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After Spain sent Columbus on his first voyage to the New World in 1492, other explorers followed.
The first Europeans to arrive in territory of the modern United States were Spanish conquistadors such as Juan Ponce de León, who made his first visit to Florida in 1513; however, if unincorporated territories are accounted for, then credit would go to Christopher Columbus who landed in Puerto Rico on his 1493 voyage.
During the Seven Years' War (in America, known as the French and Indian War), British forces seized Canada from the French, but the francophone population remained politically isolated from the southern colonies.
Excluding the Native Americans, who were being conquered and displaced, the 13 British colonies had a population of over 2.1 million in 1770, about one-third that of Britain.
Manufacturers produced rum and ships, and by the late colonial period Americans were producing one-seventh of the world's iron supply.
Cities eventually dotted the coast to support local economies and serve as trade hubs.
Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.English colonists were supplemented by waves of Scotch-Irish and other groups.As coastal land grew more expensive, freed indentured servants pushed further west.Although the Spanish did not land, natives paddled to the ship to trade furs for abalone shells from California.At the time, the Spanish were able to monopolize the trade between Asia and North America, granting limited licenses to the Portuguese.