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Emigration and immigration services from international relocation consultants A new life abroad.

Americans are extremely generous
and hospitable people and
welcome newcomers into their
community. However, expatriates should realise that in a country so huge, with such a diverse population,
customs vary. Among academics
and intellectuals, ethnic and
religious origins are usually
ignored.

The United States is not a
classless society and status is
as important as anywhere in
Europe, although Americans take
pride in publicly downgrading the
importance of status. A wife automatically carries the same status
as her husband.

Whilst alcoholic drinks may be offered at business and social gatherings, many Americans do not drink. Smoking has become a minority habit and is prohibited in virtually all commercial and pubic buildings, on public transport and including, in New York City, many restaurants and all the sports stadiums and zoos.

In the Eastern States, especially, people tend to be more formal and smart dress is excepted at high-quality restaurants. This contrasts with California where a much more casual dress-code operates.

Around 75% of the population is Caucasian (white, of European descent) and 2% black (mainly of African descent), the latter being most numerous in the south-eastern states, the 'deep south'; the exception is Chicago where almost 40% are black. There are about 1.4. million indigenous Native American Indians, settled largely in 'reservations' in the western states and Eskimo (Inuit) and Aleut in Alaska.

There are many Spanish speaking communities: Mexicans in the south-west, Cubans in the south east and Puerto Ricans in New York City; Hispanics make up around 10% of the total population and over 25% in California. Chicago has the fastest growing Hispanic population and a booming Asian population; over 40,000 Japanese nationals live in the city.

Although the United States is one of the most populous nations in the world, the density of population overall is relatively moderate at about 26 persons per square kilometre. Vast areas are sparsely populated, particularly Alaska, and Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana.

History
The early history of the United States of America is one of discovery and colonisation by the European maritime powers, led by Britain, Spain and France. It is thought that the Spaniards were the first to land on the mainland, and Florida was a subject province of the Spanish domain in Mexico by 1540; other expeditions surveyed the Californian coast and penetrated into the interior beyond the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Samuel de Champlain reached US Lakes Huron and Ontario in 1615, the first of many French Explorers, missionaries and fur traders. In the 1680s Robert de la Salle explored the Great Lakes and then moved south, down to the Mississippi River to its delta, taking possession of the Region for France under the name of Louisiana.

The English proved the most successful colonists; their first permanent settlement was at Jamestown, Virginia (1607) although the 'Pilgrim Fathers', the group of Puritans from England and Holland who landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, are widely regarded as the true founders of the United States. During the 18th century large numbers of immigrants arrived from Germany and Ireland, but up to the end of the colonial period about four-fifths of the colonists were of English or Scottish origin and it was from them that the country inherited its language, its habits of thought and speech and to some extent, its culture.

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