Imperial Powers: Spain, England, And France

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By 1750, three main countries emerged as imperial powers in the New World: Spain, England, and France. As with most European countries, in the 15th Century, they had learned about the riches of Asia from the Crusades, in which soldiers journeyed to the Middle East to reclaim Jerusalem. The land road to Asia was generally dangerous and expensive, but the European desire for fine goods caused a race to find another route to that continent. Ships from Spain, England, and France sailed westward in search for the Northwest Passage, and though the Europeans were unable to expand their riches with trade, they were able to expand their riches through conquering civilizations in the Americas. Mercantilism was the dominating economic idea of the time, …show more content…
After hearing tales of Spanish successes, the English were unsatisfied with simply looting their opponent’s ships. Furthermore, the country had just emerged from an intense civil battle between Protestants and Catholics. It ultimately became a Protestant state with a fierce hatred of Catholicism, which Spain embodied in English eyes. In fact, one main reason for its imperialism was to spread its religious doctrine. Moreover, after defeating the Spanish Armada, Englishmen felt invincible and adventurous, ready to explore new worlds. The first ships of permanent colonization arrived at Jamestown in 1607. There were searches for gold, but none were to be discovered. What the Englishmen did find, however, was able to satisfy their appetite for riches. They found their successes in cash crops, which provided a steady stream of revenue, unlike the immediate rewards of gold gained by the Spanish. Furthermore, they achieved their goals of expanding their empire, though this was done not just for the sake of glory, as was the main case for Spain, but also because England’s lands and customs could no longer support such a large population, especially since the system of primogeniture strongly favored the first-born child and left the others without land. Outcasts, including prisoners and Quakers, were also given refuge in the English colonies to make them some of the most open places in the world at that …show more content…
For instance, each of the three wanted to increase its own riches and spread its own culture and religious preference because they all believed in mercantilism to beat their rivals in power and wealth since money was so closely linked to military might. That meant each country would have to colonize to gain more materials so that it exports more than it imports. Because they all had similar goals, they felt the pressure to compete with one another. While similar in theory, each of their plans played out differently once they arrived in the New World because of their unique backgrounds and luck. Spain was fortunate to land where there was plenty of gold. They viciously plundered Central American civilizations without much thought of colonization initially besides earning the glory that comes with more land. The English, on the other hand, did not find gold in Jamestown. They instead found arable grounds for tobacco and rice, which allowed prosperous colonies to form along the eastern coast of the continent. The French were even more unlucky where they landed in terms precious metals. Québec had no gold nor was it suitable for planting cash crops. Rather, the Frenchmen were able to find wildlife in abundance and set up profitable fur trades while their colonies in the Caribbean provided sugar. All these were done to make each country more

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