Otázka: History of the USA
- The American continent was first discovered around the year 1000 by the Icelandic Vikings (=islandští vikingové) sailing under Leif Ericson. But they failed to establish any permanent settlements. Till 1400 native Indians were the only inhabitants.
- In 1492 a great demand for spices, textiles but also a navigation error brought Christopher Columbus (an Italian mariner under Spanish monarchs) to America instead to Asia.
- The First English colony was founded in Virginia at Jamestown in
- In 1620 the ship named the Mayflower brought English men, women and children to the northeastern region (now Massachusetts), where they founded the colony named Plymouth. They called themselves the Pilgrim Fathers and wanted to build up a colony based on their own religious ideals.
- During the 17th century many colonists, mostly British but also French, German, Dutch and Irish, settled in the country – mainly along the eastern coast. These settlements became the 13 colonies under British rule.
- African slaves were first brought to Virginia in 1619. Between 1619 and 1808 about half a million Africans were brought as slaves (importing slaves became a crime only in 1808).
Foundation of the USA, The War of Independence (1775-1783)
- British government started to charge new taxes on sugar, tea, coffee, textiles. The Americans refused to pay taxes and so British soldiers were sent to Boston. In 1773 a group of American patriots, dressed as the Indians, threw a cargo (=shodili náklad) of British tea into the Boston Harbour. This event is known as the Boston Tea Party. The Americans began boycotting British trade.
- In 1775 the War began. Later George Washington (a Virginia planter=plantážník) took over the command (=převzal velení) of the Continental Army. The Continental Congress began to work as a national government and on July 4th, 1776, they agreed on the Declaration of Independence, which was written mainly by Thomas Jefferson. The Declaration defended the American revolution against the British king George III. The War of Independence lasted till 1783 when Britain signed the peace treaty and recognized the USA. The new Constitution was adopted in 1787.
Expansion and the Civil War (1861-1865)
- The territory expanded – Jefferson made a “Louisiana Purchase” – bought whole central part of the present States from France; Alaska was bought from Russia and others…
- Many northern states abolished slavery (=zrušily otroctví) around 1880 but southern economy was based on large plantations where slaves were used. This and other reasons led to the Civil War between the North and the South
- Southern states protested against Abraham Lincoln being the President and wanted to leave the Union. In 1863 Lincoln abolished slavery. Finally the North won the Civil War in 1865.
The end of the 19th century and the 20th century
- Industrial growth started after the Civil War. During this period the USA became the world’s leading industrial power.
- In 1917 the USA entered World War I. against Germany and helped France and Britain..
- The “Roaring Twenties” brought large economic growth which continued until the Great Depression which started after the stock market crash in 1929 (“Black Friday”). In the next decade unemployment was high and poverty widespread (=rozšířená). The Depression lasted till the beginning of the World War II. The war was declared against Japan in 1941 and president Harry Truman ordered atomic bombs to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (in 1945).
- The “Cold War” began after WWII between the USA and its allies on the one side against the Soviet Union and communistic countries on the other side. It was because the USA was afraid that the Soviet Union would want a communist regime also in the West Europe. It included also Korean War, Vietnam War and others.
- In the 60’s there was a movement for civil rights for Afro-Americans led by Martin Luther King.
- The worst conflict is the war on terrorism which began after the radical Islamic terrorists’ attack on New York (destruction the twin towers) and the Pentagon on the 11th September 2001. (Terrorist group Al Kaida)
- Important Presidents:
- George Washington (end of the 18th century)
- Thomas Jefferson (beginning of the 19th century)
- Abraham Lincoln (in the middle of the 19th century)
- Theodore Roosevelt (beginning of the 20th century)
- Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945)
- Harry Truman (1945-1953)
- John F. Kennedy (1961-63)
- Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
- Ronald Regan (1980-1988)
- George Bush (1988-1992)
- Bill Clinton (1992-2000)
- George W. Bush (2000-2009)
- Barack Obama (2009)