- from Immigration
America’s first immigrants came here on foot. Some 15,000 or more years ago, they trudged over a now-submerged land bridge from Asia to North America. Over thousands of years, their descendants gradually migrated east and south until the whole of two continents was populated.
Then in 1492, Europeans “discovered” those continents and claimed them for their own. The European colonization of America started with a drop—a few settlers looking for a better life in a new land. Soon the drop became a trickle. Boatloads of immigrants arrived from Spain, France, and Britain. Eventually the trickle became a stream, and then the stream turned into a flood. In the 40 years between 1880 and 1920, around 25 million immigrants entered the United States. The flood tides of immigration receded for a while, but the river never stopped. Every day new immigrants arrive, seeking a better life than they had in their native country.