Lesson 4 - Reasons for Colonization
In this lesson, the student will:
Describe the reasons for colonization of America, such as religious freedom, desire for land, economic
opportunity, and a new life.
Describe the impact of key colonial figures, specifically John Smith.
Although Christopher Columbus believed the islands he explored were off of the coast of China, most Europeans
did not believe this claim. Exploration continued, and the idea that the Americas were continents was soon widely
accepted. European nations were benefiting from the expansion of trade brought about by exploration, and began
to consider the Americas as a source of wealth. European explorers – at first from Spain and Portugal and later
from England, France and the Netherlands -- continued to search for an all-water route to Asia around or through
the Americas. As they explored, the land they “discovered” was claimed for their respective governments.
Europeans eventually began to see the Atlantic Ocean as more than just a way to reach Africa and Asia. In the
1500s, Europeans began to use some of the many natural resources found in the Americas. For example, many
European nations sent fleets of fisherman across the northern Atlantic to catch the huge schools of cod that lived
off the coast of present-day Newfoundland.
Explorers also began leading expeditions into the Americas in search of wealth and fame, and eventually,
permanent settlements were formed. The first settlements were formed by groups looking for economic
opportunity, but later colonies were settled by people were fleeing religious intolerance in Europe.
Each European nation developed different goals for their settlements, and these were reflected in the way they
dealt with the native people inhabiting the land they settled.
When people migrate from one place to another,
are involved. The push factor involves a
force which acts to drive people away from a place and the pull factor is what draws them to a new location.
As you read about exploration and colonization in North America, make a mental list of the push/pull factors
Long before English attempts to settle in North America, Spain explored and claimed land from Oregon to the
southern tip of South America. The Spanish settled great cities, and even built a university at Lima, Peru, almost