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Pioneers - Colonial settlers

Jamestown was established in 1607 by the Virginia Company as a business venture, and the original group of colonists were exclusively men. Historical pictures show the Jamestown settlers' interactions with the Powhatan Indians, including Pocahontas, who saved Captain John Smith and married a colonist, John Rolfe. Soon women and families arrived at Jamestown colony. Although for a time the colonists nearly starved, Virginia colonists managed to grow tobacco as a cash crop for export, and the colony spread to other areas of Virginia.

In 1620 the Mayflower landed a group of Pilgrims at Plymouth, where historical pictures show they endured cold New England winters with the help of neighboring Wampanoag Indians. Meanwhile, nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony was settled by Puritans, centered in colonial Boston, who drove away people who did not conform with their strict religious views, including Roger Williams who founded the colony of Rhode Island. Other heretics were banished, punished, or executed, including Quakers. Puritan groups also chartered Connecticut colony and settled the frontier in New Hampshire. Colonial Maine was part of Massachusetts.

New Netherland attracted Dutch colonists, who in 1625 established the bustling seaport of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, brought to life in historical pictures. In 1674 New Netherland was taken over by the English and renamed New York, although the lingering Dutch influence can be seen in historical pictures. Most of New Jersey was an English colony, but part was included with Delaware in colonial New Sweden, the only Scandinavian colony in the New World. Historical pictures show William Penn led English Quakers to settle in Pennsylvania, a haven of cultural and religious tolerance, giving colonial Philadelphia its nickname of the City of Brotherly Love.

Colonial Maryland, shown in historical pictures, was a refuge for persecuted Roman Catholics fleeing from intolerance during England's Protestant Reformation. Carolina Colony, or the Province of Carolina, began with a settlement in Charleston, shown in its early days in vintage pictures. Until 1712 the colony included both North Carolina and South Carolina. In 1732 James Oglethorpe chartered Georgia Colony, the last of the original thirteen colonies to be founded.

South and west of the thirteen Atlantic colonies, Spanish explorers had already claimed Florida. Historical pictures and maps show New Spain included the Gulf Coast area, as well as Central America and Mexico, which then included much of what is now the US Southwest, notably Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and California, all sharing a core Spanish colonial culture intermingled with many different southwestern Native American cultures. All of colonial South America was also Spanish, except Portuguese Brazil. As seen in historical pictures, a core element of Spanish settlement was the Roman Catholic mission church where padres such as Father Junipero Serra conveyed Spanish culture to natives.

To the north was French Canada, where historical pictures show the voyageurs canoed inland along the St. Lawrence River and explored and mapped the Great Lakes. In addition to vintage fur traders, Canadian French Catholic missionaries pushed into the frontier to bring Christianity to Aboriginal natives. An historical example of teamwork between a French trader and priest was the expedition of Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet, who discovered the upper Mississippi River by a route across Wisconsin from Lake Michigan. These explorers traveled down the Mississippi by canoe as far south as Arkansas, where they could confirm they were travling on the same great Mississippi River that LaSalle had claimed for France in Louisiana to the south.

Historical maps of North America record many changes in territorial boundaries. Some changes were a result of increased cartographical knowledge gained by exploration of the North American frontier and some resulted from evolving colonial land claims. Territory changed ownership as a result of local or international conflict, such as the French and Indian War, or after treaties or economic conditions led to border changes.


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