USA: Historical Overview                                                  


For more in depth history of the USA navigate your way through different time periods here (scroll to the USA and click the down arrow to start)!

  • What is now known as the US was originally inhabited by Native People (also known as First Nation People). Later, at different points in time, the land that is now the US, was occupied by the British, the French, and/or the Spanish. All of these cultures are apparent in the names of places and in people’s family names.

Can you think of a city or state in the US that has a British name? French name? Spanish name? First Nations name?

  • Britain's American colonies broke with England in 1776 and were recognized as the new nation of the United States of America following the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
  • During the 19th and 20th centuries, 37 new states were added to the original 13 as the nation expanded across the North American continent and acquired a number of overseas possessions.
  • Two traumatic experiences in the nation's history were the Civil War (1861-65) (in which a northern Union of states defeated a secessionist Confederacy of 11 southern slave states), and the Great Depression of the 1930s (in which an economic downturn during which about a quarter of the labor force lost its job).
  • With victories in World Wars I and II and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the US remains a powerful nation state.
  • The economy is marked by steady growth, low unemployment and inflation, and rapid advances in technology.