Polls may have predicted a landslide for Democrat hopeful Joe Biden but the reality was far from clear-cut with America left waiting tentatively to learn who will occupy the Oval Office.
We have taken a look at the key events of the night:
Country on knife-edge as results still too close to call
The outcome of several key battlegrounds is still to be determined with election agents warning some counts may not be finished for days.
President Trump triumphed in the pivotal race of Florida – a state considered essential for him to win if he stands a chance of being re-elected – and he also won the swing state of Ohio.
These successes are not enough to rule Mr Biden out and he is hopeful of picking up support in the industrial Midwest, but final results may not come for Michigan and Wisconsin for several hours yet.
All is still to play for.
Joe Biden says his campaign for the presidency is still ‘on track’ for victory
The Democrat challenger took to a stage in Delaware to declare he was “feeling good about where we are” while hoping for gains in the swing states yet to be called.
“I’m here to tell you tonight, we believe we’re on track to win this election”, he told supporters.
“We knew because of the unprecedented early vote, the mail-in vote, that it’s going to take a while we’re going to have to be patient.
“It ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
Trump hails ‘big win’ and accused opponents of “trying to steal the election
Donald Trump has defied pollsters and won big in the fiercely-contested swing states of Florida and Ohio, with several more yet to be announced.
Just moments after Joe Biden took to the stage in Delaware, the Republican incumbent tweeted to repeat an unsubstantiated claim that his opponents are trying to “steal” the election.
“A big WIN!”, Mr Trump said.
“We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the polls are closed!”
…but Twitter labels Trump tweet ‘misleading’
We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 4, 2020
Twitter has labelled Donald Trump’s tweet, accusing the Democratic party of “trying to steal the election”, as misleading.
A warning now appears next to the tweet saying: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
Mr Trump originally tweeted: “We are up BIG, but they are trying to STEAL the Election. We will never let them do it. Votes cannot be cast after the Polls are closed!”, adding: “I will be making a statement tonight. A big WIN!”
After Twitter hid Donald Trump’s tweet, Facebook also added a warning to the President’s post on their platform.
Underneath Mr Trump’s post claiming “they are trying to STEAL the election”, a message read: “Final results may be different from initial vote counts, as ballot counting will continue for days.”