Midterm preparation draft Final - 1 The motives for European expansion to America(especially those of the Spanish French and English and the ways

Midterm preparation draft Final - 1 The motives for...

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1. The motives for European expansion to America (especially those of the Spanish, French, and English and the ways in which their American empires reflected their specific motives).As they faced cultural transformations called the “Renaissance” and the “Rise of Christianity”, they started to be interested in different worlds. One historical event that increased their interest in the outside of their regions was the Crusades. They introduced Western European merchants to the trade routes up to China, along the Silk Road. In these events, Europeans encountered sugar for the first time, and they were introduced to a wider world.At around 1400, Europeans began travelling out into the wider Atlantic world (wider than just near northern Africa or the area of Mediterranean: Trans-Saharan trade) when the Portuguese led by Prince Henry propelled overseas expansion. As the Portuguese replaced theArabs as the leaders in Asian trade and commerce, this sparked other countries’ interest. The Portuguese also sailed down to Brazil, and made Brazil the world’s leading producer of sugar.They introduced the plantation system to the Americas, for agricultural purposes. From the Portuguese expansion, I can narrow down the motives for European expansion to America to three reasons - the so-called “3G’s”: gold (economic and capitalistic motives), God (cultural motives), and glory (political and nationalistic motives).The Spanish motives were God, Gold, and Glory. Spain was the country that jumped into Europe’s first conquests of the Americas, while the Portuguese were leaders in the African slave trade (for plantations). As Spain saw national unity (Glory) and foreign commerce (Gold) as the keys to power and prosperity, Ferdinand and Isabella sent Christopher Columbus out to sea. To continue the missions of the Reconquista and find gold, the Spanish invaded the Native American empires. Cortes and Pizarro came to America and wiped out native peoples, since they had heard rumors of gold-rich civilizations, and also to find slaves. Mostly, Spanish colonizers capitalized on existing tribute and labor systems to tap into the enormous wealth of Mesoamerica and the Andes (Gold). The Spanish transferred their institutions, such as municipal councils, legal code, and Catholic churches to America (God and Glory). The leading conquistadors received encomiendas (allowing them to claim tribute in labor and goods – Gold), and these grants were increased by the discovery of gold and silver in both Mexico and the Andes. Also, Europe benefitted from the exchange of agricultural crops (Columbian exchange – Gold, God, and Glory). The Spanish conquests motivated their rival, England, to expand as well.As Philip’s Armada failed to meet Elizabeth’s challenge, England’s economy was stimulated during the 16thcentury. The most important English motive was glory. England wanted to rule many parts of America, and they wanted to increase their military power all over the world. With the system of mercantilism, their trade with America caused gold and

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