Of the several European nations that explored North America, we shall only look at the actions of the French and the English. Basically, the French began their early explorations in both the northern part of the continent near the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico near the mouth of the Mississippi River. These two major rivers would give them relatively easy access to the heart of the continent. The French took full advantage of these rivers to expand their North American empire.
The English were looking for areas to settle, and they chose first the area of the Chesapeake Bay and the area of what is now New England. Not far inland from the English settlements were the Appalachian Mountains, a vast barrier to expansion. For many years the English were too intent on building settlements to be concerned about expansion into the interior of the continent.
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