A retrospective: Inception to Independence

Leif Erikson

On October 9th, many parts of Northern Europe, and parts of the U.S where Nordic travellers settled, celebrate Leif Erikson day. October the 9th is when the ship Restauration arrived on American soil for the first time in 1825 after setting sail from Stavanger, Norway.

Leif Erikson born (970 ad) was a Norse explorer from Iceland (þjóðveldið) who is said by historians to be the very first person from Europe to stand on North America’s mainland. He created a settlement in Vínland in Newfoundland and archaeologists have found Viking artifices at L’Anse aux Meadows which is located at the most northern part of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Leif Erikson

Leif was the son of Erik Thorvaldsson who was commonly known as Erik the Red, who is said to be the first European to set foot on Greenland and created the first settlement. Some historians argue that Erik wasn’t the first person to discover and settle at Greenland, and that Norwegian explorer Gunnbjörn Ulf-Krakuson attempted a century beforehand.

Erik built an estate in south western Greenland called Brattahlíð, and it’s said that his family lived there until the 15th century, and that’s where Leif grew up. When Leif was 29, he gathered together a crew and set sail to Norway, and here he met king Olaf Trygvasson and became his Hird (bodyguard). During this time he converted to Christianity and given the mission to spread the Christian faith wherever he travelled. It’s said by historians that him finding North America was an accident. He was sent from Norway by the King to preach Christianity in Greenland, but was faced by a severe storm and it’s not know if he was blown off course, or if he manually changed course to avoid the storm, but he discovered Vinland.

According to Norse scripture, he wasn’t the first person to see land to the west of Greenland in (986 ad), as Bjarni Herjólfsson was also caught up in a storm before Leif but never actually landed there. Leif set sail upon landing down the coast until he found a place full of grapes, this is where the name Vinland originated from. He created a small settlement he named Leifsbudir (Leifsbuðir) in (1000 ad)

Not long after, a ship set sail from Greenland under the leadership of Thorfinn Karlsefni and his ship of settlers were the first to encounter the Skræling (Native American Indians), and as you’d expect there was much bloodshed and animosity. Several more trips from Greenland to Vinland were made, but the Nordic travellers deemed it of little value. In 1887 a statue of Leif was erected in Boston, and another in Chicago in 1901, which was especially meaningful to the Nordic settlers who arrived in the 19th century.

Christopher Columbus

Columbus born 1451 was an Italian explorer born in Genoa, and was commissioned and financed by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain to cross the Atlantic Ocean under the title of the Admiral of the Ocean Sea on one of his famous ships, La Santa María.

Christopher Columbus

His first trip led him to the Caribbean where he discovered several islands, that included Cuba. His second trip had him discover other islands and his intention was to colonise with the vast crew and passengers he’d brought with him. His final trip had him discover Venezuela and Trinidad, which he once again colonised, and eventually conquests in the Americas, which began in Central America at Honduras to Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Many people claim that Columbus discovered America, and this is clearly false, and despite bringing America to the attention of the European public, he never actually set foot on North American soil.

What he did do was create a brutal tyranny in which he committed terrible atrocities against the indigenous people of the lands he colonised, and treated the Spanish settlers extremely harshly.

Phoenicians

Did this ancient civilisation reach America thousands of years before the Nordic travellers? Some historians think it’s extremely likely.

Phoenicia (Φοινίκη) was an ancient civilisation that existed where Syria, Lebanon and Israel now are, and they are said to have created cities as far back as (3200 bc). They were known as the ‘Purple people‘ due to the dye of their clothes staining the skin that came from murex shellfish.

They were known as merchants, and renowned for their maritime and ship building skills, which was adorned with a horse’s head in honour of the God of the seas (Yam-Nahar) . Phoenicia was at the time known as Canaan and it’s mentioned in Hebrew Scriptures as the birth of the alphabet which the Greeks were given by the Phoenician prince kăd′məs. The word Bible originated from the city of Gebal which in Greek was called Byblos (Ta Biblia (the books).

Historians are quite confident that Phoenician ships sailed to the Far East and there’s talk that they were the origin of ancient civilisations of central and South America. Did they discover America before anyone else?

Settlement of the Americas by Paleo-Indians

It’s suggested that Paleolithic (late Stone Age) humans were the first settlers in America and crossed from Siberia to Alaska across the Bering Strait during the last ice age (Pleistocene epoch) when water levels were lower. Paleo-Indians are said to have migrated out of Alaska into mainland America

Archaeologists and anthropologists have linked paleo-Indians through blood types, DNA and types of tools discovered, and the time scales for these migrations are estimated between (40,000 – 16,500 years) ago. Scientists still aren’t sure if this is an accurate assessment.

Amerigo Vespucci 

Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer born in Florence in (1454). He set sail to prove that the Caribbean islands and Brazil weren’t part of Eastern Asia like Columbus suggested and that they were part of the New World.

Americus Vesputius was the modern Latin version of his name which derived from Emericus from Medieval Latin. The German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller was the first to use the term America on his world Map in honour of Vespucci in 1507.

Hawaiian Islands

Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi was inhabited by Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands (Îles Marquises) are part of French Polynesia in the central South Pacific. They were the first settlers in Hawaii around (300 ad) but maybe even earlier, and they were followed by the Tahitians and it wasn’t until the late 1700s Western settlers arrived.

Conquistadors

Conquistador is the Spanish meaning for conquerer and was used to describe the explorers and soldiers of the Spanish and Portuguese empires during the ‘Age of Discovery‘. This is accepted by historians as the first modern mass genocide and resulted in the deaths of up to 8,000,000 indigenous people of the north and South American mainlands and islands.

Hernando de Soto was a Spanish conquistador who’s legacy was his conquest of the Inca Empire in Peru, and leading the first expedition into North America in 1539 (De Soto’s Trail) allegedly in search of gold.

During the battle of Mabila in Alabama which was a walled compound defended by Muskogee warriors, it’s alleged that Spanish forces killed over 2,500 Indians

‘breaking in upon the Indians and beating them down, they fled out of the place, the cavalry and infantry driving them back through the gates, where losing the hope of escape, they fought valiantly; and the Catholics getting among them with cutlasses, they found themselves met on all sides by their strokes, when many, dashing headlong into the flaming houses, were smothered, and, heaped one upon another, burned to death.’

The Spanish were the First Nation to set up colonies and settlements that were in Florida and New Mexico. From 1540 to various countries attempted to set up colonies.

English colonisation

In 1579 Sir Francis Drake claimed England’s first conquest and named it New Albion, and placed it under sovereignty of Elizabeth I. Also under the sovereignty of Elizabeth, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland in 1583. Bartholomew Gosnold created a fort and trading post in Massachusetts but it didn’t last.

The Virginia Company was established by James I, in 1606 which was purely about creating settlements on American soil. The first true colony was founded in Jamestown, Virginia and many who travelled there from England did so to escape persecution. Jamestown was in the Tsenacommacah territory and initially the foreigners were welcomed, but relations deteriorated and the colonists killed all of the Paspahegh tribespeople.

In 1619 the first Africans arrived in Jamestown after being seized from a Portuguese slavery ship. They were not treated as slaves as their roles were more like that of a servant and were freed after a period of time. This wasn’t the first time that Africans had stood on US soil, as in 1526 Spanish colonists attempted to create a colony in South Carolina, and the Africans created a rebellion which forced the Spanish to abandon the settlement.

The Puritans, or commonly known as the Pilgrim Fathers, were the first English settlers of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts who arrived in America on the ship Mayflower. In November 1621 only half remained alive to take part in the celebratory feast known as the first Thanksgiving.

Thirteen Colonies

From 1625 the colonial population grew from the thousands to the millions and Mercantilism was how the British government started ruling overseas colonies in the 18th century, which was a form of Economic Nationalism, which was about strengthening national power, and protects domestic industry.

Elizabeth Griscom Ross was credited for making the first American flag based on the thirteen colonies. (Betsy Ross flag)

The original thirteen colonies were:

  • Virginia (1607) – John Smith and the London Company.

  • New York (1626) – Originally founded by the Dutch. Became a British colony in 1664.

  • New Hampshire (1623) – John Mason was the first land holder. Later John Wheelwright.

  • Massachusetts Bay (1630) – Puritans looking for religious freedom.

  • Maryland (1633) – George and Cecil Calvert as a safe haven for Catholics.

  • Connecticut (1636) – Thomas Hooker after he was told to leave Massachusetts.

  • Rhode Island (1636) – Roger Williams to have a place of religious freedom for all.

  • Delaware (1638) – Peter Minuit and the New Sweden Company. British took over in 1664.

  • North Carolina (1663) – Originally part of the Province of Carolina. Split off from South Carolina in 1712.

  • South Carolina (1663) – Originally part of the Province of Carolina. Split off from North Carolina in 1712.

  • New Jersey (1664) – First settled by the Dutch, the English took over in 1664.

  • Pennsylvania (1681) – William Penn and the Quakers.

  • Georgia (1732) – James Oglethorpe as a settlement for debtors.

Quoted from Ducksters

Political difference between Britain and the colonies created tension, the American Revolutionary War began in 1775 and lasted until 1783. (Which I may cover sometime).

The Declaration of Independence

July 4, 1776, was the date the Second Continental Congress, who were 12 out of 13 British colonies, declared themselves as separate sovereign states no longer under the ruling of Britain.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the Founding Fathers who was behind the war that created independence and the birth of the United States of America. He wrote the original declaration, and in September 17, 1787 the Constitution of the United States of America which governed basic rights, was presented. He became the nation’s first Secretary of State, under President George Washington from 1789.

Were the founding fathers religious?

This question has been debated since the declaration, and are American Christians correct in saying America was founded on Christianity?

In 18th century American Deism became popular.

philosophical belief which posits that although God exists as the uncaused First Cause – ultimately responsible for the creation of the universe – God does not interact directly with that subsequently created world.

What this meant was it was in direct opposition to Christianity, in that whilst they accept a creator, there is no need to read the Bible, pray or attend church as it was pointless as God doesn’t interact.

Contrary to the claims by Christians I quite this excerpt from the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All men are created equal. This isn’t what Christians believe in, as they’re obsessed with sin, from being non-religious, homosexual, an immigrant or a Muslim.

Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind

A decent respect to the opinions of mankind. Once again, this isn’t the words of Christianity?

I also want to mention the ‘Nature’s God‘ Part. This is a direct reference to the God in Deism.

In both ratified amendments and unratified amendments there’s just one mention of religion, and no mention whatsoever of any God.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

What this means is America can’t ever adopt Theocracy θεοκρατία “rule of God” which means a government can’t ever be ‘divinely guided’. To put it simply, America was founded as a secularist state with no allegiance to any God, or any religion.

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