C O L O N I Z AT I O N A N D S E T T L E M E N T ( 15 8 5 – 176 3 )
English, French, and Spanish Colonies: A Comparison
primarily around the struggle of England, France, and
Spain to gain control of the continent. Settlers
crossed the Atlantic for different reasons, and their
governments took different approaches to their colonizing efforts. These differences created both advantages and disadvantages that profoundly affected the New World’s fate. France and Spain, for instance,
were governed by autocratic sovereigns whose rule
was absolute; their colonists went to America as servants of the Crown. The English colonists, on the
THE HISTORY OF COLONIAL NORTH AMERICA
other hand, enjoyed far more freedom and were able
to govern themselves as long as they followed English
law and were loyal to the king. In addition, unlike
France and Spain, England encouraged immigration
from other nations, thus boosting its colonial population. By 1763 the English had established dominance in North America, having defeated France and Spain
in the French and Indian War. However, those
regions that had been colonized by the French or
Spanish would retain national characteristics that
linger to this day.
Most colonies established by royal charter. Earliest settlements were in Virginia and Massachusetts but soon spread all
along the Atlantic coast, from Maine to
Georgia, and into the continent’s interior
as far as the Mississippi River.
First colonies were trading posts in
Newfoundland; others followed in wake
of exploration of the St. Lawrence valley,
parts of Canada, and the Mississippi
River. Settlements include Quebec
(1608) and Montreal (1642). Louisiana
settled in the late 1600s.
Crown-sponsored conquests gained riches for Spain and expanded its empire. Most of the southern and southwestern
regions claimed, as well as sections of
the California coast. Settlements...
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