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The first residents of what is now the United States immigrated from Asia prior to 15,000 years ago by crossing Beringia into Alaska. Archaeological evidence of these peoples, the ancestors of the Native Americans is dated to 14,000 years ago.
Christopher Columbus was the first European to land in the territory of what is now the United States when he arrived in Puerto Rico in 1493. The subsequent arrival of settlers from Europe began the colonial history of the United States. The Thirteen British colonies that would become the original US states, were founded along the east coast beginning in 1607. Spain, France and Russia also founded small settlements in what would become US territory. The Thirteen Colonies grew very rapidly, reaching 50,000 by 1650, 250,000 by 1700, and 2.5 million by 1775. High birth rates and low death rates were augmented by steady flows of immigrants from Europe as well as slaves from the West Indies. Occasional small-scale wars involved the French and Indians to the north, and the Spanish and Indians to the south. Religion was a powerful influence on many immigrants, especially the Puritans in New England and the German sects in Pennsylvania, with boosts from the revivals of the First Great Awakening. The colonies by the 1750s had achieved a standard of living about as high as Britain, with... [continues]
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