Comparison between Spanish and British methods of colonization

Category: Slavery, Spanish
Last Updated: 09 Apr 2020
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Making a comparison between the Spanish and British methods of colonization can be useful to comprehend all the motives our ancestors had to impose its civilization in America and also to understand all the consequences of all this events that at the present time can be noticed. The Spanish colonization of America began with the entrance in the western hemisphere of Christopher Columbus in 1942, influenced by the necessity to find an alternative route for the trade of spices as well as the grown desires to find gold and silver.

Is well known that one of the most powerful purposes of Spanish was to take maximum advantage of the resources of America, especially the gold, in order to return to Spain and become a wealthy kingdom. One of the obstacles Spanish people found in their way to attain their goal were the extensive areas with huge quantity of native population that inhabited the American continent in addition to their different foreign language. Another important factor that limited the Spanish people was the diseases they brought with themselves. Since the native populations did not have any resistance to those diseases, the American population decimated.

The limitations they had were as important as the choices they decided to make. One of the actions they made was to displace the original cultures that already were established in the American territory in order to take their land and organize it under their sovereignty. Another aspect they established was that the Native Americans would not be submitted to a slavery regime, but to a regime of “Encomienda” (commission). The Encomienda established that the Indians had to work obligatorily for the Spanish person that was turning out to be their agent.

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One of the most outstanding consequences of all of these events, was the slowly but surely destruction of most of the Natives because of the European diseases and the systems of forced labor (such as the Encomienda). Another result was the conversion of the American population to the Catholicism, forced by the Spanish Empire. This particular mission was widely successful since nowadays half of the Catholics of the world live in Latin America. Also is important to mention the Mestizo class formed by the Natives and the Spanish intermarriages. In the other hand, British colonization of America began in the late 16th century.

Unlike the Spanish, the British were looking for richness for themselves and not for their empire. Another difference is that the British came to America not with the intention to conquer and exploit this new land, but simply with the desire to settle themselves in it. The limitations that stopped the British to attain their goal are similar to the constraints Spaniards had. A few of those are the European diseases and the language as well as the native population that inhabited America, even though at that moment there was a small number of natives the British tried to colonize. The British made very different decisions than the Spanish did.

Instead of returning to Europe and make their country a wealthy nation, they preferred to begin a new life in a new land. They created farms and built cities. They also used a different regime called “Headright System” that consisted in granting every male head of household who came to the New World a land of 50 acres. The outcomes of the British method of colonization have one aspect similar to the Spanish: the destruction of the Indian culture, mainly because of the European diseases. But contrary to the Spanish situation, in the British sector the “mestizaje” was very low or non-existent.

Also, we can observe that the British were successful on having fulfilled their goal of beginning a new life in a new land. Finally I consider the Spanish were incredibly cruel in their colonization method. On the other hand I believe the British used a better method giving to their colonization a certain freedom of development and respecting their culture in a certain level. I believe that it was a more civilized way of having the natives calmed, and clearly the correct way. This can be noticed now when we see that the countries colonized by England have a more notable advance in technology and civilization.

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Comparison between Spanish and British methods of colonization. (2016, Aug 31). Retrieved from

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