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AMERICAN CIVILIZATION GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1. One of the biggest countries of the world      3.

5 million miles 17 times the size of France country of immigrants thanks to its size distance from San Francisco to Boston = distance from Paris to Baghdad from San Francisco to the East Coast = 4,5 days driving to get across the country

2. A southern country compared to Europe      The Canary Islands are on the same parallel as Miami Washington DC on the same level as Lisbon Boston on the same level of latitude as Perpignan Seattle on the same level of latitude as Nantes All of the US is south of Paris

3. Relief, physical features  Mountains: three ranges of mountains which all go from North to South o In the East: the Appalachian Mountains, old mountains not very high, eroded by the weather, importance at the end of the 18th century beginning of the 19th century: they formed a barrier. o In the West: the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada form a double chain, much higher mountains (from 9,000 to 1,200 feet high); twice as high as the Appalachians, new mountains roughly as high as the Alps but covering a much larger area; formed a barrier to west world expansion at the end of the 19th century; the mountains were the enemies of the early settlers. Rivers and lakes: natural roads o The Mississippi river system: one of the longest rivers in the US (the longest one is the Missouri) collects the rain coming down from the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians. Over 900 miles wide, 1,500 long, 250 tributaries, 4 times as long as the longest river in France ( the Loire), natural highway used by the settlers to go to New Orleans in order to trade. o The Great Lakes: system of 5 lakes (Michigan, Ontario, Superior, Huron, Eerie), most of them form a boarder between the US and the Canada, they are connected together by rivers, the biggest party of fresh water in the world, where ever you stand on the edge of those lakes, you cant see the other side (only water!), connection with the Atlantic ocean (Chicago is a port and a canal from Chicago to the Mississippi river, the Eerie canal connects the Hudson river with lake Eerie so as to avoid depending on the British colony in the early 19th century. Climate o Many climates o Most of the country: harsh continental climate because of

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The mountains: prevent warm winds from the Pacific ocean to influence the country  Cold wind from the North Pole comes straight down and hot air coming from the North of Mexico and stops the wet air. The US are divided into a western par generally very dry and an eastern part fairly wet North-East: temperate continental climate: the further you go to the West, the less rain you get South-East: subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters, Between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada: cold winters, hot summers, few rain, dry continental climate; Little area in the South West (Colorado) desert with Death Valley, the hottest place on the earth (58C max) West coast  To the North: warm ocean current, very wet, damp oceanic climate.  To the South: California current: cold current, very few rain, Mediterranean climate. 

Natural hazards o South-West: hurricanes coming from the Atlantic Ocean or from the gulf of Mexico (1989: hurricane Hugo: 50 dead) o Mississippi river basin: floods (major floods in 1993) tornadoes every year (Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma) o Pacific North-West, Hawaii and Alaska: volcanoes, in principle they are extinct but some of them became active again on the West Coast (Mont Saint Helen), Hawaii: worlds largest volcanoes. o California, Alaska and Missouri: earthquakes (1989 San Francisco, 1992 East of Los Angeles) o Certain parts of the US are very charged with lightning stapes (South-West desert and Florida) o North-West: heavy snow storms in the winter, which frequently shut down major cities.