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Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620.

Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.

The continent's first elected legislative assembly, Virginia's House of Burgesses created in 1619, the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.

Most settlers in every colony were small farmers, but other industries developed within a few decades as varied as the settlements. Extraction industries grew up in furs, fishing and lumber.

In 1774, the Spanish Navy ship Santiago, under Juan Pérez, entered and anchored in an inlet of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in present-day British Columbia.

When the Russians began establishing a growing fur trading system in Alaska, the Spanish began to challenge the Russians, with Pérez's voyage being the first of many to the Pacific Northwest.

After having arrived in the Hawaiian islands in 1778, Captain Cook sailed north and then northeast to explore the west coast of North America north of the Spanish settlements in Alta California.

English colonists were supplemented by waves of Scotch-Irish and other groups.

As coastal land grew more expensive, freed indentured servants pushed further west.

In 1774, the Spanish Navy ship Santiago, under Juan Pérez, entered and anchored in an inlet of Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, in present-day British Columbia.

When the Russians began establishing a growing fur trading system in Alaska, the Spanish began to challenge the Russians, with Pérez's voyage being the first of many to the Pacific Northwest.

After having arrived in the Hawaiian islands in 1778, Captain Cook sailed north and then northeast to explore the west coast of North America north of the Spanish settlements in Alta California.

English colonists were supplemented by waves of Scotch-Irish and other groups.

As coastal land grew more expensive, freed indentured servants pushed further west.

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 moon landing. "Columbia", a name popular in poetry and songs of the late 18th century, derives its origin from Christopher Columbus; it appears in the name "District of Columbia".