The history of North America describes how, between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, disparate colonies of settlers and their descendants gained their own identities, land was claimed and lost and traded, wars were fought, and the modern nations of Canada and the United States arose. Archaeology and history provide glimpses into these early sites of colonization and encounter. The earliest English colonies were at Roanoke Island, on the North Carolina coast in Secotan country. Culture contact with indigenous Americans of the Pacific seaboard largely resulted from the maritime fur trade, which involved Russians, English, and Americans. Secwepemc society faced greater challenges, such as disease, religious conversion, population loss, and environmental change. Plains Indians were largely hunters. Horses and rifles gave some Plains Indians the means to shift their hunting economy toward the largest animals on the continent bisonto provide trade goods such as skins and pemmican.