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Early American History: Where to begin

This guide will help you to find resources on early American history including the major early American wars. European nations came to the Americas to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs. The Spanish were among the first E

Colonial America (1492-1763) - Information from the Library of Congress

This background information here is borrowed from the Library of Congress' web page: https://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/colonial/jb_colonial_subj.html.

  Colonial America (1492-1763)
 

 
 

The Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, December 1620

European nations came to the Americas to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs. The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States.

By 1650, however, England had established a dominant presence on the Atlantic coast. The first colony was founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Many of the people who settled in the New World came to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims, founders of Plymouth, Massachusetts, arrived in 1620. In both Virginia and Massachusetts, the colonists flourished with some assistance from Native Americans. New World grains such as corn kept the colonists from starving while, in Virginia, tobacco provided a valuable cash crop. By the early 1700s enslaved Africans made up a growing percentage of the colonial population. By 1770, more than 2 million people lived and worked in Great Britain's 13 North American colonies.

 

Group of 'contrabands' at Foller's house, Cumberland Landing, VA, 1862
Fighting For Freedom
CREDIT: Gibson, James F., photographer. Cumberland Landing, Va. Group of “contrabands” at Foller's house, 1862. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-B8171-0383.

 

The Multitalented Mr. Jefferson

CREDIT: Stuart, Gilbert, artist. "Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States." 1828(?). Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-USZ62-117117 DLC.


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