The oldest American cities are all on the Atlantic Coast. European settlers first arrived on the East Coast, establishing towns as early as the beginning of the 16th century. Not only are the oldest cities all in the East Coast, but some of the most important events in American history took place there. The first visitors to the land that is now North America were more than likely the Vikings, around the year 1000 CE. So why don't the oldest American cities show any Viking influence? Historians believe the Vikings visited just to explore, and they never had the intention of settling down on the new land.
The Spanish were the first explorers who came to stay, closely followed by other Europeans. Their presence is well-seen in some of the oldest American cities of the East coast, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, all of which are almost four hundred years old.
The oldest continuously inhabited settlement is St. Augustine, in Florida. Founded on 28 August 1565, it is the oldest American city still in existence. Close behind is Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was established in 1598, but wasn't officially recognized until 1610.
Some of the other oldest American cities include Jamestown, founded in 1607, and Plymouth, founded in 1620. Situated far away from each other, in modern Virginia and Massachusetts, they became the symbol of what the new land had to offer. Jamestown was the first colony to house permanent residents in the northeast, after 18 early attempts resulted in disaster. Plymouth Rock was the disembarkation point of the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower.
It took the Europeans an additional hundred years to establish settlements on the West Coast. The first explores reach the coast in 1513, but the oldest American cities on the west coast are barely 300 hundred years old. Baja California was the first area to get permanent residents. On 25 October 25 1697, "Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó" was established. Loreto, however, does not hold the title to one of the oldest American cities because the mission was closed in 1829.