The United States is a large country that is often broken down into different regions; within each of these regions are several states. The states that are grouped within a region have similar characteristics--such as dialect, geographical features, demographics and heritage. As such, it is often easier to describe the country based on its different regions rather than on individual states.
Home to Plymouth Rock, the spot where the first European settlers landed, New England is regarded as the region where the United States began. With large cities and a rich culture, it was also the country's cultural and economic center up until the mid 19th century. This region is comprised of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Today, this region is still known for its large cities, as well as for some of the nation's top-ranking colleges and universities and for its historical impact on the country.
The Mid-Atlantic states include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. This region has been referred to as the "melting pot," as immigrants from so many different European countries came here. Industry abounded in these states, with large quantities of iron, glass and steel produced. New York City became, and still is, the nation's largest city, as well as its cultural and financial hub. The nation's capitol is also located in this region. This region also abounds with undisturbed nature--such as mountains and forests.
The South is made up of the most states, including Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and parts of Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. The region is known for its laid-back way of life and hospitality. In contrast to the industry of the north, agriculture is the main industry of the South, due to its temperate weather and high rainfall; however, big cities can also be found in the South.
Known as the "breadbasket," the Midwest provides the nation with some of its most important crops, including corn, wheat and oats. Chicago is the region's largest city, and its railroads and airports link the Midwest to the eastern and western parts of the country. The people of this region are hardworking, honest and usually traditional in their beliefs.
The Southwestern states include western Texas, parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. The region is known for its desert landscape, mountain peaks and arid climate. While the rest of the country was mainly influenced by European immigrants, the roots of this region lie with Native Americans and the Spanish. The southwest is home to one of the natural wonders of the world--the Grand Canyon. Other landmarks include Monument Valley and the Painted Desert. The country's gambling mecca, Las Vegas, is also located in the Southwest.
The states that make up the West--western Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii--are often referred to as "the last frontier." Of all of the regions, the climate and landscape is the most varied in the West. Wet, mountainous areas and flat, dry areas with sandy coastlines are all part of this region. Between the mountains of Hawaii and Washington, the most volcanic activity in the country occurs in the West. Additionally, the San Andreas fault line makes this region the most susceptible to earthquakes.