The history of the United States began with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenous cultures formed, and many disappeared in the 16th century. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas. Most colonies were formed after 1600, and the United States was the first nation whose most distant origins are fully recorded.[a] By the 1760s, the thirteen British colonies contained 2.5 million people and were established along the Atlantic Coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After defeating France, the British government imposed a series of taxes, including the Stamp Act of 1765, rejecting the colonists' constitutional argument that new taxes needed their approval. Resistance to these taxes, especially the Boston Tea Party in 1773, led to Parliament issuing punitive laws designed to end self-government. Armed conflict began in Massachusetts in 1775.