Even the youngest American student knows that the country has exactly 50 states — plus the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. On the surface, U.S. history seems like a narrative of growth and expansion from sea to shining sea.

But that’s not quite the case. What if we told you that one forgotten state was left behind by the Americans? You might not believe it, but this is the truth. And this now-defunct state might be a lot closer than you’d realize.

From the moment that the American Patriots emerged victorious from 1781’s Battle of Yorktown, it was clear that the United States would live on as an independent nation. The people of the 13 colonies prepared for life after war, though they weren’t the only Americans looking to the future.

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