European colonization of the Americas  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The start of the European colonization of the Americas is typically dated to 1492, although there was at least one earlier colonization effort. The first known Europeans to reach the Americas are believed to have been the Vikings ("Norse") during the 11th century, who established several colonies in Greenland and one short-lived settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows in the area the Norse called Vinland, present day Newfoundland. Settlements in Greenland survived for several centuries, during which time the Greenland Norse and the Inuit people experienced mostly hostile contact. By the end of the 15th century, the Norse Greenland settlements had collapsed.

In 1492, a Spanish expedition headed by Christopher Columbus reached the Americas, after which European exploration and colonization rapidly expanded, first through much of the Caribbean Sea region (including the islands of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba) and, early in the 16th century, parts of the mainlands of North and South America. Eventually, the entire Western Hemisphere would come under the domination of European nations, leading to profound changes to its landscape, population, and plant and animal life. In the 19th century alone over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas. The post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian Exchange.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "European colonization of the Americas" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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