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History of Early North American Colonies Essay

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The European conquest for establishing North American colonies began with various motivations, each dependent on different, and/or merging necessities: economics, the desire to flee negative societal aspects, and the search for religious freedoms. Originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 in search for a trade route to Cathay (China), North America remained uninhabited, excluding the Native American establishments. Following this discovery, Spain –along with other European nations such as France, England, Sweden and the Netherlands– soon began the expedition to the new land with vast expectations. Driven by economic, societal, and religious purposes, the New World developed into a diversely structured colonial establishment consisting of (by 1733) the principal mainland’s Virginia, New Amsterdam (New York), Plymouth, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Sweden (Delaware), North and South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and lastly Georgia.
Curiosity, coupled with the desire for economic accomplishments, attracted settlers searching for wealth in the New World. With the discovery of gold and silver in Spain, for instance, young, white males immigrated to the New World eager for prosperity around 1600-1650. Ironically, the same gold and silver which attracted immigrants for wealth, also led to inflation in Spain which ultimately weakened the Spanish nation. Noticing the deteriorating hold Spain had upon on the New World, England emerged from a once passive position of “privateers,” to actual colonization. The search for economic superiority continued, yet with at first, failed attempts – Roanoke Island, for instance. However, with the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, and the succes...


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... and societal freedoms continued to attracted settlers from various countries. Still developing, these colonies formed their own identity, at times violating the very reason for immigration: to escape the ties of religious regulations. Upholding personal beliefs over the emergence of new ideas, and the possibility of losing others to another faith spurred the controversy to expel those threatening the colony. As a result, one could not attain complete religious freedom. Instead, families formed based on common belief, or aspirations: those with the desire for land, and large farming moved to the Carolina’s, while those wishing for a Puritan society moved to Massachusetts. The traveling of family immigrants, coupled with the desire for success allowed the immigrants to find new life in the uncharted territory, and as a whole, establish a unique structural identity.



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