European American Influence

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The history of the European presence in the Americas is usually written in gleaming terms. The search for riches and glory has brought the European powers unto a new age of power unseen since to the level of an empire. The one constant feature of any empire, however, is that there is always a group that must yield to a more powerful force. The European expansion into the New World was no different in that in order to take advantage of the America’s fertile virgin land first the natives must yield their territory and accept the new arrivals as the new rulers. Land without any economic activity loses its commercial potential and so the arrival of African slaves proved vital for the colonists as they provided an endless supply of unpaid labor …show more content…
Started by an Italian navigator, Christopher Columbus, sailed west in hopes of finding India thus proving the world was round and not flat and a new route could be found to access the riches of the East. With the funding of the Spanish monarchy he arrived in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and mistakenly believed he had actually arrived in India and referred to the natives as Indians. Building on his discovery Spain soon began sending more Spanish ships and began colonizing one island after another. Unsatisfied with what they’ve discovered the Spanish Conquistadors felt that new riches were abound to a land west of the Antilles. A group of Spaniards led by Hernan Cortes set out to the Yucatan peninsula in 1519 and promptly claimed the land for the Spanish crown. Upon arrival the native Mexics thought of him and his men as deities given their weapons and ships. Thinking he was the returning god Quetzalcoatl as foretold in their religion the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, showered Cortes with gifts including gold. Gold would prove to be the doom to the natives as the shiny yellow metal is highly prized by the Spaniards and they believed that there would be more gold to be found. Realizing on what he stumbled upon he played the part of the Aztec god and in 1519 with aid of …show more content…
Not to be outdone they set out west just as the Spaniards themselves and landed in what would be known as North America. The French and English came to North America with both different and similar goals. The French, led by Samuel de Chaplain, took to the north and down the St. Lawrence River and eventually found the cities of Quebec and Montreal. Their intent was to look for valued fur and with the help of the native Hurons they found their treasure. Helping the French, who had superior weapons, they thought would give them a powerful ally against their old rival the Iroquois and thus gave the French a solid foothold in the north. The English did the same in a different part of the continent but for the search of gold. In late 1606 three ships landed on what would known as Virginia and built a triangular settlement they called Jamestown named after James I, the first of the Stuart kings after the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I died without an heir to continue her line. Life in the new world was harsh for the English for they did not have adequate provisions, surrounded by hostile natives, and worse they did not know how to grow native food in a foreign land. Forced to endure the terrible winter of 1609-1610 the English even ate their valuable horses. It was around this time Captain John Smith was captured by the native Powhatans in a skirmish and

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