European Exploration and the Colonial Period
Treaty of Tordesillas- In 1943, at Spain’s urging, the pope drew a “Line of Demarcation”
dividing the new world into 2 parts—that east of the line for Portugal and west for Spain.
Because this line tended to be favorable to Spain, and because Portugal had a stronger navy, the
2 countries worked out the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), by which the line was moved further
Balboa—crossed the isthmus of Panama
Cortes—led expedition against Aztecs in Mexico.
Seven Cities of Gold—fable created by Vaca. In response to his story, the Spanish sent
expeditions to explore the interior of North America
Soto—led expedition looking for the cities of gold. Discovered the Mississippi River.
Coronado—led an expedition from Mexico.
Encomienda system- Spain administered its new holdings as an autocratic, rigidly controlled
empire in which everything was the parent country. As population pressures were low in 16
century Spain, only about 200,000 Spaniards came to America during that time. To deal with the
consequent labor shortages, the Spanish developed a system of large manors with Indian slaves
ruthlessly managed fir the benefit of the conquistadores. As the Indian population began to die
from overwork and disease, Spaniards began to import African slaves to supply their labor needs.
John Cabot—searched under the sponsorship of the king of England for a Northwest Passage
Cartier—mounted 3 expeditions in the area of the St. Lawrence River, which he believed was the
Sir Walter Raleigh—turned his attention to the southern part of the American coastline, which he
named Virginia. A group of 114 men, women, and children landed there in July 1587. The
colony was mysteriously deserted. After this failure, Raleigh was forced by financial constraints
to abandon his attempts to colonize Virginia.
The Plymouth Company, in 1607, attempted to plant a colony in Maine, but after winter the
colonists became discouraged and returned to Britain. Thereafter the Plymouth Company folded.
The Virginia Company of London, in 1607, sent out an expedition of 3 ships with 104 men to
plant a colony near the Chesapeake Bay.
Jamestown— Virginia Company of London, in 1607, sent out an expedition of 3 ships with 104
men to plant a colony near the Chesapeake Bay; it became the first permanent English settlement
in North America. During its early years, the majority of settlers died of starvation, diseases, and
hostile action by Indians. The entire colony was owned by the Virginia Company of London, and
all members shared the profits regardless of how much or little they worked. Many of the settlers
were gentlemen and others were simply unambitious and thus had little desire to work.
Furthermore, the settlers had come with the ambition of finding old rather than working for their