31 May 2014
Unit 1 Essay
This essay will explain the differences and similarities among the Spanish, British, and French during the colonization of North America from 1519-1720s. The impacts on North and South America, as well as the peoples inhabiting both continents will be explained. The colonial leadership will be interpreted, as well as the relationships between other colonies.
A major reason for exploration was the “Three G’s”. The first “G” is glory. The British, Spanish, and, French aspired to gain wealth and land. All three powers were determined to become the next world power. The second “G”, gold, would benefit the Spanish, British, and French economically. The colonies were in search for trade routes. The third “G”, God, the colonies attempted to spread Christianity and weaken other religions. These three motives reinforced each other as reasons to explore the New World.
The Spanish colonies began in the Caribbean, then swiftly moving onward to South and Central America. One of the most important conquests was that of the Aztecs by Cortez in 1519. Cortez fabricated a disease when he first spoke to the Aztec Chieftain, Moctezuma. Cortez states, “We Spanish suffer from a strange disease of the heart, for which the only known remedy is gold.” (Kennedy, 18) The chieftain did not see through the lie, because he believed Hernan Cortes was the God Quetzalcoat. Originally, both men and their people were hospitable to one another. Unfortunately, on the noche triste, “sad night,” of June 30, 1520, the Aztecs assailed upon the Spanish. Cortes retaliated on August 13, 1521, the same year that a smallpox epidemic devastates the Valley of Mexico. “The Aztec empire gave way to three centuries of Spanish rule.” (Kennedy, 19) The invasion did annihilate an entire population in Mexico, but it also brought the Spanish customs, horses, and religion. The first permanent colonies in what became the United States are founded by Spain. St. Augustine, Florida is founded in 1565, and it was to protect the Spanish treasure fleets. Spanish soldiers came to the New World to help conquer and settle the Americans for Spain. The Spanish also settled in what is present-day coastal Georgia. Many of there methods for assimilation were especially brutal for the Native Americans. Spanish explorers set out to convert Native Americans to Catholicism. The most important technique was the institution known as encomienda. “It allowed the government to ‘commend,’ or give, Indians to certain colonists in return for the promise to try to Christianize them.”(Kennedy, 17) Encomienda gave the government the right to sell humans like property; it was a form of slavery with a different name. The Spanish converted many natives to Christianity, and taught them how to use steel tools, raise sheep, and grow food efficiently. The Spanish also learned new farming techniques from the Indians, and were taught to less wasteful with the animals they killed for food. In many cases, the Spanish and the natives were able to coexist, but many Natives were wiped out by rampant disease. Samuel de Champlain, of France, founded Quebec in 1608. Montreal was later founded in 1642. In what is present day Canada, the French developed a fur trade and had control over the Saint Lawrence River. This allowed them access to the interior of North America. The Port of New Orleans controlled trade in the Gulf of Mexico, and the port would go on to threaten Spanish shipping in that area. The French government controlled the colonies. It was not widely encouraged to settle in New France. Few settlers moved to New France because of the harsh weather temperatures. The frozen land made it hard to produce any crops, and their major income came from fur trading. Fur trading was the most profitable business of the French colonial economy. Indians became valued for the pelts that they had to offer. They were considered training partners. The French were not...
Cited: Kennedy, David M., and Lizabeth Cohen. The American pageant. 15th ed. Belmont,
Calif.: Wadsworth ;, 2013. Print.
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