Briefly explain the arrival of European Nations to America and how the resulting colonies became free.

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first permanent European settlers to the Americans arrived in the early half of the 1500's, the Spanish predominating as they penetrated into what today is Peru, Panama, Mexico, Florida, the southwestern United States and Mississippi River basin.  The English and French, somewhat belatedly, claimed and explored the Atlantic coast and the St. Lawrence River basin, respectively, establishing settlements slightly later than Spain. By around 1600 the Swedish and Dutch had settled around Philadelphia, New York City and the Hudson River basin, respectively.  By the 1700's, France controlled Canada, and central N. America, England controlled the Atlantic Coast, and Spain controlled most of South America and Western N. America.  By mid century the French lost Canada to the English, and ceased to be a major power. By 1800 the English Atlantic colonies became the United States.  In 1808 Napoleon conquered Spain, and Spanish colonies in S. and C. America, inspired by the American Revolution, revolted. By 1826 all of C. America and almost all of S. America were free from Spain. However, the Russians(!)  were laying claim to the Pacific Northwest and established trading posts up and down the Pacific Coast and encroaching on Spanish Territory.  The US responded with the Monroe Doctrine to keep all Europeans out; by mid century the US and Mexico fought over interior N. America, Mexico losing its claim to the West. 

Rise of the American Nation, Todd & Curti, 1972.