English vs. Spanish Colonization

Topics: Colonialism, Spanish colonization of the Americas, Slavery Pages: 6 (944 words) Published: November 30, 2014
Bailey Kargo! IB HOTA 3rd period

English vs. Spanish Colonization

From 1500 to 1700, the English colonization of the Chesapeake region and the Spanish

colonization of the Central/South American region varied greatly in their primary motivations for

settlement and the lasting effects imprinted into both societies. The English motives in settling

the Chesapeake region were more economically-based, seeking greater economic opportunity

and employment, while the Spanish effort took on a more religious approach that ended up

having long-term effects on the way their culture and society developed. The effects both

colonies felt differed in many ways, primarily due to the varying motivational influences felt by

the English and the Spanish. However, similarities in colonial motivations and cultural impacts

were present between both societies.

English colonization of the Chesapeake region revolved around economic gain and

opportunity that colonizers believed could be found in the New World. Overcrowding in England

led to a desire for expansion and better employment options for English settlers. Rumors of gold

discovery in the New World also spurred an intense frenzy that English colonizers sought to

pursue, resulting in the development of societies poorly suited for colonial life when gold was

never found. On the other hand, Spanish colonization of Central and South America began with

the Spanish conquistadors, who used the saying "God, Gold, and Glory" to describe their

motivations for colonization. The dominant motivational force for the Spanish was the religious

aspect, where conquistadors sought to spread Christianity throughout Central and South

America. The "Glory" prospect was heightened by the yearning for Spain's dominance over the

Western Hemisphere, which was thought to be obtained through unifying native peoples through

Bailey Kargo! IB HOTA 3rd period the Christian religion. Similar to one aspect of English motivations, the Spanish also sought to

find gold and riches that they thought the New World had to offer. When Christopher Colombus

returned from his expedition to the New World, he reported to the Spanish crown his confidence

in the quest for wealth in this new land. He described his encounters with the natives where they

traded him gold for various items, and even claimed he saw gold in the rivers. This fueled the

Spanish obsession in their ultimate quest for wealth and riches.

The effects of settling the Chesapeake region reflected the English economic motivations

for colonization there. When the Jamestown Colony was founded in 1607, settlers found

themselves ill-prepared for establishing a structured colony, especially when they were solely

prepared for discovering gold. The Jamestown Colony struggled immensely at first due to lack of

supplies and skills needed to create the foundations of a colonial society. However, John Rolfe's

introduction of tobacco to the region completely transformed the economy and played a key role

in saving the Jamestown colony. Tobacco became a booming industry and plantation owners

needed more workers for cheap labor. As a result, African slaves were introduced into the

population to meet these needs, stimulating a new industry: the slave trade. The successful

tobacco economy was also capable of financing the importation of indentured servants, which

also played a major role in the labor force and became an integral part of the Chesapeake's

economy. Wealthy landowners were now able to have more help on their plantations and have

access to more land, while servants now had the ability to own land and create a name for

themselves among the colonies.

Unlike English colonization, Spanish colonization in the Americas completely decimated

native populations. The introduction of European diseases, particularly smallpox,...
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