Colonization of the New World

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  • Topic: Spain, Christopher Columbus, Americas
  • Pages : 9 (3457 words )
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  • Published : September 24, 2012
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Colonization of the New World

The discovery and colonization of the “New World” was one of the most significant and influential events in the known history of mankind. It has shaped our present by changing the course of our past and is a time of such great significance that it would be all but impossible to understand today without at least some comprehension of the why's of yesterday. What was it that drove such a myriad of people to risk so much to tame the wild and vast lands we now know as and call the Americas. What were the reasons, motivations, causes, events, and possibilities that captured the minds and hearts of so many different peoples from such divers backgrounds? What led them to leave their friends, families, and homes, to face such challenges, hardships, and uncertainties this New World had to offer? There is no quick or simple answer that can be given. Nor is there any single prevailing reason general enough in scope or comprehensive enough in nature that could encompass all groups, all nations, and all individuals at all times. In order to even begin to efficiently address this question one would need to analyze all primary source materials available examining singularly each group's, each nation's, and each individual's given reasons that led them to make the decision to be a colonist within the particular time periods they made them. The more comprehensively one is able answer this question the greater their understanding of today will be. However to so thoroughly and comprehensively address such an enormous topic spanning so many generations, so many cultures, so many societies, through so many centuries, and involving so many different characters would be a monumental task that is beyond the scope of an essay. Therefore it is necessary to limit the focus of this discussion and narrow the subject matter to that which is more relevant to the colonization and development of the North American continent and to understand anything it is usually best to just start at the beginning. this beginning lies with those initial explorers that discovered a new land and determined to tame it. After months of being at sea and on the verge of mutiny and despair the crews of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria sighted land and on October 12, 1492 Christopher Columbus set foot on an island beach which would later become known as the Bahamas. Columbus a map maker had for years unsuccessfully searched for financing to attempt to find a sea route to the orient. Columbus believed that the world was not flat but round and that by sailing west he would arrive in the east. This was not new knowledge for mankind but rather it was ancient knowledge that was lost during the period known as the dark ages and rediscovered by Europeans during this period. Portugal being the prominent sea-faring nation initially appeared to be Columbus' best option for raising the money needed for shipbuilding. The Portuguese had claimed that what he proposed was impossible and after years of disappointment and broken promises he was finally compelled to turn to Spain for provision. He appealed to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. They were intrigued despite all their adviser’s and seamen's claims that it was impossible. Isabella and Ferdinand desired to break the Italian monopoly on spices and goods from the east and despite being skeptical decided to support the venture. Little did they know at the time the impact that decision would have on humanity. What could have been the reason or reasons that would lead Columbus to risk so much to attempt something so uncertain? In a journal, he wrote, “It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel His hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies.…There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because he comforted me with rays of marvelous illumination from the Holy Scriptures.”[1] However as is the case with most things...
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