Everything You Need to Know About the Territories of the United States

This article focuses on the territories of the United States. It’s part of a three-part series explaining the current day situation of the remnants of the colonial empires of the early 20th century, almost all of which are small islands scattered around the world. Other parts of the territories series examine the status of British territories and French territories.

The United States came to the colonization game rather late. By William McKinley’s presidency, the world had already been carved up by European powers. With a strong desire to prove itself as the equal to Britain and France, the U.S. closed out the 19th century by engaging in a war with Spain that took from it the last of its colonies.

It turned out, however, that the U.S. wasn’t very good at being a colonial power. A former colony itself, it had neither the stomach or long-term desire to hold colonies. Its largest colony, the Philippines, was given independence 40 years after it had been ceded from Spain, and it would have been granted independence even sooner if it hadn’t been for WWII.

Today, the United States has long since given up its hopes of becoming a colonial empire, but it still holds onto many pieces of its early 20th-century attempt to become one. The story of the U.S. territories is one of the least known and most interesting parts of U.S. history. If you’re looking for a fascinating longer account, check out How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, otherwise, let’s dive into everything you need to know about U.S. territories.

Map of US Territories

US Territories Placeholder
US Territories

Territories are not new to the United States. Most states outside of the original 13 were territories before they became states. The states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Illinois were created from Northwestern Territory. North and South Dakota used to form the Dakota Territory. And in the 20th century, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, and Alaska all made the jump from territory to state.

The creation of territories is addressed in the Constitution and is a power given to Congress. (It should be noted that Washington D.C. is not a territory. It’s a Federal District, and that’s distinct from a territory.)

Today there are two criteria that categorize American territories.

  • A territory can be incorporated or unincorporated.
  • A territory can be organized or unorganized.

Incorporation of U.S. Territories

Incorporated territories are considered integral parts of the United States. Prior to statehood, both Alaska and Hawaii were incorporated territories. In incorporated territories, the Constitution is in full effect. Incorporated territories would be similar to territories found in Canada (Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut) or the Northern Territory of Australia—in these places, they do not have a large enough population for statehood, but are still considered part of the parent country.

Today the U.S. has only one incorporated territory: Palmyra Atoll.

Most people have never heard of Palmyra Atoll, but it is legally the only incorporated territory of the U.S. It has this status because of a quirk of history. When Hawaii gained statehood in 1959, Palmyra was part of the territory of Hawaii. The act of statehood, which admitted Hawaii to the union, explicitly excluded Palmyra from joining the rest of the Hawaiian Islands from becoming a state. I’ve searched high and low for an explanation as to why Palmyra was not included with Hawaii as a state, but I could never find a reason.

Today, Palmyra is owned by The Nature Conservancy and has no permanent human settlement.

All other U.S. territories today are unincorporated territories. A such, they are not considered integral parts of the United States that the U.S. has permanent sovereignty over.

Organization of U.S. Territories

The other criterion defining U.S. territories is their organizational status.

Organized territories are territories subject to an Organic Act, passed by Congress, which establishes a government in the territory.

Of the five populated territories in the United States, four of them have passed an Organic Act and are organized territories. They are (with the date of organization):

Citizens of all of the above territories are U.S. citizens. However, they cannot vote in federal elections. They each have a representative in congress, which cannot vote on the floor but may vote in committee.

US Territory of American Samoa
Although American Samoa is a non-organized U.S. territory, it is self-governing.

The remaining U.S. territories are all unorganized:

  • American Samoa (Pacific)
  • Palmyra Atoll (Pacific)
  • Baker Island (Pacific)
  • Howland Island (Pacific)
  • Jarvis Island (Pacific)
  • Johnston Atoll (Pacific)
  • Kingman Reef (Pacific)
  • Midway Islands (Pacific)
  • Wake Island (Pacific)
  • Bajo Nuevo Bank (Caribbean)
  • Navassa Island (Caribbean)
  • Serranilla Bank (Caribbean)

All of the unorganized territories, except for American Samoa, are uninhabited and have never had any permanent human population.

While American Samoa is officially unorganized, it is still self-governed and has a government. Citizens of American Samoa are not U.S. citizens but rather are U.S. Nationals. They may live and work anywhere in the U.S., but they cannot vote should they move to the United States. U.S. Nationals may apply for citizenship as if they were resident aliens, but they do not have the same restriction for traveling and living in the U.S. as other resident aliens. RadioLab recently published a fascinating podcast exploring how citizens of Samoa feel about their status as Nationals, and their opinions on the autonomy of being a U.S. territory may surprise you.

If you’ve ever filled out an online form, you might have seen “US Minor Outlying Islands” as a country option in a drop-down list. While that’s an official designation for the uninhabited islands, no one actually lives there, so I’ve never understood why it is included in country lists.

Populated Territories of the United States

For all practical purposes, the United States has five territories, those being the ones that are inhabited. With my recent visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands, I’ve now visited all five inhabited territories. Here is a brief overview of each territory and some interesting facts about each.

Puerto Rico

San Juan is actually the oldest city in the United States
San Juan is actually the oldest city in the United States.

By far the largest US territory, Puerto Rico has more people than every other territory combined. It’s also physically the closest territory to the United States mainland. If it were a state, it would be the 29th largest state in terms of population and it is larger in area than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware. It’s also the only U.S. territory that does not have English as its primary language. It became a territory of the U.S. as part of the 1898 Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War.

Attitudes in Puerto Rico have changed considerably over the last century. In the early and mid-20th century, most Puerto Ricans wanted independence from the United States. By the 21st century, most Puerto Ricans had family members living and working in the U.S., and the desire for independence all but disappeared. In 2012, the people of Puerto Rico, for the first time ever, preferred statehood over continuing as a territory in a referendum. It’s probably the only current U.S. territory that has any reasonable chance at statehood.

Guam is a US Territory
Tumon Bay, Guam


Guam became a U.S. territory in 1898 after it was also ceded to the U.S. in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. It is often called the place where “America Starts its Day” because it’s located on the other side of the International Date Line.

The natives of Guam are the Chamorro people, who also inhabit the Northern Mariana Islands. Guam is actually the southernmost island in the Marianas Archipelago. Europeans first visited it in 1521, when Ferdinand Magellan landed there on his circumnavigation of the globe.

Today, the economy of Guam is mostly tourism (primarily from Japan) and the U.S. military. Military bases cover 29% of the island.

One of the most interesting attractions in Guam is Yokoi’s Cave. In 1972, Yokoi Sh?ichi, a Japanese soldier in WWII, emerged from the jungles in Guam unaware that the war was over. He became an instant celebrity in Japan and the hole where he lived is a popular attraction for Japanese tourists today. His story was foretold by an episode of Gilligan’s Island.

Guam was invaded hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and remained under Japanese control for over two years.

US Virgin Islands are a United States Territory
The U.S. Virgin Islands were purchased from Denmark.

US Virgin Islands

Unlike Puerto Rico or Guam, the United States didn’t acquire USVI by conquest. It was purchased from Denmark in 1916 for $25,000,000 in gold via the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. The islands were sold prior to the U.S. entry into WWI so as not to violate Danish neutrality.

The U.S. Virgin Islands lies only 40 miles east of Puerto Rico and is approximately double the size of the District of Columbia.

The USVI is the only part of the United States that drives on the left, even though almost all vehicles are American and have left-hand drive.

The Virgin Islands group is divided between the United States and the United Kingdom, which control the British Virgin Islands as a territory.

There are three primary islands in USVI: St. Thomas, St. John, and St Croix. The islands of St. Thomas and St. John are connected by ferry, whereas St. Croix is located south of the rest of the islands in the archipelago. Most of the island of St. John consists of Virgin Islands National Park.

You can still see some Danish influence on the islands, including some Danish flags. Chartered flights from Denmark in the winter are the farthest direct flights to USVI.

The Northern Marinas Islands are a US Territory
Battle of Saipan Monument, CNMI

Northern Mariana Islands

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is the newest territory of the United States. Although culturally and geographically similar to Guam, the islands have had a very different history, especially in the 20th century.

The islands were, like Guam, part of the Spanish Empire. After the Spanish-American war, the islands were ceded to Germany, not the United States. In WWI, Japan declared war on Germany and used it as a pretext to invade and take over the islands.

The islands were liberated during the Battle of Saipan in WWII, one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific Theater.

The islands were put under U.S. management after WWII by the United Nations as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI), along with what today are Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. Unlike the other parts of TTPI, the CNMI choose to remain a U.S. territory rather than opt for independence.

On several occasions, the citizens of CNMI have voted to join Guam, but they were rejected by Guam. The CNMI has had a reputation of corrupt leadership since it became a territory and is probably the largest destination for sex tourism in the United States. When I walked around the capital of Garipan, it seemed that almost half the businesses were massage parlors.

American Samoa is a US Territory
American Samoa National Park

American Samoa

In the late 19th century, a civil war in Samoa almost led the United States and Germany to go to war. Each nation backed opposite sides in the war in hopes of gaining a position to use the islands for whaling and as a fuelling station. The Tripartite Convention of 1899 divided the Samoan Islands between the western islands (German) and the eastern islands (American).

Culturally, there is little difference between American Samoa and the country of Samoa. They are geographically close to each other, and there are many families with relatives in each part.

There have been some calls for either independence or greater autonomy for American Samoa, but in a 2010 referendum, the majority of people opted to stick with the status quo.

Unlike other U.S. territories, Americans need a passport to enter American Samoa, and they have it has its own immigration and passport stamps.

American Samoa is noted for having the highest rate of military enlistment of any U.S. state or territory.

Former U.S. Territories

There are currently four independent countries that were former territories of the United States. One of which came from the Spanish-American war (from which the U.S. acquired Guam and Puerto Rico), and the other three came from the aftermath of WWII. A fifth country was not technically a territory but was instead considered a protectorate.

The Philippines used to be a Territory of the United States
If the Philippines were a U.S. State, it would have a quarter of the population of the combined country.


Cuba was another part of the territorial transfer from Spain to the U.S. in 1898. However, Cuba was only a U.S. possession for four years. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was sympathetic to the Cuban independence movement, and the U.S. recognized a free Cuba in 1902.

The drink Cuba Libre (aka rum and coke) comes from that period in history. When Coke was first imported to Cuba in 1900, it was mixed with rum and people toasted a free Cuba (translated as Cuba libre in Spanish).

The other historical remnant from this period is the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, which was leased from Cuba. A treaty in 1934 made the lease period indefinite and set the monthly payments at $4,085. The figure was never indexed for inflation, so the amount has never changed even though the value would have been the equivalent of $69,000 per month in today’s dollars.

Since the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Cuba has refused to cash these checks as it does not recognize U.S. control over Guantanamo Bay.


Many people are unaware that the Philippines was once a U.S. territory. It was ceded to the United States by Spain in the same treaty that ceded Guam. After the conclusion of the Spanish War, the Filipino forces fighting Spain for independence turned their attention to the Americans. For several years, American and Filipino forces fought, leading to the deaths of thousands on each side. It is one of the most forgotten wars in U.S. history.

There were many in the U.S. who never felt comfortable with the annexation of the Philippines. In the 1930s, the Philippines was declared a commonwealth, and plans were developed for a transition to full independence. The Japanese invasion of Manila on December 8, 1941 (at the same time as the Pearl Harbor attack, but on the other side of the international date line) postponed independence for several years.

The Philippines eventually became independent on July 4, 1946. Today, however, the Philippines celebrates its Independence Day on June 12, the day it became free of Spain in 1898.

During its brief tenure as a U.S. territory (brief compared to Spain’s 333-year rule), the Philippines had a non-voting representative in the U.S. Congress and was covered by an Organic Act giving Filipinos full rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Today, if you visit the WWII Memorial in Washington D.C., every state and territory is listed in stone pillars, including the Philippines, recognizing its role in the war.

If the Philippines had remained a U.S. territory and had become a U.S. state, it would be the sixth-largest state by area and the largest state by population. In a fictional world where the Philippines is the 51st state, it would consist of a quarter of the entire U.S. population and have a population almost three times larger than California.

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

In 1947, the United Nations created the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (TTPI) from former Japanese possessions given to them by a League of Nations Mandate. The TTPI existed from 1947 to 1986, when the constituent islands began to seek independence. The above-mentioned Northern Mariana Islands is the only part of the TTPI, which is still a U.S. territory.

The Marshall Islands Used to be a US Territory
All of the former TTPI countries have U.S. postal zip codes and state codes.

The Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands are perhaps best known as the location of many atomic bomb tests in the 40s and 50s on places, taking places on Bikini and Enewetak Atolls.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) was declared in 1979 and the country entered a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1986. The compact is a unique agreement that the United States has with the former TTPI countries, where they have access to many programs that are normally reserved for US citizens. For example, the Marshall Islands have mail delivered to it at U.S. domestic postal rates. It has its own USPS state and zip code. (MH and 969xx). The Marshallese can also work in the U.S. without a green card.


The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) consists of four island groups: Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. Like the Marshall Islands, the FSM declared independence in 1979 and signed a Compact of Free Association with the US in 1986. The FSM compact of free association also gives Micronesians access to U.S. services and aid.

Palau is a former United States Territory
Palau has some of the best diving in the world.


By population and area, Palau is the smallest of the former TTPI countries. With a population of only 20,000 people and an area of 459 km2, it’s one of the smallest countries in the world.

Palau declared independence in 1981 and signed its compact of free association with the US in 1994. Palau’s location, combined with some of the best scuba diving in the world, has given it a per capita GDP almost four times greater than the other former TTPI countries.

The Future of U.S. Territories

Historically, most U.S. territories have gone on to become states. However, most of those were located in North America and were contiguous to the other states. With the admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states in 1959, the idea of non-contiguous and non-North American states became real.

Of the current U.S. territories, only Puerto Rico has a reasonable chance of becoming a state. It has a population and landmass that would place it in the realm of current U.S. states—it would be in the middle of states population-wise and small, but not the smallest state in terms of land area.

Of the remaining territories, only the Northern Mariana Islands have an area larger than Rhode Island. The rest are less than half the size or smaller.

The real reason why you won’t see any of the non-Puerto Rican territories become states is population. The most populous non-Puerto Rican territory is Guam, which has approximately a quarter the population of Wyoming, the least populous state. The rest are as small as a fifth or a tenth of the size. It just isn’t enough for most states to justify giving two senators and a representative. Even if they were all to combine, it still probably wouldn’t be enough.

Could Puerto Rico Move from Territory to State
Could Puerto Rico become the 51st State?

The case for Puerto Rico becoming a state is becoming more interesting. During the 2012 elections, while everyone was focused on the race for President, for the first time, Puerto Rico quietly had a referendum where the majority of voters approved the idea of statehood.

With population and landmass within reasonable parameters, the only two stumbling blocks to statehood: economics and language.

The per capita GDP of Puerto Rico ($27,384) would make it the poorest state in the union behind Mississippi ($32,967). While it is poorer, it isn’t radically so and probably shouldn’t be that big of an issue. Most new states have been on the frontier, where they were poorer than older than more established states.

The real issue is language. Spanish is the dominant language in Puerto Rico. They would be the only state with a non-English speaking majority. While most of the population can speak English, they do so as a second language and at a level of proficiency lower than the rest of the country.

Over the last several decades, English proficiency has increased dramatically in Puerto Rico as more families have relatives that work in the U.S. I suspect this trend will continue even if Spanish is still the dominant language since English is an official language of Puerto Rico and has been since 1902.

It should be noted that there are three U.S. states that have an official language other than English: Louisiana also has French, New Mexico includes Spanish, and Hawaii officially recognizes Hawaiian. However in all three states, English is the most widely spoken. That said, during my travels in Puerto Rico, I’ve never had problems getting by in English.

My guess is that we are still at least 20 years away from Puerto Rican statehood.

For the rest of the territories, the debate will be between the status quo and independence. This is most true of American Samoa, which has an independent sister country next door (Samoa). Likewise, if Guam and CNMI would merge, they would be far from the smallest country in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions About U.S. Territories

Is the Philippines a U.S. territory?

No. The Philippines is not a U.S. territory. It was formerly a U.S. territory, but it became fully independent in 1946.

Is Guam a U.S. territory?

Yes. Guam is a U.S. Territory. It has been a territory of the United States since 1898, since it was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in the Treaty of Paris.

Are the Bahamas a U.S. territory?

No. The Bahamas are not and have never been a U.S. territory. They were formerly a territory of the United Kingdom and have been independent since 1973.

When did Puerto Rico become a U.S. territory, and why?

The island is about the size of Connecticut, and Puerto Rico was first settled by the Spanish in the 1500s. Puerto Rico has been a territory of the United States since 1898—when it was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in the Treaty of Paris at the close of the Spanish/American War. This handily explains why they speak Spanish in Puerto Rico—although it’s worth noting that since 1917 Puerto Ricans have been full citizens of the U.S., able to travel freely within the U.S.

How many U.S. territories are there?

The U.S. has five inhabited territories and twelve uninhabited territories. (See above)

What territory did the U.S. buy from France in 1803?

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. Today the Louisiana Territory no longer exists and is part of 14 current U.S. states.

And there you have it! Everything you could possibly want to know about U.S. territories is explained in less than 4,000 words. Fancy a deeper dive into some of the fascinating colonial history of the U.S. and how it impacted our current territories, send a copy of How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States it will have you turning pages for hours.

55 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About the Territories of the United States”

  1. Very interesting — learning about constitutional right vs civil right on the territorial, colony, commonwealth & incorporated. It is very interesting to learn the laws, bylaws, citizenship and politics about these territories.

    I wonder what the United States thinking today when one of their territory Philippines the fastest growing economy in Asia today. The most strategic location in the pacific. The Chinese claiming the whole pacific ocean, the richness of its natural resources (oil-tourism & fisheries)and the filipino people who love them so much.

    Its very interesting to know that their failure of joining the Philippines a 51st states will make America much stronger controlling the Pacific ocean today along with defending their allies like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the 9 yards of ASEAN Nations such as (Myanmar- Indonesia- Thailand – Malaysia – as well as protecting AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND.
    They never saw the BULLY CHINESE ARE COMING!

  2. for Kaleb:
    It was interesting to read your take on Puerto Rico–and funny! I came to this wonderful page bc I really want to know how the people in the various us territories FEEL about being under the us’s thumb, in particular, the people of Puerto Rico. You added a cute, refreshing take from a native’s perspective. Thank you!

  3. One more territory you didn’t think of. The ten Mile square known as all that insular passion is called Washington District of Columbia, Washington D.C. is a possession of the United States. The 50 states are not territories, they are the considered the creator, look up Act of 1871, helps you understand the court tricks.

  4. Q: What is the difference, or is there one, between a U.S. territory and a U.S. area?
    Thanks for your fine work!

  5. sorry if this was already asked and answered, but, which of all the ‘territories a US citizen could live, has the lowest cost of living, but still medicare, etc?

  6. If anyone wants to escape a Trump presidency, you can come to Guam and not have to fully leave the US. It is very similar to living in HI. It is easy to do, and there is service jobs etc here and you can make it alot easier than moving to a foreign country. Please come!

  7. Great article! However, the statement made near the end, where you mention that three states have official languages other than English, does not seem to be accurate. Only Hawaii has English and Hawaiian as the official language of the state. Neither Louisiana nor New Mexico has an “official” language, at least according to Wikipedia. New Mexico’s original constitution allowed for a “bilingual government” but apparently they do not currently publish all laws, for example, English and Spanish, so it doesn’t function as if there are two “official” languages in the state.

  8. The Ryukyu Islands, including the main island of Okinawa, which are now a province of Japan, was a former U.S. trust territory, from after WWII, until it was reverted back to Japan on April 15, 1972.

    • thank you, ed. but really only interested in puerto rico, since I am considering living there. I am american citizen, 72 yrs, retired. any comments ?

      • please consider guam, its alot like hawaii and its a great place to live if you want an island lifestyle like PR. the people here are very similar to hawaii.

      • If you’re 72, allow me to say that Puerto Rico has a very bureaucratic and less than desirable health care system.

  9. If you were born in an unincorporated and unorganized island further identified as “US Minor Outlying Islands” such as:
    •Palmyra Atoll (Pacific)
    •Baker Island (Pacific)
    •Howland Island (Pacific)
    •Jarvis Island (Pacific)
    •Johnston Atoll (Pacific)
    •Kingman Reef (Pacific)
    •Midway Islands (Pacific)
    •Wake Island (Pacific)
    •Bajo Nuevo Bank (Caribbean)
    •Navassa Island (Caribbean)
    •Serranilla Bank (Caribbean)

    Would such a person be considered for a US passport and would their status be of a US National?

    • i live on guam, came here from hawaii, its about the same cost. housing is less but food is a little more. the people and govt are similar.

      • Chris, How is the snorkeling right off the beach in Guam? Thank you, Sandy
        Do you have US Medicare in Guam?

  10. Actually, Puerto Rico is at a crossroads at this very moment. The current status, Commonwealth in English, “Estado Libre Asociado” in Spanish, which translates literally as Free Associated State is under fire, both at the US and Puerto Rico. Recent developments have cleared the air and the United States is on record on an amicus curiae to the Supreme Court stating the Puerto Rico is a nonincorporated territory of the US, to the chagrin of the defenders of the ELA in the island. Where this is going to end, nobody knows, but perhaps your prediction that PR will become a state of the Union will be true sooner, rather than later. There is also the possibility that the US will basically grant PR its independence, causing a mass exodus of puertorricans to the mainland, especially those who have family already residing on the mainland and would like to keep their US citizenship. At any rate, you did a great job explaining about Puerto Rico, in my opinion, since your facts are unbiased and earnest. As a puertorrican residing in the United States for more than 30 years, it is refreshing to see such a balanced portrait of the place I was born.

  11. Actually PR was not a gift of a trophy for the UUSS in the hispanic-american war. Puerto Rico fought against spaniards with the help of americans. It was a friendly invasion of the uuss in the caribbean. We are nowhere close to statehood. The 2012 won the current status but the first option of the ones that voted for changing the current status was statehood. Stop confusing people and rooting for something that is not clear. We are poorer than the mainland however we give the uuss much more money than we receive in welfare, etc. We would be much better without being a territory and a LOT of people know that. Don’t disrespect my islands as the grand us saviour would only be being part of a country in neverending wars and the most wasteful. Please give us to the european union or to cuba. Much love to all humans of all countries

    • You are inserting politics into the discussion. Fact is, just prior to USA invasion (not a welcoming liberation), Puerto Rico had been granted a Spanish charter that provided for far more self government that what it currently has. It simply never came to fruition.

      Colonialism, in any form, must come to an end.

  12. Great information. Something I really plan to share with my Citizenship class.
    Can I assume that the U.S., President is the head of the government four organized territories? Which laws do the follow? Ours or their own? Do we have federal courts in these territories? Thanks again for a great research.

  13. Your wrote about the Philippines: “June 12, the day they became free of Spain in 1898”

    That is actually not quite accurate. June 12 is the day that Filipino revolutionaries proclaimed the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain. However, Spanish rule was effectively ended on May 1, 1898, when Commodore Dewey and the Asiatic Squadron of the U.S. Navy decisively defeated the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay. That battle effectively ended Spanish rule. From that point on, the question was Who would replace the Spanish — the American government or a Filipino government? Following the Battle of Manila Bay, various Filipino forces took power in various rural areas and provincial cities and the Americans took over Manila after a mostly staged Battle of Manila.

    In short, Spanish rule ended not on June 12, 1898 but on May 1, 1898. June 12 and all other activity was just efforts by either the American or Filipino forces to gain the upper hand and win control of the post-Spanish Philippines.

  14. Your website is the only one I could find that provides comprehensive info on US Territories. Thank you! You also have an interesting personal story to tell which I enjoyed reading. Happy travels!

  15. Hi, everything is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing
    data, that’s really good, keep up writing.

  16. I found this as a result on a Google search about us territories. This is great information! Thanks for it! Really interesting stuff. I’d love to read more.

  17. A nice reminder to our history and territories. I want to visit all of these territories and this article is my initial guide to that.

  18. I am from Caribbean and many of us consider the US territories as crime and drug ridden. A real pity

  19. Really great post. Very interesting to see how the US has expanded their footprint. Will be curious to see if Puerto Rico does become a state in the not so distant future.

  20. Wow, you really did a lot of work on this post. It contains excellent information, and I really learned a lot. I was amazed at the fact that Cuba has not cashed the checks paid for the monthly leasing fee for the US naval base at Guantomano Bay. What an interesting bit of information!

  21. Gary,

    I just came across your blog and I’m glad I did. Thank you for putting so much time into a very foggy subject that is quite interesting. I look forward to being part of this community.


  22. Wow Gary, you put quite a bit of time into this. I was completely unaware of all the uninhabited islands that are U.S. Territories.

    I found this very interesting. Thank you. It made my treadmill jaunt a breeze:-)

  23. Really really like this post! Yeah, you gave me the good tip. Yub i will go to there soon.

  24. When we were in Albania, they were very keen to join the United States. If we paid with dollars instead of euros we got better prices. That was quite a surprising finding in the Balkans. They might be willing to settle for a colonial status.

    • You probably had too much raki in Albania my friend because Albanians are too proud to become anyone’s territory. Albanians are thankful to Americans for many reasons, including liberation of Kosova. I am Albanian and never heard anyone wishing or thinking about giving up our blood earned sovereignty.

  25. Shit, they’re giving both France and england a run for their money on overseas territories

  26. Very interesting! I didn’t know about half of these former territories…it’s amazing the things that get overlooked in the US school system.

  27. I love learning things about the U.S.that are never taught in school. Social Studies or history of the U.S. was always the same and covered only the important states. A mention would be made of the less important, but you never got a full grasp of the magnitude of our nation.

  28. This was one of the best posts I’ve read here in a long time and the most clear explanation of the U.S. Territory relationship. It made me smarter!

  29. Great post! I really enjoyed it. This sort of thing is a nice addition to your normal posts. Thanks.

  30. Gary, this a really interesting article. I am looking forward to the next ones on Eurpean territories. Enjoy your Caribbean trip!

  31. This is really interesting. Thanks for the history lesson! How was your visit to American Samoa? Would you recommend going? I was considering it, mostly because I’m obsessed with islands.

    • If you go to American Samoa, go through Samoa, not Hawaii. The Honolulu-Pago Pago route is considered a domestic route, so foreign carriers can’t do it. Hawaiian Airlines has a monopoly on the route and it is very expensive.

      If you fly through Apia, it is much cheaper and the Apia-Pago Pago leg is only a 45 minute flight.

  32. I really like this post a lot ! Because I am fascinated by US territories and because I was born in one! I Agree with everything about Puerto Rico, I was just there a week ago and I think I will be Dr. Garcia before we become state. No body really cares! (In our mind we are a nation, but we are also crazy)

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