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English Colonization

By jcraddo1 Oct 05, 2005 644 Words
America is the most prevailing and dominant country of recent history. Much of America's success today can be attributed to the early settlements formed here by England. America had been explored and exploited by multiple countries before England finally got colonization and advancement right. The lack of English government intervention, the treatment of local Native Americans, and the location of settlements produced rapid establishment of a thriving Western culture on the continent. The English took a different approach to colonizing America compared to the previous settlers. Instead of government-funded exploration like the Spanish, the English colonization was started by a joint-stock company. James I chartered the Virginia Company. The Virginia Company was a group of stockholders who invested in hope to get rich from gold, wine, citrus fruits, olive oil, pitch, tar, potash, and other forest products needed for naval use. Owners of the joint-stock company appointed intelligent leaders. More joint-stock companies then arose to fund the further colonization of America. Another difference was that the English welcomed all in to their colonies, which included felons, members of the lowest classes, and foreigners. In contrast, Spanish settlers either destroyed or tried to convert foreigners. In the past, Spanish and French explorations were ruled by their home country. The centralized control imposed by the monarchs of Spain and France hindered innovation and responsiveness to changing surroundings and situations. It was almost impossible to rule their colonies from across the ocean, so the English granted the colonies the right of their own government. The governments being located in the Americas allowed for fast responsiveness to new challenges. Another excellent tactic to improve English colonization was the "headright" policy. This policy stated that any man that could transport himself to Virginia, could have fifty acres, and fifty more for any servants he may send or bring. The headright policy encouraged more and more settlers to travel to America. The more the English invested in America, the more they received in return. English settlers also diverged significantly from the Spanish emphasis on conquest and conversion. Spanish conquistadors believed in conquering and vanquishing all that they encountered, whereas the English embraced the Native Americans. Although English treatment was not always fair, it was always clever. If the English intended on harming an Indian tribe they would learn all they could from them, then attack. English settlers of New England adopted a different strategy for dealing with the Native Americans than that of the French and Dutch. The English were more interested in exploiting Indians rather than dealing on the same level. The English made their riches entirely from practices learned from the Indians, such as growing tobacco and fishing. Tobacco eventually turned in to one of the greatest cash crops of all time, and the English would not have benefited of this if not for their interaction with the Indians.

Another important aspect of the success of the colonies was that the English chose ideal sites for colonization. Unlike the Spanish and French, the English chose locations on easily accessible bodies of water. This allowed for increased communication and defense from England's powerful navy. Spanish and French searched for exotic things such as gold and silver, items that are easily exploitable and not permanent. English colonies were more suitable for settlement, rather than exploitation, so the colonies tended to be permanent.

Although Spanish and French colonies were somewhat successful, the English technique for colonizing the new word was far more efficient. Allowing the colonies to be funded by joint-stock companies provided better leadership and further advancement. Learning from the Indians not only helped the English but also saved them in times of need. Lastly, the English settlements were in prime locations allowing for superior communication and defense. All of these aspects of English colonization contribute to the success of America today.

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