American cities

The United States is full of fantastic cities, so many in fact that it would take forever to list all of them. Instead we have chosen four of the most popular and well-known American cities.

New York City

The city that never sleeps is the largest city in the United States and the centre of the New York Metropolitan area, one of the most populated regions in the world. The ‘Big Apple’ is a major world capital for global business and finance.

New York began its existence under the name of New Amsterdam and was initially founded by the Dutch. In 1664 the British seized control of the region and renamed the city after the British commander the Duke of York. The city was the first home of the leaders of the newly formed United States after the revolutionary war and the nation’s first president George Washington was sworn into office at the old city hall.

The port of New York is one of the finest in the world and is the biggest port on the Eastern seaboard. The City is home to the United Nations and the world famous landmarks of the Empire State building and Statue of Liberty.

New York is also the centre of advertising, fashion, publishing, and radio broadcasting in the United States. The population of the city is estimated at over 8 million people spread over an area of just 305 square miles. New Yorkers are a proud people; often regarded as rude by outsiders they are in fact quite friendly. They are also resilient as the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001 attests.

Las Vegas

The dazzling neon lights of Vegas shine out like a beacon in the desolate Mojave Desert, an oasis of fun, thrills and gambling in an otherwise harsh environment. Las Vegas is the most populous city in the state of Nevada and one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. Famous for its ‘strip’ and gambling the city is internationally renowned for its casino-hotels, shopping, fine dining and entertainment. The city is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert and to many outsiders’ it is a miracle that it can exist at all. The city was initially founded in the 1800’s by Spanish explorers who gave the area its name and used the site as a watering hole for travellers heading to California. Mormon explorers founded a settlement in 1855 but abandoned it in 1857. The U.S Army then claimed the area until the town began to grow in 1905 with the arrival of the railways.

The Las Vegas that we know today basically began after World War II, when the idea of large hotels along the brand new “strip” was developed. Las Vegas is the “marriage capital” of America; there are 50 wedding chapels in the city. Tourism and the convention industry are the city’s major sources of income. In addition, manufacturing, government, warehousing, and trucking are major sources of employment. Many high-technology companies are also located in Las Vegas.

Los Angeles

The city of angels and the home of Hollywood, L.A is the second most populated city in the United States with 3.792,621 people in resident and is the biggest city in the state of California. The city was originally founded in 1781 by Spanish governor Felipe de Neve and became a part of Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican war of independence. The city and state of California became a part of the United States in 1848 following the end of the Mexican-American War.

Since then L.A has become the third richest and fifth influential city in the world. It is also a leading centre for world business, trade, culture, entertainment and of course movie making. Thanks to Hollywood the city is also nicknamed ‘the Entertainment capital of the world’. Los Angeles County is the nation’s largest manufacturing centre, and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are second only to New York as the largest customs district in the United States. Major employers in the Los Angeles Five-County area are in the business and management sector.

Growth in the key wholesale industries—apparel and textiles, furniture, jewellery, and toys—and the boom in industrial trade were the trend for the region in the 1990s. Other important sectors are health services and international trade and investment. After some lean years, the aerospace industry is making a modest comeback as a result of increased federal defence spending.

San Francisco

Famous for the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island the city has featured in many movies over the years. The beautiful landscape of the city has seen San Francisco become one of the most visited cities in the world attracting more than 17million tourists every year. A Franciscan father who was sailing with Sebastián Rodríguez Cermeño named the bay San Francisco on Nov. 7, 1595. In 1776, the Spaniards established a presidio, or military post, and a Franciscan mission on the end of the beautiful peninsula. In the following year, a little town was founded around the mission. It was called Yerba Buena, Spanish for “Good Herb,” because mint grew in abundance there. In 1846, during the Mexican War, Yerba Buena was taken over by the United States. It was renamed San Francisco in 1847 and became incorporated as a city in 1850.

When gold was discovered in California in 1848, the city’s population jumped to 10,000, and it experienced turbulent years until order was established by Vigilance Committees, first in 1851, and again in 1856. Then followed a period of more orderly growth, and the foundations of the great commerce and industry of today were laid.

In 1906, San Francisco experienced the nation’s most destructive earthquake, which, together with the fire that followed, practically destroyed the city. The city was quickly rebuilt and grew rapidly as a leading transportation, industrial, and cultural centre. In the 19th century, the American explorer and soldier John C. Frémont, known as The Pathfinder, named the entrance to the bay the Golden Gate, and the famous bright orange Golden Gate Bridge was dedicated in May 1937.