Historian’s believe that the first human beings came to the America from across the Bering Straits about 20, 000 years ago.
These were the ancestors of the many Native American cultures, which would people the landscape for thousands of years.
Around the year 1000, a small number of Vikings would arrive. Five hundred years later, the great European migration would begin.
Crossing the Atlantic meant two to three months of seasickness, overcrowding, limited food rations, and disease. But the lure of available land and the hope for political and religious freedoms kept the Europeans coming.
In some places, the meeting of Europeans and Native Americans was peaceful. In others, the cultures clashed, leading to violence and disease. Whole tribes were decimated by such newly introduced diseases as small pox, measles, and the plague.
Continue to read the timeline here.