U.S. Early History

The natives: Indians

Where today the Bering Strait separates Alaska and Siberia, there was still a land bridge in prehistoric times. The first settlers came to America through this. That was 11,000 to 14,000 BC. They are called Paleo-Indians. They settled on the coast, the Great Lakes and other suitable places. Many different Indian peoples developed from them. Initially they were hunters and gatherers until most of them settled down and started farming.

Europeans are coming

The first European to set foot on American soil was the Viking Leif Eriksson. But we associate the “discovery” of America with another man: Christopher Columbus. In 1492 Columbus landed on an island in the Bahamas while searching for a sea route to India. Because he thought he was in India, he called the people Indians.


After further explorations, the Europeans soon realized that wealth was waiting for them in this vast country. One began to trade with the Indians and hoped for mineral resources. The first people who wanted to live here soon came. They were mainly English, French and Spanish.

Why America is called America

The cartographer Martin Waldseemüller painted a world map in 1507. In it he named the continent America, discovered a few years ago. He did this in honor of Amerigo Vespucci, an explorer and navigator who had participated in several exploratory trips.

In 1607 the British successfully founded the first settlement in Jamestown, and in 1620 the famous Pilgrim Fathers came. Many Indians died as a result of diseases brought in by the Europeans, while others were killed in wars which the white conquerors waged against them.

The firearms brought by the immigrants led to some Indian tribes exercising power over other tribes and ousting them. Spanish immigrants also brought the horse to America, which also changed the lives of the Indians. For example, the Plains Indians became bison hunters.

Thirteen colonies

The English founded the first 13 colonies on the east coast. But they weren’t the only ones claiming North America for themselves. Spaniards and French had also established colonies. In 1754 there was a Seven Years’ War against France, which the English finally won in 1763. This sealed the supremacy of Great Britain in North America.

American Revolution and War of Independence

There was a dispute between motherland Great Britain and the 13 colonies. England wanted to recoup the high cost of the war with France by increasing taxes and tariffs in its American colonies. The colonies protested (Boston Tea Party) and demanded participation.

In 1775 the war began and on July 4, 1776 the 13 colonies declared independence of the United States of America. Great Britain did not want to put up with that. The war did not end until 1783. A constitution was drawn up and George Washington became the first President of the USA in 1789.

American War of Independence

Spread to the west

In the decades that followed, the United States grew in size. In 1803 France was bought from Louisiana, a vast area west of the Mississippi that the French had recaptured from the Spanish. In one fell swoop, the US territory was more than doubled. To get more information on United States and Central and North America, check localbusinessexplorer.

Lewis and Clarke’s expedition explored the new unknown land. Settlers began to conquer the west. The resident Indian tribes were exterminated or driven out. The settlement border shifted further and further west.

The settlers moved west in large treks. At the same time, there were large waves of immigration from Europe, which contributed significantly to the development of the new country. The number of states kept growing. Most recently, in 1959, Alaska and Hawai were added as the 49th and 50th states.

In the next decades the Indians were deported to reservations. It was not until 1890 that the Indian Wars ended, in which the whites oppressed the Native Americans and robbed them of their habitat. The bloodiest battles were the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 and the Massacre of Wounded Knee in 1890.