English americans: although the english were not the first europeans to come to north america, they were the first to colonize it in large numbers. By the early eighteenth century, there were approximately 350,000 english and welsh colonists in north america. At the time of the revolution, this number had increased to between 1 and 2 million: english advocates of establishing north american colonies put forward a number of explanations to explain the practice. The need for trading posts and for new sources of raw materials, as well as new markets for english goods, received much attention. Others emphasized protestant missionary objectives, the search for a passage to asia, the need to stop spanish and french expansion, and the need for a place for england"s surplus population. The invention of the white race : nineteenth century european immigrants did not initially define themselves as white but rather as.