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English explorer Henry Hudson made four
voyages in search of a northwest passage.
After two unsuccessful voyages, Hudson’s English
backers gave up on him.
However, in 1609, the Dutch financed his
third voyage, during which he reached New
York and explored the river that today bears
his name.
After Hudson,
countries shifted
their focus from
finding a
passage to
exploring the
land itself.
Europeans began
to consider
exploiting the
resources of the
land for profit.
At the time, European leaders supported an
economic theory called mercantilism.
By establishing colonies, European nations
could increase their own power and wealth.
What impact did the establishment
of French and Dutch colonies in
North America have on Native
In the early 1600s, England, France, and
the Netherlands sent explorers to North
America and staked claims to land there.
Their activities had grave consequences for
the Native Americans who lived in North
In 1603, Samuel de Champlain made the first
of 11 voyages to explore and map the lands along
the St. Lawrence River.
In 1604, he established the first settlement—a
trading post—in the colony of New France in
present-day Nova Scotia.
In 1608, Champlain established the settlement of
Quebec along the St. Lawrence River.
Champlain gave the French an influence in the
region that lasted 150 years, and other explorers
followed his lead.
By 1670, French
Marquette had
founded two
missions along
the Great Lakes,
in present-day
The colony of New France developed quite
differently than did New Spain.
The Spanish, who
wanted gold and
silver, forced Native
Americans into
harsh labor.
The French, who
wanted fish and
furs, traded with
Native Americans for
the animal skins
they sold in Europe.
Champlain convinced Native Americans to bring
pelts to French trading posts.
Trading posts such as Quebec
City and Montreal became
busy centers of commerce.
Coureurs de bois acquired
pelts from Native Americans,
and many of them married
Native American women and
started families.
Dutch land claims in North America were based on
Henry Hudson’s explorations of the Hudson River.
In 1610, Dutch traders began trading with Native
Americans in the Hudson River valley.
The trade was so profitable that the Dutch West
India Company established a colony in what the
Dutch called “New Netherland.”
New Netherland
New Albany
In 1624, about 300 settlers arrived from
the Netherlands.
Most of them settled at Fort Orange
(later renamed New Albany).
In 1626, another group settled at the
mouth of the Hudson River on land
purchased from Native Americans.
The colonists named their new home New
By 1653, it had a population of 800.
Native Americans traded fur pelts to the French
and Dutch in exchange for goods such as cloth,
iron pots and tools, and guns.
Ultimately, however, the fur trade had grave
effects on Native Americans.
lost food
and land
Also, the French and Dutch
made alliances with
different tribes, who were
The French were allied with
the Hurons, and the Dutch
were allied with the Iroquois.
The Iroquois attacked the Hurons with guns they
got from the Dutch.
In addition, the
fur trade caused
over-trapping of
animals and
weakened the
food chain on
which Native
As the furbearing animals
disappeared, the
became less
valuable trading
partners to the
Colonists began to covet Native American
land instead.
New Netherland kept English settlers from moving
New York
So in 1664, English forces seized New
Netherland and renamed it New York.
How did the English set up their first
England was a monarchy, but the powers of
royalty were limited by law and by Parliament.
The king granted charters to groups of people
who wanted to establish colonies.
The Colonies would provide new markets
for English products and raw materials for
English industries.
In the late 1500s, the English
began to establish colonies on the
east coast of North America.
Some colonists came for land, others for
gold, and still others for religious freedom.
In 1607, England’s King
James I granted a
charter to a group of
merchants to establish a
colony called Virginia in
North America.
The merchants, who
formed the Virginia
Company of London, were
eager to gain a share of
the wealth of the
The first
100 men—arrived
in Virginia in the
spring of 1607.
They built a fort
they called
Jamestown, which
proved to be
England’s first
settlement in North
Jamestown barely survived its first year because
many colonists:
• died of diseases such as malaria
• wanted to look for gold, not farm
Local Native Americans, led by a chief named
Powhatan, gave the colonists some food.
By the spring of 1608, only 38 of the original
(100) colonists were still alive.
That fall, John Smith was sent from England to
lead the colony.
Under his firm leadership, the colonists planted
crops and built buildings.
Meanwhile, hundreds of new colonists—
including the first English women to settle in
To get more food, Smith raided Native American
villages, which angered Powhatan.
In the fall of 1609, Smith returned to England
after being injured in an explosion.
With Smith gone, conditions quickly worsened.
Powhatan decided to drive the English away, and
he began by refusing to give them more food.
The terrible winter of 1609–1610 is called the
“starving time,” because by the spring, only 60
colonists were still alive.
Despite the hard times, Jamestown began to
Jamestown Survives
Efforts of
the Virginia
Efforts of
The company sent new colonists, offered free
land to existing colonists, and sent new leaders
to restore order in the colony.
The colonists found a dependable source of
income to sustain the colony: tobacco.
By the 1580s, smoking tobacco had become
popular in parts of Europe.
The colonists’ success in growing and selling
tobacco drew new colonists from England.
The colonies developed a tradition of
representative government.
In 1619, Virginia’s lawmaking body, the House of
Burgesses, was elected.
The House of Burgesses marked the start of
representative government in North
In 1619, a Dutch ship arrived
from the West Indies and
sold 20 Africans to the
Virginia colonists as slaves.
In the early days of the
colony, enslaved people had
a chance to earn their
freedom after working a
certain number of years.
Permanent slavery for Africans was not
established in Virginia until the late 1600s.
In the 1500s, English subjects were expected to
support the Church of England, and they could be
punished if they had different religious beliefs.
The Separatists wanted to separate from the
Church of England and practice Christianity in
their own way.
Between 1607 and 1609, several groups of
Separatists left England and settled in Holland.
In 1620, one group of Separatists decided to
leave Holland and settle in Virginia.
The Pilgrims sailed for Virginia aboard a ship
called the Mayflower.
A storm blew them off course, and so they landed
in present-day Massachusetts.
The Pilgrims called their new home Plymouth.
Before leaving the ship, 41
men signed the Mayflower
Compact, a document that
called for a representative
The Mayflower Compact was the first
document in which American colonists
claimed a right to govern themselves.
During the winter of 1620–1621, half of the Pilgrims
died from hunger or disease.
In the spring, a local chief gave the Pilgrims food, and
another Native American named Squanto taught the
Pilgrims how to plant crops.
In the fall of 1621, the
Pilgrims set aside a day to
give thanks, which is now
celebrated as the first
Thanksgiving celebration.