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American history

The first inhabitants of the US were the Indians, who came there from Asia. They spread all over America. Christopher Columbus discovered America many centuries later in 1492. He was the first European who landed there, but other sources say that America was discovered by Vikings in the 10th century, but we haven´t any proof.

Christopher Columbus, thinking that he had landed in India, named the original inhabitants as the Indians. The name of America came from Amerigo Vespucci, the famous Italian discoverer. Settlement by the Europeans was very slow. The first colony was founded in 1607. A small ship called the Mayflower brought a group of English Puritans. They escaped from England to avoid persecution after their conflict with King James I and his Church.

They are known as the Pilgrim Fathers and they landed near present day Boston, on a place which they called Plymouth. Half of them died during the first winter. Those who survived celebrated their first harvest as Thanksgiving Day. The Pilgrim Fathers were followed by thousands of Europeans during the next years.

There were 13 colonies under the rule of England along the Atlantic coast in the 18th century. France had its colonies in the west. There were wars between these 2 rivals, which lasted for a long time. Britain needed money for the warfare and so the government raised the taxes on the colonies. This caused rebellion there. In 1773, the North Americans, dressed as Indians, emptied the cargo of British tea into the sea in Boston. This is called the Boston Tea Party and it marked the beginning of the War of Independence (1775–1783). The Declaration of Independence was adopted on the 4th of July, 1776, and the United States of America was established. Britain recognized the United States in 1783. The American Constitution was adopted in 1788 and George Washington was elected as the first president the next year.

The 19th century was the turning point in immigration. Millions of Europeans arrived in America. Most of them settled in the North, where the industry was growing very rapidly. The South, for those people, was like a foreign country with its slavery system. The prosperity of the South depended on the hard work of the slaves. These questions about economic and social differences and the election of Abraham Lincoln as the president (who was against slavery) led to the Civil War (1861–1865). The United States of America was separated into two countries. The Northern countries were called the Union and consisted of 26 states. The Southern countries were called the Confederation and consisted of 11 states. Each country had its own parliament, government, rules, and army. At the beginning of the war, the Confederation was more successful. Its army was smaller, but the soldiers were braver. Robert Lee and Jackson were two famous generals of the Confederation. The turning point in the war was the abolishment of slavery in 1863. The Confederation lost this war, but Abraham Lincoln was killed during the celebration of winning. From this time on, the economy of America began growing.

Immigration continued into the 20th century. People came to America from all over the world, because it is a democratic state. America has become the melting pot of nations.

During the 1st World War, America promised neutrality. The situation was bad for the allies, however, and America had to enter the war on their side in 1917. The allies won the war. The same situation happened during the 2nd World War. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brang America into the war on the side of Britain and the Soviet Union against Germany, Italy, and Japan. The allies won, but the world didn´t have a long rest from warfare. The period called the Cold War started in 1948 and it lasted for 40 years. It was a conflict between democratic countries in the West and the Communist reign by the Soveits. A very important point of this conflict was the birth of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. The Korean War and the Vietnam War are examples of this conflict too. The northern parts of these countries were under communist rule and they wanted to overrule the democratic southern parts. These conflicts could have caused a 3rd World War.

The Cold War ended with the breaking up of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union. Nowadays, the United States of America is the most powerful country in the world.

Přidal: Dan_T 4. 12. 2009
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