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Looking back into history, at around the 1500s to the 1600s, people were very much the same in the sense that many countries were looking to aggrandize their economy and appear the greatest. It was this pride and thinking that motivated many of the superpowers of the world’s past. Two such monarchies in the European continent included England and Spain, which had at the time, the best fleets the world has ever seen. Because both were often striving to be the best, they conflicted with one another. Although England and Spain had their differences, they both had a thirst to see new things and it was this hunger that led them both to discovering different parts of the “New World” and thus, colonizing the Americas.
The Spaniards arrived at the Americas prior to the English. The Spanish mainly wanted to explore in the first place because after the Black Death, the population increased, and thus, so did the frequency of commerce. There was a sudden new interest in new products and the new strong monarchs who sponsored the journeys wanted to be more affluent. Therefore, explorers such as Christopher Columbus attempted to go west to target Asia. However, he ended up on Cuba and called the natives Indians. The Spanish soon started to consider the Americas less of a blockage and could now see it as a source of resources. In 1518, Cortes arrived into Mexico with his group of conquistadors, or conquerors, which is a proper name because the men after gold exterminated native areas using their military skills, brutality and greed to turn the Southern America into a vast Spanish empire. The smallpox the Spanish unknowingly carried also helped wipe many people out. When they saw the religious ceremonies of the Aztecs that produced many skulls, they thought of these people as savages and not entirely human. This of coarse was quite hypocritical because the Spanish have killed before during the Inquisition for their faith. It was this contempt that made them think it was all right to slaughter the natives. Spanish colonies were established when conquistadors had gotten a license to finance the expedition from the crown to fixture encomiendas. These encomiendas were basically Indian villages that became a source of labor. The Spanish dreamed of becoming wealthier from South America, but they also wanted a profitable agricultural economy and to spread their Catholic religion (the Pueblo Indians converted to Christianity), which became very important in the 1540s. New Mexico became a successful colony in which the Spanish demanded tribute from the local Indians. When the Pueblos tried to revolt and drove the conquerors out, they returned in 1696 and crushed the revolt. The Spanish empire came to consist of the Caribbean, Coastal South America, and Southern North America.
The colonial system of Spain used to be independent and more about ventures. However, the monarchy of Spain made a hierarchical system in which the authority extended into the government of local communities and so colonists were not to establish any political institutions without the crown’s consent. On the other hand, the British would be much less restrained. The English developed a system where the English queen played an unimportant role. There were also economic differences of what was to come with the English. The Spaniards were more for getting “treasures” from American colonies and therefore, they spent less time and energy on trade and agriculture which would prove to be less effective in the long run because the gold would eventually run out. Since the Spanish were very protective against piracy and only allowed only one colony ship to go through the Spanish ports and only two fleets to go to the colonies, economic development was hindered. Yet the English produced a larger amount of commercial products that would sustain their economy long after the gold and silver were reduced. Also in comparison, the British of North America concentrated heavily on permanent settling, family life, and also outnumbered the natives by far. Despite the diseases the Spanish gave off, the ratio of the Natives to them was much larger. However, the line between the Natives and the Spanish were less clear compared to that of the English because over time, men craved family and female companions and so married, whereas in the English colonies, intermarriage was rare.
England had somewhat other reasons dissimilar to those of the Spanish to colonize. It was mainly many of the civilians, and less of the explorer’s ideals to leave because Tudor England had gone through many costly wars, religious persecution ( Queen Mary executed protestants and Queen Elizabeth then took that faith back) that left the people confused and doubting in their faith, and above all, the enclose movement(enclosing farm land together to boost economy) that took away farms from people. This left many without pay and no food. Another reason for leaving was so England could have a wider variety of commerce. Several merchant companies had already formed in monopolies, such as the East India Company of 1600. Investors made money from exchanging exotic products. By then, England followed mercantilism, which supported colonialism because the motto was to export a little and to gain a lot. Acquiring colonies was seen as getting necessities they would otherwise have to buy. Other people of England also supported colonies being established in the New world because they saw it as a simple yet, ingenious way to get rid of the superfluous, and at times, the poverty stricken population.
Before the English settled in North America, they settled in Ireland. On the other hand, Spain has primarily colonized in the Americas. The English suppressed the Irish natives and because they did not understand their “primitive” ways, the English chose to stay separate from them. This concept was taken to the New World. Unlike Spain, the English tried to build their own society instead of ruling a foreign one. Under the leadership of Queen Elizabeth I and England’s nationalism that promoted expansion, Jamestown became the first permanent settlement in North America. Like the Spaniards, the colony was not achieved on the first visit to the New World. Sir Walter Raleigh, with the queen’s approval, established the state of Virginia (the virgin queen) and sent settlers to make a colony, which came to be named Roanoke. However, when a few men left to England and came back in a few years due to a holdup because of conflicts with Spain, no one was found in the colony. It is still a mystery to this day what happened with the Roanoke colonists. It is theorized that the Indians murdered them because the English, like the Spanish, had also been cruel to the natives for the land.
It is obvious to see that much of history would have been changed if it were not for the Age of Exploration. The seemingly economy driven expeditions of the English and the Spanish actually altered the face of the world because colonies were developed in which not only would be beneficial for money, but would also be called home for the next centuries to come for foreigners from Europe. The colonization of both Spain in South America and England in North America were alike in that both were done to secure a better productive commercial future but also because of the way they viewed the natives. They saw the “Indians” as inhuman beings and treated them unfairly as if they were the alienated group. However, England and Spain hold many differences in terms of the New World as well. The Spanish went strictly for gold and the fame of exploration at first whereas the English civilians thought they would benefit if they left to go to a “Utopia”, as they heard of it. The English lived separately from the natives while the Spanish insisted on ruling the South Americans. Although there are many differences between the Spanish encomiendas and the English colonies, the basic idea of much cultural exchange is the same, for as it is seen, it is rare to see Native Americans in North America and to see non Spanish speaking people in South America.
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"Spaniards Vs. English Colonization." 123HelpMe.com. 29 Apr 2016