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America as we know it began in 1607, when John Smith and the Jamestown settlers built the first permanent English settlement on a marshy peninsula on the James River in southeastern Virginia. Over the next 168 years, the English crown dominated settlement in America, dispatching the Dutch from the region in 1664, and the French from the entire continent in 1763 as a result of the French and Indian War. During the 1600s and early 1700s the English established 13 bustling colonies along the east coast of America. By 1775, nearly 2.5 million people had settled there. These were the same colonies that became tired of English taxes and declared their independence in 1776.