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Colonization In America

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Before Europeans had ever set foot on North America the continent was a vast land made up of various Native American nations that had their own distinct cultures, history and social hierarchies. The Natives here possessed all of the aspects that human beings all over the world incorporated into their societies. They had social structures, trade routes and relationships between various Native groups and were by no means a cluster of heathens waiting to be discovered by white Europeans who would come to claim the land they have lived on for thousands of years. Upon their arrival on the continent that was often tagged as The New World the three prevalent European countries that established colonies in North America England, France and Spain each took fundamentally different approaches to establishing their colonies and forming relationships with the native inhabitants. There were many various reasons for why each European country chose to participate in the colonization and their affairs with Indians in the ways they had. The country itself and the goals it had set for establishing settlements in the New World along with the location of the settlement and the Indians that they would be confronting as a result of their settlement are all interesting aspects that play vital roles in why each colonial society differed from one another in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Spanish in the New World landed their ships and set up Catholic monasteries in Florida as well as the area now known as New Mexico. The Spanish who have had a long history of coexisting in Spain with the Mores brought some of their conventional diplomacy with them when they attempted to establish permanent settlements in the New World. Although a large portion of Spain's reasoning behind occupying land in the New World was the conversion of Native Americans as well as gaining gold, wealth and power just like the Conquistadors had done in the past from conquering the Aztecs. Spain brought a sort of diplomacy with them when they tried to coexist their culture and peoples with that of the native inhabitants of Florida. This approach was probably just as much done out of necessity than modern European kindness, because the Spanish settlers who founded the string of settlement towns in Florida were vastly outnumbered by their Indian counterparts.

The Spanish in Florida depended on Indian labor for many of the tasks they were trying to accomplish, and out of respect for the Indians the Spanish crown allowed for certain rights for the Indians to have in order that the two cultures could live side by side while benefiting each other. The leaders of the Spanish colonies held Indian Chiefs in high regards and granted them all of the awards that would be bestowed upon a man of Spanish royalty. According to the Spanish way of thinking in the 16th century, it was necessary for the Indian leaders to pledge allegiance as allies to Spain and through the allegiance of the chiefs would come the allegiance of the men and women that the chiefs ruled over. The Spanish Crown granted the natives rights such as a represesentative known as a "defender of the Indians" in court proceedings and actually let them be involved in court proceedings which is more than the English would have done in their colonies because they liked to keep the Indians separate from their society and where they could see them. The Spanish took good care of the Indian Chiefs, by adorning them with Spanish gifts that represented nobility such as a horse and a sword. Although the Spanish gave the Indians of Florida and New Mexico more of a chance then they previously gave the Aztecs, the missions that were being established were run by the order of Monks known as the Franciscans who were basically running Spain's colonies with an iron fist. The Franciscans were firm believers in corporal punishment in order to convert the Indians to their way of thinking in order to spread the word of Jesus. Except for a reaction like the Pueblo Revolt in 1690, some Indians accepted Spain's Catholicism, some straight up rejected it and some combined a few different aspects of their native religion with Catholicism to put their own spin on their beliefs. The Spanish unlike the French and the English had no fear of becoming culturally intertwined with the Indians as long as permanent settlements could be established under the colors of the Spanish flag.

The French settlers in North America seemed to have had the worst luck when it came to areas to settle in. The French chose to establish settlements far north in Canada where the big cash crop is actually the fur trade because crops do not really grow very well due to the cold climate. The French depended heavily on trading with the natives for their fur pelts. In France fur was all the rage on the fashion scene and although the Frenchmen coming to the New World in search for furs that could be sent home had guns, the Indians were amazing hunters who began a great relationship with the French due to their skills at producing furs. The French were late comers on the scene in the New World and had the poorest attendance record



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