Part 1: Introduction; Part 2: Initial European Expeditions ; Part 3: Sir Walter Raleigh and the Arrival of the English ; Part 4: Seventeenth-Century Explorers ; Part 5: References 
Part 1: Introduction
Beginning in the fifteenth century, the European powers of France, Spain, Portugal, and England launched several voyages to explore the New World, including the region that would become North Carolina. Their initial motivation was primarily economic: after the "discovery" of America by Christopher Columbus  in 1492, several navigators followed in his wake searching for the riches of the Orient. National rivalries soon began to fuel the quest to discover and acquire the treasures of new lands and create colonies that would serve as financial boons to the mother country. Spain and France became early leaders in the race to explore and colonize the New World. England, by contrast, did not develop a significant interest in exploration and settlement until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I  in the second half of the sixteenth century.
Keep reading >> Exploration, European- Part 2: Initial European Expeditions 
The Columbian Exchange, Learn NC: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/1866 
"Landing of Christopher Columbus in America, at San Salvador, October 12th A.D. 1492." Image courtesy of Library of Congress, reproduction #: LC-DIG-pga-02023. Available from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/pga.02023/  (accessed August 10, 2012).
1 January 2006 | Hairr, John