When the London Company sent out its first expedition to begin colonizing Virginia on December 20, 1606, it was by no means the first European attempt to exploit North America.
The English Establish a Foothold at Jamestown
Would-be colonists arrived in Chesapeake Bay from England in April 1607. On board were 105 men, including 40 soldiers, 35 "gentlemen," and various artisans and laborers.
Evolution of the Virginia Colony
Almost from the start, investors in the Virginia Company in England were unhappy with the accomplishments of their Jamestown colonists. They therefore sought a new charter, which the king granted in May 1609.
Virginia's Early Relations with Native Americans
Those living in the area where Jamestown was settled must have had mixed feelings about the arrival of the English in 1607. One of their first reactions was hostility based on their previous experience with Spanish explorers along their coastline.
Establishing the Georgia Colony, 1732-1750
In the 1730s, England founded the last of its colonies in North America. The project was the brain child of James Oglethorpe, a former army officer.
The American Revolution
Until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, few colonists in British North America objected to their place in the British Empire.
British Reforms and Colonial Resistance, 1763-1766
When the French and Indian War finally ended in 1763, no British subject on either side of the Atlantic could have foreseen the coming conflicts between the parent country and its North American colonies.
First Shots of War
For some months, people in the colonies had been gathering arms and powder and had been training to fight the British, if necessary, at a moment's notice.
Revolutionary War: Northern Front, 1775-1777
In the first eighteen months of armed conflict with the British (the conflict would not become a "war for independence" until July 4, 1776), Washington had begun to create an army and forced the British army in Boston to evacuate that city in March 1776.
Revolutionary War: The Home Front
Defining a "home front" in the Revolutionary War is difficult because so much of the thirteen states became, at one time or another, an actual theater of war.
The year 1781 was momentous for the American Revolution.
The New Nation
At the successful conclusion of the Revolutionary War with Great Britain in 1783, an American could look back and reflect on the truly revolutionary events that had occurred in the preceding three decades.
The United States Constitution
In May 1787, 55 men from twelve states met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation.
National Expansion and Reform
During this period, the small republic founded by George Washington's generation became the world's largest democracy.
Pre-Civil War African-American Slavery
African Americans had been enslaved in what became the United States since early in the 17th century.
Reformers and Crusaders
The reform efforts of the 1830s and 1840s are evidence of the belief held by many citizens that just as society is the creation of the people, so the improvement of society rests with the people.
Civil War and Reconstruction
In 1861, the United States faced its greatest crisis to that time.
African-American Soldiers During the Civil War
In 1862, President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation opened the door for African Americans to enlist in the Union Army. Although many had wanted to join the war effort earlier, they were prohibited from enlisting by a federal law dating back to 1792.
Civil War Soldiers' Stories
It is virtually impossible to measure the human costs of the Civil War, the hardships and suffering it caused. What we do know is that millions of people grieved for the loss of loved ones.
Reconstruction and Rights
When the Civil War ended, leaders turned to the question of how to reconstruct the nation. One important issue was the right to vote, and the rights of black American men and former Confederate men to vote were hotly debated.
Rise of Industrial America
In the decades following the Civil War, the United States emerged as an industrial giant.
The Travails of Reconstruction
The aftermath of any war is difficult for the survivors. Those difficulties are usually even worse after a civil war.
Immigration to the United States, 1851-1900
In the late 1800s, people in many parts of the world decided to leave their homes and immigrate to the United States.
Women's Suffrage in the Progressive Era
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, women and women's organizations not only worked to gain the right to vote, they also worked for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms.
Progressive Era to New Era, 1900-1929
The early 20th century was an era of business expansion and progressive reform in the United States.
Automobiles in the Progressive and New Eras
The automobile transformed the lives of people living in the United States.
U.S. Participation in the Great War (World War I)
War broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, with the Central Powers led by Germany and Austria-Hungary on one side and the Allied countries led by Britain, France, and Russia on the other.
The widespread prosperity of the 1920s ended abruptly with the stock market crash in October 1929 and the great economic depression that followed.
Race Relations in the 1930s and 1940s
The problems of the Great Depression affected virtually every group of Americans. No group was harder hit than African Americans, however.
World War II
On December 7, 1941, following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the United States declared war on Japan. Three days later, after Germany and Italy declared war on it, the United States became fully engaged in the Second World War.
The Presidential Election
John F. Kennedy, a wealthy Democratic senator from Massachusetts, was elected president in 1960, defeating Vice President Richard Nixon.
Work in the Late 19th Century
The late 19th-century United States is probably best known for the vast expansion of its industrial plant and output.