Most of the powerful Western European Nations became involved in exploration of the Americas. Spain started the trend with the exploration of Columbus. Observers realized that Columbus had not discovered Spice Islands south of China, but a whole new world to the Europeans. Expeditions of exploration in search of wealth were the first action of the explorers of the new land. Immediate metal wealth was not found in the Caribbean Islands, but it was found later on the Americas mainland. England was then enticed to claim land for itself, and claimed the lands of North America and benefited from early trading posts. Spain and England both participated in the exploration and colonization of the Americas, but their ambitions were different based upon the surrounding environment.
Spain focused its exploration on the lands surrounding the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific link on the Western coast of South America. Like the English, the indigenous people of the acted friendly towards the Spanish explorers, then resisted after unjust massacres occurred. This common reaction comes with the part of human nature that accepts others, and rejects them after they have participated in undesirable actions. Similar to the English, the Spanish also colonized the lands of the new world and developed large cities, which served as political and economic centers. The geography of Central and South America contributed greatly to the amount of metals and valuable resources that were extracted from the ground and from the artifacts of the natives.
Unlike the English, the Spanish employed Viceroys, or officials to rule the new world to keep order. These Viceroys reported directly to the king, and could be removed from office by a court of lawyers. These rulers were essential to the vast, spread out landmass that the Spanish conquered. Encompassing many different cultures such as the Aztec and the Inca, it was essential for the Spanish to have powerful political figures to run the government in the place of a king. The English however, relied on direct ties to the royalty of England to run their colonies.
The English explored the colder, less metal rich region of North America. Although North America lacked in valuable metals, it was the source of furs that would revolutionize the European economy. The English were similar in their economic views of establishing permanent colonies after the wealth of the trapping of beavers was extracted. Located within North America were greatly diffused native populations of different tribes.
This did not lend well to missionary work, or laborers. Unlike the Spanish, the English did not breed with the indigenous people, and they received slaves from Africa to satisfy their labor needs. But similarly to the Spanish, the English contributed a large amount of their revenue created in the Americas to add wealth to their kings, and to expand the size and power of their armies.
Overall, the Spanish and English shared many economic goals in expansion and exploration. However, their political structure and social organization differed from the environmental conditions and the personal cultural views. The establishment in political, social, and economic centers of power was a parallel evolution between these two country’s colonies, as is the enrichment of their country’s treasury and power.
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