Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620.
Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.
After Spain sent Columbus on his first voyage to the New World in 1492, other explorers followed.
Although the Spanish did not land, natives paddled to the ship to trade furs for abalone shells from California.
At the time, the Spanish were able to monopolize the trade between Asia and North America, granting limited licenses to the Portuguese.
The United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing. "Columbia", a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name "District of Columbia".
He made landfall on the Oregon coast at approximately 44°30′ north latitude, naming his landing point Cape Foulweather.
Bad weather forced his ships south to about 43° north before they could begin their exploration of the coast northward.In March 1778, Cook landed on Bligh Island and named the inlet "King George's Sound".He recorded that the native name was Nutka or Nootka, apparently misunderstanding his conversations at Friendly Cove/Yuquot; his informant may have been explaining that he was on an island (itchme nutka, a place you can "go around").During the Seven Years' War (in America, known as the French and Indian War), British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies.Excluding the Native Americans, who were being conquered and displaced, the 13 British colonies had a population of over 2.1 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain.The continent's first elected legislative assembly, Virginia's House of Burgesses created in 1619, the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.