The first colonies from Britain arrived in the United States during the 17th century and were formed in Jamestown, Virginia and Plymouth, Massachusetts during the years of 1607 and 1620 respectively. Settlers from modern day Europe had been exploring the United States for a little over 100 years and continued to explore after American Revolutionary War was over. Spanish exploration of Florida began as early as 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon and Spain founded colonies in Florida beginning in 1565, much sooner than when the British arrived. Diego Valázquez de Cuéllar was the 1st Governor of Cuba during this time period and was in office as the Governor of Cuba from 1511 to 1524. Simultaneously, he was also in office as the 5th Governor of the Indies from 1518-1524. It is likely that as the Governor of Cuba, Diego Valázquez de Cuéllar had oversight of the exploration into Florida that was made by Juan Ponce de Leon. Ferdinand Magellan’s boats also circled the earth during this time period when Spain was exploring and colonizing Florida, it made its voyage between 1519 and 1522. Although Magellan was killed halfway through on the journey, his boats made it back to Spain with 18 of his original 260 crew members.
French colonization of the America’s began slightly after the Spanish, in 1534. The French mostly settled in Canada and the Midwest and created a colony all the way to Louisiana, expanding their colony into the Caribbean and reaching Brazil in 1557 where the Portuguese government objected to their expansion. Meanwhile the British, Spanish, Dutch and even Swedish continued exploring the USA long before the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were written.
Francisco de Cuéllar navigated around the British Isles around 1588 and had several skirmishes with the British just before the British colonies were founded in the Americas. The British Navy in turn defeated the Spanish Armada near Florida around 1590 and initiated the first Battle of Gibralter in 1590. The Spanish then fought another Battle of Gibraltar in 1607 against the Dutch. The Dutch began exploration of the USA in 1609 before initiating another Battle of Gibraltar with the Spanish in 1621. After that, the Dutch became successful with their colony in the USA beginning around 1624. Around this time, the British captured the French colony of Quebec in 1629 and retained control of Quebec until 1632 when they gave it back to the French. The Swedish also explored and colonized the USA setting up colonies in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey between 1637 and 1655 but the colonies were captured by the Dutch in 1655. The British then took the Dutch’s USA based colony, which had 1,500 citizens out of 9,000 residents in 1664. The Dutch however had other colonies in Central America, Brazil and Indonesia and the Indonesia colony came with a fort.
In this context, battles and skirmishes were not a big deal during the early colonial days. They happened all the time and people were quick bear arms at any slight breach of contract or hint of injustice. The British Navy started dominating the Atlantic Ocean beginning in 1650 during this colonial time period and even after the United States gained its independence in 1783, wrote the US Constitution in 1787, and amended the US Constitution with the Bill of Rights in 1791; the British Navy provided Baltimore with a 25 hour shelling in 1814; launching artillery from British Navy boats 2 miles off the coast of Baltimore. Despite the dominance and superiority of the British Navy in the Atlantic, the United States maintained its independence and grew to be one of the largest world powers in global political history.
While the Spanish are often credited as being the first Europeans to settle in the Americas, Nordic Vikings explored the Americas in the 10th century, landing in the USA near Portland, Maine and exploring all the way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin before heading onward to Casper, Wyoming and up toward Calgary, Alberta in Canada. Smithsonian Magazine and History.com have an account of Eric the Red’s journey during the 11th Century. BBC also reports that the Vikings had battles with the British in the 9th century. During this time of Viking exploration of the Americas; England, France and Northern Spain where busy fighting crusades in the Middle East and some of them brought new families with them back to Europe. Most notably, the crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 but Spain was under Muslim rule from 700 A.D. to 1400 A.D.
With this mindset of exploring, conquering and having battles, the Europeans began exploring the USA during the colonial period with groups of people from Spain, France, England, Netherlands, Sweden, India, Indonesia and Russia.