The Colonial Period (1513-1775)
The history of the Spanish, English, French, Dutch, and Swedish colonies between Ponce de Leon's first expedition in 1513 to the start of the American Revolution in 1775.
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Ponce de Leon, founder of Spanish Florida, is known for having sought the "Fountain of Youth", but in fact this story is most likely a myth.
- 1539 - Hernando de Soto's expedition lands on the gulf coast of Florida, marauds through the region, and crosses the Mississippi River.
- 1565 - St. Augustine, Florida is founded -- currently the oldest European-established town in the United States.
- 1607 - Jamestown is founded by the Virginia Company of London as a profit-making venture.
- 1619 - First Africans are imported to the colonies as indentured servants. Over the next fifty years a racial caste system develops, culminating in slavery.
- 1620 - Plymouth Colony founded by the Mayflower pilgrims, who missed their target of Virginia by a wide margin.
- 1625 - New Amsterdam is founded by Dutch settlers, will later become New York.
- 1718 - New Orleans is founded by the French to protect the base of the Mississippi River.
- 1730-1750 - The "Great Awakening" religious movement sweeps the east coast, revitalizing religious life.
- 1739-1740 - Stono Rebellion (slave revolt) in South Carolina ends in failure -- 44 slaves and 21 whites killed. Gruesome reprisals ensue.
- 1773 - The Boston Tea Party occurs, and the British place Massachusetts under military rule.