Leona Lewis won the UK's X Factor talent show in 2006
Leona Lewis has become the first UK female solo artist to go straight to number one in the US album chart.
Her debut album Spirit shot to the top spot three weeks after her power ballad Bleeding Love went to number one in the US singles rundown.
Spirit sold 205,000 copies in its first week, according to Billboard magazine.
That was ahead of her nearest rival, George Strait, whose Troubadour sold 59,000 copies. Lewis has been billed as the heir to Whitney Houston in the US.
The last British woman to top the US album chart was Sade with Promise in 1986.
X Factor judge and Lewis' manager Simon Cowell said: "What Leona has achieved is simply incredible. This is the hardest market to crack and for her debut album to go in at number one is unbelievable."
Lewis shot to fame after winning the UK's X Factor talent show at the end of 2006.
When Spirit was released in the UK last November, it broke the Arctic Monkeys' record to become the fastest-selling debut album in chart history, shifting 375,000 copies in its first week.
The singer was nominated for four Brit Awards earlier this year, including best British female and best British album - but lost out on all of them.
That prompted Cowell to dismiss the awards as "too sarcastic" for "sneering" at an artist because they emerged on a TV show.
Lewis was signed in the US by J Records boss Clive Davis, who launched the careers of Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.
He recently told the Los Angeles Times: "The TV aspect is irrelevant. I was impressed with [Leona] in the same way Whitney Houston or Alicia Keys auditioned for me."
Responding to the album's success on Wednesday, Davis said: "Leona Lewis will not be an overnight sensation. She is the real deal and this is just the beginning of a long and illustrious career."
Lewis has joined a growing list of British female singers who have enjoyed success in the US, including Amy Winehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Lily Allen and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Duffy, Estelle and Adele are among the next hit British artists due to launch their albums across the Atlantic.