Chapter Exploration of American Colonization

Chapter Exploration of American Colonization

Chapter Exploration of American Colonization

Europe towards Exploration of the New Land

Until the 15th century nobody knew that there was a continent across the Atlantic. The first and most famous of these explorers was Christopher Columbus whose voyage of exploration finally brought the Americans and Europeans in contact. Columbus was born in 1447 in Genoa, Italy; he was a son of a wool comber. Christopher Columbus, a Genoese sailor, believed that sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean was the shortest sea route to Asia. Ignorant of the fact that the Western Hemisphere lay between Europe and Asia and assuming the earth’s circumference to be a third less than it actually is, he was convinced that Japan would appear on the horizon just three thousand miles to the west. Like other seafarers of his day.

Christopher Columbus

Columbus was ready to sail for whatever country would pay for his voyage. Either because of his arrogance (he wanted ships and crews to be provided at no expense to himself) or ambition (he insisted on governing the lands he discovered), he found it difficult to find a patron. With influential supporters at court, Columbus convinced King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain to

partially underwrite his expedition. In 1492, Granada, the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian Peninsula, had fallen to the forces of the Spanish monarchs.

Voyages of Columbus

  • 1st voyage, 1492: San Salvador, The Bahamas, Cuba, Hispaniola
  • 2nd voyage, 1493: Dominica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica
  • 3rd voyage, 1498: St. Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad, Margarita, Venezuela
  • 4th voyage, 1502: St. Lucia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama

Once Columbus landed in America he discovered that there were already civilizations living in America. He named the Native of America as Red Indians, thinking that he had landed in India and those peoples are Indian.

Native Americans

Before Europeans there were four civilizations living in America and they were

  •  Red Indians
  •  Mayas
  •  Aztecs
  •  Incas

John Cabot

John Cabot of Venice came five years later on a mission for the king of England. His journey was quickly forgotten, but it provided the basis for British claims to North America.

Name of America in Beginning

  • New World
  • Strange Land
  • Golden Land

Name of America

After the death of Columbus in 1506, Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian navigator, sailed extensively along the American coast and is considered to be the first to realize that the Indies were in fact a ―New World‖ and not part of Asia. The first map that identified known parts of the Western Hemisphere as ―America, after Vespucci, was published in 1507.

Colonization in the New Continent

The Spanish established the first permanent European settlement to become the United States in the middle 1500s at St. Augustine in Florida. However, it would not play a part in the formation of the new nation. That story took place in settlements farther north along the Atlantic coast in Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, and the 10 other areas colonized by a growing tide of immigrants from Europe.

Treaty of Tordesillas

Columbus returned from his first voyage, they persuaded Pope Alexander VI to issue an edict giving Spain all lands west of an imaginary line through the Atlantic. Through the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), the two countries agreed to move the line further west and give Portugal exclusive right to the territory to the east. Although the result of the shift was unknown at the time, the change put the eastern quarter of South America (Brazil) in the Portuguese sphere

Colonial Period

Most settlers who came to the British colonies in the 1600s were English. Others came from The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, and later from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Some left their homelands to escape war, political oppression, religious persecution, or a prison sentence. Some left as servants who expected to work their way to freedom. Black Africans were sold into slavery and arrived in shackles.

By 1690, the population was 250,000. Less than 100 years later, it had climbed to 2.5 million. The settlers had many different reasons for coming to America, and eventually 13 distinct colonies developed here.

Causes of Colonization

  1. Improvement in Technology

In Europe, there occurred a rebirth of classical learning. Columbus and other navigators lived in the time when the creativity was vitally at the peak and navigator and mariners were being financed to find out the shortest and safest routes to Asia.  Europeans were improving in technology from gun powder to the sailing compass. There were also major improvements in ship building and map makings.

  1. Renaissance in Europe

The Europeans now were making progress in every field of life and were keenly involve in learning and exploring. The technology of printing press after 1450 also spread the knowledge across Europe which played a very important role in educating the common man in Europe.

  1. Religious Conflicts in Europe

The later years of renaissance were a time of religious zeal and conflict in Europe. The dominant Roman Catholic culture was threatened by Othman empire while the Protestants revolted against the pope‘s authorities in Rome led to a series of war between Protestants and Catholic Christians. The reforms by Protestants were known as Protestants Reformation.

  1. Expanding trade

Europe were dependant on Asian for trade, herbs and agriculture therefore they were in extensive need to find any other route to Asia.

  1. Search for New Routes

To maintain the trade relation with Asia Europeans wanted to find out the shortest possible root which can again connect them to the sub-continent. They started financing navigators for exploration of new sea routes, which ultimately led them to the discovery of America. Although in 1448 Vasco De Gama was the 1st person to reach India by the route of Africa.

  1. Pressure of population

“15million Peoples were living in Europe before America”

  1. Trade and Agriculture

Since Europe is not an agrarian continent therefore it heavily depends on the agriculture of Asia to fulfill the demands for their huge population. But the discovery of America gives them a land where they were able to cultivate the crops themselves with ideal weather and big rivers i.e. Mississippi and Missouri.

  1. Desire for wealth

By the time, Golden Land‖ was another important factor leading toward the colonization of the New Land.

  1. Imperial Race

The Imperial powers of Europe were in race of having more and more land of America. Although, the country with most colonies and vast majority of land was considered to be a super power.

  1. Royal Proclamation

Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, between Spain and Dutch republic by which each state would have the right to determine the religion of his own state and also colonial claims were adjusted

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