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Irwin Week 1 Chapter 1-2A European Colonization of the Americas Spanish, English & French Exploration of the Americas
Main Idea: After 1492, the Spanish began building an empire in the Americas, and in the 1600s, France established fur-trading posts in present-day Canada. In 1607, the English began establishing colonies along the Atlantic Coast. Considering the Spanish, French and the English, you will learn that each nation had its own perspective on the worth and value of the Americas, and each nation had its own approach to tapping into the perceived wealth of the Americas. Spanish Exploration In 1565, Spain established the colony of St. Augustine on the Atlantic coast of Florida. One year earlier, The French had set up Ft. Caroline, slightly to the north. With the help of two Native American guides, Spaniards from St. Augustine marched on Ft. Caroline. They killed all the French inhabitants and destroyed Ft. Caroline. Before they left, the Spaniards hung dead bodies from trees with signs referring to the French Protestants as “heretics.” Side Note: Part of the United States since 1819 (as the result of the Adams-Onis Treaty, when Spain sold Florida to the U.S. (Chapter 3)), today, St. Augustine is considered the oldest continuously settled city in the United States. The action of the Spaniards at Ft. Caroline illustrates the fierce competition that existed between the major powers of Europe, in regards to colonizing in the Americas. It also gives us good insight into the mindset of the Spanish during this period of history. As a nation, Spain was a very strongly religious country. As Spain launched its exploration campaigns, the missions of the men who sailed west to the Americas, were for “God, gold, and glory.” • • • God – The Spaniards wanted to spread their version of the Christian religion (Catholicism). gold – Spain was seeking riches of gold and silver that in turn could help to make it a more powerful nation. glory – Spanish explorers were interested in establishing great reputations.
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The Encomienda System: The Spanish created colonies establishing an encomienda system, under which Native Americans were forced to work, for the profit of an individual Spaniard. Encomienda – A system of production that the Spaniards imposed upon the natives of North America. Under this system, natives farmed, ranched, or mined for Spanish landlords. The landlords took the bulk of the fruits of the labor for themselves. The Spanish landlords were supposed to provide for the well being of the natives, but have been accused of maltreatment of the local people. Spanish Conquistadors: Spanish conquistadors explored the southern areas of what later became the United States, setting up forts for protection and building religious missions to help convert the native people to Christianity. Conquistador – In the wake of Columbus’ discoveries, Spanish explorers took to the seas in search of new territories for Spain. They were looking for gold, silver and other items of value. The conquistadors conquered much of the Americas. Major Spanish Explorers of the Americas and their Accomplishments: • 1513 - Juan Ponce de Leon – Discovered and named Florida (was searching for the legendary “Fountain of Youth”). • • 1513 - Vasco Nunez de Balboa – First Spaniard to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific over land. He crossed at the Isthmus of Panama. 1519 – 1521 - Hernan Cortes, with 600 soldiers and the assistance of thousands of various Native American tribes, conquered the Aztecs (present day central Mexico). 1532 – 1534 - Francisco Pizarro – Conquered the Incas (present day Peru, South America). 1528 - Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca – Explored the Texas gulf coast region. 1540 – 1542 – Francisco Vasquez de Coronado – Traveled between present day Texas and Kansas. 1539 – Hernan De Soto – Started out in Florida and is believed to have been the first Spaniard to cross the Mississippi River. 1598 – Juan de Onate – Established New Mexico (at that time, it included parts of present day Arizona and Texas).
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For the most part, Spanish explorers did not find the riches that they were seeking in the northern parts of the Americas (present day United States). As the result, few Spanish immigrants settled in the present day U.S. during the 1500s or 1600s. The Spanish government believed that Florida was a land of strategic value, so it encouraged settlement and development there. Spanish Missionaries: After the Conquistadors secured the various territories, Spanish Catholic missionaries were sent by the church to convert the native populations to Christianity. Although not occurring until much later, San Diego is part of the presidio system of missionary churches that were established in California to Christianize the local population. Mestizos: Mainly in areas, south of present day U.S., because the Spanish and the Native Americans lived together on the same land, eventually, a population of “mestizos,” or mixed people developed. ______________________________________________________________________ English Exploration The primary motivation for English exploration to the west of Europe was to find a trade route to Asia. Major English Explorers of the Americas and their Accomplishments: • 1497 - John Cabot – The first known English explorer to cross the Atlantic. In a quest to find the “Northwest Passage” to Asia, it is believed that he reached present day Newfoundland, Canada. • • 1576 – 1578 - Sir Martin Frobisher – In search of the “Northwest Passage” explored Newfoundland and Labrador. 1609 - Henry Hudson – Made voyages for the English and the Dutch. On his third voyage, in 1609, He sailed 150 miles up the Hudson River (named after him) in present day New York. When he realized that he had not found the Northwest Passage, he turned back. 1577 – 1580 - Sir Francis Drake – Sailed around the world. Made his way into San Francisco Bay, and explored the western coast of present day Canada . Drake was later commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I, a Protestant, to attack Spanish ships (as Spain was a Catholic nation). The idea was to rob and sink Spanish ships. In this capacity, Drake was operating as a Privateer (sometimes called “Sea Dog”).
Privateer - An independent captain with his own ship, hired by the English government to attack, rob and sink foreign ships. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 3 of 6
English Colonies By the late 1500s, the English government decided that there were several good reasons to try to establish colonies in America. 1. To establish a base for English privateers. 2. To establish a base to continue searching for the “Northwest Passage.” 3. English merchants believed that colonies in America could become buyers of their products. 4. The possibility of establishing American colonies was viewed as a way to put the unemployed and unfortunate to work. Sir Walter Raleigh – Was given a “patent” by Queen Elizabeth I to claim and colonize a huge area of land in North America (for England), that ended up being approximately 1/5 the size of the current 48 contiguous states! In 1584, he sent a small reconnaissance fleet to the Outer Banks of present day North Carolina. They returned with a positive report that included a description of “most gentle, loving and faithful Indians.” Raleigh named this new land Virginia, after Queen Elizabeth I, who was sometimes referred to as the “Virgin Queen.” 1st attempt to establish an Outer Banks Colony - In 1585, Raleigh sent Sir Richard Grenville with a small group of settlers to establish a colony in what is today, the Carolina Outer Banks. One year later, these people were starving and trying to find passage back to England. 2nd attempt to establish an Outer Banks Colony - In 1587, Raleigh sent three ships and 117 men, women, and children to establish an Outer Banks colony. This time, they settled on Roanoke, one of many small Outer Bank islands. After experiencing a shortage of supplies, John White, leader of the colony, sailed back to England to get what was needed to sustain the colony. Upon his return, in 1590, he found the word Croatoan carved into a tree, but not a trace of the settlers. To this day, no one really knows what happened to the settlers of Roanoke! Joint-Stock Companies In 1605, two English companies were formed; the Virginia Company of London, and the Plymouth Company. These companies were funded by investors who would put up money, in return for shares of stock in the company (which they hoped would increase in value). We call companies that raised money in this fashion, joint-stock companies.
The Virginia Company was granted a charter to colonize southern Virginia, while the Plymouth Company was given rights to develop in northern Virginia. Jamestown, Virgina – In December, 1606, 144 settlers, including the wealthy, as well as the poor (who would have to go over as indentured servants), boarded three ships, the Susan Constant, the Discovery, and the Goodspeed. www.mirwin.weebly.com page 4 of 6
Thirty-nine people perished on the way. Consequently, the colony of Jamestown was established with the remaining 105 settlers. Building a triangular fort at the mouth of a river that they named the James (in honor of their King James), the colony was officially established in May, 1607. Jamestown became the first successful English colony in North America. Initially, half of the Jamestown settlers died from sicknesses, including malaria. The settlers sought help from the local Native Americans, and received it. For Jamestown, the year 1609 was called “the starving time.” During this bleak time, Captain John Smith took charge of the colony, and saved many people from dying of starvation. He set down the rule that “if you don’t work, you don’t eat!” Captain Smith was able to get on friendly terms with the Indian chief, Powhatan. Through his relationship with Powhatan, he was able to get some very badly needed food, mainly corn and yams, for the settlers. After the “starving period,” the colony began farming tobacco. Tobacco plantations were established. The primary labor force for this endeavor was indentured servants. Pocahontas – Even though the nearby Indians helped the settlers of Jamestown, the relationship was somewhat strained. A war could have broken out at any time. Some historians believe that in 1613, Captain Samuel Argall kidnapped Indian princess, Pocahontas, and took her to Jamestown as a hostage (she was the daughter of Algonquian Indian Chief, Powhatan). If this story is true, it is believed that Pocahontas quickly learned the language and the culture of the English, and ended up marrying tobacco planter, John Rolfe, in 1614. The marriage is supposed to have resulted in eight years of peace between the Jamestown settlers and the Native Americans, which would have helped Jamestown to grow and prosper, mainly through its cultivation of tobacco. Indentured Servant – People who work for a certain period of time in exchange for passage. Historians believe that between 100,000 – 150,000 men and women came over as indentured servants to work in the fields of Virginia and Maryland during the 1600s. Most of them were between the age of 18 – 22 years old, unmarried, and poor. 1676 - Bacon’s Rebellion – Very early in colonial history there are accounts of dissatisfaction between English settlers and local governors, as well as clashes between English settlers and Native Americans. Bacon’s Rebellion is a historical event that incorporates elements of both conflicts. By the 1670s, the Governor of Virginia was William Berkeley. In frontier areas of Virginia, farmers were having conflicts with Native Americans. Berkeley proposed the idea of building forts that could house soldiers, who in turn could be dispatched to protect farmers. To pay for the expense of the forts and the soldiers, Berkeley imposed a tax on the farmers. Many of the farmers were white men, just recently out of
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indentured servitude. They argued that they were struggling to make it, and could not afford to pay an increase in taxes. A young farmer named Nathaniel Bacon (who was actually a cousin to Berkeley), put together his own army and began fighting Native Americans on the frontier. Governor Berkeley responded by declaring Bacon a rebel. In September of 1676, Bacon and his men marched on Jamestown. They had a list of grievances, including the lack of frontier protection, and a perceived lack of representation in Virginia’s colonial legislature, the House of Burgess. When the demands of Bacon and his men were not met, they set fire to Jamestown, and burned it to the ground. Eventually order was restored. Soon after the march on Jamestown, Bacon died suddenly in October, 1676. Without his leadership this farmers’ movement ended. - End of Lecture -
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