European Americans are United States citizens who are wholly or primarily descended from any of the original peoples of the continent of Europe. This term includes people who are descended from the first European settlers in the United States, as well as people who are descended from more recent European arrivals. Europeans have been the most numerous group in what is now the United States for some 400 years.
European Americans, or US citizens primarily descending from any of the original peoples of the continent of Europe, form roughly 70% of the US population. African Americans , or US citizens primarily descending from any of the original peoples of the continent of Africa, form roughly 14% of the US population. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, or US citizens primarily descending from any of the original peoples of the continent of Asia and the Pacific Islands, form roughly 10% of the US population. Amerindian Americans, or United States citizens primarily descending from any of the original peoples of the continents of North and South America, form roughly 6% of the US population.
The vast majority of European Americans come from Britain, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, or France. For the first 250 years of European settlement of what became the United States the overwhelming majority of European Americans came from the island of Great Britain. In the latter half of the 19th century large numbers of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Scandinavia began to arrive in the US. In the early 20th century large numbers of Southern and Eastern Europe immigrants, from places such as Italy and Poland, began arriving in the US. Today, most European immigrants to the US come from Latin America and are of primarily Spanish descent.
The first European born in what became the original 13 states of the United States was Virginia Dare, born in 1587. She was born in Roanoke Colony, located in present-day North Carolina, which was the first attempt to establish permanent English settlement in North America. The Spanish were the first Europeans to establish a continuous presence in what would become the contiguous United States, with Martín de Argüelles being born in 1566 in St. Augustine, which was then a part of Spanish Florida. The Russians were the first Europeans to settle in Alaska, establishing their first permanent settlement on Kodiak Island in 1784. The first Europeans to visit North America were the Norse around the year 1000, who under the command of Leif Erikson briefly settled on the island of Newfoundland. The first Europeans to permanently settle North America were the Spanish under the leadership of the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who established a settlement on the island of Hispaniola in 1492.