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Britain's American colonies broke with the mother country in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783. During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions. The two most traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65), in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its jobs. Buoyed by victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains the world's most powerful nation state. Since the end of World War II, the economy has achieved relatively steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.


Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 1
15,079 (2010)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 5,194
Over 3,047 m 189
2,438 to 3,047 m 235
1,524 to 2,437 m 1,479
914 to 1,523 m 2,316
Under 914 m 975 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 9,885
2,438 to 3,047 m 7
1,524 to 2,437 m 155
914 to 1,523 m 1,752
Under 914 m 7,971 (2010)

Heliports
126 (2012)

Pipelines
Petroleum products 244,620 km; natural gas 548,665 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 1
Total 224,792 km
Standard gauge
224,792 km 1.435-m gauge (2007)

Roadways World Ranking: 1
Total 6,506,204 km
Paved
4,374,784 km (includes 75,238 km of expressways)
Unpaved 2,131,420 km (2008)

Waterways World Ranking: 4
41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce; Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, is shared with Canada) (2012)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 26
Total 393
By type
Barge carrier 6, bulk carrier 55, cargo 51, carrier 2, chemical tanker 30, container 84, passenger 18, passenger/cargo 56, petroleum tanker 35, refrigerated cargo 3, roll on/roll off 27, vehicle carrier 26
Foreign-owned
85 (Australia 1, Bermuda 5, Denmark 31, France 4, Germany 5, Malaysia 2, Norway 17, Singapore 16, UK 4)
Registered in other countries
794 (Antigua and Barbuda 7, Australia 2, Bahamas 109, Belgium 1, Bermuda 26, Canada 10, Cayman Islands 57, Comoros 2, Cyprus 5, Georgia 1, Greece 8, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 44, Indonesia 2, Ireland 2, Isle of Man 1, Italy 23, Liberia 53, Malta 34, Marshall Islands 200, Netherlands 16, Norway 10, Panama 90, Portugal 4, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 18, Singapore 36, South Korea 8, Togo 1, UK 14, Vanuatu 2, unknown 6) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Cargo ports (tonnage)
Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines, Tampa, Texas City
Container ports (TEUs)
Los Angeles (7,849,985), Long Beach (6,350,125), New York/New Jersey (5,265,058), Savannah (2,616,126), Oakland (2,236,244), Hampton Roads (2,083,278) (2008)
Cruise departure ports (passengers)
Miami (2,032,000), Port Everglades (1,277,000), Port Canaveral (1,189,000), Seattle (430,000), Long Beach (415,000) (2009)
Oil terminals
LOOP terminal, Haymark terminal


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