ТОП 10:

The European exploration of the North American continent (Spanish, Dutch, French, German territories).

It’s very difficult to say when the colonization of North America began. Around 1000 AD a group of Vikings from Iceland under Leif Ericson sailed from Greenland to the eastern coast of NA.

The foundations of Viking huts were found in Newfoundland. But the first Viking settlements did not last. The local Am. Indians were hostile, the Northern Seas were not friendly either, the Vikings sailed back to Europe and their expedition was soon forgotten.

Columbus was an Italian, but the country who supplied his expedition with different things was Spain and not Italy.

1492 – Columbus reached Central America but his journey didn’t produce any permanent settlement, though the Spanish showed great interest in gold and adventures and some Spanish expeditions followed.

Spanish expeditions resulted in the founding the earliest European settlements (Florida, Texas, California).

In 1565 Spanish settlers founded St Augustine the very first town in NA in Florida. Later, in 1609 Santa Fe in New Mexico. Spanish were interested in treasures and adventures.

The English colonies in the South (Virginia and Caroline) were separated from those in the North (New England) by a Dutch colony which was called the New Netherlands. Its main town was New Amsterdam. It was situated on the Manhattan Island and one of the rivers of the city was the Hudson River. In 1664 New Amsterdam was captured by the English and Charles II gave it to his brother James, Duke of York, and the city was renamed New York. New York has 5 boroughs: the Bronx (Dutch families lived there), Harlem (Dutch).

A number of British, Dutch and Swedish settlers set up in Delaware. But the main rival of the English in the colonization of NA were the French. They had 2 territories: New France (Canada) and Louisiana (along the Mississippi River; New Orleans - capital).

It can be said that the French controlled all the territory west of the Appalachians. In the 18th century there were continual wars btw the English and the French. The French were defeated and the 7 years war ended in 1763. The English kept the territories in Canada and east of the Mississippi, except New Orleans. The western half of the Mississippi Valley and New Orleans were transferred to Spain. But they were returned to France by 1800.


  1. The first English settlements in North America.

The first beginnings of permanent settlements in NA were nearly a hundred years after Columbus’s first voyage. The English man Sir Walter Raleigh claimed the whole of NA for England. And he called the territory Virginia. In 1585 he sent a small group of people to the east coast of present USA but they stayed their only for a year and then returned to England.

In 1587 there was another expedition led by Drake. The first enduring British settlement in NA was founded in 1607 on the present territory of Virginia. The English founded two companies and they gave the name New England to all the northern coast of the Atlantic.

And in 1607 they founded Jamestown. Jamestown was a typical small settlement with a fort, a church, a storehouse and a row of little huts. Captain John Smith was like a president of the colony. In 1612 they began growing tobacco. And it brought high profit. More people went to Jamestown. By 1619 Virginia had a thousand people. This year was notable for 3 events: 1) the first elected legislative assembly; 2) the arrival of a Dutch ship with 20 Negroes (the beginning of slavery); 3) the arrival of 90 young British maidens (each maid – 60 kg of tobacco).

Modern Americans are inclined to look back especially to the Pilgrim Fathers, who sailed in the “Mayflower” in 1620, as a symbol of the origins of their country. A group of Puritans from eastern England went first to Holland in search of religious freedom as they were persecuted in GB. But after some years in Holland they decided to move to America. They went back to England, got the King’s permission to settle in America and bought the ship called “The Mayflower”. They sailed from Plymouth and on December 11, 1620 landed on the north-east coast and founded a town, which they called Plymouth (near Boston). The Pilgrim Fathers suffered terrible hardships at first. Half of them died during their first winter. But those who survived, with the help of friendly Indians, learned to grow corn and when another ship came from England and they gathered their first harvest, they had a special celebration which they called “Thanksgiving”. It is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November. Btw 1620 and 1640 Pilgrim Fathers were followed by many more settlers from Britain.

The last of main British foundations came in 1682 when a group of Quakers led by William Penn founded Pennsylvania and its main city Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love.

The Englishmen Sir Walter Raleigh claimed the whole of NA for England and they called this place “Virginia”. It was done in honour of queen El I. But the 1st Eng.colonists were mostly adventures and impoverished gentlemen incapable of working on the land that’s why the early colonists in Virginia were complete failures.

The 1st successful and permanent settlement in Virginia was established in 1607 and that place was called Jamestown.

It was a very typical settlement: a church, a store, a fort and they began tobacco growing. English capitalists found 2 Virginia companies: a southern one based on London and a northern one based on Bristol. It was decided to give the name “New England” to the northern area.

By 1619 Virginia had a thousand people. 3 events:

1. the arrival of a ship from Eng.with 90 young maidens who were to be given as wives to those settlers who would pay a hundred and 20 pounds of tobacco for their transportation

2. that was the beg.of selfgov. On july 13th in Jamestown the church met the 1st legislative assembly on the continent: a governor, 6 counselors and 2 burgesses (a full-right citizens) each from 10 plantations.

3. the arrival in august of a dutch ship with negro slaves of whom it sold 20 to the settlers

1619 – the 1st negroes appeared.

1620 – a group of puritan refugees from Eng. reached the coast of NA in their ship “Mayflower”. They landed on the Massachusetts coast and founded a settlement there which they called Plymouth. This was the beg.of the Northern Eng. Colonists in Am. Those people were called “Pilgrim Fathers”. These pilgrims were persecuted because they denied the supremacy of the king and wished to set up their own church (separate)

The Pilgrim Fathers suffered terrible hardships at first, half of them died during their 1st winter months, but those who survived for the 1st year managed to live on fish and reep a harvest from the land in the summer.

A year after their arrival another ship came from Eng.and they celebrated this event the harvest they had gathered and they celebrated Thanksgiving day.

The anniversary is still celebrated every Nov as a public holiday on the 4th Thursday of Nov.

B/w 1620 and 1640 the pilgrim fathers were followed by many more shipboards of settlers in New Eng.

Massachusetts, Road Ireland, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina – major colonies at that time.

During the same period New Amsterdam was founded from Holland. On the small island of Manhattan. The Dutch administration was oligarchic and the colony made rather slow progress.

1664 – Charles II granted the area to his brother – the Duke of York

In the summer of 1664 – 3 warships arrived before New Amsterdam and the English took over the colony and changed its name to New York. Most of the Dutch settlers sick of despotic rules made no objections to a change of sovereignty. Meanwhile further South Virginia developed and the settlers were helped by the beginning of the cruel slave trade through which merchants mainly Eng.brought slaves from Africa.

1. Caucasians(europ) ~ 200 mln 80%

2. African Americans ~ 30 mln

3. Hispanics ~ 27 mln

4. American Indians (native amer) ~ 11 mln

“Salad bowl”, “Melting pot” pizza

El Pluribus Unum – в многообразии единства Security Council

5 permanent members:

USA, UK, France, China, Russia – 1st 5 countries which invented nuclear weapons.


  1. The War of Independence: its reasons and results.

The war of Independence, or the American Revolution: 1775-1783.

The trade and wealth of the British colonies in N.America were utilized for the exclusive benefit of the British rooling class.

Capitalism in British colonies was developing rapidly and the interests of Americans conflicted sharply with those of British manufacturers.

The British Parliament protecting the interests of Br. manufacturers passed a number of laws to paralyze the rising industry and trade in the colonies. The so-called Stamp Act.

The colonies produced raw materials (iron, coal, tobacco…), but they were forbidden to build their own manufacturing plants.

Direct trade with other countries was also forbidden. The navigation law didn’t let Americans have their own fleet.

The Stamp Act allowed the Br. government to get more and more money from the American colonies.The situation was aggravated (ухудшилась) after the wars in France which ended in 1763. Britain was in financial difficulties and the Br.government imposed high duties on tea, paper, glass and other articles of general consumption.

The colonists had to keep English troops, stationed in North America.

Now that the French were defeated, the colonists saw no reason for the presence of English troops. In fact, the British troops didn’t protect them but oppressed.

There was general discontent (неудовольствие) among the people in the colonies and the anti-English feelings gave rise to a popular organization called the Sons of Liberty. Their slogan was, “No taxation without representation”. They demanded their representation in the British Parliament and they called for the boycott of English goods.

Dec. 16,1773 in protest against the duty on tea a group of about 50 citizens of Boston, distinguished as Indians, attacked 3 English ships and threw all the tea into the harbor. This event is known as the Boston Tea Party. It was the first open act of resistance against the English.

Following the Boston Tea Party in 1774 the First Continental Congress of representatives of all the colonies met in Philadelphia. It can be said to have been the first unofficial American Government. Arms were bought illegally and American patriots organized secret military training. When the British tried to get the illegal store of arms at Concord and Lexington in 1775, the first shots of the war were fired. (The British were called the redcoats as they wore red jackets.)

Within a few weeks after Lexington and Concord, Royal governors were overthrown in all the colonies and the second Continental Congress met again in Philadelphia and organized the American troops into the American Continental Army and appointed George Washington to take command. In the second Continental Congress were some radicals who demanded complete independence. But the majority of Congress still believed in a possible compromise with the King of England.

At that time Tom Pain, a brilliant young radical, published a pamphlet “The Common Sense”, in which he argued very convincingly that independence was the only way out. On July 4, 1776 the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The author of the document was Thomas Jefferson.

So the war, which had begun as a war for the rights of Englishmen in North America, became in a little more than a year a War of Independence. (May I have your John Kancord? = May I have your signature? )

In the first year of the war Washington’s Army suffered several defeats. The American soldiers lacked discipline and military training. The quality of the officers was also poor. There were financial difficulties as Americans had to buy all the arms and ammunition. There was no strong central government and they had no navy. But despite these drawbacks Americans had some advantages. They fought on their territory, their army was a revolutionary army and at critical moments soldiers exhibited a superb fighting spirit.

The English, on the other hand, fought 3 000 miles away from home. It was very costly to transport men and supplies from Britain. Proper strategic management from London was impossible.

In 1777 Americans achieved their first great Victory at Saratoga. It was a turning point in the course of the war. France, Spain and Poland began to help the Americans.

The North was under the American control, the war continued in the South.

The last battle was one in 1781 at Yorktown in Virginia but King George III refused to acknowledge defeat and the Peace Treaty was signed in 1783. British recognized the Independence of the USA in 1783.

(Why can it be called a revolution? – It can be called a revolution as revolution is a transition from one state of government to another one and the US from being a part of monarchy (part of Britain before the war) turned into a federal republic (after the war).)


  1. The territorial expansion of the young US.

This period in amer.hist.is characterized as the period of ter.expansion during which the USA expanded westwards and the colonization of the whole amer.continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific was completed.

Louisiana the vast ter.stretching from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico was bought by the USA from the French under Napoleon fro about 15 mln $. This transaction was called “The Louisiana Purchase” in 1803. By this purchase the size of the country was suddenly increased by one third. Yet the Mississippi was the western boundary the city of New Orleans which lay at the mouth of the Mississippi. Also of importance to many of the settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee these settlers had no other way of selling their farm products except to shift them down the Mississippi to New Orleans. But many times the port of New Orleans was closed to the shipping. Spanish officials there were often changed by the gov.in Spain. Some of these officials opened the port to amer.commerce, others would close the port suddenly without explanation. The sit.became so bad that president Jefferson decided o do smth. He advised the ambassador to France Robert Livingston to make an offer to buy the city of New Orleans. The price was 2mln $. Liv.made the offer, but received no answer. He repeated the offer sev.times but each time was put off and there were explanations that Napoleon was too busy with more imp.matters to reach a decision. Napoleon however was giving the matter considerable thought. He was about to begin another war against England and needed money badly. His loses in the West Indian island of Santa Domingo that was a French colony where revolution had broken out were very great. He realized that he could never use this island as he had planned as a base from which to get to Louisiana. He offered to sell to the USA not only the city of New Orleans, but also the entire Louis.ter. The imp.of this great event becomes clear when one realizes that the ter.which Jefferson purchased included nearly a million square miles. It covered a section 7 times larger than Eng., Scotland and Ireland combined. Florida was occupied by the US troops in 1811 and 8 years later the USA bought it from Spain for 5 mln $. It was a purchase by force of arms.

1845 – the USA annexed Texas

1846 – the amer.entered Oregon ter.and the whole Pacific coast to the north of California was joined to the US. In the Mexican war in 1846-1848 the amer.conquered over a half of Mexico’s ter. (California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.) So by the mid.of the 19th cent.the continental USA had reached its present dimensions and vast ter.in the west were open to colonization.

1848 – gold was discovered in California and the Gold Rush began


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