Spanish and English Motives for Settling America

Last Updated: 22 Mar 2021
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In the early fourteenth century, the Americas were home to natives who had lived there for centuries. They had created entire cities for places of worship. These cities were occupied by skilled mathematicians, architects, and astronomers. Thought they did make human sacrifices to their many gods, the natives were able to control their empire and keep it alive at least until the arrival of the European. On the other side of the world, Europeans were looking for opportunities of freedom, land, goods, and most of all riches.

There was a high competition for the desired goods of India and China so Europeans began to search for easier routes that would bring them wealth. Spain was the first to discover and claim the Southwest Americas with the historical voyage of Christopher Columbus. Then a couple of years later, had John Cabot claimed the Northeast Americas for England. The Spanish and English differed in motives and benefits from the settlements that they had created in the seventeenth century because of how they treated the natives, colonized, and reasons of leaving Europe. The Spanish were thirsty for riches.

Their main reason for leaving Europe was because of God, glory, and gold. Christopher Columbus’s accidental discovery had provided the right opportunity for the Spanish to achieve their goals. The natives welcomed the Spanish into their cities because they thought they were gods. When the Spanish discovered the vast amounts of gold in the area, they decided to conquer the lands and to gain riches and glory. Many natives died from the wars with the Spanish, but what really killed them was disease. Later on as the Spanish colonized southwest America, they brought Christianity to the natives.

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Missionaries tried to Europeanize the natives. Many Spanish men married native women and had European American children. In New England, the English colonies had different motives. Theirs was religious freedom. At first the natives and the English made peace treaties because of trade and Christianity. But as time passed tensions grew. The English did not intermix with the natives as the Spanish had. The natives were mainly a pestilence that was in the way of land. As with the Spanish, the natives had their populations wiped out because of European diseases and wars.

The natives were forced to combine with other tribes and move to the Midwest. The Spanish settled the southwest Americas and the Caribbean. In the New Mexico and Texas areas of present day America, they found little success in their search for gold. They found the Caribbean useful for the crop plantations of tobacco, sugar, and corn. The Spanish spread Christianity to the natives, built forts and missions, and claimed the land for Spain for centuries to come. The Spanish planted their teachings, language, laws, and religion into their colonies and native neighbors.

New England had been settled for the land and freedom it offered. Thousands of miles away from England, the Europeans were able to find comfort in freedom of religion. As colonies grew, things started to change. The colonist both fought with each other over land and religion. Government was made up and some of these written laws were placed in today’s constitution. Major cash crops were grown and the colonies grew also. Africans were shipped to New England as slaves to help maintain these large farms. New Englanders started out on a difficult journey but life continued to get better as the colonies grew.

The Spanish and English both wanted to find easier routes to the Indies. They wanted the spices and other luxury goods the Asia had to offer. There were high competitions and everyone wanted a part in the wealth and adventure exploration offered. When the Spanish discovered America, they took the land and colonized it. Americas was rich in soil, minerals, and goods. This was a way for Spain to become a more powerful nation, so the Spanish seized their opportunity. The English on the other hand, wanted freedom form religious persecution and they wanted a bigger kingdom.

The land was excellent for the planting of crops and offered the chance for people to get rich. Both the Spanish and English had different motives and benefits from their settlement of the Americas. They found success in many areas of the land that they settled. They made laws, discovered new places, and claimed a land for their mother nations. The English and Spanish were the biggest land owners of the Americas. Though some of their intentions were selfish, they played a major part in creating what is now the United States.

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Spanish and English Motives for Settling America. (2017, May 26). Retrieved from

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