The settling of America began with an idea. The idea was that people can join together and agree to govern themselves by making laws for the common good. The history of U.S immigration began in 1513 when a Spanish explorer, Ponce De Leon discovered Florida. In the 16th century Spain took control of Florida, California and the south-west region of America. About 200,000 Spaniards migrated to the new world and founded some 200 settlements in different parts of America. St. Augustine, Florida, founded by Pedro Merendez in 1565, was the first permanent settlement established by the Europeans in what is now the United States. The Spanish mined precious metals and was able to ship back to Europe large quantities of gold and silver.
Then came the Dutch who first arrived in America in 1609 when the Dutch East India Company vessel De Halve Maen, commanded by the English captain, Henry Hudson, laid anchor at Sandy Hook, before sailing up what is now known as the Hudson River.
The arrival of people from England grew steadily and by 1650 the population of Virginia reached 15,000. Settlements spread from the banks of the James River to the York and Rappahannock Rivers. Many immigrants decided to leave the coastal regions and move inland. By 1685 the population of Virginia had grown to 60,000.
The early British arrivals in America were known as colonists or settlers. The term immigrant was first used in 1787. However, it was argued at the time that there was a difference between the colonists who "established a new new society, and those foreigners who arrive only when the country's laws, customs and language are fixed.