The Online Library of Knowledge

North America

European settlement of America

Settlers fighting Native Americans during the 1630s Settlers fighting Native Americans during the 1630s While Spain and Portugal established colonies in their newly claimed lands in Central and Southern America, the other great powers of Europe—England, France and the Netherlands—started to do the same on the Caribbean Islands and the eastern coast of North America. European settlers first started to arrive in eastern North America after 1600. By then, most of the Native Americans living in the region had died from diseases, which had already been introduced by European explorers and sailors. No more than 1 million European settlers arrived in North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. Immigration did not increase until the 1820s: then over the next century, more than 30 million Europeans arrived.


René-Robert de la Salle on the MississippiRené-Robert de la Salle on the Mississippi

New France

In 1534, the French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the east coast of Canada. The following year he travelled up the St Lawrence River, encountering the native Huron peoples. Later French explorers, including Samuel de Champlain and René-Robert de la Salle, travelled across the American interior in the 1600s, claiming the lands they discovered for France. These territories, which included large areas of Canada and the American Midwest, was called New France. The colonists lived by trading furs with Native Americans.



The Spanish-built Presidio La Bahía, TexasThe Spanish-built Presidio La Bahía, Texas

New Spain and Florida

The city of St Augustine, Florida, was founded by Spain in 1565 and is the oldest continuously inhabited European city in the United States.

© 2019 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile