Téma: History of USA
Zaslal(a): M. Janková
Now I will talk about the history of the USA.
The continent of America was discovered thanks the historic voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. He wanted to reach India from Spain the opposite site than it was usual. When he reached America, he thought that he landed in Asia, called native people Indians after India, but he never realized that he discovered new continent. It was one of his seafarers of his fleet who realized that and the continent is called after him. His name is Amerigo Vespucci.
In 1620 a group of English settlers escaping religious persecution landed after 3 months of sail at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts determined to start a new life. During the first winter about half of them died and the rest survived just thanks the help and advices from Indians. They taught them how to farm or catch fish. After their first harvest they invited these Indians to special dinner to thank them for help and from that day is celebrated Thanksgiving day.
During 17th and 18th centuries over 6 million men, women and children were transported from West Africa to America. There they were forced to work on farms, which produced cotton, tobacco and rice. Today African Americans are the descendants of these 6 million slaves.
In 18th century was the War of Independence. It all started with arriving of Pilgrim fathers in 1620 when America started to be governed by England. Colonists in the New World paid taxes to London and had to accept its laws. It lasts for about 150 years then the colonists lost all their nerve after a lot of stupid laws and one of the biggest incidents before the war happened, the Boston Tea Party in 1773 (they didn’t want to pay the taxes for delivery of tea so they throw all of the boxes with tea to the sea dressed like Indians. Then on 4th July 1776 the Americans made a ‘Declaration of Independence’ from King George III. and his government. The result was six years of war which ended in victory for the Americans (led by George Washington)in 1782.
The new United States of America rapidly expanded. In 1803 it bought 2 million square kilometers of land from France for 27 million dollars. The territories gained by this Louisiana Purchase stretched from Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and it doubled the size of the young nation.
After winning a war against Mexico in 1840s, America gained even more territory. This included California, which had a population od 14 000 people in 1848. The same year was discovered gold near San Francisco and it meant that thousands of pioneers rushed across the America to make their fortune and in 1860 was the California’s population about 360 000 people and the era of Wild West had begun.
Between 1860-65 America fought a bitter Civil War in which over 600 000men were killed. The cause of the war was slavery. Thirteen southern states (The Confederacy) were depended on slave labour, when the slaves worked on the plantations, but northern states (the Union) wanted to make slavery illegal. The Union and its leader President Abraham Lincoln won this battle and it was a big vital (decisive) milestone (point) in the USA history. One week later Lincoln was assassinated at a theatre in Washington.
Over 13 million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1815-1880. Most were trying to escape poverty and religious persecution. For them immigration meant a new life in the land of the free.
In 1886 France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty, which stands in New York harbor. It recalls friendship and help, which gave France to the USA in their fight for independence. It also symbolize the sympathy with a new nation.
During the 19th century were hundreds of battles between American pioneers and Indians. Some of them won Indians- for example the battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, but mostly the pioneers defeated and humiliated America’s native people. The last major battle of Indian wars was fought at Wounded Knee in 1890.
By the 1920s, New York had become one of the world’s major financial centers with an important stock market situated on Wall Street. Then in 1929, the value of shares on Wall Street inexpectedly collapsed and thousands of banks and companies were ruined and America’s economy entered a period of crises. Millions of people also lost their job in the decade that followed. This period in American history is called the Great Depression.
In December 1941 America entered World War Two after Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, American naval base in Hawaii, 7th December 1941. Two years later, a team of US scientists led by Robert Oppenheimer developed the first atomic bomb in history. At the command of President Harry Truman, this devastating weapon was dropped on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August 1945, which meant end of Japan’s involvement in war.
In 1950 the Communist government of North Korea invaded its non-Communist neighbour, South Korea. America sent troops to help the South in a brutal war which lasted for three years with no clear winner.
In 1960 American spy planes photographed Soviet missiles on the Caribbean island of Cuba. The US government, led by President Kennedy, demanded their removal. The Soviet Union refused and the most serious crises of Cold War began, lasting for several weeks. It could have ended in nuclear destruction for both super-powers. Finally the Soviet leader, Nikita Kruschev, agreed to remove all of his missiles.
In November 1963 was assassinated President Kennedy during visitation of Dallas. He was shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was founded later shot and killed too. Till today no one knows if he act alone or he was just a part of larger plot.
America’s third Asian war of 20th century ended in failure. In 1973, US troops finally left South Vietnam, signaling victory for the Communist government of North Vietnam.
In 1969, astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon only 63 years after the Wright Brothers’ historic flight in 1903. His space-craft was Apollo 11. His companions were Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. His first words on the moon were: That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
In 1972 was presidential election, the candidates were republican Richard Nixon and democrat George Mc Govern. Headquarters of Democrats were in the Watergate building, where were found burglars shortly before election, which were Republican spies paid to steal information for people who worked for President Nixon. But two reporters from a Washington newspaper- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein proved that the Watergate burglary was in fact just part of much bigger dirty tricks of campaign to re-elect the President. As a direct result of Woodward and Bernstein’s work, Nixon resigned in August 1974.
When Communism collapsed in 1989, America became the world’s only true superpower. The Cold War was over and a new highly unstable period in world history had begun.