People are often confused about whether there are 50 or 52 states in the USA, a doubt that often arises when Washington D.C. (actually a federal district), and Puerto Rico (a US territory) are included on the list.
However, if you look at a current map of the United States, you’ll see that the country is clearly divided into 48 individual states on the US mainland between Mexico and Canada, with Hawaii and Alaska rounding out the total number to 50.
The 50 US states are complemented by 5 US overseas territories, including Guam and Puerto Rico, as well as a number of individual islands under the jurisdiction of the United States, including Wake Island and Baker Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Read on for a complete list of all of the states currently in the union and the corresponding state capital, as well as information about the history of the central capital of the United States and US border limits.
The United States of America was founded on July 4th, 1776, when 13 formerly British colonies (which would later become states) agreed to sign the Declaration of Independence. The first 2 states to sign were Delaware and Pennsylvania in 1787, closely followed by New Jersey later that year.
More and more territories were added to the union as the years went by, and the majority of the states that currently make up the US had all signed the declaration by the end of the 19th century.
The last 2 states to join the union, Alaska and Hawaii, were finally added to the list in 1959, bring the total up to 50.
Find below a full list of the 50 states in the US:
In addition to the 50 states that currently make up the USA, the following 5 territories also belong to the United States:
The central capital of all 50 states in the US is, of, course Washington, D.C. However, this has not always been the case.
Before Washington was established as the seat of the federal government after the American Revolution in 1790, a number of other cities served as the capital of the USA:
In addition to sharing land borders with Mexico and Canada, the US also shares maritime borders with the following countries and territories:
Before planning to cross any of the land and maritime borders into the USA, foreign citizens should first check whether they require a travel document to gain entry into the country, whether a visa or an ESTA electronic visa waiver.
Although they do not require a visa to travel to the United States for short stays, citizens of the 39 countries and territories in the US visa waiver program are required to pre-register an ESTA application form for a stay of up to 90 days in the country.
The simple online form only takes a few minutes to complete with basic personal, passport, and travel information. Once the ESTA authorization application has been processed, the applicant receives an approved travel authorization for the USA electronically linked to their passport.
An approved ESTA for the United States is valid for a total of 2 years from the date of issue and allows the holder to travel to the United States for multiple short stays during its validity.