(ConservativeHub.com) – When you think of American history, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are it’s something to do with the Founding Fathers or the War of Independence. However, a lot happened between Columbus’ alleged discovery of the New World in 1492 and the foundation of the United States in the 18th Century.
After European explorers first came here, expeditions continued and became more frequent, with travelers eventually forming permanent settlements. Why did these people decide to settle in America, where did they come from, and what did they do when they got here?
Who Were the First Settlers?
After its discovery, people came to America from several different parts of Europe. There were travelers from England, Spain (then known as Castile), France, and the Netherlands. Some of those who came formed temporary settlements for fishing, hunting, or trading expeditions.
The first successful permanent colony came from England and began in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1605. Soon after, the French established a settlement in Quebec and the Dutch landed in New York (originally called New Amsterdam). The English later became the dominant authority in America, holding the 13 colonies the Founding Fathers eventually won in the War of Independence.
Why Did Settlers Leave for America?
Religious and political persecution were among the primary reasons why colonists chose to leave Europe for the New World. At that time, most governments insisted on uniformity of religion and did not allow the practice of minority faiths. Protestants fleeing Catholic countries were particularly common in the colonies.
Colonial America also appeared to many Europeans as a land of promise. The potential for economic prosperity was huge. Because a lot of opportunities came from manual labor, such as agriculture and textile production, couples tended to have numerous children. This is one of the reasons why colonial populations increased so significantly.
It’s important to remember that a voyage to America from Europe in the 17th or 18th century was no small undertaking. The journey took weeks and the odds of becoming ill or encountering a storm on the way were high. Early settlers took a huge risk in pursuit of their new way of life.
From Colonial America to the United States
When the Founding Fathers created the America we know today, the values of the settlers were their foremost consideration. These people came from diverse backgrounds, but they shared certain principles which were instrumental in tying them together as countrymen. These principles (such as the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) formed the cornerstone of our American identity.
Over the last 500 years, our land has transformed from an unknown, sparsely-populated expanse into the most advanced and culturally-diverse nation on the planet. Despite the difficulties we face today, there’s every reason to look forward to bigger and better things in the future.
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