List: First permanent settlements in each state

By Chuck Springston
Cathedral of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Fla.
Cathedral of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Fla.

   Where were the first European settlements in the New World? And what was a settlement, anyhow? Could it be a couple of log cabins and a fire?

   For the list below, “permanent settlement” is defined this way:
    A “settlement” must have been more than a lone trading post or fort populated with a few men.
   It should have had some of the following characteristics: families, farms, skilled workers, industrial activities and community centers such as meetinghouses and places of worship.

    The establishment of a fort or trading post qualifies as a first settlement if a community grew up around it, even if settlers didn’t arrive until years later. In those places, the date on the list is the date the fort or trading post was founded, not necessarily when the first settlers arrived.
     A “permanent” settlement is one continuously occupied after the founding date, allowing for short periods of inactivity or vacancy as an area adjusted to changing situations.
      A settlement site that no longer exists (except perhaps as a state park or national historic site) may be considered permanent in some circumstances. Even a town that has had a long life might eventually succumb to fires, rising sea levels, erosion or economic devastation. If it survived for generations and nurtured other communities that are still thriving, then the settlement made a permanent contribution to the state.
       The first settlements of the 13 Colonies are in bold.

St. Augustine, Fla., 1565
Jamestown, Va., 1607
Santa Fe, N.M., 1610
Plymouth, Mass., 1620
Saco, Maine, 1622
Hilton’s Point/Dover, N.H., 1623
Fort Orange, N.Y.,1624 (present-day Albany)
Windsor, Conn., 1633
St. Mary’s City, Md., 1634
Providence,  R.I., 1636
Fort Christina/Wilmington, Del., 1638
Tinicum Island, Pa., 1643 (suburb of present-day Philadelphia)
Salmon Creek area, N.C., 1655 (near present-day Edenton)
Bergen, N.J., 1660 (present-day Jersey City)
Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., 1668
Charles Towne/Charleston, S.C., 1670
Ysleta mission, Texas, 1680 (part of present-day El Paso)
Arkansas Post, Ark., 1686 (near present-day DeWitt)
Tumacacori mission, Ariz., 1692 (near Tubac)
Cahokia, Ill., 1699
Ocean Springs, Miss., 1699 (near Biloxi)
Mobile, Ala. 1702
Natchitoches, La., 1714
Fort Drummer, Vt., 1724 (present-day Brattleboro)
Mecklenburg, W.Va., 1727 (present-day Shepherdstown)
Vincennes, Ind., 1732
Savannah, Ga., 1733
Saint Genevieve, Mo., 1735
Green Bay, Wis., 1745
San Diego, Calif., 1769
Watauga, Tenn., 1769
Harrodsburg, Ky., 1774
Waimea, Kauai island, Hawaii, 1778 (date of first known European contact)
Kodiak Island, Alaska, 1784
Dubuque, Iowa, 1785
Marietta, Ohio, 1788
Salina, Okla., 1796
Pembina, N.D., 1797
Spokane, Wash., 1810
Astoria, Ore., 1811
Fort Teton, S.D., 1817 (present-day Fort Pierre)
Fort Snelling, Minn., 1819 (present-day Minneapolis)
Bellevue, Neb., 1822
Fort Leavenworth, Kan., 1827
Fort William, Wyo., 1834 (present-day Fort Laramie)
St. Mary’s, Mont., 1841 (present-day Stevensville)
Fort Buenaventura, Utah, 1846 (present-day Ogden)
San Luis, Colo., 1851
Mormon Station, Nev., 1851 (present-day Genoa)
Franklin, Idaho, 1860