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Number of US states by year since 1776

Although the founding fathers declared American independence in 1776, and the subsequent Revolutionary War ended in 1783, individual states did not officially join the union until 1787. The first states to ratify the U.S. Constitution were Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in December 1787, and they were joined by the remainder of the thirteen ex-British colonies by 1790. Another three states joined before the turn of the nineteenth century, and there were 45 states by 1900. The final states, Alaska and Hawaii, were admitted to the union in 1959, almost 172 years after the first colonies became federal states.

Secession in the American Civil War

The issues of slavery and territorial expansion in the mid nineteenth century eventually led to the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 until 1865. As the U.S. expanded westwards, a moral and economic argument developed about the legality of slavery in these new states; northern states were generally opposed to the expansion of slavery, whereas the southern states (who were economically dependent on slavery) saw this lack of extension as a stepping stone towards nationwide abolition. In 1861, eleven southern states seceded from the Union, and formed the Confederate States of America. When President Lincoln refused to relinquish federal property in the south, the Confederacy attacked, setting in motion the American Civil War. After four years, the Union emerged victorious, and the Confederate States of America was disbanded, and each individual state was readmitted to Congress gradually, between 1866 and 1870.

Expansion of other territories

Along with the fifty U.S. states, there is one federal district (Washington D.C., the capital city), and fourteen overseas territories, five of which with a resident population (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). In 2019, President Trump inquired about the U.S. purchasing the territory of Greenland from Denmark, and, although Denmark's response indicated that this would be unlikely, this does suggest that the US may be open to further expansion of it's states and territories in the future. There is also a movement to make Washington D.C. the 51st state to be admitted to the union, as citizens of the nation's capital (over 700,000 people) do not have voting representation in the houses of Congress nor control over many local affairs; as of 2020, the U.S. public appears to be divided on the issue, and politicians are split along party lines, as D.C. votes overwhelmingly for the Democratic nominee in presidential elections.

Total number of US states*, at the end of each year, since the Declaration of Independence in 1776

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Source

Release date

July 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1776 to 2020

Supplementary notes

*1787 - Delaware (Dec. 07), Pennsylvania (Dec. 12), New Jersey (Dec. 18)
1788 - Georgia (Jan. 02), Conecticut(Jan. 09), Massachusetts (Feb. 06), Maryland (Apr. 28), South Carolina (May 23), New Hampshire (Jun. 21), Virginia (Jun. 25), New York (Jul. 26)
1789 - North Carolina (Nov. 21)
1790 - Rhode Island (May 29), (also Washington D.C.)
1791 - Vermont (Mar. 04)
1792 - Kentucky (Jun. 01)
1796 - Tennessee (Jun. 01)
1803 - Ohio (Mar. 01)
1812 - Louisiana (Apr. 30)
1816 - Indiana (Dec. 11)
1817 - Mississippi (Dec. 10)
1818 - Illinois (Dec. 03)
1819 - Alabama (Dec. 14)
1820 - Maine (Mar. 15)
1821 - Missouri (Aug. 10)
1836 - Arkansas (Jun. 15)
1837 - Michigan (Jan. 26)
1845 - Florida (Mar. 03), Texas (Dec. 29)
1846 - Iowa (Dec. 28)
1848 - Wisconsin (May 29)
1850 - California (Sep. 09)
1858 - Minnesota (May 11)
1859 - Oregon (Feb. 14)
1860 - SECEDED - South Carolina (Dec. 20)
1861 - Kansas (Jan. 29)
SECEDED - Mississippi (Jan. 09), Florida (Jan. 10), Alabama (Jan. 11), Georgia (Jan. 19), Louisiana (Jan. 26), Texas (Feb. 01), Virginia (Apr. 17), Arkansas (May 06), North Carolina (May 20), Tennessee (Jun. 08)
JOINED CONFEDERACY - Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi & South Carolina (Feb. 08), Texas (Mar. 02), Virginia (May. 07), Arkansas (May 18), North Carolina (May 20), Tennessee (Jul. 02)
1863 - West Virginia (Jun. 20)
1864 - Nevada (Oct. 31)
1866 - READMITTED - Tennessee (Jul. 24) 1867 - Nebraska (Mar. 01)
1868 - READMITTED - Arkansas (Jun. 22), Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina & South Carolina (Jun. 25)
1870 - READMITTED - Virginia (Jan. 26), Mississippi (Feb. 23), Texas (Mar. 30), Georgia (Jul. 15) 1876 - Colorado (Aug. 01)
1889 - North Dakota (Nov. 02), South Dakota (Nov. 02), Montana (Nov. 08), Washington (Nov. 11)
1890 - Idaho (Jul. 03), Wyoming (Jul. 10)
1896 - Utah (Jan. 04)
1907 - Oklahoma (Nov. 16)
1912 - New Mexico (Jan. 06), Arizona (Feb. 14)
1959 - Alaska (Jan. 03), Hawaii (Aug. 21)

**As of July 06, 2020.

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