Though the specifics of who and how are up for debate, scientists have agreed that the first settlers were most likely making homes in North America roughly 20,000 years ago, and that these people were the ancestors of the Native American population.
During year 1000, Vikings made their way through the lands of North America, but considering the lack of further knowledge to exactly what happened when they came, most light is shed solely on the Europeans that made their way to North America roughly 500 years after the Vikings exploration thanks to their detailed records of life settling into the ‘new’ country.
New People Arrived and Annexed the Land
Bringing with them such hazardous diseases as small pox, measles, and The Plague, European settlers quickly killed off the high majority of Native Americans purely by way of a potent willful ignorance. Thanks to this, when war took over the land the Native American people could not protect themselves from being overthrown and made into second-class citizens of their own country.
By the end of the 16th century buildings and houses and roads took over the natural earth of North America and new civilizations comprised of a people who considered nature an inconvenience were becoming grossly abundant.
Dutch, Swedish, and British foreigners were adopting land in North America and claiming it as their own all along the North-East coast and with them they brought new culture and beliefs, one of which was the very dehumanizing belief that one man could own another man as their property and their slave. As well, the English had also figured out that this new land was perfect for sending their criminals, as Ireland was becoming overpopulated by England’s convicts. Thanks to the excessive amounts of newcomers, by the time of the mid-1700s there became much ironic outcry to disallow immigration into North America by the very people who stole the land in the first place. Of course, this didn’t pan out and instead over the next three thousand years America slowly became a melting pot.
We Are All Immigrants
First came French refugees that fled to America during the revolt in Haiti, but it was quickly slowed down once water wars took place between Napoleon and England, followed by the war of 1812, both of which disturbed the Atlantic shipping lanes. When the war was over, immigration continued on as expected, filling North America with new settlers coming from Western Europe, Great Britain, and Ireland, many of which were suffering severely from exhaustion and disease. A while after the commotion had calmed, word of the infamous Gold Rush spread throughout the world and inspired many Europeans and the first of Asian settlers to make their way to California, including an abundance of Irishmen desperately searching for a life that wouldn’t be taken by The Great Potato Famine like the 1.5 million who were lost due to travesty.
Roughly 50 years later along with usual suspects of European descent and other Asians, also came many Jews, Mexicans, Armenians, Middle Easterns, Mediterraneans, and Canadians making their way through to North America. Happily, most were welcomed with open arms, but propaganda and paranoia was leading to widespread fear throughout America which resulted in the detainment of German and Italian immigrants, the forcible removal of Mexican immigrants, and the mass imprisonment of Asian immigrants, primarily of Japanese descent being forced into concentration camps and refugee boot camps.
Luckily, we have moved far past this dehumanizing structure of selfishly trying to claim who has the right for safety based on their nationality, but the side effects of a racially insensitive society are long lasting and still present today. Thankfully, we can currently attest that though we do not live in a perfect society, the majority of Americans are growing into an understanding that we are all immigrants and all deserve the same level of peace and safety.