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The first people appeared in America 10-15 thousand years ago, having got to Alaska through the frozen or shallow Bering Strait. The tribes of mainland North America were divided and periodically feuded with each other. The famous Icelandic Viking Leif Erikson discovered America, calling it Vinland. The first European visits to America did not affect the life of the indigenous population.
After the Vikings, the first Europeans in the New World were the Spanish. In October 1492, a Spanish expedition led by Admiral Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of San Salvador. At the end of the 15th - beginning of the 16th century. several expeditions were made to the regions of the Western Hemisphere. Italian Giovanni Cabot, who was in the service of King Henry VII of England, reached the coast of Canada (1497-1498), Portuguese Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil (1500-1501), Spaniard Vasco Nunez de Balboa founded the first city on the American mainland and left to the Pacific Ocean (1500-1513), in the service of the Spanish king Fernand Magellan in 1519-1521. skirted America from the south.
In 1507, the Lorraine geographer Martin Waldseemüller proposed to call the New World America in honor of the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci. At the same time, the development of the mainland began. In 1513, the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon discovered the Florida peninsula, wherein 1565 the first permanent European colony arose and the city of St. Augustine was founded. In the late 1530s, Hernando de Soto discovered the Mississippi and reached the Arkansas River Valley.
By the time the British and French began colonizing America, the Spaniards had already firmly established themselves in Florida and the American Southwest. The power and influence of the Spaniards in the New World began to decline after the defeat in 1588 of the Spanish Invincible Armada. During the 16th century, information was collected about the new lands, documentary sources were translated into many European languages.
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