In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, European nations were eager to explore and colonize the New World. Some wished to explore because they wanted to find a more efficient route to Asia, some had the desire to increase their empire’s size and control even more land, some nations wanted to spread their religious beliefs, some were hoping that the New World would have abundant natural resources that would bring them great wealth; regardless of their motivation, their efforts did result in one thing: the lives of the Native Americans who resided on the North and South American continents were permanently changed, some for the better, most for the worst. Two of the main nations who were eager to explore were Spain and France; they both interacted with the aboriginal tribes that resided on North America differently. The Spanish were brutal, demolishing entire civilizations, forcing them to become slaves that’s work in the mines, and erasing the local religions, attempting to replace the “savage” indigenous beliefs with Christianity. The French’s interactions weren’t as harsh, they allied themselves with the tribes and traded with them, they also tried converting them to Christianity.
God, gold, glory: these were the three main elements that motivated the influential Spanish Empire to explore the New World in the early sixteenth century. The Spaniards, who explored the New World, primarily southern and southwestern North America, were entitled conquistadors, meaning conqueror in Spanish. One of the most famed conquistadors was Hernán Cortés, who, upon his arrival in Mexico in 1519, was thought to be the god Quetzalcoatl, by the Aztecs; since the natives presumed he was a...
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...onization efforts at first, managed to establish several lasting settlements in New France, convert Native Americans, and greatly profit off of the fur industry.
The Spanish and French were two of the three most prominent European powers to colonize North America. The Spanish eradicated many native populations and, economically, focused heavily on finding gold, which resulted in many native peoples being enslaved and forced to work in gold mines. French’s treatment of the indigenous tribes was less harsh than the Spanish; they worked with the tribes, especially when it came to their prime economic focus, fur, instead of enslaving them. While they interacted with the Native Americans differently, both had Catholic missionaries who attempted to convert the natives, furthermore both exploration and colonization efforts had lasting effects on the regions they dominated.
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