This movement, impelled by powerful and diverse motivations, built a nation out of a wilderness and, by its nature, shaped the character and destiny of an uncharted continent. Today, the United States is the product of two principal forces-the immigration of European peoples with their varied ideas, customs, and national characteristics and the impact of a new country which modified these distinctly European cultural traits.
Norse colonization of the Americas Voyages of the Vikings to America. Norse journeys to Greenland and Canada are supported by historical and archaeological evidence. Christopher ColumbusJohn CabotAmerigo Vespucci and Giovanni da Verrazzano Early explorations and conquests were made by the Spanish and the Portuguese immediately following their own final reconquest of Iberia in In the Treaty of Tordesillasratified by the Pope, these two kingdoms divided the entire non-European world into two areas of exploration and colonization, with a north to south boundary that Analysis of the colonization period of america through the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of present-day Brazil.
As a result, by the midth century, the Spanish Crown had gained control of much of western South America, and southern North Americain addition to its earlier Caribbean territories.
Other European nations soon disputed the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas. England and France attempted to plant colonies in the Americas in the 16th century, but these failed.
England and France succeeded in establishing permanent colonies in the following century, along with the Dutch Republic. Some of these were on Caribbean islands, which had often already been conquered by the Spanish or depopulated by disease, while others were in eastern North America, which had not been colonized by Spain north of Florida.
In the 18th century, Denmark—Norway revived its former colonies in Greenlandwhile the Russian Empire gained a foothold in Alaska. Denmark-Norway would later make several claims in the Caribbean, starting in the s. As more nations gained an interest in the colonization of the Americas, competition for territory became increasingly fierce.
Colonists often faced the threat of attacks from neighboring colonies, as well as from indigenous tribes and pirates.
Early state-sponsored colonists[ edit ] Further information: Portugal in the Age of DiscoverySpanish colonization of the Americasand First European colonization wave 15th century—19th century The first phase of well-financed European activity in the Americas began with the Atlantic Ocean crossings of Christopher Columbus —sponsored by Spain, whose original attempt was to find a new route to India and China, known as " the Indies ".
He was followed by other explorers such as John Cabotwho was sponsored by England and reached Newfoundland. Amerigo Vespucciworking for Portugal in voyages from toestablished that Columbus had reached a new set of continents. Cartographers still use a Latinized version of his first name, America, for the two continents.
In an action with enduring historical import, Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean and all the lands adjoining it for the Spanish Crown. Iberian Union These explorations were followed, notably in the case of Spain, by a phase of conquest: The Spaniards, having just finished the Reconquista of Spain from Muslim rule, were the first to colonize the Americas, applying the same model of governing their European holdings to their territories of the New World.
As in the Iberian Peninsulathe inhabitants of Hispaniola were given new landmasters, while religious orders handled the local administration. Progressively the encomienda system, which granted tribute access to indigenous labor and taxation to European settlers, was set in place.
A relatively common misconception is that a small number of conquistadores conquered vast territories, aided only by disease epidemics and their powerful caballeros. In fact, recent archaeological excavations have suggested a vast Spanish-Indian alliance numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
Two years later, Charles V signed the New Laws which replaced the Laws of Burgos of prohibiting slavery and the repartimientosbut also claiming as his own all the American lands and all of the indigenous people as his own subjects.
Painting depicting a Castas with his mixed-race daughter and his Mulatta wife by Miguel CabreraWhen Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter caetera bull in May granting the new lands to the Kingdom of Spainhe requested in exchange an evangelization of the people.
Thus, during Columbus 's second voyage, Benedictine friars accompanied him, along with twelve other priests. As slavery was prohibited between Christians, and could only be imposed in non-Christian prisoners of war or on men already sold as slaves, the debate on Christianization was particularly acute during the 16th century.
Inthe papal bull Sublimis Deus definitively recognized that Native Americans possessed souls, thus prohibiting their enslavement, without putting an end to the debate. Some claimed that a native who had rebelled and then been captured could be enslaved nonetheless.
The process of Christianization was at first violent: To reward their troops, the Conquistadores often allotted Indian towns to their troops and officers. Black African slaves were introduced to substitute for Native American labor in some locations—including the West Indieswhere the indigenous population was nearing extinction on many islands.
During this time, the Portuguese gradually switched from an initial plan of establishing trading posts to extensive colonization of what is now Brazil.
They imported millions of slaves to run their plantations. By the late 16th century American silver accounted for one-fifth of Spain's total budget.
They were sponsored by common stock companies such as the chartered Virginia Company financed by wealthy Englishmen who exaggerated the economic potential of this new land. The main purpose of this colony was the hope of finding gold.
The lack of food security leading to extremely high mortality rate was quite distressing and cause for despair among the colonists.The early s saw the beginning of a great tide of emigration from Europe to North America. Emigration from England often was not directly sponsored by the government but by private groups of individuals whose chief motive was profit.
Summary of the Colonial Period In the period between the landing of the English at Jamestown, Virginia, in , and the close of the French and Indian war in —a period of a century and a half—a new nation was being prepared on this continent to take its place among the powers of the earth.
Colonial America () The Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, December European nations came to the Americas to increase their wealth and broaden their influence over world affairs. The Spanish conquest of Latin America brought many important changes to Latin American society.
Spain sent royal governors or viceroys to rule the colonies in the king’s name. Gold and silver from the Americas were shipped to Spain, making it the strongest power in Europe in the 16th century.
The European colonization of the Americas describes the history of the settlement and establishment of control of the continents of the Americas by most of the naval powers of Western Europe. Twelve years after sending Cabot on a second but fatal voyage to America King Henry VII died, leaving the throne to his son, King Henry VIII.
Of course Henry VIII had more interest in marrying and executing wives and warring with France than in global expansion.