Territories of The United States

Territories of the United States are one of the four types of political division of the United States, overseen directly by the federal government of the United States and not any part of a U.S. state. These territories were created to govern newly acquired land while the borders of the United States were still evolving. Territories can be classified by whether they are incorporated (part of the United States proper) and whether they have an organized government (through an Organic Act passed by the U.S. Congress, or a territorial constitution and functioning legislature).

Many organized incorporated territories of the United States existed from 1789 to 1959, through which 31 territories applied for and achieved statehood. In the process of organizing and promoting territories to statehood, many unorganized territories were orphaned from the parts of a larger territory wherein the whole was ineligible, usually demographically lacking sufficient development and population densities at the time a vote could be taken petitioning Congress for statehood rights.

The U.S. had no unincorporated territories (also called "overseas possessions" or "insular areas") until 1856 but continues to control several of them today.

Read more about Territories Of The United States:  Incorporated and Unincorporated Territories, Organized Territory

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