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.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.The continent's first elected legislative assembly, Virginia's House of Burgesses created in 1619, the Mayflower Compact, signed by the Pilgrims before disembarking, and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, established precedents for the pattern of representative self-government and constitutionalism that would develop throughout the American colonies.Most settlers in every colony were small farmers, but other industries developed within a few decades as varied as the settlements. Extraction industries grew up in furs, fishing and lumber.Spanish set up the first settlements in Florida and New Mexico such as Saint Augustine and Santa Fe.The French established their own as well along the Mississippi River.
Many settlers were dissenting Christian groups who came seeking religious freedom.
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.
Despite continuing new arrivals, the rate of natural increase was such that by the 1770s only a small minority of Americans had been born overseas.
In 1774 the Spanish Navy ship Santiago, under Juan Pérez had entered and anchored in the inlet at Nootka Sound.