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10 Things You May Not Know About the United States

America the great, the beautiful, and perhaps the nation you don’t know as well as you thought. Aside from high school history, major headlines over the years, and any tidbits you may have picked up along the way, it seems feasible there may be a few little factoids that may have slipped under the radar. Founded in 1776, it leaves nearly 250 years of history and knowledge to comprehend and the next time you find yourself at trivia night or standing around a Bob and Jessica’s dinner party, drop this USA! USA! USA! knowledge on the masses.

Independence Day

Fourth of July Sparkler and American Flag
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We all love fireworks, a day of barbecuing, and the ole stars and stripes but it seems the celebration associated with the Fourth of July is a tiny bit of a farce. In 1776 the United States of America did declare independence from British rule, though July 2nd was the actual day Congress voted to free the U.S. And it was on the 4th is when John Hancock and fifty-five other men signed the official Declaration of Independence. So maybe there is no right or wrong answer to when the fireworks should be soaring through the sky, but and if independence was declared on the 2nd and signed on the 4th, it seems fitting to celebrate the entire three-day period … off from work, with beer and flag in hand.

Americans Eat a Lot of Pizza

pepperoni pizza in a box
Alan Hardman / Unsplash

One can not deny that Americans love to eat and more than any other food in the grand buffet, Americans consume upwards of 100 acres of pizza a day. And how much pizza is 100 acres, you may ask? It’s about the equivalent of 100 football fields or the footprint of the Mall of America. As there is no perfect season for a slice, nor is there an allotted time of the day, as pizza is being consumed at all hours of the day, from coast to coast. And at the end of this year, with the help of the largest day of pizza consumption, the Super Bowl, Americans will have consumed 300 billion whole pizzas. And as a famous mascot once said, “Pizza. Pizza.”

Great Idea, Just a Hair Too Late

secret service
Bettmann/Getty Images

How many movies and tv shows can you name where the Secret Service is under attack and one way or another is rushing the President off-screen into some underground bunker? There are a lot, but the thing to consider is when did the Secret Service first come into employment and who was responsible for its formation? Turns out just hours before his assassination, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the U.S. Secret Service. The irony is staggering and maybe he could sense something was coming, but the vast majority of Presidents to follow have Abe to thank for putting the Secret Service into action, especially since Jack Bauer is a fictional character.

That’s a Lot of Water

split rock lighthouse
Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography/Getty Images

Can you name all the Great Lakes or even count how many there are? There are five: Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie, making up the largest body of freshwater on Earth. But it is Lake Superior, with coastal shores along Minnesota, Wisconsin, and our friend to the north, which is the largest freshwater lake in the world in total area. It holds a staggering amount of water that reaches into the quadrillions of gallons and if it were somehow to entirely spill out it could cover both North and South American in a foot of water. Lake Superior is America’s greatest lake, even if it’s shared with Canada, and through all four seasons is a major waterway for large vessel shipping.

Would You Like to Add a Drink?

first mcdonalds
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The iconic golden arches are spread out across the world and have cooked well over 100 billion burgers, but in the U.S. 1 in 8 people have worked at McDonald’s. Back up, 1 in 8? That means you probably know someone who has fired up a Big Mac and at the very least, know someone who knows someone. It’s one of the largest fast-food chains in the world and with nearly 15,000 McDonald’s in the U.S. alone, maybe it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that you, someone from school or in your office, or the person you’re standing next to flipped burgers at some point.

Is That One “N” or Two?

liberty bell
drbueller/Getty Images

The Liberty Bell does indeed have a big crack running down the middle dating back to 1846 but perhaps more interestingly, “Pennsylvania” is misspelled. It’s kind of one of those “he said, she said” things because when the bell was molded, “Pensylvania,” with one n, was an acceptable spelling. One ‘N’ or two, many will surely never notice from a quick glance, but now that’s been mentioned you’re going to tell everyone you know or perhaps initiate a conversation with the next person to sit next to you at the bar.

Oh, Florida

Image used with permission by copyright holder

50 states in the union and all have something spectacular to share, but Florida has come to be the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist in the wild. Sure most can’t tell the difference at first glance and the general assumption is that one or the other lives in saltwater where the other prefers freshwater. But South Florida provides a habitat suitable to both species with its vast and desolate estuaries. So whilst in tourist mode, we are the only people given the chance to play Guess Who as a snout appears in the water.

Ride the Rails

street car
Image used with permission by copyright holder

America is home to more than 2,500 National Landmarks, but only two of them are mobile and, sadly, neither is the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Instead, the San Francisco’s cable cars and New Orleans’s St. Charles streetcar line hold the title and continue to run today. Built in 1873 and 1835, respectively, both cable and street car have been icons of their respective cities and America as technological achievements. Both San Francisco’s cable cars and New Orleans’s St. Charles streetcars have appeared in numerous movies over the years and unlike the other thousands of American landmarks, these are the only two you’ll ride on and not drive by.

Lost Luggage

luggage at airport
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ever had an airline lose your luggage, like really lose it beyond it showing up at your front door a day or two later? Well, “X” marks the spot on what should be considered American’s largest store of random goods, because once your luggage is officially lost airlines sell it to a store in Scottsboro, Alabama. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is a one-stop-shop for all your luggage, toiletry, and travel attire needs. And after the holidays, why not stop in to pick up some pre-wrapped gifts?

The Hunt Is On

realistic unicorn
Pone Pluck/Getty Images

We sure do love guns and hunting here in America, and in Michigan, you are free to hunt unicorns … with a license, of course. Enforced by the Wildebeastle (Mythical) Division of the Department of Natural Unicorns and the Unicorn Hunters of Lake Superior State University, one may set out on the hunt with his/her quest kit including a small flask of cognac, a large envelope, a small bottle of hoof and horn polish, and a single airmail stamp. It’s a mythical and often lonely journey one takes to track down a unicorn, but because it’s America and thanks to Michigan’s Lake Superior State University, the hunt is on.

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