From the world's first national park, to the home of NASA, the United States of America is filled with amazing things. A road trip through the 50 states is like visiting 50 different countries; each with their own cuisine, history, odd points of interest and sometimes, dark past.
America is chock-full of amazing innovations. Watch a baseball game while eating a chocolate chip cookie and a Reuben sandwich, and you're taking part in three oh-so-American inventions.
Would you prefer to explore the abundant ancient cities scattered throughout the state? Visit seven-story burial mounds in the East. Are steaming geysers more your thing? There's a park for that!
Each state's journey to becoming an official member of the country was different--there were six independent republics (however short-lived) that eventually became independent states or part of neighboring states. Others were fought for in bloody wars triggered by massive land-grabs.
Take this quiz to find out how much you know about good old U.S. of A., from the obvious to the obscure. You might be surprised by what you learn!
Alaska was called "Seward's Folly" after the Secretary of State signed an agreement to purchase the territory for two cents an acre from Russia in 1867 for a total of roughly $7.2 million. This was prior to the discovery of gold and oil in the region.
Hawaii was overtaken by fruit companies in the 1880s. As a result, a new republic was created which installed Sanford B. Dole as its president. This happened before the land was annexed by the United States in 1898.
While the mythical location was said to be on Bimini Island in the Bahamas, de León ended up in Florida in 1513. He eventually tried to turn Florida into a Spanish colony, but failed when the indigenous population fought back.
Oklahoma was the ultimate destination for the Trail of Tears. During the forced exodus, nearly 125,000 indigenous Americans were forced to leave their homes, and many thousands of them died on the journey, hence the name "Trail of Tears."
Tennessee was the site of the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. Earlier that year, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill, the Butler Act, that made it a misdemeanor to teach evolution in public schools, and Scopes was fined $100 for violating it. The law was repealed in 1967.
Vermont was home to the Green Mountain Boys, a patriot militia put together to defend local property rights. In 1775, they helped capture Fort Ticonderoga, and eventually became part of the Continental Army.
Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park are both located in Wyoming. Yellowstone was not only the country's first national park, but the world's first national park.
Utah was settled by members of the Mormon faith, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1847. The religion was established by Joseph Smith in New York in 1830.
In 1996, Washington was the first state to elect a Chinese-American governor, Gary Locke. He is still the only Chinese American citizen to have served as a state governor in the U.S.
The George C. Marshall Flight Center calls Alabama home. The Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo astronauts to the moon was designed, built and tested at the center.
While Connecticut joined the fray in 2013 with a claim of flight predating the Wright Brothers, the long-standing rift is between Ohio (the brothers' birthplace) and North Carolina (where they made their first powered flight.)
The first English child, Virginia Dare, was born in Roanoke, North Carolina, in 1587. By 1590, the entire colony had mysteriously disappeared; the only clue to their disappearance was the word "CROATOAN" carved into a tree.
While we think of Georgia as the state that's synonymous with peaches, Delaware used to be a huge producer of the fruit, until a 19th century blight destroyed the industry there.
Although it's far from the Mexican border, Montana's state motto is Spanish: "Oro y Plata," or "Gold and Silver." The motto comes from the gold and silver deposits found in the mountains of Montana.
There have been two proposals to make the square dance the official dance of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the proposal failed twice, making it the only state without an official way to boogie.
The Grave Creek Mound -- built from 250-150 BC by the native Adena people -- is outside Moundsville, West Virginia. It is 69 feet tall, and was created by moving over 60,000 tons of earth.
North Dakota is a thirsty state: Each adult drank 43.6 gallons of beer in 2013, according to a study from Beer Marketer's Insight. Nationwide, the average per capita beer consumption is 28.9 gallons of beer as of 2018.
While we certainly associate the Reuben with New York -- and many claim it originated from a deli there -- Nebraskans argue their native son, Reuben Kulakofsky, invented the sandwich in the 1930s.
Ruth Wakefield of Whitman, Massachusetts sprinkled some chocolate chips into cookie dough at her Toll House Restaurant in 1938. That same year, Wakefield published the recipe, along with others from the restaurant, and history was made--the Toll House cookie became the most popular cookie in America.
While the New York Knickerbockers were the first modern baseball team, they traveled to Hoboken, NJ in 1845 to play members of the Gotham Club. It was the first game under modern rules and between two different clubs.
Don't reach for the gas handle in New Jersey or Oregon; both states have laws prohibiting pumping your own gas. While it may seem strange to most folks, you must rely on gas station attendants to fill up your tank in those states.
Laura Ingalls Wilder's little house was in the big Wisconsin woods. Ingalls Wilder is known for writing the "Little House on the Prairie" series, which was based on her childhood as a pioneer crossing the U.S. in a covered wagon.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry that were living in the United States were interred in 10 camps throughout the country --some of them for up to four years.
In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay and lesbian individuals had equal marriage rights. It wasn't until 2015 that it became legal in the entire country.
While the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves that had seceded from the Union, Maryland -- a border state -- didn't abolish slavery until 1864. This was still a few months before Congress approved the 13th Amendment.
In 1863, West Virginia was formally accepted as a Union state after breaking off from Virginia. It was the only state to form by breaking off from a Confederate state.
Maine was part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts until it seceded from the commonwealth in 1820. It became the 23rd U.S. under the Missouri Compromise--which allowed Maine to be admitted as a "free state" as long as Missouri could be admitted as a "slave state."
New York wanted to keep Vermont to itself, but agreed to let the northerners become independent -- for a (not so small) fee. It was known as the Vermont Republic before it became the 14th state in 1791.
Bet you didn't know that every state has an official soil, and Illinois' is Drummer. The soil was named after Drummer Creek and is, essentially, prairie soil.
It's a tricky question: While Virginia claims the most presidents by birthplace, six presidents called Ohio home when they were voted into office.