The United States of America, commonly known as the United States 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, it is the world's third- or fourth-largest country by total area. With an estimated population of over 329 million, the U.S. is the third most populous country in the world. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago, and European colonization began in the 16th century. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies led to the American Revolutionary War lasting between 1775 and 1783, leading to independence. The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century—gradually acquiring new territories, displacing Native Americans, and admitting new states—until 1848 when it spanned the continent.