Immigration never simply began. By the true definition of the word, every human being is an immigrant. Recent studies have shown that the species considered “modern humans” evolved completely in Africa and made their way across the globe from there. There were other hominid species occupying other areas of the globe at the time of early humans’ exodus of Africa, though those species’ origins are virtually untraceable as they died out tens of thousands of years ago. In theory, those early humans were immigrants into the lands of the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons that occupied the areas they spread to. Especially in the case of Neanderthals, the early humans’ ability to speak and communicate allowed them to become the dominant species, with the Neanderthals dying out as a result. National Geographic’s Genographic Project has traced early human migration routes through DNA groups, tracing the journeys of ancient peoples. As far as science can discern, human migration began around 200,000 years ago, though that is only speaking of the species Homo Sapien ("Atlas of Human History").

There are a few theories of the first humans to inhabit North America. The most scientifically legitimate and generally accepted, the Bering land bridge. During the last glaciation, the water level of the world’s oceans was significantly lower than it is today, so much so that what is now the Bering strait was a land mass connecting North America and what is now Russia. Hunter-Gatherer type civilizations would have become trapped in the continent by the expanding  ice sheet, they would go on to become the tribes that existed in North America that existed for thousands of years. They remained generally isolated from Eurasia, Africa, and South America, until the area was “discovered” by European explorers. The history of the Americas is usually told beginning with early European explorers,  though they were not a source of cultural or economic development in these “new” continents , nor did they establish communication between the eastern continents and the western ones.

Many of the explorers were violent and militant in their entrance to the continent, driven by the promise of natural resources and an ample supply of human lives to overtake and sell. They were foreigners who came to a new area in search of their fortunes (and many other, more sinister things) yet they did not think of themselves as immigrants, but as rightful owners of the land.

The same mentality was still evident in colonizers many years later. The Spaniards destroyed many civilizations and smaller tribes all along the Gulf Coast  and as far south as the Amazon. The British  colonies eventually grew and created what became the United States, never considering themselves to be immigrants, though they were people in a new land seeking freedom, opportunity, and happiness.  Although the culture and function of the colonies were largely British, the populous included Dutch, French, Germans, and Scots-Irish.  All of these groups shared similar religions, customs and cultural elements.  Eurocentrism  ran deep in the minds of early European colonizers, who truly believed that they were not immigrants, but discoverers. Later on, Europeans coming to America to fill the new British colonies were not made to think twice about their right to be there ("Colonial Activity").