The United States of America has consisted of fifty individual states since 1959 when Alaska joined the union. While more states may join in the future, this completed a 180-year process that took the country from the original thirteen states to its modern complement. Thanks to the federalist makeup of the U.S. Constitution, each of these states has its autonomy and can govern daily life within itself as it sees fit, subject to certain requirements about the rights of its citizens, and of course those areas that require a joint response like foreign policy or international trade deals. This means each state has its own culture, its own identity, and its laws.
Even so, just because the states are different once you go there doesn't mean they all look especially different on a map. Older countries tend to follow natural boundaries, but since the states had friendly neighbors, they were often drawn with straight lines, only sometimes allowing for rivers, mountains, or other geographical features to decide their borders. As a result, a number of them -- most especially those without coastlines -- have square borders.
Still, if you're an expert on all things American, you'll be able to recognize them anyway, just from their outlines -- even if we turn them upside down! Let's see how many you can recognize.
The state of New York is abbreviated as NY. Its capital is Albany and it officially became a state on July 26, 1788.
The capital of Maryland is Annapolis and its biggest city is Baltimore. Its abbreviation is MD and it became a state on April 28, 1788.
The capital of Georgia is Atlanta. Abbreviated GA, the state was founded on January 2, 1788.
Maine is the northeast-most state in the United States. Its capital is Augusta and its largest city is Portland. It became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.
Texas is the 2nd-largest state in the United States. It is home to about 27 million people and its capital city is Austin.
Louisiana is nicknamed the Pelican State. It was the 18th state to become part of the United States and its capital is Baton Rouge.
North Dakota is inhabited by more than 642,000 people. Its capital city is Bismark while its largest city is Fargo.
The capital and largest city of Idaho is Boise. Idaho became a state in 1890 and is the 14th-largest state in the United States.
Nicknamed the Bay State, Massachusetts is located in the Northeast and borders the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire! Its capital and largest city is Boston.
Nevada's capital city is Carson City, while its largest city is Las Vegas. Originally part of Mexican territory, Nevada became part of the United States in 1861.
West Virginia is abbreviated WV. Though once part of Virginia, it became its own state in 1863. Its capital and largest city is Charleston.
Wyoming is the state with the fewest people in the U.S. with approximately 576,412 people. Its capital and biggest city is Cheyenne.
The capital of South Carolina is Columbia, though back from 1670 - 1789 it was Charleston. It is home to about 4.2 million people.
The Buckeye State, Ohio became part of the United States on March 1, 1803. There have been seven American presidents from Ohio: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding.
New Hampshire's capital is Concord, while its largest city is Manchester. It is located in the New England region of the United States.
Colorado became a state in 1876. It is the first state in US history to have legalized the use and possession of marijuana.
The Hawkeye State, Iowa is located in the Midwestern United States. Its capital and largest city is Des Moines.
Delaware is sometimes called the First State because it was the first colony to accept the new constitution in 1787. Its capital is Dover.
The capital of Kentucky is Frankfort, and its largest city is Louisville. It is nicknamed the Bluegrass State because of a special kind of grass that grows there.
Pennsylvania is located in the northeastern part of the country. It has a border with Ohio on the west, West Virginia on the south and west, Maryland and Delaware on the south, New Jersey on the east and New York and Lake Erie on the north.
Connecticut is the 48th largest, or shall we say 3rd smallest US state. Its capital is Hartford and it became part of the US on January 9, 1788.
Montana is located in the Northwest region of the United States. It is the 4th-largest state with its capital Helena. Montana shares a 545 mile border with Canada.
Hawaii was the last state to join the United States. it officially became a state on August 21, 1959. The capital and largest city is Honolulu.
Indiana is located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis.
Mississippi's capital and largest city is Jackson. The state flower and tree are the magnolia.
Missouri officially became a state on August 10, 1821. Its capital is Jefferson City and it is inhabited by more than 5.5 million people.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States, though it is the 4th least populated! Its capital is Juneau. "Juneau the capital of Alaska?"
The capital of Michigan is Lansing, while the largest city is Detroit. The state is made up of two peninsulas which are connected by the Mackinac Bridge.
Nebraska is a state in the center of the United States. Its capital is Lincoln and the largest city is Omaha. It is known for its agriculture, especially beef and corn.
Arkansas was the 25th state to join the Union in 1836. Its capital and largest city is Little Rock.
The capital of Wisconsin is Madison. It became a state on May 29, 1848 and its current governor is Scott Walker.
Alabama became a state on December 14, 1819. Its capital is Montgomery and its largest city is Birmingham.
Known as The Green Mountain State, Vermont became a state on March 4, 1791. It is home to only about 625,000 people.
Tennessee is known as The Volunteer State. Its capital is Nashville, which is also the country music center of America.
The Sooner State, Oklahoma, became part of the United States on November 16, 1907. Its population is around 3.7 million people.
The state of Washington is located in the Northwest section of the country. It is north of Oregon, west of Idaho, east of the Pacific Ocean, and south of British Columbia, and has more than 6.7 million residents.
Home of The Grand Canyon, Arizona is located in Southwestern United States. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix.
Home of Mount Rushmore, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. Its capital is Pierre and largest city is Sioux Falls.
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country. Its capital and largest city is Providence and the state is home to about 1 million people.
North Carolina is abbreviated NC. It was one of the original 13 colonies. It became an official state on November 21, 1789.
The Commonwealth of Virginia became a state in 1788 following the American Revolution. Its capital city is Richmond and the state is home to about 7.5 million people.
California is the 3rd-largest state in the country. It is the number 1 most populated state in the country! It became part of the United States on September 9, 1850.
Minnesota is located in the Upper Midwest section of the United States. Its capital city is Saint Paul, while its largest city is Minneapolis, home of the Vikings, their NFL team.
Oregon became the 33rd state to join the United States in 1859. Its capital is Salem, though often confused for its largest city, Portland.
Utah became a state on January 4, 1896. Its capital and largest city is Salt Lake City. Utah is home to about 2.7 million residents.
New Mexico is part of the Southwest region of the country. It is bordered by Texas to the east, Oklahoma to the northeast, Colorado to the north, and Arizona to the west. The northwest corner of the state also touches Utah.
Illinois became part of the United States in 1818. It was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which helped abolish slavery in the United States.
Nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida's capital is Tallahassee. It became a state on March 3, 1845 and is now home to about 18.8 million people.
Kansas is located in the middle of America. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita. It was the 34th state to be admitted to the United States in 1861.
Nicknamed the Garden State, New Jersey is located along the East Coast of the United States. Its capital is Trenton while its largest city is Newark. It is the 4th-smallest state.