European colonization of the Americas
European colonization of the Americas is a term which many historians use to describe colonization and settlement by Europeans in North America and South America. It started with the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492. However, about 500 years before Colombus, the Norse had reached America and colonized Vinland. But, they did not continue. Thus, in a practical sense, colonization of America began with the arrival of Columbus. Columbas was the first to sail to America.
The first Europeans to reach America had been Vikings. They were strong sailors and warriors lived in the northernmost lands of Europe. About the year AD 1000 their crew reached the coast of North America. That place they named Vineland meaning “wineland”. The settlement at Vineland was soon abandoned.
In 1300s - 1400s people searched for trading routes between the Indies and Europe, because the old route was too hard and too long. Prices were also high because few groups of merchants controlled the trade and could charge whatever they wished. As many people believed that the world was round there was a captain who decided to go westward. If the world was really round than you wouldn’t sail around Africa. That person was Italian Christoforo Columbo. He persuaded Queen and King of Spain to finance his expedition.
In August 1492, Columbus left southern Spain with three ships: Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. After weeks at the see without seeing the land his crew became rebellious, but Columbus persuaded them to continue. On October 12, the ships reached an island in the Bahamas. Columbus named this island San Salvador. He thought it was island of India. That’s why people on this island were named Indians. Columbus next sailed farther into the Caribbean, reaching Cuba where he saw people smoking tobacco. Then he sailed back to Spain. King and Queen showered Columbus with honors.
On his later voyages Columbus took more men, including missioners. The ships also carried farm animals and supplies to establish colonies. He established a new settlement on a part of island that is now the Dominican Republic.
After Europeans realized that they found “New World” but not new route to Asia the main task of Spanish was to gain the new lands. It was the task of conquistadors. They have permission to explore and conquer New World.
Spanish conquistadors with, only a few hundred soldiers, conquer large Indian empires. In 1519 Hernando Cortes and few hundred soldiers marched into Aztec capital and finally destroyed city. Francisco Pizarro was able to conquer Inca Empire. Spanish won for several reasons. Indians thought that they were Gods and they were also afraid of horses and guns.
[change] Colonizing Nations
The Spanish people were the first to win many parts of South America and Central America. They also won many parts of North America. Later on, people from many countries of Europe reached the Americas. There were two main countries that tried to take over the rest of the Americas. These countries were France and England. England took over the middle of North America, and the French took what they could further up north in what is now called Canada. Eventually, the English colonists took over most of the French territory.
The people in the Southern Colonies were there because they wanted money. They had very good soil, and because of this they could grow what people call Cash Crops, tobacco. The people in colonies further north could not grow these crops so easily, so their reason for coming to America was different. These people wanted to come to America because they wanted to be free of religious oppression. These were people in the Middle and Northern Colonies. In the Middle Colonies, people grew food, and this was how they lived, making food for the whole of North America. The people in the Northern Colonies made just enough to live, every year, so they were there just for religion, not for money.
[change] Economic Activity
The English settled on the East Coast of what is now the United States of America, their economic activity consisted of tobacco farming, and looking for gold and silver. The Spanish settled down in Central America and South America, mining for gold and silver, and farming tobacco, the Spanish had a surplus of labor, because they used the Natives to do the work for them, this was called Encomienda. The French had to use what they could get, which was what they wanted, because they were the country settled the closest to the north pole. They were looking for what we call the Northwest Passage, finding a route to Asia, because of this they had a low population, forcing them to cooperate with the natives to survive. There was one trade that the French had major profits in, and that, was in the trade of furs.
[change] Other pages
- Class with Lee Clagnaz, refers to entire paragraph.