberty to the U.S. in 1886 for its centennial celebration. New York is "home" to the Statue of Liberty. However, the Statue of Liberty is not located in New York. It is in Jersey City, New Jersey.

There is much more about NYC. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


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Oregon, USA



OREGON

Oregon has been home to Indigenous nations for centuries. By 8000 BC there were settlements throughout the state, with populations concentrated along the lower Columbia River, in the western valleys, and around coastal estuaries.

While there is evidence that Paleo-Indians inhabited the region, the oldest evidence of habitation in Oregon was found at Fort Rock Cave and the Paisley Caves in Lake County. Archaeologist Luther Cressman dated material from Fort Rock to 13,200 years ago, and there is evidence of inhabitants in the region at least 15,000 years ago.

In 2012, Oregon's Paisley Caves were placed on the National Register of Historic Places after human DNA was discovered on artifacts in the caves. To date (July, 2020) it is some of the earliest evidence of human habitation of North America.

Oregon was home to many Native Americans, including the Chinook, Coquille (Ko-Kwell), Bannock, Chasta, Kalapuya, Klamath, Klickitat, Molalla, Nez Perce, Takelma, Killamuk, Neah-kah-nie, Umatilla, and Umpqua.

The first European traders, explorers, and settlers began exploring what is now Oregon's Pacific coast in the early-mid 1500s.

As early as 1565, the Spanish began sending vessels northeast from the Philippines, riding the Kuroshio Current in a sweeping circular route across the northern part of the Pacific.

In 1592, Juan de Fuca undertook detailed mapping and studies of ocean currents in the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon coast as well as the strait now bearing his name.

Spanish ships would usually not land before reaching Cape Mendocino in California, but some landed or wrecked in what is now Oregon. Nehalem people, or Tillamook, a Native American tribe, recount strangers and the discovery of items like chunks of beeswax and a lidded silver vase, likely connected to the 1707 wreck of the San Francisco Xavier.

The Nehalem (Tillamook) tribe was from coastal Oregon of the Salish linguistic group. The name "Tillamook" is a Chinook language term meaning people of Nekelim (or Nehalem). The tribe consists of several divisions and dialects, including: Nehalem, Tillamook Bay, Nestucca-Salmon River, and Siletz Bands of the overall Tillamook Group.

Estimated to have 2200 people at the beginning of the 18th century, the Tillamook lost population in the 19th century to infectious disease and murder by European Americans. In 1849 they were estimated to have 200 members.

In 1856 they were forced to live on the Siletz Reservation with many other Tribes and Bands, the southern bands (Nestucca, Salmon River and Siletz River peoples) territory being largely within the 1855 boundaries of the Siletz Reservation.

In 1898 the northern Tillamook (Nehalem and Tillamook Bay) and the Clatsop, (another Tribe abutting their territory to the north), were the first tribes to sue the United States government for compensation for aboriginal title to land it had taken from them without a ratified treaty or compensation. They were paid a settlement in 1907. Their descendants are now considered part of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz.


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European powers, and later the United States, quarreled over possession of the region until 1846, when the U.S. and Great Britain finalized division of the Native American's land.

1843-1848-1959: In 1843, an autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country and the Oregon Territory was created in 1848.


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Racism & Slavery:

1844: In December 1844, Oregon passed its Black Exclusion Law, which prohibited African Americans from entering the territory while simultaneously prohibiting slavery. Slave owners who brought their slaves with them were given three years before they were forced to free them. Any African Americans in the region after the law was passed were forced to leave. Those who did not comply were arrested and beaten.

Slavery played a major part in Oregon's history and influenced its path to statehood. The territory's request for statehood was delayed several times, as members of Congress argued among themselves whether the territory should be admitted as a "free" or "slave" state. Eventually politicians from the south agreed to allow Oregon to enter as a "free" state, in exchange for opening slavery to the southwest United States.

1859: Oregon was admitted to the Union and became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Founded as a refuge from disputes over slavery, Oregon had a "whites only" clause in its original state Constitution.

1926: It was illegal for black people to move to state of Oregon until 1926.


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Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West Coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The parallel 42º north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada.

Oregon is 295 miles north to south at longest distance, and 395 miles east to west. With an area of 98,381 square miles, Oregon is slightly larger than the United Kingdom. It is the ninth largest state in America. It has a population of approximately four million, an is the 27th most populous U.S. state.

Two Time Zones: Oregon lies in two time zones. Most of Malheur County is in the Mountain Time Zone, while the rest of the state lies in the Pacific Time Zone.

The capital, Salem, is the second most populous city, with 169,798 residents.

Portland, with 647,805, ranks as the 26th among U.S. cities. The Portland metropolitan area, which includes the city of Vancouver, Washington, to the north, ranks the 25th largest metro area in the nation, with a population of 2,453,168.

Historians have recorded and some residents admit that Oregon has not always been welcoming to minorities. Today Portland is one of the whitest big cities in America, with a white population that is almost 75 percent and less than seven percent African American residents. Today Portland is considered liberal and tolerant.


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Portland is one of four cities in the United States with an extinct volcano within its boundaries. Bend is the other city in Oregon with a volcano within its city limits (Pilot Butte). The two additional cities are Jackson Volcano in Jackson, Mississippi, and Diamond Head in Honolulu.

Oregon is one of the most geographically diverse states in America. It has abundant bodies of water, dense evergreen and mixed forests, high deserts, and semi-arid shrub-lands.

There are nine lighthouses along the Oregon coastline. America's most photographed lighthouse is the Heceta Head Lighthouse.

Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America. It is 7993 feet deep, and stretches through Oregon and Idaho. It is popular for spectacular views and whitewater rafting along the Snake River. There are no roads across its ten-mile wide expanse.

The Malheur Wildlife Refuge is home to the largest freshwater marsh in America. The refuge was created in 1908 by order of President Theodore Roosevelt to protect habitat for diverse waterfowl and migratory birds, and grew to encompass 187,757 acres (760 km2; 293 square miles) of public lands. It is a popular site for birding, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Archaeological demonstrates that it likely was home to Native Americans for approximately the past 16,000 to 15,000 years.

Volcanoes: At 11,249 feet, Mount Hood, a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, is Oregon's highest point. It is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. The peak is home to 12 named glaciers and snowfields. Mount Hood is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt. However, based on its history, an explosive eruption is unlikely and the mountain is informally considered dormant.

Oregon has three national park sites: The Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks on the north coast, Crater Lake National Park in the southern part of the Cascades, and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument east of the Cascades.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through northern Oregon in search of the Northwest Passage. They built their winter fort in 1805-1806 at Fort Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia River, staying at the encampment from December until March.

Oregon was home to the world's largest log cabin, built in 1905 in honor of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It was a half-acre in size. It burned down in an epic fire in 1964.

Crater Lake National Park is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the ten deepest lakes in the world. Formed by the collapse of a volcano approximately 7700 years ago, the lake is roughly 2000 feet deep, and is home to two islands: Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. Crater Lake pooled into the remains of a volcano. The crystal-blue waters of Crater Lake are known worldwide.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Only in Pakistan is there a fossil bed that rivals it. The park is known for its well-preserved layers of fossil plants and mammals that lived in the region between the late Eocene, about 45 million years ago, and the late Miocene, about five million years ago. Sahaptin people hunted, fished, and gathered roots and berries in the region before the arrival of Euro-Americans in the 19th century. Paleontologists have unearthed and studied fossils in the region since 1864, when Thomas Condon, a missionary and amateur geologist, recognized their importance and made them known globally.

Giant Mushroom: Oregon has what is considered the largest single organism in the world. The Armillaria ostoyae, known as the honey mushroom, is a fungus that runs beneath 2,200 acres of the Malheur National Forest of eastern Oregon. The mushroom measures approximately 2.4 miles across and is believed to be 1,900 to 8,650 years old. It covers 2200 acres. It was discovered in the late 1990s using aerial photos and DNA testing cultures from 112 dying trees.

The honey mushroom exists in other places, such as California, Michigan, and Germany; however, Oregon's mushroom is the largest ever measured. Scientists believe the huge size may be a function of the dry climate in eastern Oregon. Spores have a difficult time establishing new organisms, making room for the old-timers to spread without competition. This enables the Armillaria ostoyae to grow and spread.

Because of its diverse landscapes and waterways, various forms of agriculture, fishing, and hydroelectric power largely power Oregon's economy.

Oregon is home to a unique and diverse array of wildlife. The largest concentration of wintering bald eagles can be found in Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Approximately 60 percent of the state is covered in forest, while the areas west of the Cascades are more densely populated by forest, making up around 80 percent of the landscape. Approximately 60 percent of Oregon's forests are federal land. Oregon is the top timber producer of the lower 48 states.

The official Oregon state fish is the Chinook salmon, and the official state animal is the beaver. Both are indigenous to the area. Oregon is sometimes unofficially called "The Beaver State."

The pear is Oregon's state fruit.

Tree species include the Douglas fir (the state tree), redwood, ponderosa pine, western red cedar, and hemlock. Ponderosa pines are more common in the Blue Mountains in the eastern part of the state and firs are more common in the west.

Many species of mammals live in the state, which include opossums, shrews, moles, little pocket mice, great basin pocket mice, dark kangaroo mouse, California kangaroo rat, chisel-toothed kangaroo rat, ord's kangaroo rat, bats, rabbits, pikas, mountain beavers, chipmunks, squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, beavers (the state mammal), porcupines, coyotes, wolves, foxes, black bears, raccoons, badgers, skunks, antelopes, cougars, bobcats, lynxes, deer, elk, and moose.

Marine mammals include seals, sea lions, humpback whales, killer whales, gray whales, blue whales, sperm whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins.

Birds include American widgeons, mallard ducks, great blue herons, bald eagles, golden eagles, western meadowlarks (the state bird), barn owls, great horned owls, rufous hummingbirds, pileated woodpeckers, wrens, towhees, sparrows, and buntings.

1930: Gray wolves were completely exterminated during the 1930. They have returned. The Oregon wolf population reached an estimated minimum of 110 in 2015, and 112 in 2017.

1981 & 1998: Oregon pioneered the American use of postal voting, beginning with experimentation approved by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1981 and culminating with a 1998 ballot measure mandating that all counties conduct elections by mail. Oregon remains one of two states, the other being Washington, where voting by mail is the only method of voting.

1989 & 2011: Vast forests have historically made Oregon one of the nation's major timber-producing and logging states, but forest fires (such as the Tillamook Burn), over-harvesting, and lawsuits over proper management of the extensive federal forest holdings have reduced the timber produced. Between 1989 and 2011, the amount of timber harvested from federal lands in Oregon dropped approximately 90 percent, although harvest levels on private land have remained relatively constant.

1990-2013: Moose have not always inhabited Oregon. Moose migrated to Oregon south from Washington or west from Idaho across the Palouse Prairie in the late 1990s or early-2000s. In 2005, researchers confirmed the presence of a small moose herd of approximately 70 in Wallowa County. In 2013 the number was estimated be 60. Hunting moose is illegal in Oregon, though shooting a limited number of deer, elk, black bear, cougar, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and Western gray squirrels is permitted during specified seasons.

Oregon is black bear country. Although native to the area, there are no longer grizzly bears in the state. The last grizzly bear recorded in Oregon was killed in the late 1930s. Because black bears are often brown, people sometimes wonder what species of bear they have seen.

During the 1990s, conservative Christians formed the Oregon Citizens Alliance, and unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation to prevent "gay sensitivity training" in public schools and deny legal benefits for homosexual couples.

In 1994, Oregon adopted the Oregon Health Plan, which made health care available to most of its citizens without private health insurance.

In 1994, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide through the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Oregon's suicide rates are some of the highest in America.

In the 2002 general election, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure to increase the state minimum wage automatically each year according to inflationary changes, which are measured by the consumer price index (CPI).

In the 2004 general election, Oregon voters passed ballot measures banning same-sex marriage and restricting land use regulation.

In the 2006 general election, voters restricted the use of eminent domain and extended the state's discount prescription drug coverage.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon on May 19, 2014 after U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning such marriages was unconstitutional in relation to the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution.

1973 & 2014: Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973. A measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon was approved on November 4, 2014.

In 2014 Oregon became the second state at the time to have legalized physician-assisted suicide, legalized same-sex marriage, and legalized recreational marijuana.

1970s-2014: While the history of the wine production in Oregon can be traced to before Prohibition, it became a significant industry beginning in the 1970s. In 2005, Oregon ranked third among U.S. states with 303 wineries. Due to regional similarities in climate and soil, the grapes planted in Oregon are often the same varieties found in the French regions of Alsace and Burgundy. In 2014, 71 wineries opened in the state. The total is currently 676, which represents growth of 12 percent over 2013.

In the southern Oregon coast, commercially cultivated cranberries account for about seven percent of U.S. production, and the cranberry ranks 23rd among Oregon's top 50 agricultural commodities. Cranberry cultivation in Oregon uses about 27,000 acres in southern Coos and northern Curry counties.

In the northeastern region of the state, both irrigated and dry land wheat is grown.

Oregon farmers and ranchers produce cattle, sheep, dairy products, eggs, and poultry.

Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut, the hazelnut. Oregon is the only state in America and one of four major world hazelnut growing regions. Oregon produces approximately 95 percent of the domestic hazelnuts in the United States. The hazelnut is also known as the filbert.

Oregon has one of the largest salmon-fishing industries in the world, although ocean fisheries have reduced the river fisheries in recent years. Because of the abundance of waterways in the state, it is also a major producer of hydroelectric energy.

Tourism is a strong industry in the state. Tourists enjoy the state's natural features-mountains, forests, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and lakes, including Crater Lake National Park, Multnomah Falls, the Painted Hills, the Deschutes River, and the Oregon Caves. Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor attract visitors year-round for skiing and other snow activities.

Portland is home to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Zoo, which is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River. The International Rose Test Garden is a prominent attraction in the city. Portland has been named the best city in the world for street food by several publications, including the U.S. News & World Report and CNN. Oregon is home to many breweries, and Portland has the largest number of microbreweries of any city in the world.

Oregon's coastal region produces significant tourism. The Oregon Coast Aquarium comprises 23 acres along Yaquina Bay in Newport, and was home to Keiko the orca whale. It has been noted as one of the top ten aquariums in North America.

Fort Clatsop in Warrenton features a replica of Lewis and Clark's encampment at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805.

The Sea Lion Caves are the largest system of sea caverns in the United States, and attract many visitors. They are a connected system of sea caves and caverns. They are located 11 miles (18 km) north of Florence on U.S. Highway 101, about midpoint on the 400 miles (640 km) Oregon Coast. In this area Highway 101 follows a steep and undeveloped seascape 300 feet (91 m) above sea level. People access to the caves through a gift shop building.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: In Southern Oregon, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, held in Ashland, is a regional repertory theatre. From late February through October each year, the world-class festival offers approximately 800-850 matinee and evening performances of a wide range of classic and contemporary plays, not limited to Shakespeare. At any given time 5-11 plays are offered in rotation six days a week in three theatres. The popular festival has an audience of approximately 400,000 each year.

The Oregon Vortex is a roadside attraction that opened in 1930. It is located on Sardine Creek in Gold Hill. It has interesting gravity optical illusions. The proprietors propose that the illusions are the result of paranormal properties of the area.

Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site was built along the Applegate Trail in 1883 for Henry Smith, a local entrepreneur. It is the oldest continuously operating inn in the Pacific Northwest, and is the site where author Jack London completed his 1913 novel Valley of the Moon. The historic inn housed Hollywood actors from the early days when they wanted privacy. Celebrities Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Orson Welles stayed at the inn.

Oregon is a popular region for film shoots because of its diverse landscapes. Movies filmed in Oregon include: Animal House, Free Willy, The General, The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Stand By Me. Oregon native Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, has incorporated many references from his hometown of Portland into the TV series. Several TV shows have been filmed in Oregon including Portlandia, Grimm, Bates Motel, and Leverage. The Oregon Film Museum is located in the old Clatsop County Jail in Astoria.

Medford is home to Harry and David, an American-based premium food and gift producer and retailer. The company sells products through direct mail, online, and in retail stores nationwide.

Lithia Motors is an American nationwide automotive retailer headquartered in Medford, Oregon. It is the third largest automotive retailer in America.

Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company was a book publishing company in Portland, Oregon. It was one of the Northwest's largest book publishers. The company liquidated in November 2009.

Oregon is home to Mentor Graphics Corporation, a leader in electronic design automation.

Nike is an American multi-national corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. It is the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment. The headquarters of Nike are located on an unincorporated 200-acre campus inside, but excluded from, Beaverton, Oregon city limits. Nike is continuously ranked as a top employer in Oregon along with its competitor Adidas.

Adidas is a German manufacturer of athletic shoes, apparel, and sporting goods. In the early 21st century it was the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest (after Nike) in the world. Adidas Corporations American Headquarters is located in Portland, Oregon.

Many technology companies operate in Hillsboro, making it the center of Oregon's Silicon Forest. Intel's largest site is in Hillsboro. Other high-tech companies in Hillsboro include Synopsys, Epson, Salesforce, and Oracle's (formerly Sun Microsystems) High-End Operations. Hillsboro is the corporate headquarters for RadiSys and Planar Systems among others.

Hillsboro is also a landing point on three fiber optic cable systems linking the United States across the Pacific Ocean: C2C, Southern Cross Cable, and VSNL Transpacific.

Tektronix, known as Tek, is an American company best known for manufacturing test and measurement devices such as oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and video and mobile test protocol equipment. Originally an independent company, it is now a subsidiary of Fortive, a spinoff from Danaher Corporation.

The U.S. Federal Government and Providence Health systems are respective contenders for top employers in Oregon with roughly 12,000 federal workers and 14,000 Providence Health workers.

Oregon is one of five states that have no sales tax. Oregon voters have voted against sales tax each of the nine times they have been proposed.

Oregon Health & Science University is a Portland-based medical school that operates two hospitals and clinics.

The Oregon Health Plan is the state's Medicaid managed care plan, and it is known for innovations. The Portland area is a mature managed care and two-thirds of Medicare enrollees are in Medicare Advantage plans.

2009-2010: In a 2009 Gallup poll, 69 percent of Oregonians identified themselves as being Christian. The largest Christian denominations in Oregon by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 398,738; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with 147,965; and the Assemblies of God with 45,492. Oregon has the largest community of Russian Old Believers in the United States. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion in Oregon with more than 50,000 adherents, 47,000 live in the Portland area. Kosher food and Jewish educational offerings have led to a increase in Portland's Orthodox Jewish population. The Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association is headquartered in Portland. There are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 Muslims in Oregon, most live in and around Portland.

Most of the remainder of the population had no religious affiliation; the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) placed Oregon as tied with Nevada in fifth place of U.S. states having the highest percentage of residents identifying themselves as "non-religious", at 24 percent.

Oregon has frequently been cited by statistical agencies for having a smaller percentage of religious communities than other states. According to a 2009 Gallup poll, Oregon was paired with Vermont as the two "least religious" states in America.

Secular organizations include the Center for Inquiry (CFI), the Humanists of Greater Portland (HGP), and the United States Atheists (USA).

Oregon supports seven public universities and one affiliate. It is home to three public research universities: The University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene and Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, both classified as research universities with high research activity, and Portland State University which is classified as a research university with high research activity.

UO is the state's highest nationally ranked and most selective public university by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. OSU is the state's only land-grant university, it had the state's largest enrollment for fall 2014, and is the state's highest ranking university according to Academic Ranking of World Universities, Washington Monthly, and QS World University Rankings. OSU receives more annual funding for research than all other public higher education institutions in Oregon combined. The state's urban Portland State University has Oregon's second largest enrollment.

The state has three regional universities: Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Southern Oregon University in Ashland, and Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. The Oregon Institute of Technology has its campus in Klamath Falls. The quasi-public Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) includes medical, dental, and nursing schools, and graduate programs in biomedical sciences in Portland and a science and engineering school in Hillsboro. The state also supports 17 community colleges.

Oregon is home to three major professional sports teams: the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, the Portland Thorns of the NWSL and the Portland Timbers of MLS.

Interesting Things About Oregon

Oregon is pronounced OR-UH-GUN, never OR-EE-GONE.

No one knows how Oregon got its name. Some believe it derives from the French word for windstorm or hurricane (ouregan), referring to the chinook winds of the Columbia River. Other people believe it is from the Spanish word orejon, meaning big ears.

Annually, Portland hosts one of the biggest "World Naked Bike Rides" in the world.

Portland is home to the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland. Built in 1948 by World War II veteran Dick Fagan, "Mills End Park" is allegedly home to a group of invisible leprechauns, led by head leprechaun Patrick O'Toole. The park, which measures two square feet, was an empty hole dug for a light post that was never installed. Fagan, who worked across the street, turn the ordinary posthole into a magical place. He planted flowers and spun enchanting stories about the miniature leprechauns who called the tiny "Mills End Park" home.

In 1971 Oregon became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans. The law reduced litter and increased container recycling. Items that used to be approximately 40 percent of roadside litter now represent about 6 percent.

Oregon residents own approximately one-fourth of America's llama population. In some cases, in recent years, llamas are being replaced with alpacas.

November is, on average, the rainiest month in Portland, followed by December and January. The wettest year on record is 71.82 inches in 1882. From 2000 to 2014, Portland averaged 35.09 inches of rain per year. Portland averages 68 clear days per year. Weeks of dreary and cloudy gray skies can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that is a type of depression. Symptoms are low energy, feeling moody, and feeling depressed. Treatment may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications, and psychotherapy.

Oregon and New Jersey are the only states with limited self-serve gas stations. In most cases, you must allow an attendant to fuel your vehicle. The only Oregon exceptions are: Under House Bill 2482, which took effect in 2018, retailers in counties with a population of less than 40,000 are allowed to have self-service gas pumps. There are 36 counties in Oregon. Drivers in 15 counties can pump their own gas any time of day, while those in three other rural counties can only after business hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) is a dairy cooperative headquartered in Tillamook County, Oregon. It is the largest cheese factory in the world. It produces more than 170,000 pounds of cheese each day. The Tillamook Cheese Factory serves as a visitor center and hosts over one million tourists each year. Visitors learn about the cheese-making process, cheese-packaging process, and the ice cream-making process. Tours are self-guided and self-paced, and are augmented by video presentations and interactive kiosks. Tours inside the cheese-processing area were discontinued in 1967 due to health and safety regulations. A gift shop has a variety of items, including cheese and other food products. The name "Tillamook" is a Chinook language term meaning people of Nekelim (or Nehalem). The Tillamook are a Native American tribe from coastal Oregon of the Salish linguistic group.

There is much more about Oregon. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.