Colonization is the process of settling among indigenous people of an area and establishing control. Elliot (2007) provides insight that it happened during the age of exploration when European countries traveled throughout the world in search of trade routes. Colonization of the New World by English, British, and Spanish had similarities and differences that are based on economic pursuits, expansion, and the lasting effect. Similarities and differences existed in various colonies pursued by the European nationalities.
Different nationalities engaged in colonialism to spread the word of God, acquire minerals, and earn glory. The principal reason that compelled the Spanish to participate in colonization of the New World was to acquire gold, glory, and preach about God (Elliot, 2007). The probability of finding minerals played a critical role and compelled them to explore different parts of the world. The Spanish also had an objective of preaching the word of God or the religion of Catholicism. The English engaged in colonialism to acquire national glory, make profit, passage to the Northwest, religious sanctuary and spread the Protestant faith. Besides, some of the colonialists from England traveled out of their country to escape persecution. From the above explanations, it is accurate to conclude that the colonialists wanted to spread religion, find minerals, and pursue other vested interests.
The economic pursuit of English and British was to utilize land as a natural resource while the Spanish wanted to acquire minerals and establish trade routes. Individuals who had lost their homes, wealth, and jobs to taxes in England conquered the New World to get land and settlements. Due to the vast tracts of untamed land, they found it easy to join these colonies (Elliot, 2007). The British and English colonialists utilized natural resources on the land, which was an economic opportunity. On the contrary, the primary economic pursuit of the Spanish was the search for gold and other valuable minerals. Gold was a precious mineral mined in North America that the Spanish colonialists were seeking.
Similarities exist on the devastation that these colonies caused to the local populations. The New World was used by all the colonies to further their mercantile objectives (Elliot, 2007). Secondly, they contributed to the destruction of the native populations by spreading deadly diseases. Despite Spain’s existence in the New World for an extended period, its methods and dependence on unsustainable ventures that included silver and gold significantly impacted the nation in the long run. Consequently, the English invasion was more successful than that of the Spanish.
The English adopted a violent conduct towards the natives, which resulted in the decline of the population. The approach led to the establishment of long-term hostility and expulsion of the natives (Elliot, 2007). Colonization by the Spanish culminated in environmental degradation such as deforestation and nutrient depletion. One of the positive impacts resulting from colonialism was the spread of religion. Besides, the colonialists also promoted civilization among the natives and introduced crops from Europe and Spain.
In conclusion, colonization of the New World had negative impacts that devastated the native populations and their environment. However, it also brought along numerous benefits that included the introduction of religion and crops. One cannot, therefore, solely blame colonialism despite its numerous negative impacts. In this regard, there is need for fairness when reporting about the impact of colonization on the New World. The region would not be what it is today if it was not colonized.
Elliot, J. H. (2007). Empires of the Atlantic world: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830. New Haven: Yale University Press.
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