Timeline of the European colonization of North America

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This is a chronology and timeline of the colonization of North America, with founding dates of selected European settlements. See also European colonization of the Americas.[1][2][3]

Before Columbus[edit]


  • 1492: Columbus reaches The Bahamas.[5]
  • 1493: The colony of La Isabela is established on the Island of Hispaniola.[6]
  • 1496: Santo Domingo, the first European permanent settlement is built.[7]
  • 1497: John Cabot reached Newfoundland.[8]
  • 1498: La Isabela is abandoned by the Spanish.
  • 1499: João Fernandes Lavrador maps Labrador Newfoundland
  • 1501: Corte-Real brothers explored, today Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • 1502: Columbus sails along the mainland coast south of Yucatán
  • 1511: Conquest of Cuba begins
  • 1513: Ponce de Leon in Florida
  • 1521: Hernán Cortés completes the conquest of Mexico.
  • 1521: Juan Ponce de León tries and fails to settle in Florida
  • 1524: Giovanni da Verrazzano sails along most of the east coast
  • 1525 Estêvão Gomes enters Upper New York Bay[9][10]
  • 1526: Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón tries to settle in South Carolina
  • 1527: Fishermen are using the harbor at St. John's, Newfoundland and other places on the coast
  • 1535: Jacques Cartier reaches Quebec
  • 1536: Cabeza de Vaca reaches Mexico City after wandering through North America.
  • 1538: Failed Huguenot settlement on St. Kitts in the Caribbean (destroyed by the Spanish)
  • 1539: Hernando de Soto explores the interior from Florida to Arkansas.
  • 1540: Coronado travels from Mexico to eastern Kansas.
  • 1540: Spanish reach the Grand Canyon (the area is ignored for the next 200 years)
  • 1541: Failed French settlement at Quebec City (Cartier and Roberval)
  • 1542: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo on the California coast.
  • 1559: Failed Spanish settlement at Pensacola, Florida
  • 1562: Failed Huguenot settlement in South Carolina (Charlesfort-Santa Elena site)
  • 1564: French Huguenots at Jacksonville, Florida (Fort Caroline)
  • 1565: Spanish slaughter French 'heretics' at Fort Caroline.
  • 1565: Spanish found Saint Augustine, Florida
  • 1566–87: Spanish in South Carolina (Charlesfort-Santa Elena site)
  • 1568: Dutch revolt against Spain. The economic model developed in Holland would define colonial policies in the next two centuries
  • 1570: Failed Spanish settlement on Chesapeake Bay (Ajacán Mission)
  • 1576: Martin Frobisher on the coast of Labrador and Baffin Island
  • 1579: Sir Francis Drake claims New Albion.
  • 1583: England formally claims Newfoundland (Humphrey Gilbert)
  • 1585: Failed English settlement on Roanoke Island, North Carolina (Lost Colony).
  • 1598: Failed French settlement on Sable Island off Nova Scotia
  • 1598: Spanish reach Northern New Mexico
  • 1600: By 1600 Spain and Portugal were still the only significant colonial powers. North of Mexico the only settlements were Saint Augustine and the isolated outpost in northern New Mexico. Exploration of the interior was largely abandoned after the 1540s. Around Newfoundland 500 or more boats annually were fishing for cod and some fishermen were trading for furs, especially at Tadoussac on the Saint Lawrence.

Seventeenth Century[edit]

Map of the northern part and parts of the southern parts of the America, from the mouth of the Saint Laurent River to the Island of Cayenne,with the new discoveries of the Mississippi (or Colbert) River. This map shows the results of the expeditions of Father Marquette and L. Jolliet (1673) and the Cavelier de la Salle expedition in the Mississippi valley. The map shows three forts built between 1679 and 1680: Conty fort (near Niagara Falls), Miamis Fort (south of Michigan lake), and Crèvecœur fort (Left bank of the Illinois River). Mississippi river course is only shown downstream of Ohio confluence.

Eighteenth Century[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America (1971).
  2. ^ William Langer, ed.. An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed. 1973)
  3. ^ Melvin E. Page, ed. Colonialism: An International Social, Cultural, and Political Encyclopedia (3 vol. 2003); vol. 2 pages 647-831 has a detailed chronology
  4. ^ Birgitta Wallace, "The Norse in Newfoundland: L'Anse aux Meadows and Vinland." Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 19.1 (2005). online
  5. ^ Samuel Eliot Morrison, Admiral of the ocean sea." A live of Christopher Columbus (1942).
  6. ^ Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del Mar Oceano (General History of the Deeds of the Castilians on the Islands and Mainland of the Ocean Sea), Madrid, 1601-1615
  7. ^ First Arrivals, http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/amerbegin/settlement/text1/text1read.htm
  8. ^ Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America (1971).
  9. ^ "GOMES, ESTEVÃO - Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online". Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Douglas Hunter (31 August 2010). Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage That Redrew the Map of the New World. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 136. ISBN 978-1-60819-098-0. Retrieved 18 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Joseph Dow (1894). History of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire: From Its Settlement in 1638, to the Autumn of 1892.