Expansion of Western Europe

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The expansion of Western Europe started with the Iberian phase. Spain and Portugal, the two countries of the Iberian Peninsula, had a short-lived yet important role in European expansion. European expansion then turned to Western Europe. Western Europe consists of the Dutch, French, and British. While Western Europe was exploring new worlds overseas, the Russians were expanding westward across all of Eurasia. Religion played a major role in expansion for both the Portuguese and the Spanish due to their extensive anti-Muslim crusade. Due to the over zealous religious fervor of the Christian Iberians, Christianity and thus the Iberians expanded into parts of western Europe during the crusades as Christians tried to convert the Muslims who…show more content…
(p.349) The age of the conquistadors began with Cortes ' expedition to the Yucatan. After months of vicious fighting, Cortes toppled the Aztec empire and gained control of Mexico. Another Spanish conquistador, Pizzaro defeated the Inca Empire and gained control of modern day Peru. Their conquests lead to the further exploration of both North and South America. "In the period between 1600 and 1763, Spain and Portugal were overtaken and surpassed by the powers of Northwestern Europe- Holland, France and Britain." (p.357) Due the lack of Iberian activity in the north Atlantic the northwestern Europeans, led by imperialism, set out to tap the resources of North America. Through the effort of Sir John Hawkins and Francis Drake, England was able to "Break boldly and openly into the Iberian imperial preserves-into the Portuguese east as well as into Spanish America." (p.359) Toward the end of the 16th century the Dutch had set their sites on Portugal 's empire in the east. By 1602, through their acquisition of their various private trading companies, the Dutch had formed the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch also strengthened their economic power through the harvesting of coffee and taking over the whaling industry. Through various wars with Britain and France during the late 17th century the Dutch stronghold was weakened. In the 18th century "Holland gave way to Britain and France." (p.363) Britain and France battled for colonial supremacy
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