European Colonization Of The New World

1224 WordsAug 12, 20145 Pages
European colonization of the New World began during the European age of exploration and following the discovery of resources in the New World. The various motives of the Spanish, British, and French imperialists were reflected in the political, economic, and social changes that occurred in the areas each government claimed. These changes are very distinctive and led to drastic changes in their respective areas. Spanish conquistadors sought gold and treasure from uncharted lands. Backed by the infantile Christian Spanish crown, the conquistadors desired to bring glory to the Spanish Empire and spread the Christian faith. Their motives could be summarized by the motto, “gold, glory, God.” The superior technology of the Spanish allowed conquistadors to swiftly conquer the Incan and Aztec Empires. Cortez and Pizzaro laid waste to Cuzco and Tenochtitlan. In addition to the riches plundered from Peru and Mexico, the Spanish took advantage of an abundance of silver to engage in the lucrative Asian trade. To extract the silver, the Spanish minority employed Native Americans as slave labor. Spanish colonization led to a complex social structure amongst the Native Americans, Spanish, and African Slaves. Peninsulares, Iberian born Spaniards, were at the top of the hierarchy, followed by Creoles, New World born Spaniards. Next were the mestizos and mulattoes, people of Spanish and Native American or African lineage. In addition to the social hierarchy, the Spanish crated the Encomienda
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