History of the United States
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The history of the United States as covered in American schools and universities typically begins with either Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage to the Americas or with the prehistory of the Native peoples , with the latter approach having become increasingly common in recent decades. [ 1 ] Indigenous populations lived in what is now the United States before European colonists began to arrive, mostly from England, after 1600. By the 1770s, thirteen British colonies contained two and a half million people.
On the outbreak of the war the American colonies were, from North to South; Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut (making up New England), New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. The principal cities were Boston in Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia, the colonial capital of Pennsylvania, and Charleston, the capital of South Carolina.
In early 1776, American public opinion was deeply divided over the issue of declaring independence from Britain. A discernible drift toward independence was occurring, but the publication of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and news of King George III ’s decision to hire foreign mercenary soldiers to fight in America radicalized the views of many.