New York, one of the largest cities in the world, was founded three hundred years ago at the mouth of the Hudson River. The centre of New York is Manhattan Island. The first Europeans came to Manhattan island from Holland in 1605. In 1613 the Dutch built only four small houses on Manhattan as a fur trading station. In 1623 the Dutch started a town there. It was named New Amsterdam in honour of the capital of their country in Europe.
In 1626 Manhattan
was bought from the Indians for a handful of trinkets that cost twenty-four dollars. Today Manhattan is the centre of business and commercial life of the country. Many sky-scrapers house banks and offices of American businessmen. Broadway begins here, the Stock Exchange is located here. Very few people live in Manhattan, although the majority work here. Numerous bridges link Manhattan Island with the opposite shores.
In 1789 in New York on the steps of Federal Hall George Washington took the oath of office when he became the first president of the United States of America. From 1785 to 1790 New York was the capital of the United States. New York is inhabited by people of almost all nationalities. It is even called "Modern Babylon". At the beginning of the 20-th century a lot of people came to the USA from different countries of the world. They entered the USA through New York "the Gateway of America".
New York is one of the leading manufacturing cities in the world. The most important branches of industry are those, producing paper products, vehicles, glass, chemicals, machinery. The city has its own traffic system. The sea encircles many of the city areas and ships go over or under New York traffic.
'The United States of America'
The territory of the Untied States of America stretches from the Atlantic seaboard, across the central plains, over the Rocky Mountains to the densely populated west coast, and then to the island state of Hawaii.
America is a land of physical contrasts, including the weather. The southern parts have warm temperature year round. The northern states have extifemely cold winters. The United States is also a land of rivers and lakes. The northern state of Minnesota is known as land of 10,000 lakes. The broad Mississippi River is the world's third river after the Nile and the Amazon. A canal south of Chicago joins one of the tributaries of the Mississippi to the five Great Lakes. A wealth of minerals provides a solid base for American industry.
The United States of America, a federation of 50 states, was se up by the Constitution in 1787. The Constitution adopted in 1787 for two centuries has been the fundamental law of the country. 26 amendments have been introduced since then. The first 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. Today the Constitution sets the basic forms of the US government.
The USA is called the "nation of immigrants". The country was settled, built and developed by generations of immigrants and thei children. Many different cultural traditions make up the people o the USA.
There are many big cities in the USA, such as New York Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. The nation's capital Washington, DC is the largest metropolitan area in the country. It was the world's first city especially planned as a centre of government.
The USA became the world leading country at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Washington, DC, the city on the East Coast, was founded in 1791. It was named after the first American President George Washington (1792-99). In 1800 Washington, DC became the capital of the USA. Today the population of Washington, DC is over 3,4 million. Washington, DC is the seat of the US Government. All organs of power are situated in the capital city.
Washington's government buildings include the White House and the Capitol. The White House, the official home of the US President, was constructed in 1792-1829. The Capitol is the building where the US Congress meets.
In Washington, DC there is no industry. Washington, DC is a political, administrative, cultural and educational centre of the country. There are several universities in the capital. The Congress library is located here. There are museums and galleries in Washington, DC. The National Gallery of Art, a large museum of painting, sculpture and other art is situated in the capital. It is supported by the US government. The National Museum of the USA is also situated in Washington, DC.
Washington, DC isthecentreofpoliticallife.
'American art '
At the beginning of the twentieth century, when modernism was developing in Europe, American Art remained provincial. Every trend of European nineteenth-century painting continued to flow in the United States. The most popular American movement of the early twentieth century, the "Ash Can", was a group of neorealists indebted largely to Courbet and the early Manet. But in these same years, several American artists were absorbing European modernism during trips to France and Germany. They returned to develop their newly acquired ideas in the United States. In 1908 in New York two photographers began to show at the Gallery "291" works by Matisse, Picasso, new American paintings and sculptures, including works by John Marin, Marsden Hartly, and Georgia O'Keeffe.
Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986) was an original American painter, unconnected with any European movement. Throughout her long creative life, O'Keffe's imagery was derived from a variety of objects surrounding her, from the magnified forms of flowers to driftwood and animals' skulls. Her "Blue and Green Music", of 1919, is a complete invention. The free flow of rhythmic shapes against the massive diagonals moves with the quality of visual music.
A number of gifted American artists turned after World War I to new forms of realism, focusing on the banality of American urban and rural life. One of the best of the American scene painters was Edward Hopper (1882-1967). He painted a bleak world made up of dirty streets, gloomy houses, comfortless rooms such as in the "Automate", of 1927.
A representative of the new American painting which matured in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the commanding figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement was Jackson Pollock (1912-56). The "Moon-Woman Cuts the Circle" is an early work, but it shows the power with which Pollock pursued his idea. Pollock's name is also associated with the introduction of the All-over style of painting which abandons the traditional idea of composition. During the 1950s Pollock continued to produce figurative or quasi-figuratjve black and white works. He was strongly supported by advanced critics. By the 1960s Pollock was generally recognised as the most important figure in the most significant movement of this century in American painting.
The American family unit is in the process of change. There were mainly two types of families: the extended and the nuclear. The extended family most often included mother, father, children, and some other relatives, such as grandparents, living in the same house or nearby. Then as job patterns changed and the economy progressed from agricultural to industrial, people were forced to move to different parts of the country for job opportunities. These moves split up the extended family. The nuclear family became more prevalent; this consisted of only the parents and the children.
Today’s families are a diverse mix of single-parent households, remarried families, nuclear families, unmarried couples, and couples without children. There is no prototype for the «normal» family. Data from the 2000 Census shows that married couples with children make up just 24 percent of all households, compared to 40 percent in 1970. In fact, there are slightly more single person households in America, 25 percent, than nuclear family households.
Even within nuclear families, the model is changing. Families are getting smaller. The number of families with just one child has doubled since the seventies and now accounts for more than 20 percent of families. Meanwhile, families with four or more children decreased from 17 percent in 1970 to 6 percent in 2000.
These changes in family structure can be attributed to several factors. For one, people are marrying later. The average age for first marriage is now 26.8 for men and 25.1 for women. That means more adults spend at least some time living alone. Both later marriage and divorce lead to smaller families. Divorce also results in more single parent families, though some of those classified as single parents may actually be in co-parenting situations. Widespread affluence also results in more people living alone. Some choose not to remarry after divorce; others put off marriage.
As you can see, today’s family can be made up of diverse combinations. With the divorce rate nearly one in two, there is an increase in single-parent homes: a father or mother living with one or more children.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated off the Northwest coast of Europe. The UK consists of four parts. They are: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK lies on the British Isles. The two main islands are: Great Britain and Ireland. They are separated from the continent by the English Channel and the Strait of Dover. The west coast of the country is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea, the east coast is washed by the North Sea.
English is the official, but not the only language which people speak in the country.
Britain has been many centuries in the making. It waged numerous colonial wars. In the modern world England was the first country where capitalism was established.
Geographically Great Britain is divided into Lowland Britain and Highland Britain. Lowland Britain comprises Southern and Eastern England. Highland Britain includes Scotland, Wales, the Pennines and the Lake District. The flora of the British Isles is much varied and the fauna is similar to that of the north-west of Europe. The country is not very rich in natural resources. There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain. The Severn is the longest river, the Thames is the most important one.
London is the capital of the UK. It was founded in the 5-th century AD. The largest cities of Great Britain besides London are: Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Edinburgh.
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. The powers of the British Queen are limited by Parliament. The British Parliament consists of the sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has always played an important role in world politics.
Edinburgh is Scotland's capital. It is one of the most beautiful cities in Britain. The heart of Edinburgh is the thousand-year-old castle, where the kings of Scotland lived for centuries. Edinburgh has a busy cultural life. Every year, in August, the International Festival takes place there. Musicians, actors and singers come from all over the world and thousands of visitors fill the city. In the evening, the opera house, the theatres and conceit halls are full. In cafes and pubs, small groups sing, act and read poetry. The castle is at its best in Festival time. Every night there is a magnificent military "Tattoo". Highland soldiers wearing "kilts" play the bagpipes and march to the music.
There are thousands of millions of galaxies in space. We can not say how many galaxies there are because we do not know the extension of space. The Milky Way Galaxy in which we live is probably an average galaxy. It contains around 400 billion stars. Some of these have planets orbiting around them. The Milky Way Galaxy is a spiral galaxy with two arms. It is estimated to have a diameter of about 100000 light years and to have a thickness, or depth of about 20000 light years. It has a stellar population of about 100 billion stars and contains additional dust and gas — about 10% of the total mass of galaxy. Most of the dust and gas is concentrated in the arm structure, where it may amount about 50% of the mass of the arms.
It is rotating about a point at its centre. The rotation of the Galaxy carried our Sun and us about the centre in about 225 million years. The Sun will travel completely around the centre of the galaxy in about 225 million years.
We are in the plane of the disc of our Galaxy and about 1/3 the distance between one edge and the centre of the Galaxy — about 15000 light years from the edge and about 30000 light" years from the centre.
Through the telescopes we can see that the Milky Way is made up of countless stars. This is the edge of our Galaxy, seen from our position inside the Galaxy. The edge of our Galaxy lies in Taurus and Sagittarius.
'Seven wonders of the world'
Diana, Apollo's twin sister, was the goddess of the Moon. She was also the goddess of the chase and is pictured as a robust maiden in a hunting skirt with a bow and a quiver. The Temple of Diana at Ephesus was one of Seven Wonders of the World.
The pyramids of Egypt are built of huge blocks of limestone. The largest of three pyramids, the Great Pyramid, is believed to have been built for King Khufu (Cheops). The square base averages 230.4 m on a side. It rose to a height of 146.6 m. More than 2,500,000 blocks of granite and limestone were used in its construction, Its construction required the labour of 100,000 men for twenty years. It was built nearly five thousand years.
Babylon was one of the greatest cities of antiquity. The circumference of the city was forty miles, but the entire area was not covered with buildings. There were fields, orchards and gardens within the city limits. The whole city was enclosed by a great brick wall pierced by nearly one hundred gates, Outside the wall was a deep moat filled with water. Within tlie city there were-many magnificent buildings, including the great palace of the King, the Temple of the god Bel and the Hanging Gardens. The Hanging Gardens were built by the Great King to please his Median wife, who in her native, country was accustomed to mountain scenery. It was a square building of receding terraces supported by arches and columns. The terraces were covered with earth on which flowers, shrubs and trees grew.
Zeus or Jupiter (the Roman name) was represented as a man of gigantic size with curling hair and beard. Homer tells us that the movement of his eyebrows would shake Olympus to its base. The Greeks made many statues of this deity; the most celebrated was the colossal figure by Phidias at Olympia.
The other three Wonders of the World were a great Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, a great statue of Colossus at Rhodes and the Pharos or lighthouse at Alexandria. The Mausoleum was the tomb of King Mausolus (died in 353 BC), built by his widow. The Colossus of Rhodes was a bronze statue of the sun-god Apollo, over 100 feet high, erected in 292-280 BC.
The Pharos was a tower of white marble built 270 BC. Of all the Seven Wonders of the world only the pyramids have endured to modern times.
The scientific and technological progress of the twentieth century resulted in widespread mechanisation, automated lines computerised management, spaceships, atomic power stations, pipelines, new roads and highways.
But it can not be denied that the price for rapid industrial development is very high: natural resources are exhausted, the ecological balance of the planet is disturbed; some species of flora and fauna disappear; city and industry waters, chemicals and fertilisers are endangering lakes, rivers and ponds. Big cities have a problem with air pollution: the "Killer Smog" caused some 3500-4000 deaths in London in December 1952. Progress can be blamed for all these environmental problems.
In recent years the pollution problems have received great publicity. The Environmental movement associated with no political party has gained Widespread trust and support. Environmental activists stress that the problem is caused by industrial pollution and the automobile. Long-established environmental groups warn that acid rains threaten many forests. The media's begun to campaign against the ugliness of billboards, tin cans and trash. Many people started to realise that to keep air and water clean, strict pollution control is necessary.
The protection of natural resources and wildlife is becoming a political programme in every country. Numerous anti-pollution acts passed in different countries led to considerable improvements in environment. In many countries purifying systems for treatment of industrial waters have been installed, measures have been taken to protect rivers and seas from oil waters. Wildlife reservation models of undisturbed nature are being developed in some parts of the world.
But the environmental problems have grown beyond the concern of a single country. Their solution requires the cooperation of all nations.
Today environmental protection has become a universal problem. Technological progress improves people's lives, but at the same time it brings about pollution and contamination of land, water and air. The atmosphere of the Earth and the depths of the oceans are poisoned with toxic wastes created by the humans. Millions of species - animals, birds, fish have already disappeared from our planet. Natural resources are exhausted: the ecology of the planet is disbalanced. Big cities face the environmental catastrophe too. Concentration of millions of people on a tiny area causes numerous problems. Some of them can be solved only at the expense of creating new ones. Thus, air pollution is caused by the ever-increasing number of automobiles that help to cope with the transportation problem. The need for energy generates pollution on a large scale. Nuclear power plants threaten air, water and land. Radiation affects people's health. The accident at Chernobyl in 1986 was tragic for many people. The necessity to employ all the inhabitants of the city leads to the creation of new factories that produce not only consumer goods, but wastes, noise and smog. Another source of global danger is acid rain. It is a relatively new kind of pollution. Acid rains appeared as a reaction of the atmosphere to the air contamination. Acid rains damage water, forest, and soil resources. Acid rains cause the disappearance offish from many lakes, bring death to the forests and woods in Europe and America.
The survival of our civilisation depends on the ability of mankind to find a way out. The task of protecting the nature is of primary importance now. Recently the Environmental movement has gained widespread support. Environmental activists, organisations of Volunteers do their best to stop pollution of our planet.
Nowadays people who go on business mostly travel by air, as it is the fastest means of traveling.
Here are some hints on air travel that may be helpful.
Passengers are requested to arrive at the airport two hours before departure time on international flights and an hour before on domestic flights as there must be enough time to complete the necessary airport formalities.
Passengers must register their tickets, weigh in and register the luggage. Most airlines have at least two classes of travel, first class and economy class, which is cheaper. Each passenger of more than two years of age has free luggage allowance. Generally this limit is 20 kg for economy class passengers and 30 kg for first class passengers. Excess luggage must be paid for except for some articles that can be carried free of charge.
Each passenger is given a boarding pass to be shown at the departure gate and again to the stewardess when boarding the plane.
Watch the electric sign flashes when you are on board. When the «Fasten Seat Belts» sign goes on, do it promptly, and also obey the «No Smoking» signal.
Do not forget your personal effects when leaving the plane.
Landing formalities and customs regulations are more or less the same in all countries.
When these formalities have been completed the pas¬senger goes to Customs for an examination of his luggage.
As a rule personal belongings may be brought in duty free. If the traveller has nothing to declare he may just go through the «green» section of the Customs.
In some cases the Customs inspector may ask you to open your bags for inspection. It sometimes happens that a passenger’s luggage is carefully gone through to prevent smuggling.
The rules for passengers who are going abroad are similar in most countries but sometimes there might be a slight difference in formalities.
If, for instance, you are supposed to begin with going through the Customs, you’d better fill in the Customs declaration before you talk to the Customs officer. An experienced customs officer usually smells a smuggler, but he may ask any passenger routine questions, for instance, «Have you got anything to declare?» or «Any spirits, tobacco, presents?» The usual answers would be, «Yes, I’ve got some valuables, but I’ve put them all down in the declaration, or «I’ve got two blocks of cigarettes for my own use» or something of that kind.
Then you go to the check-in counter where your ticket is looked at, your things are weighed and labeled, a claim-check for each piece of luggage is inserted in the ticket and you are given a boarding pass, which has a seat number on it. Of course, if your luggage weighs more than twenty kilos, you have to pay extra. The next formality is filling in the immigration form and going through passport control. The form has to be filled in block letters. You write your name, nationality, permanent address and the purpose of your trip. In most countries there is also a security check when your carry-luggage is inspected. This is an anti-hijacking measure, and anything that might be dangerous or disturbing to other passengers must be handed to one of the crew and only returned to the owner after the plane has reached its destination.
After fulfilling all these formalities you go to the departure lounge where you can have a snack, read a paper, buy something in the duty-free shop and wait for the announcement to board the plane.