The United States of America has been labeled as a young nation, given its actual beginning in the year 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. In reality, the journey these United States have been going through begins before 1776.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of this rich land. They are believed to have come over from the Eurasian continent by way of the area we know today as Alaska and Canada.
It is easy to follow the chronological timeline of the United States. Its history often begins with Leif Ericson, who is believed to have travelled to this land in the year 1000. Then by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the pilgrims in the 16th century, later followed by other European nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Britain.
In the year 1607, Jamestown, Virginia is where the English first established a colony, mainly a colony composed of businessmen and their families. Perhaps the most famous story ever told about the colonization of America is that of the pilgrims and the mayflower. The pilgrims were composed of dissenters and separatists from England, all one hundred and two passengers reached Plymouth harbor in 1620. Their original destination of the mayflower, the ship they were riding on, was the Hudson River; at that time was part of the Virginia colony.
The American Revolutionary War ended in 1783. Immediately thereafter, a time of prosperity took place. The new national government addressed matters such as the western territories which eventually became US territories and became states beginning in 1791.
Texas Statehood, 1845 – The Republic of Texas becomes the 28th state of the United States of America; this led to Mexican-American in 1846.
Mexican-American War, 1846 – 1848 – A result of the annexation of Texas to the United States in 1845. Consequence of the war was Mexico giving up Alta California and New Mexico for $18 million dollars. Alta California was made up of what are today, California, western Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and southwestern Wyoming.
Between the Revolution against Britain and the American Civil War in 1861, the young nation went through a myriad of storms, politically and socially, in addition to the significant progress it went through. Slavery of Africans was already an issue early in those days, which perhaps contributed to the formation of the Confederate States of America, leading to the Civil War. As the war broke out, lines were drawn on the sands of these United States.
When World War I broke out in 1914, the United States had maintained its neutrality under Woodrow Wilson. Wilson tried to keep the U.S. out of the war, but then in 1917 relented and declared war against Germany.
The Wall Street Crash of 1929 came after a decade of prosperous living, the years that followed marked a world wide Great Depression that lasted for ten years. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) and other politicians presented the people a form of relief in what was called the New Deal. This brought in various types of programs that included relief, recovery, and reform. Unfortunately, all this did was realign the political landscape that produced the Democratic Party, big political machines in the major cities, so-called intellectuals, and the white south.
December 8, 1941, “A day that will live in infamy…” These words spoken by FDR marked the entry of the United States into its Second World War in less than 25 years. The Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on that date led to the first use of the atomic bomb. This also marked the defeat of Nazi Germany under the Allied Forces.
The Cold War was born immediately after World War II. Even though there was a brief period of rest for the US during those years following World War II, by 1950, the United States found itself embroiled in the Korean War, 1959 saw the total involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War. Both wars have been described as “proxy wars” wherein a third party is used in a war.
The cold War ended in 1991, but a different kind of War ensued in the decades that followed, the War on Terror. The story of the United States is still being written, and the rest of the world continues to watch with great anticipation.