Unorganized territory

Last updated

In the United States, an unorganized territory is a region of land under U.S. sovereignty that is not within the bounds of a U.S. state and that is without a government established by the United States Congress through an organic act. The term was historically applied either to a newly acquired region not yet constituted as an organized incorporated territory (e.g. the Louisiana Purchase prior to the establishment of Orleans Territory and the District of Louisiana), or to a region previously part of an organized incorporated territory left "unorganized" after part of it had been organized and achieved the requirements for statehood (e.g. a large portion of Missouri Territory became unorganized territory for several years after its southeastern section became the state of Missouri). The U.S. currently exercises sovereignty over ten unorganized territories: American Samoa (the only one with a native resident population), Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll (previously a part of the Territory of Hawaii, and the only one that is an incorporated U.S. territory) and Wake Island.

Contents

U.S. territories

United States territorial growth from 1810 to 1920 USA territorial growth.gif
United States territorial growth from 1810 to 1920

An unorganized territory can also be a United States territory for which the United States Congress has not enacted an organic act. In this sense, unorganized territories are territories over which the federal U.S. government is sovereign but which are not located within any of the states of the Union and have not been "organized" into self-governing units. Currently, all federal unorganized territories are insular areas, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. American Samoa is technically unorganized, in that Congress has not passed an organic act, but it is effectively self-governing, under the terms of a constitution last revised in 1967. As of 2020, Palmyra Atoll (formerly part of the Territory of Hawaii) is the only unorganized incorporated U.S. territory. The other unorganized territories along with all of the organized territories are unincorporated. Incorporated territories are permanently part of the United States whereas unincorporated territories may be sold, leased or granted independence by the United States.

At various times during the 19th century, large parts of the Great Plains were unorganized territory. After the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803, the entire region was part of the Louisiana Territory until 1812 and the Missouri Territory until 1821. In 1821 the Missouri Compromise created the State of Missouri from the territory, and the rest of the region was left unorganized. The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, bringing organized government to the region once again. The creation of Kansas and Nebraska left the Indian Territory as the only unorganized territory in the Great Plains.

In 1858, the western part of the Minnesota Territory became unorganized when it was not included in the new state of Minnesota; this area was organized in 1861 as part of the Dakota Territory. On May 2, 1890, the western half of the Indian Territory was organized as Oklahoma. The remainder was incorporated into the State of Oklahoma upon its admission to the union in 1907.

Alaska was an unorganized territory between its acquisition from Russia in 1867 and the creation of Alaska Territory in 1912. Hawaii was as well from the time of its annexation by the U.S. in 1898 until organized as Hawaii Territory in 1900.

U.S. Census Bureau

Unorganized territories, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, occur in 10 minor civil division (MCD) states (Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota) where portions of counties are not included in any legally established MCD or independent incorporated place. The U.S. Census Bureau recognizes such separate pieces of territory as one or more separate county subdivisions for statistical purposes. It assigns each unorganized territory a descriptive name, followed by the designation "unorganized territory". Unorganized territories were first used for statistical purposes in conjunction with the 1960 census. [1]

At the 2000 census there were 305 of these territories within the United States. Their total land area was 85,392 square miles (221,165 km2) and they had a total population of 247,331. South Dakota had the most unorganized territories, 102, as well as the largest amount of land under that status: 39,785 square miles (103,042 km2), or 52.4% of the state's land area. North Dakota followed with 86 territories, 20,358 square miles (52,728 km2), or 29.5% of its land area. Maine was next with 36 territories, 14,052 square miles (36,396 km2), or 45.5% of its land area. Minnesota had 71 territories, 10,552 square miles (27,330 km2), or 13% of its land area. Several other states had small amounts of unorganized territory. The unorganized territory with the largest population was Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a United States Marine Corps base with a census population of 34,452 inhabitants.

In the 2010 census, unorganized territory areas were identified in nine U.S. states: Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, and South Dakota. [2]

See also

Related Research Articles

Contiguous United States 48 states of the United States apart from Alaska and Hawaii

The contiguous United States or officially the conterminous United States consists of the 48 adjoining U.S. states on the continent of North America. The terms exclude the non-contiguous states of Alaska and Hawaii, and all other off-shore insular areas, such as American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico. These differ from the related term continental United States, which includes Alaska but excludes the Hawaiian Islands and unincorporated U.S. territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.

Kabetogama Township, St. Louis County, Minnesota Township in Minnesota, United States

Kabetogama Township is a township in Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 135 at the 2010 census. A portion of the township is located within the Kabetogama State Forest.

A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decennial census since 1980 as the counterparts of incorporated places, such as self-governing cities, towns, and villages, for the purposes of gathering and correlating statistical data. CDPs are populated areas that generally include one officially designated but currently unincorporated community, for which the CDP is named, plus surrounding inhabited countryside of varying dimensions and, occasionally, other, smaller unincorporated communities as well. CDPs include small rural communities, colonias located along the Mexico–United States border, and unincorporated resort and retirement communities and their environs.

U.S. territory Extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States

In the United States, a territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.

A minor civil division (MCD) is a term used by the United States Census Bureau for primary governmental and/or administrative divisions of a county, such as a civil township, precinct, or magisterial district. As of 2010, MCDs exist in 29 states and the District of Columbia. In New York and New England, they are towns. In Puerto Rico the MCD is called a barrio or a barrio-pueblo.

In 48 of the 50 states of the United States, the county is used for the level of local government immediately below the state itself. Louisiana uses parishes, and Alaska uses boroughs. In several states in New England, some or all counties within states have no governments of their own; the counties continue to exist as legal entities, however, and are used by states for some administrative functions and by the United States Census bureau for statistical analysis. There are 3,242 counties and county equivalent administrative units in total, including the District of Columbia and 100 county-equivalents in the U.S. territories.

Political divisions of the United States states, the District of Columbia, territories; and their subdivisions

Political divisions of the United States are the various recognized governing entities that together form the United States – states, the District of Columbia, territories and Indian reservations.

A township in some states of the United States is a small geographic area.

Iowa Territory Territory of the US between 1838–1846

The Territory of Iowa was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1838, until December 28, 1846, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Iowa. The remainder of the territory would have no organized territorial government until the Minnesota Territory was organized on March 3, 1849.

Missouri Territory Territory of the United States of America from 1812 to 1821

The Territory of Missouri was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821. In 1819, the Territory of Arkansas was created from a portion of its southern area. In 1821, a southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Missouri, and the rest became unorganized territory for several years.

Historic regions of the United States Wikimedia list article

This is a list of historic regions of the United States that existed at some time during the territorial evolution of the United States and its overseas possessions, from the colonial era to the present day. It includes formally organized territories, proposed and failed states, unrecognized breakaway states, international and interstate purchases, cessions, and land grants, and historical military departments and administrative districts. The last section lists informal regions from American vernacular geography known by popular nicknames and linked by geographical, cultural, or economic similarities, some of which are still in use today.

Territories of the United States Political division that is directly overseen by the United States federal government

Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the United States government. The various U.S. territories differ from the U.S. states and Native American tribes in that they are not sovereign entities. Territories are classified by incorporation and whether they have an "organized" government through an organic act passed by Congress. U.S. territories are under U.S. sovereignty and, consequently, may be treated as part of the United States proper in some ways and not others. Unincorporated territories in particular are not considered to be integral parts of the United States, and the Constitution of the United States applies only partially in those territories.

United States congressional delegations from Iowa Wikipedia list article

These are tables of congressional delegations from Iowa to the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.

Pembina Region

The Pembina Region, also referred to as the Pembina District and Pembina Department, is the historic name of an unorganized territory of land that was ceded to the United States. The area included parts of what became North Dakota and a portion of central eastern to northeastern South Dakota. The eastern boundary was the Red River and included the Pembina River area. The region was formerly part of British Rupert's Land and the Red River Colony, that encompassed an area then known as the Assiniboia District, from 1763 to the signing of the Treaty of 1818. The treaty transferred the region that was south of the 49th parallel from the British to the United States.

New England town Basic unit of local government in the six New England states of the United States

The New England town, generally referred to in New England simply as a town, is the basic unit of local government and local division of state authority in each of the six New England states and without a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states. New England towns overlay the entire area of a state, similar to civil townships in other states where they exist, but they are fully functioning municipal corporations, possessing powers similar to cities in other states. New Jersey's system of equally powerful townships, boroughs, towns, and cities is the system which is most similar to that of New England. New England towns are often governed by a town meeting legislative body. The great majority of municipal corporations in New England are based on the town model; there, statutory forms based on the concept of a compact populated place are uncommon, though elsewhere in the U.S. they are prevalent. County government in New England states is typically weak at best, and in some states nonexistent. Connecticut, for example, has no county governments, nor does Rhode Island. Both of those states retain counties only as geographic subdivisions with no governmental authority, while Massachusetts has abolished eight of fourteen county governments so far. With few exceptions, counties serve mostly as dividing lines for the states' judicial systems.

The following is a set–index article, providing a list of lists, for the cities, towns and villages within the jurisdictional United States. It is divided, alphabetically, according to the state, territory, or district name in which they are located.

Under United States law, an unincorporated territory is an area controlled by the United States government that is not "incorporated" for the purposes of United States constitutional law. In unincorporated territories, the U.S. Constitution applies only partially. In the absence of an organic law, a territory is classified as unorganized. In unincorporated territories, "fundamental rights apply as a matter of law, but other constitutional rights are not available". Selected constitutional provisions apply, depending on congressional acts and judicial rulings according to U.S. constitutional practice, local tradition, and law. As such, these territories are often considered colonies of the United States.

References

  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved 2017-12-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division (February 2011). "Geographic Terms and Concepts - County Subdivision". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2012.