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Age of Discovery and Conquest: Prehistory–1763



Those who study the age of discovery and conquest have theorized that early bands of hunter-gatherers migrated onto the North American continent approximately 13,500 years ago. New archaeological research dates the migration even earlier. Europeans later mounted their own exploratory expeditions to North America—where they conquered descendants of the first hunter-gatherers and built colonies. Motives for the European expeditions were mostly economic, although converting indigenous people to Christianity was a secondary purpose. Enslaving native populations and importing African slaves provided labor for many colonial economic activities. The colonies eventually developed into the United States, a nation shaped by its turbulent and volatile past.

At A Glance