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In the United States, a territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States,[1] including all waters (around islands or continental tracts). The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory.[2] This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government (which includes tracts lying at a distance from the country) for administrative and other purposes.[1] The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.

Several islands in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are dependent territories of the United States.[20][21]

The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is administered by the United States under a perpetual lease, much as the Panama Canal Zone used to be before the signing of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties and only mutual agreement or U.S. abandonment of the area can terminate the lease.

From July 8, 1947, until October 1, 1994, the United States administered the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea are dependent territories of the United States.[20][21]

The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is administered by the United States under a perpetual lease, much as the Panama Canal Zone used to be before the signing of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is administered by the United States under a perpetual lease, much as the Panama Canal Zone used to be before the signing of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties and only mutual agreement or U.S. abandonment of the area can terminate the lease.

From July 8, 1947, until October 1, 1994, the United States administered the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but the Trust ceased to exist when the last member state of Palau gained its independence to become the Republic of Palau. The Panama canal, and the Canal Zone surrounding it, was territory administered by the United States until 1999, when control was relinquished to Panama.

The United States has made no territorial claim in Antarctica but has reserved the right to do so. American research stations in AntarcticaAmundsen–Scott South Pole Station, McMurdo Station, and Palmer Station—are under U.S. jurisdiction but are held without sovereignty per the Antarctic Treaty.

The government of the United States of America has claims to the oceans in accord with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which delineates a zone of territory adjacent to territorial lands and seas. United States protects this marine environment, though not interfering with other lawful uses of this zone. The United States' jurisdiction has been established on vessels, ships, and artificial islands (along with other marine structures).

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan, through Proclamation No. 5030, claimed a 200-mile exclusive economic zone. In December 1988, President Reagan, through Proclamation No. 5928, extended U.S. territorial w

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan, through Proclamation No. 5030, claimed a 200-mile exclusive economic zone. In December 1988, President Reagan, through Proclamation No. 5928, extended U.S. territorial waters from three nautical miles to twelve nautical miles for national security purposes. However a legal opinion from the Justice Department questioned the President's constitutional authority to extend sovereignty as Congress has the power to make laws concerning the territory belonging to the United States under the U.S. Constitution. In any event, Congress needs to make laws defining if the extended waters, including oil and mineral rights, are under state or federal control.[22][23]

The primary enforcer of maritime law is the U.S. Coast Guard. Federal and state governments share economic and regulatory jurisdiction over the waters owned by the country. (See tidelands.)

The United States is not restricted from making laws governing its own territory by international law. United States territory can include occupied territory, which is a geographic area that claims sovereignty, but is being forcibly subjugated to the authority of the United States of America. United States territory can also include disputed territory, which is a geographic area claimed by the United States of America and one (or more) rival governments.

Under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, United States territory can include areas occupied by and controlled by the United States Armed Forces. When de facto military control is maintained and exercised, occupation (and thus possession) extends to that territory. Military personnel in control of the territory have a responsibility to provide for the basic needs of individuals under their control (which includes food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, law maintenance, and social order). To prevent systematic abuse of puppet governments by the occupation forces, they must enforce laws that were in place in the territory prior to the occupation.

Customs territories

The fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico form the main customs territory of the United States. Special rules apply to foreign trade zones in these areas.

Under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, United States territory can include areas occupied by and controlled by the United States Armed Forces. When de facto military control is maintained and exercised, occupation (and thus possession) extends to that territory. Military personnel in control of the territory have a responsibility to provide for the basic needs of individuals under their control (which includes food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, law maintenance, and social order). To prevent systematic abuse of puppet governments by the occupation forces, they must enforce laws that were in place in the territory prior to the occupation.

The fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico form the main customs territory of the United States. Special rules apply to foreign trade zones in these areas. Separate customs territories are formed by American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other areas

U.S. sovereignty incl

U.S. sovereignty includes the airspace over its land and territorial waters. No international agreement exists on the vertical limit that separates this from outer space, which is international.

Federal jurisdiction includes federal enclaves like national parks and domestic military bases, even though these are located in the territory of a state. Host states exercise conc

Federal jurisdiction includes federal enclaves like national parks and domestic military bases, even though these are located in the territory of a state. Host states exercise concurrent jurisdiction to some degree.

The United States exercises extraterritoriality on overseas embassies and military bases, including the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Despite exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction, these overseas locations remain under the sovereignty of the host countries.

The federal government also exercises property ownership, but not sovereignty over land in various foreign countries. Examples include the John F. Kennedy Memorial built at Runnymede in England,[24] and 32 acres (13 hectares) around Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France.[25][26][27]