Spanish Settlements and New England Colonies - 17th Century Essay

812 Words Oct 10th, 2008 4 Pages
Throughout the 17th century, many European countries sent explorers and settlers to America. The two most eminent countries that colonized area of America were Spain and Great Britain. Britain began to establish colonies in the northeast; in the area they called New England. The Spanish interest lied in the southwest. Living in two unassociated areas caused the Spanish settlements and the New England colonies to be quite unlike each other. When faced with the task of finding similarities between the two, not much can be found. It is the differences that stand out when studying the English and Spanish, from religion to politics to ideals.

The Spanish began exploring America with “gold, glory and God” large in their minds. Cortes and the
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The Spanish bringing back as much material wealth as was possible to Spain to enhance the prominence and stature of their native land. England made their money by relying on manufacturing. They did exceptionally in the lumber, shipbuilding, fishing and whaling industries. The colonies were able to trade with England and other countries, and had amazingly strong economic development. Because the Spanish focus entirely on their materialistic holdings, their economy was nowhere near as strong as the colonies’ was. In the instance of economy, England was undoubtedly the prevailing country.

The two countries also contrasted politically. The political system in the Spanish settlements was exclusively aristocratic. Spanish rulers controlled what went on in the New World and the settlements had little self-government. The people actually living in the settlements had to be the elite to be able to have any influence at all. The pureblood Spaniards were on the top of the social ladder and they had the most authority. The “half-breeds” who were a mix of Spanish and Native American were on the lowest rung of the ladder and had little or even no say in what went on. Though the New England colonies were still under the British crown and it’s rule, they had self-government to a large extent. Most of the colonies had a governor and some sort of representative assembly that were chosen by popular vote. Though the only people that could vote were
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