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Colonial America (1492-1763)

European nations come to the Americas to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs.  The Spanish are among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States.Trivia powered by Prof. Walter

By 1650, however, England has established a dominant presence on the Atlantic coast.  The first colony is founded at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.  Many of the people who settle in the New World come to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims, founders of Plymouth, Massachusetts, arrive in 1620.  In both Virginia and Massachusetts, the colonists flourish with some assistance from American Indians

New World grains such as corn keep the colonists from starving while, in Virginia, tobacco provide a valuable cash crop.  By the early 1700s enslaved Africans make up a growing percentage of the colonial population.  By 1770, more than 2 million people live and work in Great Britain's 13 North American colonies.

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