Most people who went to elementary school in the United States were given at least a cursory education in this country’s pre-colonial and colonial history. We learned about the so-called “Thirteen Colonies” which were owned by the British from the early 1600s up until the end of the American Revolutionary War in 1783. We may also be familiar with the fact that other European nations such as the Spanish, French, and Dutch also had colonies within North America, even if most of us cannot remember (or perhaps were never even taught) what these colonies were called.

Those of us who may have received a more detailed education on these matters will point out that the Spanish arrived first, and began claiming territories in what is now the southern United States, including Florida and the American Southwest; collectively, their colonial empire was referred to as “New Spain”. The French likewise began…

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