Thirteen colonies

Stories of the New World's gold attracted the first European explorers who came to America to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs. The Spanish were among the first Europeans to explore the New World and the first to settle in what is now the United States. The founding of Saint Augustine (in Florida) in 1565 marked the beginning of European colonization. In 1588, England and Spain were engaged in warfare, which virtually annihilated the Spanish naval power. After this defeat, Spain no longer figured as a rival of England for possession of North America. The thirteen colonies along the Atlantic coast were under British rule. West of these was French territory extending to the Rocky Mountains in the west, to Louisiana in the south, and reaching northward into present-day Canada. The territory was called New France. Part of it was later in 1803 bought by the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase.