AP US History Exam: Period 2 Notes (1607-1754)

Five Things to Know about AP US History Period 2

  1. Spanish, French, Dutch, and British colonizers had different goals that impacted the economic, political, and cultural development of their colonies and shaped colonizers’ interactions with American Indian populations.
  2. Conflict arose due to competition for resources among European rivals, and between the Europeans and American Indians. Examples of American Indian resistance to colonizers were the Pueblo Revolt, the Pequot War, and King Philip’s War.
  3. Early British colonies developed along the Atlantic coast with some regional differences. New England colonies were settled by the Puritans, who lived in small towns. The middle colonies were characterized by the export of cash crops, less social rigidity, and more religious tolerance. The southern colonies developed a plantation-based economy.
  4. The African slave trade grew extensively throughout the eighteenth century. The trading of slaves, cash crops, and manufactured goods between Africa, the Americas, and Europe became known as Triangular Trade.
  5. England used its colonies to obtain raw materials for its own manufacturing purposes and wealth creation. There were, consequently, early examples of colonial resentment and resistance. From Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 to the Great Awakening starting in the 1730s, the colonists begin to carve out a distinct American identity.


Key Topics–Period 2: 1607 to 1754


Remember that the AP US History exam tests you on the depth of your knowledge, not just your ability to recall facts. While we have provided brief definitions here, you will need to know these terms in even more depth for the AP US History exam, including how terms connect to broader historical themes and understandings.

European Colonization in the New World

  • Samuel de Champlain: French explorer. Known as the “The Father of New France.” Founded Quebec in 1608. Made the first accurate maps of what is modern-day Eastern Canada.
  • Louis Joliet: French-Canadian explorer. He and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans to explore and map the Mississippi River.
  • Jacques Marquette: French Jesuit missionary. He and Louis Joliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the Mississippi River. He founded the first European settlement in Michigan in 1668.
  • Sieur de La Salle: French explorer, also known as René-Robert Cavelier. He surveyed the Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Gulf of Mexico. Founded a network of forts around the Great Lakes and in the modern-day Midwest.
  • Dutch East India Company: The vehicle for the commercial ambitions of the Netherlands in the New World, especially with regards to the fur trade. Led to the founding of New Netherlands and New Amsterdam. See: Henry Hudson.
  • Henry Hudson: English explorer. While working to find a Northwest Passage for the Dutch East India Company, he sailed up the Hudson River, establishing Dutch claims for what became New Amsterdam (modern-day New York).
  • New Amsterdam: The Dutch capital of their New Netherland colony. Noted for its tolerance of religious practices. It failed to attract enough settlers to compete with the surrounding English colonies. Conquered by the English in 1664, who renamed it New York City.
  • Mestizos: A term for people of mixed Spanish and American Indian heritage.
  • Catholicism: Adherence to the liturgy and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics believe that the Bible alone is not sufficient for salvation, but that it must be tied to certain rites and traditions. Catholics view the Pope as the representative of Jesus on Earth. Historically, the Catholic Church was a major landowner in both Europe and Latin America, and the Pope was often politically more powerful than most monarchs. Contrast: Protestantism, Puritanism.
  • Pueblo Revolt: A 1680 revolt against Spanish settlers in the modern-day American Southwest. Led by a Pueblo man named Popé, it forced the Spanish to abandon Santa Fe. A rare, decisive American Indian victory against European colonization.
  • Anglicanism: A form of Protestant Christianity that adheres to the liturgy of the Anglican Church, also known as the Church of England. Founded in the sixteenth century by King Henry VIII. See: Puritanism.
  • Protestantism: An umbrella term for various Christian sects that broke away from the Roman Catholic Church following the start of the Reformation in 1517. Constitutes one of three major branches of Christianity, alongside Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox faith. Generally, Protestants believe that faith alone merits salvation and good works are unnecessary. They reject the authority of the Pope and believe the Bible is the sole authority. See: Puritanism.
  • Charters: A document which Parliament used to grant exclusive rights and privileges. Required for the legal sanction of a formal colony. Over time, especially after the Glorious Revolution, most colonies surrendered their charters and became royal colonies, which involved more centralized control from England.
  • Sir Humphrey Gilbert: English explorer. In the Elizabethan era, he founded the first English colony at Newfoundland, which failed.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh: One of the most important figures of the Elizabethan era. Granted permission by Queen Elizabeth I to explore and colonize the New World in exchange for one-fifth of all the gold and silver this venture obtained. Founded Roanoke.
  • Roanoke: Nicknamed “the Lost Colony.” First attempted English colony in the New World. Founded in 1585 by Sir Walter Raleigh on an island off the modern-day North Carolina coast. By 1590, its inhabitants had vanished for reasons that still remain unknown.


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