Chapter 2: The Planting of English America, 1500-1733
A. England’s Imperial Stirrings
1. After Columbus’s landfall, the Native American peoples had nearly been extinguished mostly from disease (only about 10% survived) 2. From Florida and New Mexico southward, most of the southern half of the New World lay firmly within the grip of imperial Spain 3. In 1600, North America remained mostly unexplored and unclaimed a. Three European powers planted three primitive outposts in three distant corners of the continent within three years of one another b. The Spanish at Santa Fe in 1610, the French at Quebec in 1608, and the English at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 4. England had taken little interest in establishing its own overseas colonies during the early 16th century because of religious conflict when King Henry VIII launched the English Protestant Reformation a. Catholics battled Protestants for years and balance of power shifted b. After the Protestant Elizabeth ascended to the English throne in 1558, Protestantism became dominant in England and a rivalry with Catholic Spain intensified (Ireland became early scene of rivalry) 5. The Catholic Irish sought help from Catholic Spain to overthrow the new Protestant English queen but the Spanish aid never really helped 6. Elizabeth’s troops crushed the Irish and the English crown confiscated Catholic Irish lands and planted them with new Protestant landlords B. Elizabeth Energizes England
1. English buccaneers sought to promote the twin goals of Protestantism and plunder by seizing Spanish treasure ships and raiding Spanish settlements, even though England and Spain were at peace (the most famous was Francis Drake who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth) 2. The coast of Newfoundland was the site of the first English attempt at colonization but collapsed when promoter Sir Humphrey Gilbert lost his life at sea in 1583—the dream inspired his gallant half brother a. Sir Walter Raleigh organized a group of settlers who landed in 1585 on North Carolina’s Roanoke Island, off the coast of Virginia, a region named by the Virgin Queen Elizabeth in honor of herself b. With Raleigh busy at home, the Roanoke colony suddenly vanished 3. The English failures at colonization contrasted embarrassingly with the glories of the Spanish Empire, whose profits were enriching Spain beyond its ambitious dreams; Philip II of Spain, foe of the Protestant Reformation used his imperial gains to amass an Invincible Armada a. Preparing to invade England, in 1588, the lumbering Spanish flotilla arrived at the English Channel and using swifter, more maneuverable, and more able manned ships, they inflicted heavy damage on the cumbersome overladen Spanish ships b. The defeat of the Spanish Armada marked the beginning of the end of Spanish imperial dreams but the New World empire would last 4. When the Spanish Netherlands secured their independence, much of the Spanish Caribbean slipped from Spain’s grasp to Holland; it was obvious that Spain had overreached itself, seeds of its own decline 5. England’s victory over the Spanish Armada marked a red-letter day in American history; it dampened Spain’s spirit and helped ensure England’s naval dominance in the North Atlantic (master of oceans) 6. England now displayed many characteristics that Spain displayed on the eve of its colonizing adventure a century earlier a. A strong, unified national state under a popular monarch b. A measure of religious unity after a protracted struggle c. A vibrant sense of nationalism existing in the state 7. A flowering of the English national spirit bloomed in the wake of the Spanish Armada’s defeat; a golden age of literature dawned 8. The English were seized with restlessness with curiosity about the unknown and everywhere a new spirit of self-confidence, of vibrant patriotism, and of boundless...
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