European settlers arrived in colonial America in great numbers between 1600 and 1700. The future of the 'New World' was shaped by these Europeans.
The majority of early settlers in North America were French and Spanish. They were overtaken later on by the English and Germans, however. Most of the settlers were Protestants avoiding religious persecution in their own countries.
20 years after the arrival of the first Puritans, 20,000 English people were living in Massachusetts. Boston was the capital of this quickly developing colony. Some of the colonists moved to Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Many Settlers Arrived in America Aboard the Mayflower Ship:
New York began in 1625 as a Dutch colony based around the mouth of the Hudson River. With the English taking over in 1664, English, Germans and other nationalities settled there.
Further south, in 1681, Pennsylvania was given by the English king to a Quaker group led by William Penn. This gift was to repay a debt. Penn, the idealist, dreamed of a new society and helped many poor and religiously persecuted people from England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany to settle there.
Quakers Pennsylvanie - an Engraving by Clément-Pierre Marillier (1740-1808):
Further south still, King Charles II gave land to his supporters in the English Civil War. Virginia and the Carolinas grew in size and plantations growing cotton, tobacco, rice and indigo were established. African slaves were imported from 1619 onward to work on the plantations.
On the other side of the country, in the southwest, pioneers (Spanish-Mexican) moved up into New Mexico. Their capital was built in 1609 at Santa Fe. The colony was full of mines, forts and trading posts. They also had Florida and, if it hadn't been for them losing control of the seas, the Spanish may have taken the entire of North America.
French colonists had settled around the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi, but their numbers were small. They were largely fur-trappers, traders and pioneers.
12 English colonies were established on the Atlantic coast by 1700. There were 250,000 English colonists and only 20,000 French. Other nationalities settled in different areas.
With the arrival of more settlers, Native Americans found their lands seized. Atrocities committed by the settlers toward the natives caused distrust and increased resistance. An increase in local conflicts led to war during the 1670s. With the victory of the settlers over the natives, resistance diminished and some natives were deliberately driven out of their territories. Others migrated as European dominance became inevitable.
This period of Colonial America (1600 - 1700) with its mass immigration of people from Europe, and England in particular, was key to how North America would develop going forward.
Saltbox-style Houses were Built 1650s Onwards by Settlers in New England: