North America Destination Guides
In the Beginning Russia's first human beings arrived in Alaska between 15,000 and 13,000 BC.
At that time Alaska was part of a land bridge that extended across to Siberia. People followed the herds of animals they hunted. In the era in the 18th century, Europeans arrived. In 1741 a man known as Vitus Bering led a Russian expedition to Alaska. During this expedition, they discovered there was great wealth in the form of animal furs in Alaska. Unfortunately, they also brought diseases that the native people had no immunity to. The British arrived in 1778 when Captain Cook sailed there. (Cook Inlet is named after him). George Vancouver sailed to Alaska in 1794.
Arizona was originally a part of the Mexican state of Sonora before being taken over by the United States in 1848 as a result of the Mexican-American War. It started as part of the Territory of New Mexico but split into its own territory in 1863. Arizona became a state in 1912, beginning mainly as a rural area depending on agriculture, but during the 1940s, the state saw a boom in population as people began to appreciate the warm climate.
Many of the people of Aruba are a combination of European, Caribbean, South American, and Far Eastern descent. As of 2018, there were 116,600 residents on the island. The seat of government for Aruba is Oranjestad, where the population is estimated to be around 30,000. The island is mostly known for its pristine sandy white beaches, shipwrecks, and wind-blasted desert scenery.
The Lucayan people first settled in the Bahamas before Christopher Columbus arrived on San Salvador island in 1492. After centuries of disease and unrest, the first permanent settlement in the Bahamas was founded in 1647 by religious refugees. In 1717 the Bahamas became a British Colony and subsequently became a hide and hangout for famous pirates such as Blackbeard.
In many ways, Curaçao is the historical nexus of the Netherlands Antilles. The island, with its large and protected natural port, was charted before the 16th century and eventually became a significant center for mercantile commerce. It is the birthplace of Papiamentu (as it is spelled on Curaçao), the polyglot lingua franca of the ABC Islands which is spoken to an extent as far north as the Netherlands Antilles islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba, and Sint Maarten. And the island is, on another level, the birthplace of the famous liqueur, Curaçao, perhaps more well known in some circles than the island itself.
The eastern half of the island of Hispaniola, now known as the Dominican Republic, is the earliest of all the European colonies in the western hemisphere. The settlement of Santo Domingo is established on the south coast in 1496 by Diego Columbus, younger brother of the explorer. It becomes the main base for Spanish activities until the conquest of Mexico.
San Diego, California, USA
When he sailed into San Diego Bay from Mexico, Spaniard Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo discovered the city of San Diego in 1542. Cabrillo claimed the area for the Spanish Empire. The permanent colonization of California never occurred until 1769, when a chain of explorers from Spain began exploring parts of the state.
San Francisco, California, USA
San Francisco was founded in 1835 by Willaim Richardson. A small settlement of approximately 800 people quickly grew in size and popularity when gold was discovered in 1848. People from all over the country quickly flocked to San Francisco during what is now known as the California Gold Rush. In the years to follow, San Francisco was destroyed by a fire and earthquakes that required the city to rebuild, but the well-established industries kept the city alive. Today, San Francisco is a thriving multicultural city known for its history and innovations.