Till the 1780s, most of the white settlements were limited to the narrow strip of coastal land on the east coast of America. However, in the subsequent years, the whites gauged the potential of moving westward as they could tap into the vast wealth of natural resources on offer. There were large swathes of forest land that could be cleared for cultivation. Timber, which was available on a large scale, could be exported. Animals could be hunted for their skin and mountains could be mined for gold and other precious minerals. For these resons, the American settlers began to move westward.