Though Norse expeditions had established temporary settlements near modern Newfoundland around the year 1000, they were quickly abandoned, and Europeans remained essentially uninvolved with North America until the end of the fifteenth century. With the first of Christopher Columbus's four voyages to the Caribbean basin in 1492, the major European powers began to explore the continent. Initially looking for trade routes to Asia, Europe also began to exploit opportunities in North America itself. That process gradually led to permanent colonization, which in turn launched a demographic revolution in the population and culture of North America.
This module traces the beginnings of that early European exploration and settlement in three stages: European Exploration, 1492-1565; Early Colonization and Initial Areas of Control, 1565-1690; and North America in 1700.