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.
Although the Spanish did not land, natives paddled to the ship to trade furs for abalone shells from California.
After having arrived in the Hawaiian islands in 1778, Captain Cook sailed north and then north-east to explore the west coast of North America north of the Spanish settlements in Alta California.
Successful English settlement on the eastern coast of North America began with the Virginia Colony in 1607 at Jamestown and the Pilgrims' Plymouth Colony in 1620.
Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.
The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries. The United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast.
Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, and the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776.