The late 15th century through the mid-17th century saw a large wave of conquests and colonial expansion in the Americas. In Ceremonies of Possession in Europe's Conquest of the New World 1492-1640, by Patricia Seed, we explored the specific conquests of England, France, Spain, Portugal, and The Netherlands. Each nation utilized a specific strategy and approach for their endeavors. An analysis of the tactics used by Spain and France reveal several marked differences, these comparisons will be conducted by looking at each nations economic policies, political ideologies, and religious ideals.
The economic motivations of Spain and France for their respective conquests are quite interesting with marked differences in execution. The Spanish initially traveled to the “New World” in hopes of developing more effective trade routes to reach Asia, and the discovery of a new continent ensued. Tales of gold and unimaginable riches spurred countless expeditions led by several notable conquistadors. The Spanish were not so much interested in the land as they were the riches they could acquire from conquering peoples. The monarchy of Spain next sought out to place a tax or tribute on the Native Americans they had conquered. “In 1501 Queen Isabel declared her aim was to impose a tax she called tribute upon new world natives.” The tax was to be collected for everyman over the age of 20 in fighting condition, and the amount depended on the man’s marital status. Periodic censuses were taken by the Spanish to determine their levels of projected income, and it is interesting to note that the Spanish were the only colonial power to levy such a head tax on native persons. The Spanish, it is argued, borrowed the idea of implementing such a tax from the Muslims concept of “jizya”. Although, the Spanish implementation of “jizya” and their respect for the agreement it created was wanting. The French, on the other hand, used their conquests to form alliances with the natives, and through...
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