English, French and Spanish Colonies: Compare and Contrast Essay

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When the “New World” was discovered, many important parts of people’s lives became greatly different. People became curious and wanted to see what else there was. Countries like England, France, and Spain quickly became involved in the development of colonization. In some ways, each country had similar styles of colonizing. However, in many other ways, each country had very different ways of colonizing. All three countries did this to gain control of the Americas.

The three most important parts of colonizing are political, economic, and social. The British had a very structured system for this. In order for colonies to be established, colonists must receive a royal charter. Those who left included farmers, artisans, tradesmen, indentured servants, specialists, criminals, and immigrants. Their political lives were also very structured. Distance from Britain allowed for a free government. Colonists had created local governments and assemblies. Additionally, they were free to tax themselves. The only condition was that colonists were not allowed to go to war with Britain. Colonists were also economically advanced. A British colony’s economy largely revolved around farming, fishing, and trading. They would trade items such as tobacco, rice timer, and fish. However, tobacco was a large part of their economic success, being the main source of trade in Virginia and North Carolina. In addition to being politically and economically advanced, the British colonists were also socially advanced. For example, they were initially kind to the Native Americans. In fact, they would trade and get help from the Natives. However, their greed eventually got in the way and led to conflict. Furthermore, the population was rapidly growing. The reason for this was because of immigration encouragement. The colonies included large portions of Germany and French. Finally, British colonies were largely non-Catholic. Puritans in Massachusetts had an autocratic religion, which was very restrictive whereas those in Pennsylvania were free to practice whatever they wanted.

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The French’s first colonies were initially trading posts. However, others wanted to explore the St. Lawrence Valley, parts of Canada, and the Mississippi River. The French eventually settled in Quebec and Montreal. Colonists included fur traders, merchants, missionaries, and soldiers who received land. Those who were protestant or peasants were not allowed to leave. French colonies were only similar to the British socially. For example, the French people were very kind to the Natives. They had a deep respect for the Natives which allowed for many alliances. Unfortunately, that is where the similarities end. Unlike the British, the French population grew slowly, and most growth was from the arrival of slaves. Continuing on, the French were highly Catholic because Protestants were excluded from the colony. French politics was also very different compared to the British. The British were free to create their own local government whereas French colonies were subject to the kind. The French were not allowed any political rights or representation in government. They also were not allowed to host public meetings without permission. Although the government encouraged farming, the French colonies began fur trading. The fur trade greatly boosts their economy. The Coureurs de Bois (Algonquians and Hurons) would go into the wild and trap animals for their fur. Then, they would trade the fur with the French, making up most of the French economy.

Spanish colony's colonization was very different than the French and British colonization. The Spanish came to the Americas when granted permission from the crown. The purpose for them was to gain riches and land. Eventually, Spanish colonies would be settled in the south and California. Because Spain was looking to expand and conquer, the first people to come to the Americas were conquistadores, soldiers, and missionaries. Eventually, farmers and traders would migrate. Politically, the French and Spanish were similar. Spanish colonies were under the direct control of the crown and their leaders were governors picked by the king. Additionally, settlers could not create any of their own laws. Socially, Spanish colonies stood alone. Unlike the French and British, the Spanish viewed Natives as savage and civilized. They were very cruel and believed that natives must: be converted to Christianity, killed, or made slaves. Furthermore, Spanish colonies grew very slowly due to a strong focus on conquest. The largest Spanish colonies were in Florida, Texas, California, and Mexico. Spanish colonists were also very Catholic. In fact, Protestants have driven away from the colonies. Finally, the Spanish depended on trade to make up their economy and there was not a lot of farming. All trade was controlled by Spain and all regulations were enforced by the military.

To conclude, the first British, French, and Spanish were all after the same goal but achieved their goals in different ways. In some ways, colonization was similar between all three countries. In other ways, colonization was drastically different.

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