Jun 08, · The United States holds three territories: American Samoa and Guam in the Pacific Ocean and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Although they are governed by the United States, the territories do not have statehood status, and this lesser legal and political status sets them apart from the rest of the United States. The United States holds three territories: American Samoa and Guam in the Pacific Ocean and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea. Although they are governed by the United States, the territories do not have statehood status, and this lesser legal and political status .
The United States is the world's third-largest country based on population and land area. It is divided into 50 statesbut also claims 14 territories around the world. The definition of a territoryas it applies to those claimed by the United States, is any land that is administered by the United States but is not officially claimed by any of the 50 states or any other world nation.
In this alphabetical list of the territories of the United States, land area and population where applicable appear courtesy of the CIA World Factbook. Area figures for islands do not include submerged land area. Population numbers are as of July Due to the hurricanes in Augustthe Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands populations may be different, because a large number of people fled to the mainland, though some may return. Total area : 77 square miles sq km. Population : 51, Nearly all 12 of the islands of American Samoa are volcanic in origin and have coral reefs around them.
Total area :. Population : Uninhabited. An unpopulated coral atoll, Baker Island is a U. National Wildlife Refuge and visited by more than a dozen varieties of birds as well as endangered and threatened sea turtles. Total area : square miles sq km. Population :The largest island in Micronesia, Guam doesn't have large cities but does have some large villages on the island. Total area : 1 square mile 2. About halfway between Australia and Hawaiithe uninhabited Howland Island is mostly submerged.
It receives scant rainfall and has constant wind and sun. Total area : 1. Jarvis island has the same climate as Howland Island, and neither have any naturally occurring freshwater. Previously a wildlife refuge, Johnston Atoll was a site of nuclear testing during the s and s and remains under the jurisdiction of the U.
Air Force. Until it was a storage and disposal site for chemical weapons. Total area : 0. Kingman Reef, with square miles 1, sq km of submerged area, has abundant marine species and is a U.
Natural Wildlife Reserve. Its deep lagoon served as a respite area for U. Total area : how do you treat a torn hamstring. Population : There are no permanent inhabitants on the islands but caretakers periodically live there. Results from US Geological Survey studies of the species on the island in and raised the number known living there from to more than As a result, it was made a U.
National Wildlife Refuge. It is closed to the public. Total area : square miles sq kmaccording to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Population : 52, While visiting the Northern Mariana Islands northeast of Guam, you can go hiking, fishing, cliff jumping, or scuba diving—and can even examine a World War II shipwreck. The Palmyra Atoll Research Consortium studies climate change, invasive species, coral reefs, and marine restoration.
The atoll is owned and protected by the Nature Conservancy, which purchased it in from private owners. Total area : 3, square miles 8, sq km. Population : 3, Though Puerto Rico gets rain throughout the year, the wet season is May through October, with the start of hurricane season how to delete startup config on cisco switch August, also its wettest month.
In addition to withstanding catastrophic hurricanes, measurable earthquakes more than 1. Made up of three larger islands and 50 smaller ones, the U. Population : military and civilian contractors work on the base.
Prized for its strategic location as a refueling and stopover site, Wake Island was the site of a major battle during World War II and was held by the Japanese until its surrender at the end of the war. Share Flipboard Email.
Amanda Briney. Geography Expert. Amanda Briney, M. Cite this Article Format. Briney, Amanda. Geography of the Territories of the United States. Territories, Colonies, and Dependencies of Independent Countries. States and Their Admission to the Union. The Insular Cases: History and Significance. Are Puerto Ricans Immigrants in the U.
Territories of the United States
Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the United States government. The various U. The U. Virgin Islands are permanently inhabited, unincorporated territories; the other nine are small islands, atolls and reefs with no native or permanent population. Of the nine, only one is classified as an incorporated territory Palmyra Atoll. Many organized incorporated territories of the United States existed from to The first were the Northwest and Southwest territories and the last were the Alaska and Hawaii territories.
Thirty-one territories or parts of territories became states. In the process, some less-populous areas of a territory were orphaned from it after a statehood referendum. When a portion of the Missouri Territory became the state of Missouri , the remainder of the territory the present-day states of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota, most of Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana, and parts of Colorado and Minnesota became an unorganized territory.
Politically and economically, the territories are underdeveloped. Residents of U. Each territory is self-governing  with three branches of government, including a locally elected governor and a territorial legislature.
House of Representatives. Depending on the Congress, they may also vote on the floor in the House Committee of the Whole. Virgin Islands.
Every four years, U. American Samoa is the only U. Except for Guam, the inhabited territories lost population in Although the territories have higher poverty rates than the mainland U. Four of the five territories have another official language, in addition to English. The territories do not have administrative counties. Census Bureau counts Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities , the U. Virgin Islands' three main islands, all of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands' four municipalities, and American Samoa's three districts and two atolls as county equivalents.
Minor Outlying Islands as county equivalents. For statistical purposes, the U. Virgin Islands every major territory except Puerto Rico.
Census Bureau often treats Puerto Rico as its own entity or groups it with the states and D. The following is the political party status of the governments of the U.
Instances where local and national party affiliation differs, the national affiliation is listed second. Guam and the U. Virgin Islands have unicameral territorial legislatures. Virgin Islands are Article IV territorial courts.
American Samoa does not have a federal territorial court, and so federal matters in American Samoa are sent to either the District court of Hawaii or the District court of the District of Columbia. While the U. In , American Samoa's population was Virgin Islands was Throughout the s , the U. The combined population of the five inhabited territories was 4,, in ,  and 3,, in The economies of the U.
Guam's GDP shrank by 0. Virgin Islands' GDP grew by 1. American Samoa has the lowest per capita income in the United States—it has a per capita income comparable to that of Botswana. Palmyra Atoll formally known as the United States Territory of Palmyra Island  is the only incorporated territory, a status it has maintained since Hawaii became a state in The status of several territories is disputed. Fish and Wildlife Service and their services provider;  Palmyra Atoll, whose population varies from four to 20 Nature Conservancy and Fish and Wildlife staff and researchers;  and Wake Island, which has a population of about military personnel and civilian employees.
The two-letter abbreviation for the U. Minor Outlying Islands is "UM". The following two territories are claimed by multiple countries including the United States ,  and are not included in ISO UM. However, they are sometimes grouped with the U. Minor Outlying Islands. Congress decides whether a territory is incorporated or unincorporated.
Constitution applies to each incorporated territory including its local government and inhabitants as it applies to the local governments and residents of a state. Incorporated territories are considered to be integral parts of the U. The Court also established the doctrine of territorial incorporation, in which the Constitution applies fully to incorporated territories such as the then-territories of Alaska and Hawaii and partially in the unincorporated territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and, at the time, the Philippines which is no longer a U.
In the Supreme Court case Downes v. Bidwell , the Court said that the U. Constitution did not fully apply in unincorporated territories because they were inhabited by "alien races". Congress enacted the Guano Islands Act that year, authorizing the president to take possession of unclaimed islands to mine guano. It also has acquired territories since under other circumstances, such as under the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish—American War.
The Supreme Court considered the constitutional position of these unincorporated territories in Balzac v. People of Porto Rico , and said the following about a U. The United States District Court is not a true United States court established under article 3 of the Constitution to administer the judicial power of the United States It is created The resemblance of its jurisdiction to that of true United States courts, in offering an opportunity to nonresidents of resorting to a tribunal not subject to local influence, does not change its character as a mere territorial court.
In Glidden Company v. Zdanok , the Court cited Balzac and said about courts in unincorporated territories: "Upon like considerations, Article III has been viewed as inapplicable to courts created in unincorporated territories outside the mainland This the only district court in a U.
The court Given the same, the territory has evolved from an unincorporated to an incorporated one. Congress today, thus, must afford Puerto Rico and the 4,, United States citizens residing therein all constitutional guarantees. To hold otherwise, would amount to the court blindfolding itself to continue permitting Congress per secula seculorum to switch on and off the Constitution. In Balzac , the Court defined "implied":  : Had Congress intended to take the important step of changing the treaty status of Puerto Rico by incorporating it into the Union, it is reasonable to suppose that it would have done so by the plain declaration, and would not have left it to mere inference.
Before the question became acute at the close of the Spanish War, the distinction between acquisition and incorporation was not regarded as important, or at least it was not fully understood and had not aroused great controversy. Before that, the purpose of Congress might well be a matter of mere inference from various legislative acts; but in these latter days, incorporation is not to be assumed without express declaration, or an implication so strong as to exclude any other view.
On June 5, , the U. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 3—0 in Tuaua v. United States to deny birthright citizenship to American Samoans, ruling that the guarantee of such citizenship to citizens in the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to unincorporated U. In the Court declined to review the appealate court's decision. Virgin Islands did not qualify to cast overseas ballots according to their last registered address on the U.
In October , the U. Supreme Court declined to review the 7th Circuit's decision. In analyzing the Insular Cases, Christina Duffy Ponsa of the New York Times said the following: "To be an unincorporated territory is to be caught in limbo: although unquestionably subject to American sovereignty, they are not considered part of the United States for certain purposes but not others.
Whether they are part of the United States for purposes of the Citizenship Clause remains unresolved. The Supreme Court case Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle ruled that territories do not have their own sovereignty. United States that American Samoans are not U. In Rassmussen v. The act of incorporation affects the people of the territory more than the territory per se by extending the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Constitution to them, such as its extension to Puerto Rico in ; however, Puerto Rico remains unincorporated.
Rassmussen arose from a criminal conviction by a six-person jury in Alaska under federal law. The court held that Alaska had been incorporated into the U. That Congress, shortly following the adoption of the treaty with Russia, clearly contemplated the incorporation of Alaska into the United States as a part thereof, we think plainly results from the act of July 20, , concerning internal revenue taxation And this is fortified by subsequent action of Congress, which it is unnecessary to refer to.
Concurring justice Henry Brown agreed:  : —4. Apparently, acceptance of the territory is insufficient in the opinion of the court in this case, since the result that Alaska is incorporated into the United States is reached, not through the treaty with Russia, or through the establishment of a civil government there, but from the act Certain other acts are cited, notably the judiciary act In Dorr v.
The 6th article of the treaty of cession contains the following provision: "The inhabitants of the territories which His Catholic Majesty cedes the United States by this treaty shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States as soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Federal Constitution and admitted to the enjoyment of the privileges, rights, and immunities of the citizens of the United States