Americas Essay

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It was once stated that, "With the dawn of the 16th century, there came together in Europe both the motivation and the means to explore and colonize territory across the seas." This means that, once hearing the word of new land across the Atlantic, European countries were in competition among each other in claiming the land. This holds true in countries such as England, France, Portugal, and Spain. They all used religion, trade, and technology to help with the exploration and colonization of parts of the world.

Spain and Portugal led the initial onslaught to the New World. Spain and Portugal's technology was far ahead than other's in Europe. They studied, copied, and improved the designs of Arab vessels, used compasses and astrolabes, and mounted cannons on decks. Both had new military technology. The Portuguese exploration was encouraged by Prince Henry the Navigator. Some famous explorers were Bartholomeu Diaz, Vasco de Gama, and Amerigo Vespucci. All were looking to find the spice route to India and only Vasco de Gama was able to reach it in 1498. Portugal eventually was successful in having trade stations in India, Africa, China, and the East Indies. Christopher Columbus' exploration in 1492 was encouraged by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Columbus' motives were to spread the word of Christianity and find wealth, mostly in gold. He landed in the Americas four times and southern portions of the Bahamas. He later moved to Hispanola were he could trade with the Arawoks. Some of the famous Spanish explorers were Vasco Balboa, Ferdinand Magellan, Ponce de Leon, and Francisco Coronado. By 1519, Spain became so successful in claiming land they gained little economically; so Indians were enslaved by invaders. They contributed to building schools, hospitals, and printing presses established by missionaries in the Americas. Some of the long- term impacts left from the Spanish were intermarriages, empires stretching from California and Florida to the tip of South...
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