The colonial history of the United States covers the history of European settlements from the start of colonization of America until their incorporation into the United States. In the late 16th century, England, France, Spain and the Netherlands launched major colonization programs in eastern North America. [l] Small early attempts” such as the English Lost Colony of Roanoke”often disappeared; everywhere the death rate of the first arrivals was very high. Nevertheless successful colonies were established.
European settlers came from a variety of social and religious groups. No aristocrats settled permanently, but a number of adventurers, soldiers, farmers, and tradesmen arrived. Diversity was an American characteristic as the Dutch of New Netherland, the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden, the English Quakers of Pennsylvania, the English Puritans of New England, the English settlers of Jamestown, and the “worthy poor” of Georgia, came to the new continent and built colonies with distinctive social, religious, political and economic styles.
Occasionally one colony took control of another (during wars between their European parents). Only in Nova Scotia (now part of Canada) did the conquerors expel the previous colonists. Instead they all lived side by side in peace. There were no major civil wars among the 13 colonies, and the two chief armed rebellions (in Virginia in 1676 and in New York in 1689-91) were short-lived failures. Wars between the French and the British”the French and Indian Wars and Father Rale’s War”were recurrent, and involved French support for
Wabanaki Confederacy attacks on the frontiers. By 1760 France was defeated and the British seized its colonies. The four distinct regions were: New England, the Middle Colonies, the Chesapeake Bay Colonies (Upper South) and the Lower South. Some historians add a fifth region, the Frontier, which was never separately organized. [l] By the time European settlers arrived around 1600-1650, the majority of the Native Americans living in the eastern United States had been decimated by new diseases, introduced to them decades before by explorers and sailors.