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America Continent History

United States America

Indigenous peoples and the history before Columbus

Additional information: Native Americans in the United States, the prehistory of the United States, and the era before Columbus
An aerial view of the Cliff Palace
The Cliff Palace, constructed by the Native American Puebloans between AD 1190 and 1260
It is widely accepted that the initial inhabitants of North America migrated from Siberia through the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 12,000 years ago. However, there is some evidence suggesting an even earlier arrival. The Clovis culture, which emerged around 11,000 BC, is believed to represent the first wave of human settlement in the Americas. This was likely followed by two more significant waves of migration into North America, bringing the ancestors of present-day Athabaskans, Aleuts, and Eskimos.

Over time, the indigenous cultures in North America became more complex. For example, the Mississippian culture in the southeast developed advanced agriculture, architecture, and complex societies. The largest and most complex pre-Columbian archaeological site in the United States is Cahokia, a city-state within this culture. In the Four Corners region, the Ancestral Puebloan culture emerged from centuries of agricultural experimentation. The Haudenosaunee, located in the southern Great Lakes region, was established between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. Along the Atlantic coast, the Algonquian tribes were prominent, engaging in hunting, trapping, and limited cultivation.

Estimating the native population of North America at the time of European contact is challenging. Douglas H. Ubelaker from the Smithsonian Institution estimated a population of 92,916 in the south Atlantic states and 473,616 in the Gulf states. However, most scholars consider this figure to be too low. Anthropologist Henry F. Dobyns believed that the populations were much higher, suggesting approximately 1.1 million people along the Gulf of Mexico, 2.2 million between Florida and Massachusetts, 5.2 million in the Mississippi Valley and its tributaries, and around 700,000 people in the Florida peninsula.

European settlements in North America have a complex history. The arrival of Europeans in the continental United States is first documented with the Spanish conquistadors, such as Juan Ponce de León, who arrived in Florida in 1513. Christopher Columbus had also landed in Puerto Rico in 1493, and the Spanish established settlements in Florida and New Mexico. The French established settlements along the Mississippi River, including New Orleans. English settlement began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 and the Pilgrims' colony at Plymouth in 1620. These early settlements laid the foundation for representative self-government and constitutionalism in the American colonies. Russian settlers were the first Europeans to establish a settlement in Alaska in 1784.

The early European settlers faced challenges such as food shortages, disease, and conflicts with Native Americans. However, they also relied on Native Americans for trade and survival. Natives taught settlers agricultural practices, but as European colonization increased, Native Americans were displaced and their population declined due to diseases brought by Europeans.

The map of the United States displays the original Thirteen Colonies located along the eastern coast. In 1775, these colonies were established. European settlers also engaged in the transatlantic slave trade, bringing African slaves to Colonial America. Due to better treatment and a lower prevalence of tropical diseases, slaves in North America had a longer life expectancy compared to those in South America, resulting in a rapid increase in their population. The issue of slavery divided colonial society, with some colonies passing acts both for and against the practice. However, by the 18th century, African slaves had replaced European indentured servants as labor for cash crops, particularly in the American South.
The Thirteen Colonies, which would later become the United States of America, were under British administration as overseas dependencies. However, they had local governments with elections open to most free men. The colonial population grew rapidly due to high birth rates, low death rates, and steady settlement, surpassing the Native American populations. The Great Awakening, a Christian revivalist movement in the 1730s and 1740s, sparked interest in religion and religious freedom.
During the Seven Years' War, also known as the French and Indian War in the U.S., British forces captured Canada from the French. The creation of the Province of Quebec isolated Canada's French-speaking population from the English-speaking colonies of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Thirteen Colonies. Excluding Native Americans, the Thirteen Colonies had a population of over 2.1 million in 1770, about one-third of Britain's population. Despite ongoing immigration, the majority of Americans in the 1770s were born in the colonies. The distance between the colonies and Britain allowed for the development of self-government, but the colonies' remarkable success led British monarchs to periodically attempt to regain royal authority.

The American Revolutionary War, fought by the Thirteen Colonies against the British Empire, was the first successful war of independence by a non-European entity against a European power in modern history. The Americans believed in the ideology of "republicanism" and demanded their rights as Englishmen, leading to a conflict with the British who insisted on governing through Parliament. The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and established a decentralized government with the Articles of Confederation in 1777. After the British were defeated in the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, a peace treaty was signed and American sovereignty was recognized. However, tensions with Britain remained and led to the War of 1812. The United States Constitution was written in 1787, creating a federal government with three branches, and George Washington became the first president. The Bill of Rights, protecting personal freedoms and legal rights, was adopted in 1791.

The map of the United States shows the expansion of the country towards the west. From 1783 to 1917, the United States acquired new territories. Although the Atlantic slave trade was banned in 1807, the cultivation of cotton in the Deep South led to an increase in the slave population. The Second Great Awakening, particularly from 1800 to 1840, resulted in the conversion of many people to evangelical Protestantism. This movement fueled social reform movements in the North, including abolitionism, while Methodists and Baptists spread their beliefs among the slave population in the South.
Starting in the late 18th century, American settlers began moving westward, which led to conflicts with Native American tribes in a series of Indian Wars. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 doubled the size of the nation, followed by the acquisition of Florida and other Gulf Coast territory from Spain in 1819. The Republic of Texas was annexed in 1845, and the Oregon Treaty with Britain in 1846 gave the United States control of the present-day American Northwest. The Mexican-American War resulted in the Mexican Cession of California and the American Southwest in 1848. This expansion made the United States span the entire continent.
The California Gold Rush in 1848-1849 attracted migrants to the Pacific coast, leading to the California Genocide and the establishment of new western states. The Homestead Acts granted large amounts of land to white European settlers, accounting for nearly 10% of the country's total area. Land grants to private railroad companies and colleges also contributed to economic development. After the Civil War, the construction of transcontinental railways made it easier for settlers to relocate, stimulated internal trade, and intensified conflicts with Native Americans. In 1869, the Peace Policy was introduced to protect Native Americans, prevent further wars, and eventually grant them U.S. citizenship. However, large-scale conflicts with Native Americans continued in the West until the 1900s.

The Civil War and Reconstruction era were significant periods in American history. The Battle of Gettysburg, fought in 1863, marked a turning point in the war between Union and Confederate forces. The conflict arose from irreconcilable differences over the enslavement of Africans and African Americans. After the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, thirteen slave states declared secession and formed the Confederate States of America. The Union, however, considered secession illegal and responded with military action. The war became the deadliest in American history, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians. Initially, the Union fought to preserve the country's unity, but as casualties mounted and Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the abolition of slavery became a primary goal. After the Union's victory in 1865, the defeated South was required to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. Reconstruction efforts began, but were hindered by Lincoln's assassination and the subsequent withdrawal of Republican support for African American rights in the Compromise of 1877. Southern Democrats, known as "Redeemers," took control of the South and implemented discriminatory Jim Crow laws, leading to widespread racial segregation and violence against African Americans.

Further immigration, expansion, and industrialization had a significant impact on the United States. The influx of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe in the North provided a surplus of labor for industrialization and led to cultural transformation. The development of national infrastructure, such as telegraph and transcontinental railroads, fueled economic growth and facilitated settlement in the American Old West. Advancements like electric light and the telephone also revolutionized communication and urban life.

During this time, the United States engaged in Indian Wars, which lasted from 1810 to at least 1890, resulting in the cession of Native American territory and their relocation to reservations. The Indian removal policy, exemplified by the Trail of Tears in the 1830s, forcibly resettled Native Americans and expanded land available for mechanical cultivation, increasing agricultural surpluses for international markets. The country also expanded its territory through the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 and the annexation of Hawaii in 1898, as well as the acquisition of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw rapid economic development, which led to the rise of prominent industrialists like Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie. These tycoons played pivotal roles in the railroad, petroleum, and steel industries. Banking also became a major part of the economy, with figures like J. P. Morgan making significant contributions. The American economy flourished, becoming the largest in the world. However, this period of growth was accompanied by increasing inequality and social unrest, leading to the emergence of organized labor movements, as well as populist, socialist, and anarchist movements. These developments eventually gave way to the Progressive Era, characterized by significant reforms such as women's suffrage, alcohol prohibition, consumer goods regulation, and antitrust measures to promote competition and improve worker conditions.

World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II are significant historical events. The Empire State Building, completed in 1931 during the Great Depression, was the tallest building in the world at that time. The United States initially remained neutral during World War I but joined the war in 1917 as an "associated power" with the Allies. President Woodrow Wilson played a key role in the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and advocated for the U.S. to join the League of Nations, but the Senate rejected this idea. In 1920, women's suffrage was granted through a constitutional amendment. The 1920s and 1930s saw the rise of radio and early television. However, the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties ended with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the onset of the Great Depression. President Franklin D. Roosevelt implemented the New Deal in response to the economic crisis. The Great Migration of African Americans began before World War I and continued until the 1960s, while the Dust Bowl in the mid-1930s led to the impoverishment of farming communities and prompted a new wave of migration to the western United States.

Four soldiers place an American flag on a tall pole on a barren mountaintop. U.S. Marines raise the American flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, creating one of the most iconic images of the war. Initially remaining neutral during World War II, the United States began providing supplies to the Allies in March 1941 through the Lend-Lease program. However, after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7, 1941, the United States joined the Allies in their fight against the Axis powers. In the following year, the U.S. interned approximately 120,000 individuals of Japanese descent, including American citizens. Despite being attacked first by Japan, the U.S. prioritized defending Europe through its "Europe first" policy. As a result, the Philippines, a significant Asian colony of the United States, was left isolated and struggling against Japanese invasion and occupation. Throughout the war, the United States, along with Britain, the Soviet Union, and China, were known as the "Four Powers" and collaborated to plan the postwar world. Despite losing around 400,000 military personnel, the United States emerged from the war relatively unscathed and with even greater economic and military influence. The United States played a prominent role in the Bretton Woods and Yalta conferences, where agreements were signed regarding new international financial institutions and the reorganization of Europe after the war. Following the Allied victory in Europe, an international conference held in San Francisco in 1945 resulted in the creation of the United Nations Charter, which became active after the war. The United States and Japan engaged in the largest naval battle in history, the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Additionally, the United States developed and used the first nuclear weapons on Japan, specifically in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. As a result, Japan surrendered on September 2, effectively ending World War II.

During the Cold War and the late 20th century, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a power struggle known as the Cold War. This was driven by their ideological differences of capitalism and communism. The two superpowers dominated military affairs in Europe, with the US and its NATO allies on one side and the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies on the other. The US adopted a policy of containment to prevent the spread of communism. While there were proxy wars and the development of nuclear weapons, direct military conflict between the US and the Soviet Union was avoided.

The US often opposed Third World movements that it believed were supported by the Soviet Union and sometimes took action to overthrow left-wing governments, even supporting right-wing authoritarian regimes. American troops fought against communist Chinese and North Korean forces in the Korean War. The Soviet Union's launch of the first artificial satellite in 1957 and the first crewed spaceflight in 1961 initiated a "Space Race," with the US becoming the first nation to land a man on the Moon in 1969. The US also became increasingly involved in the Vietnam War, sending combat forces in 1965.

Domestically, the US experienced economic growth and a growing middle class after World War II. Female labor participation increased, and by 1985, the majority of women aged 16 and over were employed. The construction of the Interstate Highway System transformed the nation's infrastructure, and many people moved from farms and inner cities to suburban housing developments. Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states to join the Union in 1959. The Civil Rights Movement used nonviolence to challenge segregation and discrimination, with Martin Luther King Jr. as a prominent leader. Court decisions and legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1968, aimed to end racial discrimination. Additionally, a counterculture movement emerged, fueled by opposition to the Vietnam War, the Black Power movement, and the sexual revolution.

The US also launched a "War on Poverty," which expanded entitlements and welfare spending. This included the creation of Medicare and Medicaid to provide health coverage for the elderly and the poor, as well as programs like the Food Stamp Program and Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

Stagflation first appeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In response to the US backing Israel during the Yom Kippur War, OPEC nations imposed an oil embargo on Israel, which led to the 1973 oil crisis. President Ronald Reagan implemented reforms focused on the free market as a response to economic stagnation after his election. He abandoned "containment" after the détente broke down and began the more aggressive "rollback" strategy towards the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Cold War was officially over. The "thawing" of relations with the Soviet Union began in the late 1980s. 
Uncontested as the leading superpower in the world.
After the Cold War, the Middle Eastern conflict erupted into a crisis in 1990 when Iraq invaded and annexed US ally Kuwait. In August, President George H.W. Bush feared that unrest would spread. W. The Gulf War, started and led by Bush and fought until February 1991 by a coalition of 34 nations, resulted in the removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and the restoration of the monarchy.

In the 1990s, the Internet began to spread beyond military defense networks and into international academic settings before becoming widely accessible, having a significant impact on the world's economy, society, and culture. The 1990s saw the United States' longest economic expansion in modern times thanks to the .-com boom, stable monetary policy, and lower social welfare spending.

From 1994 onward, the U. S. signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which led to increased trade between the U.S. S. , Canada, and Mexico to increase dramatically.

Modern era.
The 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror, the Great Recession in the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
The Twin Towers are emitting a dark haze over Manhattan.
The World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan during the 2001 terrorist attacks on September 11 by the Islamic terrorist organization al-Qaeda.
On September 11, 2001, terrorist hijackers from al-Qaeda crashed passenger planes into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York City. , killing close to 3,000 individuals. Numerous thousands of first responders, cleanup crew members, and survivors may still be dealing with the aftereffects of the attacks, and hundreds more people have passed away from illnesses linked to the attacks in the past. Consequently, President George W. Bush started the War on Terror, which lasted from 2003 to 2011 in Iraq and lasted nearly 20 years in Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 during a military operation in Pakistan.
The United States housing bubble began to form in 2006 as a result of government initiatives to promote affordable housing, widespread shortcomings in corporate and regulatory governance, and historically low interest rates set by the Federal Reserve. The housing bubble culminated in the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and the Great Recession, the country's worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. American assets suffered a roughly 25% value loss during the crisis. Barack Obama, the first multiracial president with African-American ancestry, was elected in 2008 amidst the financial crisis. After taking office, he passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in an effort to lessen the crisis's negative effects and prevent a recurrence.
One of the biggest political upsets in American history was the election of Republican Donald Trump as the 45th president in 2016. As of December 2021, it is estimated that over 900,000 Americans had died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic under Trump's leadership. The election of Democrat Joe Biden as the 46th president in 2020 was seen as a rejection of Trump's divisive leadership. On January 6, 2021, supporters of outgoing President Trump stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to sabotage the Electoral College vote count for the presidency.

The American economy is based on innovation, science, and technology. They are also key factors in the development of contemporary society and the global economy. The development of open, honest, and meritocratic political systems can be encouraged globally by strengthening these areas.
Public diplomacy initiatives are carried out by the Department of State to raise awareness of science's importance among the general public. In order to strengthen innovation ecosystems worldwide, it also implements capacity-building programs in emerging markets that educate young people on how to start their own science and technology businesses. The Department's initiatives support businesses in the sciences that advance U.S. policy and speed up economic growth.

The Office of International Health and Biodefense (IHB) works in tandem with colleagues from other agencies to efficiently implement health priorities across the U. S. including on interdisciplinary topics like antimicrobial resistance, the federal government.
The first pillar of the U.S. national security strategy reflects the importance placed on global health security. National Security Strategy (NSS). The Office of International Health and Biodefense (IHB) works with interagency partners to guarantee that health security regulations are sound and properly carried out throughout the U. S. departments and organizations. The U.S. President launched it in September 2018.

For the first time, the National Biodefense Strategy (NBS) outlines a thorough and integrated U.S. S. a strategy to address domestically and internationally posed natural, unintentional, and intentional biological threats. The Global Health Security Strategy (GHSS), which outlines the United States Government's strategy to strengthen global health security, was released by the White House in May 2019. This strategy includes enhancing other nations' capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease 

To put these strategies into action, collaborate with numerous stakeholders across agencies.
The goals outlined in the NSS, NBS, and GHSS are seriously threatened by antimicrobial resistance (AMR). A multi-sectoral response is necessary to address AMR, which poses a serious threat to health systems. AMR makes treatments for bacterial, viral, and fungal infections less effective, prolongs patient illness, and increases the likelihood that they will pass away. Modern medical advancements in the areas of surgery, chemotherapy, maternal and child health, and treatments for infectious diseases like tuberculosis are all put at risk by AMR. And collaborate. interagency and international partners to advance an all-encompassing, strategic, and cutting-edge strategy to combat AMR globally.

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