Donald Trump has been elected the 45th president of the United States.
Mr Trump, 70, defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 69, after she conceded defeat in a phone call.
The billionaire real estate mogul will make history as the first person to enter the top job with no prior experience in public office or at high levels of the military.
Addressing a large gathering of supporters, Donald Trump said he congratulated his opponent and her family on their hard-fought campaign.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “We have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say, it is time for us to come together as one united people.
“It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all Americans and this is so important to me.
“For those who have chosen not to support me in the past — of which there were a few people… I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so that we can work together and unify our great country.
“As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement, made up of millions of hard working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family.”
He went on to say that Americans of “all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs” had to come together to “rebuild our nation and renew the American dream”.
“Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”
Vowing that “America would no longer settle for anything less than the best”, Mr Trump promised for “fairness”, “national growth and renewal”, and “great, great relationships”.
He also pledged to “finally take care of our great veterans”, describing them as “incredible people”.
He thanked each member of his family individually, and thanked them for putting up with him over the course of a “nasty political campaign”.
Rounding off, he said: “To be really historic, we have to do a great job. And I promise you that I will not let you down. We’ll do a great job. We’ll do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president.
“We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people. And we’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your president, you’ll be so proud. Again, it’s my honor, it was an amazing evening, it’s been an amazing two-year period, and I love this country.”
Despite a furious social media backlash to the vote, Mr Trump’s speech received its fair share of praise on Twitter.
This is the 1st Trump speech that I like. Trump sounds gracious, humble and authentic
— Rudy Carpenter (@rudygcarp12) November 9, 2016
Trump hitting all the right notes in his victory speech. A good start.
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) November 9, 2016
Gotta admit, Trump seemed pretty humble and unifying in that victory speech. No choice but to rally behind him. #PresidentTrump
— Jared Smith (@jaredleesmith) November 9, 2016
Good tone and message of unity in Trump's victory speech. #electionnight
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) November 9, 2016
While it was always predicted to be a tight race, the Republican candidate pulled ahead after he secured crucial victories in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina — three of the nation’s most fiercely fought battleground states.
Hillary Clinton will not be speaking tonight.
Earlier, her chairman John Podesta told supporters to go home and get some sleep.
“We’re still counting votes, and every vote counts,” he said.
Even by American standards, the 2016 election has been unique. It’s been regarded as one of the most important ballots in our lifetime.
Both Ms Clinton and Mr Trump were widely viewed as two of the least favourable candidates ever for the top job.
Consistent polling has shown the economy remains the biggest concern for Americans, and it is expected to be the most important issue for Mr Trump going into the White House.
Millions of Americans are still struggling to find employment after the recession of 2008, with concerns about immigration, globalisation and income inequality tying into these fears.
The result will come as a shock to Australian economists and investors, who overwhelmingly backed the Democratic candidate as “superior … for the Australian economy and for Australia”, according to a poll of 36 leading economists by the Monash Business School and the Economic Society of Australia.
According to the exit polls, a whopping 62 per cent of voters made up their minds before September. Just 12 per cent decided a candidate in the last week.
Late deciders split their votes evenly between Ms Clinton and Mr Trump, with both candidates earning 42 per cent support.
And 38 per cent of voters said their top priority was choosing a candidate who could bring change.
— via News Au