United States Territories 2024

The 50 states make up the United States, but there are another 14 territories (and maybe more) that are not well known.

The term territories refers to non-state regions that are part of and regulated by their parent nation (though they may have some degree of autonomy). Subsequently 1789, the United States had jurisdiction over a variety of territories, 31 of which have since become individual states.

These include Alaska, Hawaii, Tennessee, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Although only five of the 14 current U.S. territories are inhabited (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), there is a growing sentiment that Puerto Rico, as the most populous of these territories, should be given the option of becoming the 51st state of the United States.

United States Territories 2022

A List of the United States Present-Day Territories:

  • American Samoa*
  • Baker Island
  • Guam*
  • Howland Island
  • Jarvis Island
  • Johnston Atoll
  • Kingman Reef
  • Midway Atoll
  • Navassa Island
  • Northern Mariana Islands*
  • Palmyra Atoll
  • Puerto Rico*
  • United States Virgin Islands*
  • Wake Island

As was previously stated, Puerto Rico is home to more than 3.3 million people, making it the most populated U.S. territory. Along with Guam, it was captured by the United States in 1899.

The five populated U.S. territories (noted with an asterisk above) are governed independently and enjoy a high degree of autonomy within the boundaries set by the United States.

Territories, in contrast to states, do not share sovereignty with the central government. The federal government of the United States may explore, develop, preserve, and administer all of its territories.

Also See: Transcontinental Countries

Only the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa are not organised under the Organic Act, while the other four populous territories are. U.S. residents residing in organised territories have no say in federal elections despite their status as citizens (although they can vote in primaries).

Those born in American Samoa, on the other hand, are automatically treated as U.S. nationals (regardless of whether or not either parent is a citizen).

United States Territories 2022

Territories in Conflict

More than only the 14 current territories are worth mentioning; so are a few more that the United States has lost control of.

  • Bajo Nuevo Bank —  Uninhabited. U.S. claim from 1879; territory relinquished to Colombia in 1972. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Jamaica all lay claim to this territory as well.
  • Corn Islands —  Concession to Nicaragua in 1970 after a lease agreement was signed in 1914.
  • Roncador Bank —  Uninhabited. This territory, which the United States had claimed in 1856, was officially handed up to Colombia in 1981.
  • Serranilla Bank —  Uninhabited. Ceded to Colombia in 1972 despite being claimed by the United States in 1879. Additionally claimed by Honduras and Nicaragua, with Jamaica considering asserting sovereignty as well.
  • Swan Islands — Except for the Honduran naval facility, it is completely devoid of human habitation. Ceded to Honduras in 1972 despite American claims dating back to 1856.

NameDate AcquiredInhabited?U.S. Citizens?Population 2020
American Samoa1900YesYes49710
Baker Island1956Non/a0
Howland Island1858Non/a0
Jarvis Island1856Non/a0
Johnston Atoll1859Non/a0
Kingman Reef1860Non/a0
Midway Atoll1867Non/a0
Navassa Island1858Non/a0
Northern Mariana Islands1986YesYes47329
Palmyra Atoll1898Non/a0
Puerto Rico1899YesYes3285874
United States Virgin Islands1917YesNo87146
Wake Island1899Non/a0

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