Once Columbus and Vespucci figured out that they were not in India after all, it was just a matter of time before the Europeans start dreaming of taking over the new world. At first only the adventurers and explorers wanted to reach new lands. But soon the big countries like England, France and Spain saw a big opportunity - new land full of riches. Spain was the first to start winning over this New World. In early 1500s, Spanish conquistadors, or soldiers, entered the Central and South America to claim it for Spain. They brought suffering and diseases that almost destroyed the people of these areas.
Spanish conquistadors brought their customs, language and religion to this region. Today these are mostly Spanish (sometimes Portuguese speaking countries) that have many cultures and traditions like Spain. Long before the French started a mission in Acadia, the Spanish had founded the oldest permanent European settlement in North America - St. Augustine, Florida - in 1565.)
EARLY FRENCH SETTLEMENTS
The first French attempts to colonize the New World were in the St. Lawrence Valley in the 1530's and Guanabara Bay (now Rio De Janiero) in Brazil in 1555. Earliest efforts failed, but the French did establish settlements in North America between the failure of Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke Colony (the "Lost Colony") and the English success at Jamestown.
The French government bracketed the Chesapeake Bay, attempting to establish colonies north and south of the area where the English focused their efforts. Jean Ribault led a French attempt to establish a permanent colony in 1562 in what is now South Carolina. He left 27 settlers at Charlesfort,The first winter of the English at Jamestown in 1607-08 was the third winter for the French at Port Royal in Acadia on Nova Scotia,
Soon after the discovery the "New World", settlers started flooding the North America as well. France and England were the two countries that wanted to claim these territories to themselves.
The first attempt to settle America was done by Sir Walter Raleigh. His goal was to start an English settlement in America.
Sir Walter Raleigh sent out expedition after expedition. The name Virginia in honor of the Virgin Queen, as Elizabeth was called was given to the area explored in 1584 by one of these expeditions. Three settlements were made on islands off the North Carolina coast, but none survived.
The Englishmen explored the coast between Pamlico and Albemarle sounds. The next year, (1585) Raleigh sent over the first party of colonists who settled on Roanoke Island, (an island 12 mi by 3 mi, off the north east coast of current day North Carolina).
In 1587 Raleigh sent a party under John White as governor. White's granddaughter, Virginia Dare, was born here on Aug. 18, 1587 the first child born of English parents in America. After three years' absence in England to obtain supplies, Governor White returned to Roanoke Island in 1591. He found the area mysteriously deserted. The fate of this Lost Colony of early settlers has never been learned. The only trace of the colonists that was left behind was the word Croatoan carved on a tree.
Raleigh's pioneer work paved the way for later settlements in the New World. When some of his followers returned to England, they brought back tobacco from America. By popularizing its use Raleigh created a demand for the tobacco leaf, which became a profitable crop in the colonies.
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Jamestown was the first successful English settlement in North America. Most of the early settlers were businessmen. They were interested in trading English goods for Indian furs and gold. The settlement depended on food from England, and it barely survived its first years. Jamestown began to grow and prosper only after the colony's owners in England gave land to farmers who were willing to settle in Virginia.
John Rolfe, the English colonist who married the Indian girl Pocahontas, was the first colonist to grow tobacco, a plant native to North America. Virginia exported a great amount of tobacco to other countries.
In 1619 the English stockholders in the Virginia Company decided that they could earn more money if settlers would move to Virginia. They also believed that more settlers would move to Virginia if they could govern themselves.
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William Penn founded the province of Pennsylvania. He was a QUaker. That is a religion that refused to follow the king and use weapons. Quakers believed that they answer only to the God. In England, Quakers were often prosecuted. Therefore in 1677 Wlliam Penn started to plan the colony in North America to escape religious prosecution. The colony of Pennsylvania wrote a charter that respected religious freedom. They also had laws saying that if a European did an Indian wrong, there would be a fair trial, with an equal number of people from both groups deciding the matter. This was successful in the beginning , but later colonists did not treat the Indians as fairly as Penn and his first group of colonists. But, colonists and Indians remained at peace in Pennsylvania much longer than in the other English colonies. Penn started the city of Philadelphia as well. He had money problems that almost made him lose Pennsylvania to his banker named Ford. He returned to England where he died. The Penn family owned Pennsylvania until the American Revolution. In 1984 president Reagan signed the Act of Congress that gave William Penn and his wife honorary American citizenship for what they have done for the United States.
EUROPEANS ARE COMING
when it became known that vast lands of Americas are available, people from all countries in Europe flooded the Americas. Here are some reasons they came:
1) RELIGIOUS PROSECUTION
Many of the early settlers were prosecuted in their countries for their believes. Often they were not allowed to worship openly and were scared for their lives. They hoped that in the new land they can be free and establish laws that would protect them and other people from the religious prosecution. Examples of these settlers are the Quakers and the Puritans.
2.)AGRICULTURAL CRISIS AND POVERTY
After centuries of feudalism, Europe's land was cut and divided among wealthy families. The farms became tiny and had to be replanted over and over . This resulted in a very poor soil. So with no hope of land, Europeans found new hope in America. In addition, the food supply from the poor soil could feed less and less people. If you were poor, you were the last one to get the food. As the population increased, there was less and less chance of any better future. Poor were going to stay poor. America became a land of hope. Irish potato famine and wave of Swedish emigration as early as 1800.
3.)LOOKING FOR THE BETTER SOCIETY
Many Europeans, especially those of lower socioeconomic status were not happy with the European governments. Often there were monarchism in which the power was passed through generation. There was no good education or health care for poor. The gap between rich and poor was increasing. Many immigrant dreamed of the country in which their children will attend school! So, they set sail.
President Lincoln's Homestead Act of 1862 and the end of the Civil War, made it even more possible for Europeans to settle in the new lands. They came in masses. Some countries, such as Sweden experience mass emigration. This was especially truth for less industrialized countries in which there was no jobs or future.
While the immigrants came to improve their lives, they never considered that their homesteading will destroy the lives of Native people. It really was not their intention to that. However, they considered themselves more civilized that the Indians. Slowly their hopes of the future erased the Indian lifestyle and confided them to reservation. You can say that European people's dream became Native American nightmare.
Unlike European emigrants ho came in for the better future, African American were never given an option. They were sold into slavery in order to help economic growth of the America, especially in the south. There are records of slaves as early as the Jamestown! Slaves were transported from the coast of Western Africa to the markets in America where they were sold. In the American South, huge plantations growing cotton and tobacco needed work force. Plantations usually had slave quarters that house slaves. Slaves were not considered people, but, rather, property that can be bought and sold. Families were often separated and the slaveowners could even kill slaves without consequences. This system continued to the end of the American Civil War when president Lincoln in his Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. African -Americans remained on the American soil.
The first Chinese reported to have landed on the Pacific Coast of America came to San Francisco on the ship named "Eagle" in 1843. They were two men and a woman. T he Gold Rush brought increased large number of Chinese men to work the mines. It also brought settlers from countries like Japan, Korea, and Philippines. When the railroads started to be built even more Asian people crossed the Pacific Ocean to find work in the North America. In the 1880s there was around 110,000 Asian immigrants on the West Coast. There were many Chinatowns in the West, especially in mining areas and on railroad routes. After the transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869 and people figured out that there is not that much gold to mine, the Asian communities got smaller because Asian settlers went looking for work somewhere else. Most of the Asian settlers remained on the West Coast of the North America and still live there today.