European Exploration and Settlement
European Exploration and Settlement
"The Coming of the First White Man" . . . 3
Christopher Columbus . . . 15
Alonso de Benavides . . . 27
Jacques Marquette . . . 39
Thomas Harriot . . . 51
John Smith . . . 65
William Bradford . . . 77
William Penn . . . 89
Per (Peter) Kalm . . . 101
Explorers and settlers from four European nations—Spain, France, the Netherlands, and England—arrived in North America during the early stages of the colonial period. From the outset, the presence of Europeans had a devastating impact on Native Americans who had been living on the continent since 30,000 b.c"The Coming of the First White Man" is a Tlingit story that gives a vivid description of the confusion and fear Native Americans experienced upon encountering Europeans. Although the story dates from the 1700s, it is considered the earliest Native American account of meeting white settlers for the first time.
Italian explorer Christopher Columbus opened the way for European exploration of the New World. His report to Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella is the official record of Columbus's accidental discovery of a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, which he thought were the "Indies." Within a half century the Spanish had moved into North America. Along with explorers came Roman Catholic missionaries such as Franciscan friar Alonso de Benavides, who converted the Pueblos of New Mexico. An excerpt from a report written by Benavides, gives modern readers an insight into Spanish attitudes toward the "heathen" native peoples.
While the Spanish were settling the Southwest and Southeast, the French had founded Quebec in present-day Canada and sent explorers into the region that became the United States. Among them were French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet and Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette, who became the first Europeans to travel down the Mississippi River. "Jolliet and Marquette Travel the Mississippi" is Marquette's official account of the expedition. In the meantime, the English had made three failed attempts to settle on Roanoke Island. Surveyor Thomas Harriot was a member of the first expedition to Roanoke. He later published A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia. It is considered the first description of Native American customs written in English.
The English finally established Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Excerpts from The Generall Historie of Virginia provide John Smith 's famous account of the early months at Jamestown. This successful venture inspired other English colonists to move to North America. The story of the Pilgrims in the Plymouth Colony is told by William Bradford in his book Of Plymouth Plantation. Excerpts from the book include the Pilgrims' accidental landing in Massachusetts, their signing of the Mayflower Compact, and their celebration of the first Thanksgiving with Native Americans who helped them survive the winter. The Pilgrims were seeking religious freedom when they came to the New World. Likewise, William Penn founded the colony of Pennsylvania as a refuge for Quakers and other religious and political minorities. The Propriety of Pennsylvania was Penn's promotional literature, in which he stressed the attractions of North America and outlined his plans for a free society. Excerpts from the book are especially notable for Penn's liberal policies toward Native Americans. Penn also remarked on the diverse culture he encountered in the mid-Atlantic region. His depictions were echoed by Swedish travel writer Per (Peter) Kalm 's "Impressions of New Jersey and New York," which presents Kalm's observations on life among the Dutch and Germans.