1. (was, heard) Columbus “discovered” America in 1492. This was the first time that most Europeans heard anything about the “New World.”
2. (took, found, fought, had) The Spanish took advantage of the discovery immediately. During the next century they found and fought with the greatest nations of the Americas and conquered them. By 1600 they had profitable colonies in Mexico, Peru, and the Caribbean.
3. (began, was) The English began permanent settlements in the Americas more than a century after the Spanish, starting with Jamestown in 1607. In 1620-21, the local Indians helped the Pilgrims survive their difficult first year in New England. That story of cooperation was one of the few bright moments in a long history of conflict between the English settlers and the native American tribes.
4. (were, became, came) During the 17th and 18th centuries (1607-1775), 13 English colonies were established in the area that became the United States. People came to the colonies from England and Scotland, as well as from France, Germany, and other parts of Europe.
5. (brought, were bought, sold) In addition, slave traders brought many Africans to work the land as slaves. Slaves were bought and sold in the U.S. until the 1860s, although many Americans opposed slavery.
6. (did, was, did, went) The British government did not want the colonies to expand to the west. In part, it was trying to protect the Indians. Legal limits did not stop the land-hungry settlers, however. Before the American Revolution as well as after, many hunters, trappers, and then settlers went west looking for opportunity.
7. (won, grew, bought, came) After the U.S. won its independence, it grew even more rapidly. In 1803 the U.S. bought the Louisiana Territory from France and doubled in size. More immigrants came to the U.S. from all over Europe.
8. (sent, left, built, made) In 1848 a famine in Ireland and turmoil in Germany sent many people to the U.S. Others left Scandinavia to work in the Midwest as farmers or loggers. Irish and Chinese laborers built the transcontinental railroad that made travel to California easier.
9. (brought, ate, were, spoke, kept) Immigrants brought their own customs to the U.S. They ate the foods they were familiar with, spoke their own languages, and kept the traditions of their homeland alive.
10. (began, came) Over time, though, they began to learn English and share their customs and foods with their neighbors. Different regions of the U.S. have different preferences in food and customs partly because of the different immigrants who came to each part. American culture is richer because of contributions from many nations.
11. (grew, brought, found) As American industry grew, factories needed workers. In the late 19th century steamships brought many people to New York from Italy, Russia, Poland, and other parts of southern and eastern Europe. They found work in many parts of the country. Many saved their money and soon started their own businesses or farms.
12. (were, won, took) There were Spanish-speaking people in the Southwest long before the U.S. won the war of 1848 and took over California and the Southwest from Mexico.
13. (came, were, left) Other Mexicans came to the western states to work early in the 20th century, and still others were refugees from the violence of the Mexican Revolution. More refugees left Europe and Asia after the two world wars and the war in Vietnam.
14. Immigration continues today, as people from many parts of the world seek opportunity and the U.S. needs more highly-trained professionals in certain industries, as well as people willing to do hard physical farm labor and other jobs most Americans don’t want.
15. (had, brought, did) Americans have had mixed feelings toward immigration from the beginning. Some have welcomed the hard work and contributions immigrants have brought. Others have feared immigrants’ cultures or their competition. However, no one can say immigration did not matter. The United States truly is “a nation of immigrants.