Columbus discovered an Old World in 1492. Steep population declines reduced Indian numbers by more than 90 percent in the following four centuries. European maps of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries claimed to have carved up most of North America, but ‘Empires and enclaves’ shows that control over North American lands remained hotly contested during this time. Well into the eighteenth century, the vast majority of North American Indians had not become the subordinates of European colonizers and in most places there were no European settlements yet. The first contacts between European and Indians are described along with seventeenth-century English settlements in New England, the Spanish conquest in New Mexico, and the alternative approaches of the French.