The history of the US begins with aboriginal peoples (today called Native Americans, American Indians or Amerindians) who inhabited the land long before any European explorers arrived. Explorers started landing in what is now the United States at the end of 15th century, but it was not until 1607 that English settlers arrived in what is now Jamestown, Virginia. It was in this area on the James River that English colonization began.
The United States of America started as thirteen colonies, along the eastern coast. In the 1770s, American colonists fought off the British army in the American Revolutionary War and issued the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Declaration of Independence, a statement adopted by the Continental Congress, announced that the thirteen American colonies were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Seven years later, the signing of the Treaty of Paris officially recognized America's independence from Britain. The thirteen founding states were Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
In the nineteenth century, westward expansion of United States territory began, upon the belief of Manifest Destiny, in which the United States would occupy all the North American land east to west, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. By 1912, with the admission of Arizona to the Union, the US reached that goal. The outlying states, Alaska and Hawaii, were both admitted in 1959.
US History Fast Facts
1492 Christopher Columbus lands on one of the Bahamas Islands, discovering the New World for 15th century Europe.
1497 John Cabot lands in Newfoundland, beginning the British presence in North America.
1513 Juan Ponce de León, a Spaniard, is the first European to arrive in the continental United States. He landed on a lush shore, which he christened "La Florida."
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