Thread: History of USA
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Old Saturday, July 14, 2007
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Before 1600

c. 12,000 B.C.

North American Indian cultures flourish. Natives, North American, peoples who occupied North America before the arrival of the Europeans in the 15th cent. They have long been known as Indians because of the belief prevalent at the time of Columbus that the Americas were the outer reaches of the Indies (i.e., the East Indies). Most scholars agree that Native Americans came into the Western Hemisphere from Asia via the Bering Strait or along the N Pacific coast in a series of migrations. From Alaska they spread east and south. The several waves of migration are said to account for the many native linguistic families. while the common origin is used to explain the physical characteristics that Native Americans have in common (though with considerable variation)—Mongoloid features, coarse, straight black hair, dark eyes, sparse body hair, and a skin color ranging from yellow-brown to reddish brown. Some scholars accept evidence of Native American existence in the Americas back more than 25,000 years, while many others believe that people arrived later than that, perhaps as recently as 12,000 years ago. In pre-Columbian times (prior to 1492) the Native American population of the area N of Mexico is conservatively estimated to have been about 1.8 million, with some authorities believing the population to have been as large as 10 million or more. This population dropped dramatically within a few decades of the first contacts with Europeans, however, as many Native Americans died from smallpox, influenza, measles, and other diseases to which they had not previously been exposed. Native Americans were far more likely to die. From prehistoric times until recent historic times there were roughly six major cultural areas, excluding that of the Arctic, i.e., Northwest Coast, Plains, Plateau, Eastern Woodlands, Northern, and Southwest. Information about particular groups can be found in separate articles and in separate biographies and subject articles (e.g., Pontiac's Rebellion; Dawes Act).



A.D. 1000

Norse seaman Leif Ericsson lands in Newfoundland, which he calls Vinland. Leif Ericsson was an Old Norse Leifr Eiriksson, fl. A.D. 999–1000, Norse discoverer of America, b. probably in Iceland; son of Eric the Red. He spent his youth in Greenland and in 999 visited Norway, where he was converted to Christianity and commissioned by King Olaf I to carry the faith to Greenland. According to the “Saga of Eric the Red” in the collection of sagas known as Hauksbok, it was on the return voyage from Norway to Greenland in 1000 that Leif Ericsson, blown off his course, discovered hitherto unknown lands in which he found grapes, self-sown wheat, and a species of trees called “mausur.” He landed, secured specimens, and continued to Greenland, where he was successful in introducing Christianity. In another version of the story, interpolated in the “Saga of Olaf Tryggvason” in the Flateyjarbok, Leif completed his mission to Greenland, set out from there c.1002 on a voyage to western lands, discovered several places, and settled for a winter in Vinland. This account is much more detailed, but the account in the “Saga of Eric the Red” is more widely accepted. Many scholars believe that Leif Ericsson landed on some part of the North American coast, but there has been no agreement on the modern identity of Vinland. Various sites have been nominated, from Newfoundland to Virginia, with Nova Scotia and New England as favorites.


1492

Christopher Columbus, financed by Spain, makes the first of four voyages to the New World. He lands in the Bahamas (Oct. 12).


1513

Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León lands on the coast of Florida. Ponce de León, Juan c.1460–1521, Spanish explorer, first Westerner to reach Florida. He served against the Moors of Granada, and in 1493 he accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to America. From 1502 to 1504 he assisted in the conquest of Higuey (the eastern part of Hispaniola, now the Dominican Republic) and was made governor of that province. After finding gold on Boriquén (Puerto Rico) in 1508, he conquered the island and, as governor (1509–12), made a fortune in gold, slaves, and land. Hearing tales from the Carib of a wonderfully rich island called Bimini, said to be N of Cuba, Ponce de León secured a commission (1512) to conquer and colonize that land. There is a legend that he was seeking a spring with waters having the power of restoring youth. From Puerto Rico on Mar. 3, 1513, with three vessels, he sailed NE through the Bahamas, sighting the Florida peninsula (which he took to be an island) late in March and landing near the site of St. Augustine early in April. Probably because his arrival in Florida occurred at the time of the Easter feast (Pascua Florida), Ponce de León named the land (which he claimed for Spain) La Florida. He turned south, exploring the coast to Key West, and proceeded up the west coast as far as Cape Romano. Then, retracing his route, he sailed to Miami Bay via Cuba and from there returned to Puerto Rico, arriving Sept. 21, 1513. After partly pacifying Puerto Rico, which had been in revolt, he sailed to Spain, where the king commissioned him (Sept., 1514) to subdue the Carib of Guadeloupe and to conquer and colonize the “isle of Florida.” In 1515 he led an unsuccessful expedition against the Carib and returned to Puerto Rico, where he resided until 1521. With two vessels, 200 men, 50 horses and other domestic animals, and farm implements, he sailed for Florida in 1521. Upon landing on the west coast, probably in the vicinity of Charlotte Harbor or Tampa Bay, his party was fiercely attacked by Native Americans, and he was severely wounded by an arrow. The expedition sailed immediately for Cuba, where Ponce de León soon died.



1565

Saint Augustine, Florida, settled by the Spanish, becomes the first permanent European colony in North America.





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Note: History of USA is being reviewed with defference of Timeline. This thread will cover almost history of USA notes.

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