16 Things Americans Don’t Know About Their Own Country

Krystal Smith

Despite its familiarity, the U.S. has an abundance of secrets, from having no official language to the highest incarceration rate in the world. Delve into these facts that you probably don’t know about America. 

Alaska’s Eastern Tip

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Alaska’s Eastern tip is closer to Africa than to the western tip of Alaska. Represented by Little Diomede Island, Alaska’s Eastern Tip is just 2.4 miles from the Russian island of Big Diomede. This proximity places it closer to the easternmost reaches of Russia and Asia than to Alaska’s western coast. 

No Official Language

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Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not have an official language at the federal level. While English is the most widely spoken language in the country, no law designates it as the official language. The absence of an official language demonstrates the nation’s diverse cultural landscape.

Highest Incarceration Rate in the World

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Unfortunately, the United States has the highest incarnation rate globally. The country only represents 5% of the world’s population but incarcerates nearly a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The worrying statistics are due to various factors such as harsh sentencing laws, mandatory minimum sentences, drugs, and systematic inequalities. 

The U.S. Purchased Alaska from Russia

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The U.S. purchased the large territory of Alaska from Russia for $7.3 million in 1867, marking it as one of the most significant land deals ever. The investment was initially met with skepticism but has undoubtedly paid off in ways that were imaginable at the time. The Alaska Purchase has become one of the most significant bargains in American history. Alaska eventually became the 49th state of the United States in 1959. 

Hawaii is the Only U.S. State That Grows Coffee Commercially

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Due to its unique climate and volcanic soil, Hawaii is the sole U.S. state where coffee is grown commercially. Kona Coffee is renowned worldwide for its exceptional quality and distinct flavor, which plays a significant role in Hawaii’s agricultural economy. 

The Shortest War in U.S. History Only Lasted 38 Minutes.

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The shortest war in US history happened in 1896 and only lasted 38 minutes. It was known as the Anglo-Zanzibar War following the death of the pro-British Sultan. When his successor, not favored by the British, ascended to the throne, people got angry. In response, British warships bombarded the Sultan’s palace and defeated the Zanzibari forces. The war concluded with Zanzibar’s surrender. 

There Are More Guns Than People in the United States

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It is estimated that over 393 million civilian-owned firearms are in the U.S., surpassing the total population. This can be attributed to many reasons, including constitutional protections of the right to bear arms, historical traditions, and the thriving firearms industry. 

There Are More Than 10,000 Known Caves in Missouri

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Missouri boasts over 10,000 known caves within its borders. They’re primarily attributed to the state’s unique karst topography, characterized by soluble bedrock such as limestone, which is susceptible to erosion by water. Over time, this process has created underground caverns, tunnels, and passages throughout Missouri. 

The U.S. Once Had a Plan to Detonate a Nuclear Bomb on the Moon

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During the Cold War era, the United States planned to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon as a show of technological and military superiority. The objective was to create a mind-blowing display visible from Earth. However, there were concerns about environmental and scientific ramifications, which led to the project’s abandonment. 

There’s a Town in California Called “Cool”

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Despite its small size, “Cool,” formerly known as Cave Valley, is located in California and is surrounded by forests, rolling hills, and streams. It also embodies the Californian spirit, making it a peaceful retreat. 

The Great Lakes Contain About 84% of North America’s Surface Freshwater

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The Great Lakes hold approximately 84% of North America’s surface freshwater. These interconnected bodies shape the region’s climate, ecology, and economy. In fact, if all the water from the Great Lakes were spread evenly across the United States, it would submerge the entire landmass under approximately 9 feet of water. Not only does the freshwater sustain aquatic life but it also plays an important role in supporting various industries and communities. 

Washington D.C Was Originally Built on a Swamp

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The decision to originally build Washington D.C. on a swamp was influenced by the strategic position between the northern and southern states. However, the swampy conditions caused issues such as sanitation, disease, and infrastructure. Over time, extensive drainage and land reclamation efforts transformed the environment. 

The United States is Home to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine

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Started by Frank Stoeber, a local Kansas farmer in 1953, the ball of twine has grown steadily over time with countless people adding to its size during annual “Twine-A-Thon” events. Despite its novelty appeal, the ball symbolizes the spirit of community and creativity that defines small-town America. 

The U.S. Has No Federally Mandated Paid Paternal Leave

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The U.S. lacks federally mandated paid paternal leave, leaving American workers without financial support during crucial times. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons, including the birth or adoption of a child. However, the absence of pay leaves a significant strain on families. 

Wyoming Has the Lowest Population Density in the U.S.

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The state of Wyoming has the lowest population density of any state in the U.S. with land spanning over 97,000 square miles and a population of just over half a million people, Wyoming’s population density is a testament to its wide open areas, remote landscapes, and rugged natural beauty. 

The U.S. Has More Museums Than Starbucks and McDonald’s Combined

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There are more museums in the U.S. than there are at Starbucks and McDonald’s combined. The United States boasts an abundance of museums, surpassing the combined number of Starbucks and McDonald’s across the country. The museums showcase art, history, science, technology, and more, providing education opportunities and unforgettable experiences. 

Truths About Christianity That No One Is Ready To Hear

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Christianity has a long and complex history and many different ways to understand and practice it exist. As with any religion, some aspects of Christianity can be challenging. Here are harsh truths about Christianity that some people may not be ready to hear: Truths About Christianity That No One Is Ready To Hear

Things People Say All the Time That Are Actually Taken from the Bible

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Did you know that many commonly used (while outdated) sayings that people say all the time actually have origins in scripture, specifically the Bible? Here is a list of outdated things people say all the time that are actually taken from scripture: Things People Say All the Time That Are Actually Taken from the Bible

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