1. The history of the United States goes back as far as the beginning of the 17th century.

2. The major European powers - Spain, England, France, Portugal and Holland began to extend their territories.

3. The first English settlement was established in 1607.

4. By the end of the 17th century all British colonies with the exception of Georgia had been organized.

5. The local people of American continent experienced all methods of aggression, colonialism, racism and exploitation.

6. The struggle of local people was in progress for many years.

7. But this struggle was unequal.

8. Only the Revolutionary War of 1775 - 1783 made the colonies independent.

9. George Washington commanded the Continental army that won American independence from Great Britain in this revolutionary war.

10. The result of the war was the abolishment of the slavery and the unification of the country on the basis of independent states.

11. He was elected the first President of the United States in 1789.

12. He served office (виконував обов'язки) for eight years.

13. Washington helped shape the beginning of the United States.

14. The capital of the USA, Washington, was founded in 1790 and was named after the first US president.

15. The Constitution of the USA was signed by representatives of the 13 states.

16. The United States did not always have fifty states.

17. At first there were 13 states.

18. These states were the colonies of England before the revolutionary war.

19. As the United States grew, more states joined the union.

20. The last two states to join were Alaska and Hawaii.

21. They both joined in 1959. 22. The USA is a cultural country, it has its original culture and art.

23. American writers and poets stand high in world literature.

24. Mark Twain, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser and many others are dear to all those who love literature.

25. Their names are known in the whole world.

26. Mark Twain wrote many stories which are still popular in many countries.

27. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn will always be dear to children and adults.

28. The best books by American writers are and will always be a great school of life for those who read them.

29. When we read American literature we learn very much about the life and traditions of American people.

30. Americans like other nations have many traditions, customs and holidays.

31. Christmas and Easter are two great religious holidays which are traditionally celebrated in the USA.

32. Christmas Day is the birthday of Christ and American people start celebrating Christmas Day on the 25th of December.

33. But the spirit of Christmas arrives about a month before the holiday itself.

34. Late in November street lights and store windows are decorated with the traditional Christmas colors of red and green.

35. Santa Claus, shepherds (пастухи), angels appear in shop windows.

36. Many families traditionally go to Church on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. 37. After services they gather around the tree and open their gifts.

38. After that they sit down to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner.

39. It is a custom to hang a branch of mistletoe (гілка омели) over doorway for good luck.

40. Anyone standing under the mistletoe is likely to be kissed.

41. On Christmas Day everyone sings Christmas Carols and sends Christmas Cards with greetings to friends and relatives.

42. Easter is a church holiday and many churches have outdoor services on this day.

43. At Easter it is customary .for people to buy new clothes to wear on Easter holiday.

44. After church services they walk down the streets and avenues in their new Easter hats and suits.

45. The colorful procession of people dressed in bright new spring clothes is called the "Easter Parade".

46. Another custom generally observed at Easter time is the decoration of eggs and preparing baskets of eggs and candy eggs for the children.

47. Eggs are hidden in the yards and the children have an egg-hunt trying to find them.

48. The custom of celebrating Halloween was brought to America by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland.

49. This holiday is very popular with children in the United States, it is celebrated on the 31st of October. 50. They wear masks and special costumes.

51. They go from house to house and say "Trick or treat".

52. People give them candies, cookies or fruit.

53. In recent years grown-up people have begun to take part in Halloween.

54. Many people get together in one of the streets.

55. They are dressed as witches, demons and other evil spirits, th ey take part in parades. 56. There are hundreds of large orange "pumpkins" in their hands.

57. After the parade the holiday lasts almost till early morning.

58. These are only some of the traditions and customs existing in the USA.

59. There are so many traditions and customs in the United States that it is impossible to mention all of them.