This chapter presents an overview of the evolution of American sports from the pre-colonial period to modern sport in the twentieth century. It focuses in particular on the early years and the development of regional cultures and religious influences. In addition, it shows the close interrelations between physical activities/sports and political, cultural, social, and economic conditions in America. It provides background knowledge for the other parts of the book. The development of major sports, institutions, and events of the twentieth century, as well as racial, ethnic, and gender issues are covered in greater detail in separate chapters.