In addition to 48 lower continental states, Alaska, and Hawaii, the U.S. holds 14 territories in the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean. Most of these territories were acquired after wars or through agreements with other countries. Although they’re not U.S. states, they do receive U.S. financial aid and military protection. Residents of these territories can seek U.S. citizenship.
- In the Caribbean sit the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix). Both these territories are lush, tropical islands and popular vacation areas.
- American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam are three territories in the Pacific Ocean. These islands have distinct cultures and lie on the other wide of the world, near Australia, China, and Japan.
- Smaller U.S. territories include Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island. Several of these islands are occupied only by U.S. military and government departments.
- In the lagoon around Managaha Island near the coast of Japan are wrecked ships and planes from World War II. This wreckage is polluting the water and damaging reefs.
Watch a video about U.S. territories.
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