The first people who lived in North America came from Asia between 10,000 to 30,000 years ago. At that time, a land bridge connected North America and Asia. It is believed that these people may have been looking for food and followed herds of buffalo or woolly mammoths. Over time these people spread throughout North America.
Eventually many different tribes of people inhabited North America. The tribes settled in different parts of the country. Some lived in the mountains, some on the plains. They hunted and fished for food. Some planted crops and farmed the land.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He was looking for a new route to the Far East. He could get valuable silks and spices in India, China, Japan, and the Spice Islands.
Columbus knew the world was round and not flat.
He believed if he sailed west, instead of east and around the coast of Africa, he would find a shorter route to India. When he finally got support from the King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella, he started his journey.
Columbus never landed or saw North America. He actually landed on a small island in the Bahamas. Columbus thought he had reached the East Indies so he called the native people of the island "Indians". Later all indigenous peoples of the New World would be called "Indians". Columbus made several other trips but he never landed in North America. Columbus died in 1506.
European countries began to send explorers because they had heard Columbus had discovered a new route to the East Indies. These explorers were looking for gold, silver, silk and things of value. They were also searching for new land they could claim for...