The history of the United States as covered in American schools and universities typically begins with either Christopher Columbus's 1492voyage to the Americas or with the prehistory of the Native peoples; the latter approach has become increasingly common in recent decades.
Indigenous peoples lived in what is now the United States for thousands of years and developed complex cultures before European colonistsbegan to arrive, mostly from England, after 1600. The Spanish had early settlements in Florida and the Southwest, and the French along the Mississippi River and Gulf Coast. By the 1770s, thirteen British coloniescontained two and a half million people along the Atlantic coast, east of the Appalachian Mountains. After driving the French out of North America in 1763, the British imposed a series of new taxes while rejecting the American argument that taxes required representation in Parliament. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party of 1774, led to punishment by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts. All 13 colonies united in a Congress that led to armed conflict in April 1775. On July 4, 1776, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence drafted by Thomas Jefferson, proclaimed that all men are created equal, and founded a new nation, the United States of America.
With large-scale military and financial support from France and military leadership by General George Washington, the American Patriots won the Revolutionary War. The peace treaty of 1783 gave the new nation most of the land east of the Mississippi River (except Florida). The national government established by theArticles of Confederation proved ineffectual at providing stability to the new nation, as it had no authority to collect taxes and had no executive. A convention called in Philadelphia in 1787 to revise the Articles of Confederation instead resulted in the writing of a new Constitution, which was adopted in 1789. In 1791 a Bill of Rights was added to guarantee rights that justified the Revolution. With George Washington as the nation's first president and Alexander Hamilton his chief political and financial adviser, a strong national government was created. When Thomas Jefferson became president he purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, doubling the size of American territorial holdings. A second and last war with Britain was fought in 1812..