By: Tyler Thomas
In the late fifteenth century England became aware that there was a land to the west, the “New World”. They saw it as a way to control their, ever growing, population and a way to earn more money. It wasn’t until the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that England was capable of settling the Americas. New inventions allowed English seamen to travel on a straighter course to their destination, find their position in the middle of the ocean, and protect themselves from the native Americans that inhabited the new world. Also, technology in means of mass communication was improved upon.
Europeans loved exotic spices from the East Indies, but the traditional route was very dangerous, expensive, and took many long years. Well, in 1492 Christopher Columbus went out on a search for the Spice Islands but he didn’t take the traditional route, he went west in search of a cheaper way. He was at sea for a month before he landed on the shore of what he thought was the Spice Islands, in actuality he landed on the shore of the New World! He holds the record for the most successful accident ever. After the British heard of the discovery they thought of all of the possibilities in the New World. The English population started to grow at an extreme rate and they needed a place for many of their people to go to. Also, for the colonists, there was a vast amount of fertile land perfect for farmers to make money. Another reason the English wanted to come to the Americas was because in England primogeniture, or the first born son took all of his father’s land as inheritance, so the younger brothers wanted to come to the New World to start a new life and get land of their own. Many technological advances had to be made before the English could go to the New World. For example the English ships had to sail in the general direction of the wind, but when the Caravel was invented seamen could sail more closely into the wind. When the astrolabe and the mariner’s compass were invented sailors could get accurate readings on where they were in the water in comparison to the latitude and direction they were going in. Also, when the Chinese invented gunpowder it began an entire new era of weapons. Now the English men could go to the Americas armed with strong guns that over power the Native Americans’ bow and arrows. The one thing that was used that didn’t help fight battles or sail across the water was the printing press. It allowed information and knowledge to be spread much faster and easier. From the time Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas to the time the British landed, so many advances in technology took place. Now they are able to sail into the wind and navigate the seas to find their destination. The printing press only made it easier for the English to organize themselves and gather a crew to come to the New World. Also, gunpowder allowed the settlers to be safe upon their arrival. And when England’s lust for the New World is settled, what can go wrong. It isn’t like the colonist want to form their own country.