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During the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery (or the Age of Exploration), also known as the early modern period, was a period largely overlapping with the Age of Sail, approximately from the 15th century to the 17th century in European history, during which seafarin ...
, a large scale
European colonization The historical phenomenon of colonization is one that stretches around the globe and across time. Ancient and medieval colonialism was practiced by the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Turks, and the Arabs. Colonialism in the modern sense began ...
of the
Americas The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...
took place between about 1492 and 1800. Although the Norse had explored and colonized areas of the North Atlantic, colonizing
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an island country in North America that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland i ...
and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland circa 1000 CE, the later and more well-known wave by the European powers is what formally constitutes as beginning of colonization, involving the continents of North America and South America. During this time, several
empire An empire is a "political unit" made up of several territories and peoples, "usually created by conquest, and divided between a dominant center and subordinate peripheries". The center of the empire (sometimes referred to as the metropole) ex ...
s from Europe—primarily
Britain Britain most often refers to: * The United Kingdom, a sovereign state in Europe comprising the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and many smaller islands * Great Britain, the largest island in the United King ...
,
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Its metropolitan area ...
,
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of ...
,
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, with its internationally recognised territory covering , and encompassing one-eig ...
, the
Netherlands ) , anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Kingdom of the Netherlands , established_title = Before independence , established_date = Spanish Netherl ...
and Sweden—began to explore and claim the land, natural resources and human capital of the Americas, resulting in the displacement, disestablishment,
enslavement Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
, and in many cases,
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944, combining the Greek word (, "race, people") with the Lat ...
of the
indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original people ...
, and the establishment of several settler colonial states. Some formerly European settler colonies—including
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Tiguex , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English, Spanish ( New Mexican), Navajo, Ke ...
,
Alaska Alaska ( ; russian: Аляска, Alyaska; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a state located in the Western United States on the northwest extremity of North America. A semi-exclave of the U.S. ...
, the
Prairies Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and a composition of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the ...
or northern Great Plains, and the " Northwest Territories" in North America; the
Isthmus of Tehuantepec The Isthmus of Tehuantepec () is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Before the opening of the Panama Canal, it was a major overland transport route known simply as the T ...
, the
Yucatán Peninsula The Yucatán Peninsula (, also , ; es, Península de Yucatán ) is a large peninsula in southeastern Mexico and adjacent portions of Belize and Guatemala. The peninsula extends towards the northeast, separating the Gulf of Mexico to the north ...
, and the
Darién Gap The Darién Gap (, , es, Tapón del Darién , ) is a geographic region between the North and South American continents within Central America, consisting of a large watershed, forest, and mountains in Panama's Darién Province and the norther ...
in Central America; and the northwest
Amazon Amazon most often refers to: * Amazons, a tribe of female warriors in Greek mythology * Amazon rainforest, a rainforest covering most of the Amazon basin * Amazon River, in South America * Amazon (company), an American multinational technolog ...
, the central Andes, and
the Guianas The Guianas, sometimes called by the Spanish loan-word ''Guayanas'' (''Las Guayanas''), is a region in north-eastern South America which includes the following three territories: * French Guiana, an overseas department and region of France * ...
in South America—remain relatively rural, sparsely populated and
Indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples *Indigenous (ecology), presence in a region as the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention *Indigenous (band), an American blues-rock band *Indigenous (horse), a Hong Kong racehorse ...
into the 21st century.
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, with its internationally recognised territory covering , and encompassing one-eig ...
began colonizing the Pacific Northwest in the mid-18th century, seeking pelts for the fur trade. Many of the social structures—including religions,
political boundaries Borders are usually defined as geographical boundaries, imposed either by features such as oceans and terrain, or by political entities such as governments, sovereign states, federated states, and other subnational entities. Political borders c ...
, and linguae francae—which predominate the Western Hemisphere in the 21st century are the descendants of the structures which were established during this period. The rapid rate at which Europe grew in wealth and power was unforeseeable in the early 15th century because it had been preoccupied with internal wars and it was slowly recovering from the loss of population caused by the Black Death. The strength of the Turkish
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
over trade routes to Asia prompted Western European monarchs to search for alternatives, resulting in the voyages of Christopher Columbus and the accidental of the "
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. ...
". Upon the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, Portugal and Spain agreed to divide the Earth in two, with Portugal having dominion over non-Christian lands in the eastern half, and Spain over those in the western half. Spanish claims essentially included all of the Americas, however, the Treaty of Tordesillas granted the eastern tip of South America to Portugal, where it established
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ...
in the early 1500s. The city of St. Augustine, in current-day Florida, founded in 1565 by the Spanish, is credited as the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States. It quickly became clear to other Western European powers that they too could benefit from voyages west and by the 1530s, the
British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, ...
and French had begun colonizing the northeast tip of the Americas. Within a century, the
Swedish Swedish or ' may refer to: Anything from or related to Sweden, a country in Northern Europe. Or, specifically: * Swedish language, a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Sweden and Finland ** Swedish alphabet, the official alphabet used by ...
had established
New Sweden New Sweden ( sv, Nya Sverige) was a Swedish colony along the lower reaches of the Delaware River in what is now the United States from 1638 to 1655, established during the Thirty Years' War when Sweden was a great military power. New Sweden f ...
, the
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () Dutch may also refer to: Places * Dutch, West Virginia, a community in the United States * Pennsylvania Dutch Country People E ...
had established
New Netherland New Netherland ( nl, Nieuw Nederland; la, Novum Belgium or ) was a 17th-century colonial province of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of what is now the United States. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva P ...
, and Denmark–Norway along with the other aforementioned powers had made several claims in the Caribbean, and by the 1700s, Denmark–Norway had revived its former colonies in Greenland, and
Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the largest country in the world, with its internationally recognised territory covering , and encompassing one-eig ...
had begun to explore and claim the Pacific Coast from
Alaska Alaska ( ; russian: Аляска, Alyaska; ale, Alax̂sxax̂; ; ems, Alas'kaaq; Yup'ik: ''Alaskaq''; tli, Anáaski) is a state located in the Western United States on the northwest extremity of North America. A semi-exclave of the U.S. ...
to
California California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous U.S. state and the 3rd largest by area. It is also the m ...
. Deadly confrontations became more frequent at the beginning of this period as the Indigenous peoples fought fiercely to preserve their territorial integrity from increasing numbers of European colonizers, as well as from hostile Indigenous neighbors who were equipped with Eurasian technology. Conflict between the various European empires and the Indigenous peoples was the leading dynamic in the Americas into the 1800s, and although some parts of the continent were gaining their independence from Europe by that time, other regions such as
California California is a state in the Western United States, located along the Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the most populous U.S. state and the 3rd largest by area. It is also the m ...
,
Patagonia Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and g ...
, the " Northwest Territories", and the northern Great Plains experienced little to no colonization at all until the 1800s. European contact and colonization had disastrous effects on the
Indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the A ...
and their societies.


Overview of Western European powers


Norsemen

Norse
Viking Vikings ; non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people originally from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and se ...
explorers are the first known Europeans to set foot on what is now North America. Norse journeys to
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an island country in North America that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland i ...
and Canada are supported by historical and archaeological evidence. The Norsemen established a colony in Greenland in the late tenth century, and lasted until the mid 15th century, with court and parliament assemblies (''
þing A thing, german: ding, ang, þing, enm, thing. (that is, "assembly" or folkmoot) was a governing assembly in early Germanic society, made up of the free people of the community presided over by a lawspeaker. Things took place at regular in ...
'') taking place at
Brattahlíð Brattahlíð (), often anglicised as Brattahlid, was Erik the Red's estate in the Eastern Settlement Viking colony he established in south-western Greenland toward the end of the 10th century. The present settlement of Qassiarsuk, approximately ...
and a bishop located at Garðar. The remains of a settlement at
L'Anse aux Meadows L'Anse aux Meadows ( lit. Meadows Cove) is an archaeological site, first excavated in the 1960s, of a Norse settlement dating to approximately 1,000 years ago. The site is located on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the ...
in Newfoundland, Canada, were discovered in 1960 and were dated to around the year 1000 (carbon dating estimate 990–1050). L'Anse aux Meadows is the only site widely accepted as evidence of pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. It was named a
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture. It ...
in 1978. It is also notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of
Vinland Vinland, Vineland, or Winland ( non, Vínland ᚠᛁᚾᛚᛅᚾᛏ) was an area of coastal North America explored by Vikings. Leif Erikson landed there around 1000 AD, nearly five centuries before the voyages of Christopher Columbus and John ...
, established by
Leif Erikson Leif Erikson, Leiv Eiriksson, or Leif Ericson, ; Modern Icelandic: ; Norwegian: ''Leiv Eiriksson'' also known as Leif the Lucky (), was a Norse explorer who is thought to have been the first European to have set foot on continental Nort ...
around the same period or, more broadly, with the
Norse colonization of the Americas The Norse exploration of North America began in the late 10th century, when Norsemen explored areas of the North Atlantic colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland. This is known now as L'An ...
. Leif Erikson's brother is said to have had the first contact with the native population of North America which would come to be known as the
skræling ''Skræling'' (Old Norse and Icelandic: ''skrælingi'', plural ''skrælingjar'') is the name the Norse Greenlanders used for the peoples they encountered in North America (Canada and Greenland). In surviving sources, it is first applied to the ...
s. After capturing and killing eight of the natives, they were attacked at their beached ships, which they defended.


Spain

While some Norse colonies were established in the north-eastern part of North America as early as the tenth century, systematic European colonization began in 1492. A
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Can ...
expedition which was headed by the Genoese mariner
Christopher Columbus Christopher Columbus * lij, Cristoffa C(or)ombo * es, link=no, Cristóbal Colón * pt, Cristóvão Colombo * ca, Cristòfor (or ) * la, Christophorus Columbus. (; born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was a ...
sailed west in order to find a new trade route to the
Far East The ''Far East'' was a European term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia as well as the Russian Far East to a lesser extent. South Asia is sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons. The ter ...
, the source of spices, silks, porcelains, and other rich trade goods. The overland Silk Road did not benefit Iberia and the Portuguese who left Spain in order to conduct voyages down the coast of Africa because they needed to find an alternative route. Columbus inadvertently landed in what Europeans would later call the "
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. ...
". This can be seen as a
Eurocentric Eurocentrism (also Eurocentricity or Western-centrism) is a worldview that is centered on Western civilization or a biased view that favors it over non-Western civilizations. The exact scope of Eurocentrism varies from the entire Western worl ...
framing, because the
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere is the half of the planet Earth that lies west of the prime meridian (which crosses Greenwich, London, United Kingdom) and east of the antimeridian. The other half is called the Eastern Hemisphere. Politically, the te ...
was also a new world to the first human migrants who arrived in it more than 10,000 years ago. Columbus landed on 12 October 1492 on
Guanahani Guanahaní is an island in the Bahamas that was the first land in the New World sighted and visited by Christopher Columbus' first voyage, on 12 October 1492. It is a bean-shaped island that Columbus changed from its native Taíno name to San ...
(possibly Cat Island) in
The Bahamas The Bahamas (), officially the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is an island country within the Lucayan Archipelago of the West Indies in the North Atlantic. It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the ar ...
, which the
Lucayan people The Lucayan people ( ) were the original residents of the Bahamas before the European conquest of the Americas. They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands at the time. The Lucayans were the first indigenous Ame ...
had inhabited since the ninth century. Indigenous populations had settled from pole to pole in the hemisphere, so although Europeans deemed the territory
terra nullius ''Terra nullius'' (, plural ''terrae nullius'') is a Latin expression meaning " nobody's land". It was a principle sometimes used in international law to justify claims that territory may be acquired by a state's occupation of it. : : ...
, "nobody's land", it was the homeland of existing indigenous residents. Western European conquest, large-scale exploration and colonization soon followed after the Spanish and Portuguese final reconquest of
Iberia The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in southwestern Europe, defi ...
in 1492. Columbus's first two voyages (1492–93) reached the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and various other Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and Cuba. In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas ratified by the Pope, the two kingdoms of Castile (in a
personal union A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlink ...
with other kingdoms of Spain) and Portugal divided the entire non-European world into two spheres of exploration and colonization. The north to south boundary cut through the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern part of present-day Brazil. Based on this treaty and on early claims by Spanish explorer
Vasco Núñez de Balboa Vasco Núñez de Balboa (; c. 1475around January 12–21, 1519) was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an ...
, the first European to see the Pacific Ocean in 1513. The Spanish explorers, conquerors, and settlers sought material wealth, individual aggrandizement, and the spread of Christianity, often summed up in the phrase "gold, glory, and God". The Spanish justified their claims to the New World based on the ideals of the Christian
Reconquista The ' (Spanish, Portuguese and Galician for "reconquest") is a historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid ...
of the
Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a peninsula in southwestern Europe, def ...
from the Muslims, completed in 1492. In the New World, military conquest to incorporate indigenous peoples into Christendom was considered the "spiritual conquest." In 1492 Pope Alexander VI, the first Spaniard to become Pope, confirmed the rights of
Catholic Monarchs The Catholic Monarchs were Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, whose marriage and joint rule marked the ''de facto'' unification of Spain. They were both from the House of Trastámara and were second cousins, being bot ...
of Spain
Isabella Isabella may refer to: People and fictional characters * Isabella (given name), including a list of people and fictional characters * Isabella (surname), including a list of people Places United States * Isabella, Alabama, an unincorpor ...
and
Ferdinand Ferdinand is a Germanic name composed of the elements "protection", "peace" (PIE "to love, to make peace") or alternatively "journey, travel", Proto-Germanic , abstract noun from root "to fare, travel" (PIE , "to lead, pass over"), and "co ...
the right to explore and convert pagan populations in overseas territories.Bonch-Bruevich, Xenia. "Ideologies of the Spanish Reconquest and Isidore's Political Thought." ''Mediterranean Studies'', vol. 17, 2008, pp. 27–45. ''JSTOR'', www.jstor.org/stable/41167390. Accessed 12 Nov. 2020. After European contact, the native population of the Americas plummeted by an estimated 80% (from around 50 million in 1492 to eight million in 1650), due in part to Old World diseases carried to the New World, and the conditions that colonization imposed on Indigenous populations, such as forced labor and removal from homelands and traditional medicines."La catastrophe démographique" (The Demographic Catastrophe) in ''
L'Histoire ''L'Histoire'' is a monthly mainstream French magazine dedicated to historical studies, recognized by peers as the most important historical popular magazine (as opposed to specific university journals or less scientific popular historical magaz ...
'' n°322, July–August 2007, p. 17
Some scholars have argued that this demographic collapse was the result of the first large-scale act of
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term in 1944, combining the Greek word (, "race, people") with the Lat ...
in the modern era. For example, the labor and tribute of inhabitants of Hispaniola were granted in encomienda to Spaniards, a practice established in Spain for conquered Muslims. Although not technically slavery, it was coerced labor for the benefit of the Spanish grantees, called ''
encomenderos The ''encomienda'' () was a Spanish labour system that rewarded conquerors with the labour of conquered non-Christian peoples. The labourers, in theory, were provided with benefits by the conquerors for whom they laboured, including military ...
''. Spain had a legal tradition and devised a proclamation known as The Requerimento to be read to indigenous populations in Spanish, often far from the field of battle, stating that the indigenous were now subjects of the Spanish Crown and would be punished if they resisted. When the news of this situation and of the abuse of the institution reached Spain, the New Laws were passed to regulate and gradually abolish the system in the Americas, as well as to reiterate the prohibition of enslaving Native Americans. By the time the new laws were passed, 1542, the Spanish crown had acknowledged their inability to control and properly ensure compliance of traditional laws overseas, so they granted to Native Americans specific protections not even Spaniards had, such as the prohibition of enslaving them even in the case of crime or war. These extra protections were an attempt to avoid the proliferation of irregular claims to slavery. However, as historian Andrés Reséndez has noted, "this categorical prohibition did not stop generations of determined conquistadors and colonists from taking Native slaves on a planetary scale, ... The fact that this other slavery had to be carried out clandestinely made it even more insidious. It is a tale of good intentions gone badly astray." A major event in early Spanish colonization, which had so far yielded paltry returns, was the
Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the eve ...
(1519–1521). It was led by Hernán Cortés and made possible by securing indigenous alliances with the Aztecs' enemies, mobilizing thousands of warriors against the Aztecs for their own political reasons. The Aztec capital,
Tenochtitlan , ; es, Tenochtitlan also known as Mexico-Tenochtitlan, ; es, México-Tenochtitlan was a large Mexican in what is now the historic center of Mexico City. The exact date of the founding of the city is unclear. The date 13 March 1325 was ...
, became
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbr.: CDMX; Nahuatl: ''Altepetl Mexico'') is the capital city, capital and primate city, largest city of Mexico, and the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Amer ...
, the chief city of the " New Spain". More than an estimated 240,000 Aztecs died during the
siege of Tenochtitlan The Fall of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire, was a decisive event in the Spanish conquest of the empire. It occurred in 1521 following extensive manipulation of local factions and exploitation of pre-existing political divisions ...
, 100,000 in combat, while 500–1,000 of the Spaniards engaged in the conquest died. The other great conquest was of the
Inca Empire The Inca Empire (also known as the Incan Empire and the Inka Empire), called ''Tawantinsuyu'' by its subjects, ( Quechua for the "Realm of the Four Parts",  "four parts together" ) was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The adm ...
(1531–35), led by
Francisco Pizarro Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess of the Atabillos (; ;  – 26 June 1541) was a Spanish conquistador, best known for his expeditions that led to the Spanish conquest of Peru. Born in Trujillo, Spain to a poor family, Pizarro chose ...
. The early period of exploration, conquest, and settlement, c. 1492–1550, the overseas possessions claimed by Spain were only loosely controlled by the crown. With the conquests of the Aztecs and the Incas, the New World now commanded the crown's attention. Both Mexico and Peru had dense, hierarchically organized indigenous populations that could be incorporated and ruled. Even more importantly, both Mexico and Peru had large deposits of silver, which became the economic motor of the Spanish empire and transformed the world economy. In Peru, the singular, hugely rich silver mine of Potosí was worked by traditional forced indigenous labor drafts, known as the
mit'a Mit'a () was mandatory service in the society of the Inca Empire. Its close relative, the regionally mandatory Minka is still in use in Quechua communities today and known as ''faena'' in Spanish. Historians use the Hispanicized term ''mita'' to ...
. In Mexico, silver was found outsize the zone of dense indigenous settlement, so that free laborers migrated to the mines in Guanajuato and
Zacatecas , image_map = Zacatecas in Mexico (location map scheme).svg , map_caption = State of Zacatecas within Mexico , coordinates = , coor_pinpoint = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type ...
. The crown established the
Council of the Indies The Council of the Indies ( es, Consejo de las Indias), officially the Royal and Supreme Council of the Indies ( es, Real y Supremo Consejo de las Indias, link=no, ), was the most important administrative organ of the Spanish Empire for the Amer ...
in 1524, based in Seville, and issued
laws of the Indies The Laws of the Indies ( es, Leyes de las Indias) are the entire body of laws issued by the Spanish Crown for the American and the Asian possessions of its empire. They regulated social, political, religious, and economic life in these areas. T ...
to assert its power against the early conquerors. The crown created the
viceroyalty of New Spain New Spain, officially the Viceroyalty of New Spain ( es, Virreinato de Nueva España, ), or Kingdom of New Spain, was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Amer ...
and the
viceroyalty of Peru The Viceroyalty of Peru ( es, Virreinato del Perú, links=no) was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of the Spanish Empire in South America, governed fro ...
to tightened crown control over these rich prizes of conquest.


Portugal

Over this same time frame as Spain,
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of ...
claimed lands in North America (Canada) and colonized much of eastern South America naming it Santa Cruz and Brazil. On behalf of both the Portuguese and Spanish crowns, cartographer Americo Vespuscio explored the South American east coast, and published his new book ''Mundus Novus'' (''New World'') in 1502–1503 which disproved the belief that the Americas were the easternmost part of Asia and confirmed that Columbus had reached a set of continents previously unheard of to any Europeans.
Cartographers Cartography (; from grc, χάρτης , "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and , "write") is the study and practice of making and using maps. Combining science, aesthetics and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality (or an i ...
still use a Latinized version of his first name, ''America'', for the two continents. In April 1500, Portuguese noble
Pedro Álvares Cabral Pedro Álvares Cabral ( or ; born Pedro Álvares de Gouveia; c. 1467 or 1468 – c. 1520) was a Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil. He was the first human in ...
claimed the region of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ...
to Portugal; the effective colonization of Brazil began three decades later with the founding of São Vicente in 1532 and the establishment of the system of captaincies in 1534, which was later replaced by other systems. Others tried to colonize the eastern coasts of present-day Canada and the River Plate in South America. These explorers include
João Vaz Corte-Real João Vaz Corte-Real (; c. 1420 – 1496) was a Portuguese sailor, claimed by some accounts to have been an explorer of a land called ''Terra Nova do Bacalhau'' (''New Land of the Codfish''), speculated to possibly have been a part of North Americ ...
in Newfoundland;
João Fernandes Lavrador João Fernandes Lavrador (1453-1501) () was a Portuguese explorer of the late 15th century. He was one of the first modern explorers of the Northeast coasts of North America, including the large Labrador peninsula, which was named after him b ...
, Gaspar and
Miguel Corte-Real Miguel Corte-Real (;  – 1502?) was a Portuguese explorer who charted about 600 miles of the coast of Labrador. In 1502, he disappeared while on an expedition and was believed to be lost at sea. Early life Miguel Corte-Real was a son of ...
and
João Álvares Fagundes João Álvares Fagundes (born c. 1460, Kingdom of Portugal – died 1522, Kingdom of Portugal) was an explorer and ship owner from Viana do Castelo in Northern Portugal. He organized several expeditions to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia around 152 ...
, in Newfoundland, Greenland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia (from 1498 to 1502, and in 1520). During this time, the Portuguese gradually switched from an initial plan of establishing trading posts to extensive colonization of what is now Brazil. They imported millions of slaves to run their plantations. The Portuguese and Spanish royal governments expected to rule these settlements and collect at least 20% of all treasure found (the ''
quinto real The ''quinto real'' or the quinto del rey, the "King's fifth", was a 20% tax established in 1504 that Spain levied on the mining of precious metals. The tax was a major source of revenue for the Spanish monarchy. In 1723 the tax was reduced to 10%. ...
'' collected by the ''
Casa de Contratación The ''Casa de Contratación'' (, House of Trade) or ''Casa de la Contratación de las Indias'' ("House of Trade of the Indies") was established by the Crown of Castile, in 1503 in the port of Seville (and transferred to Cádiz in 1717) as a cr ...
''), in addition to collecting all the taxes they could. By the late 16th century
silver Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived from the Proto-Indo-European ''h₂erǵ'': "shiny" or "white") and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical ...
from the Americas accounted for one-fifth of the combined total budget of Portugal and Spain. In the 16th century perhaps 240,000 Europeans entered ports in the Americas.


France

France founded colonies in the Americas: in eastern North America (which had not been colonized by Spain north of
Florida Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to ...
), a number of Caribbean islands (which had often already been conquered by the Spanish or depopulated by disease), and small coastal parts of South America. French explorers included
Giovanni da Verrazzano Giovanni da Verrazzano ( , , often misspelled Verrazano in English; 1485–1528) was an Italian ( Florentine) explorer of North America, in the service of King Francis I of France. He is renowned as the first European to explore the Atlanti ...
in 1524; Jacques Cartier (1491–1557), and Samuel de Champlain (1567–1635), who explored the region of Canada he reestablished as
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spa ...
. In the French colonial regions, the focus of economy was on sugar plantations in the French West Indies. In Canada the fur trade with the natives was important. About 16,000 French men and women became colonizers. The great majority became subsistence farmers along the
St. Lawrence River The St. Lawrence River (french: Fleuve Saint-Laurent, ) is a large river in the middle latitudes of North America. Its headwaters begin flowing from Lake Ontario in a (roughly) northeasterly direction, into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, connecting ...
. With a favorable disease environment and plenty of land and food, their numbers grew exponentially to 65,000 by 1760. Their colony was taken over by Britain in 1760, but social, religious, legal, cultural and economic changes were few in a society that clung tightly to its recently formed traditions.


British

British colonization began with North America almost a century after Spain. The relatively late arrival meant that the British could use the other European colonization powers as models for their endeavors.Haring, Clarence H. ''The Spanish Empire in America''. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985. Print. Inspired by the Spanish riches from colonies founded upon the conquest of the Aztecs,
Incas The Inca Empire (also known as the Incan Empire and the Inka Empire), called ''Tawantinsuyu'' by its subjects, ( Quechua for the "Realm of the Four Parts",  "four parts together" ) was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The adm ...
, and other large Native American populations in the 16th century, their first attempt at colonization occurred in Roanoke and Newfoundland, although unsuccessful. In 1606,
King James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until hi ...
granted a charter with the purpose of discovering the riches at their first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. They were sponsored by
common stock Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently outside of the United States. They are known as equity shares or ordinary shares in the UK and other Comm ...
companies such as the chartered
Virginia Company The Virginia Company was an English trading company chartered by King James I on 10 April 1606 with the object of colonizing the eastern coast of America. The coast was named Virginia, after Elizabeth I, and it stretched from present-day Mai ...
financed by wealthy Englishmen who exaggerated the economic potential of the land. The
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
of the 16th century broke the unity of Western Christendom and led to the formation of numerous new religious sects, which often faced persecution by governmental authorities. In England, many people came to question the organization of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the established Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britai ...
by the end of the 16th century. One of the primary manifestations of this was the
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become more Protestant. ...
movement, which sought to "purify" the existing Church of England of its residual Catholic rites. The first of these people, known as the Pilgrims, landed on
Plymouth Rock Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of William Bradford and the ''Mayflower'' Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in December 1620. The Pilgrims did not refer to Plymouth Rock in any of their writings; the first known writt ...
in November 1620. Continuous waves of repression led to the migration of about 20,000 Puritans to New England between 1629 and 1642, where they founded multiple colonies. Later in the century, the new Province of Pennsylvania was given to
William Penn William Penn ( – ) was an English writer and religious thinker belonging to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, a North American colony of England. He was an early advocate of democracy a ...
in settlement of a debt the king owed his father. Its government was established by William Penn in about 1682 to become primarily a refuge for persecuted English Quakers; but others were welcomed. Baptists,
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) ** Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ge ...
and
Swiss Protestants Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland * Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, Wisconsin Other uses *Swiss-system tournament, in various games and sports * Swiss Internationa ...
and
Anabaptists Anabaptism (from Neo-Latin , from the Greek : 're-' and 'baptism', german: Täufer, earlier also )Since the middle of the 20th century, the German-speaking world no longer uses the term (translation: "Re-baptizers"), considering it biased. ...
also flocked to Pennsylvania. The lure of cheap land, religious freedom and the right to improve themselves with their own hand was very attractive. Mainly due to discrimination, there was often a separation between English colonial communities and indigenous communities. The Europeans viewed the natives as savages who were not worthy of participating in what they considered civilized society. The native people of North America did not die out nearly as rapidly nor as greatly as those in Central and South America due in part to their exclusion from British society. The indigenous people continued to be stripped of their native lands and were pushed further out west."Native Americans, Treatment of (Spain vs England)." ''Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History''. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Detroit: Gale, 1999. N. pag. ''World History in Context''. Web. 30 Mar. 2015. The English eventually went on to control much of
Eastern North America The Nearctic realm is one of the eight biogeographic realms constituting the Earth's land surface. The Nearctic realm covers most of North America, including Greenland, Central Florida, and the highlands of Mexico. The parts of North America ...
, the Caribbean, and parts of South America. They also gained
Florida Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to ...
and
Quebec Quebec ( ; )According to the Canadian government, ''Québec'' (with the acute accent) is the official name in Canadian French and ''Quebec'' (without the accent) is the province's official name in Canadian English is one of the thirtee ...
in the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War, which pitted the North American colonies of the British Empire against those of the French, each side being supported by various Native American tribes. At the ...
. John Smith convinced the colonists of Jamestown that searching for gold was not taking care of their immediate needs for food and shelter. The lack of
food security Food security speaks to the availability of food in a country (or geography) and the ability of individuals within that country (geography) to access, afford, and source adequate foodstuffs. According to the United Nations' Committee on World ...
leading to extremely high mortality rate was quite distressing and cause for despair among the colonists. To support the colony, numerous supply missions were organized.
Tobacco Tobacco is the common name of several plants in the genus '' Nicotiana'' of the family Solanaceae, and the general term for any product prepared from the cured leaves of these plants. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, but the ...
later became a cash crop, with the work of
John Rolfe John Rolfe (1585 – March 1622) was one of the early English settlers of North America. He is credited with the first successful cultivation of tobacco as an export crop in the Colony of Virginia in 1611. Biography John Rolfe is believed ...
and others, for export and the sustaining economic driver of
Virginia Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions of the United States, between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth ar ...
and the neighboring colony of
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It shares borders with Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware and the Atlantic Ocean to ...
. Plantation agriculture was a primary aspect of the economies of the Southern Colonies and in the
British West Indies The British West Indies (BWI) were colonized British territories in the West Indies: Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grena ...
. They heavily relied on African slave labor to sustain their economic pursuits.Hair, Chris.
Differences Between British and Spanish Colonization of North America: Analysis of J.H. Elliot's Empire's of the Atlantic World.
''The American West: An Eclectic History''. N.p., 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2015.
From the beginning of Virginia's settlements in 1587 until the 1680s, the main source of labor and a large portion of the immigrants were
indentured servants Indentured servitude is a form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. The contract, called an "indenture", may be entered "voluntarily" for purported eventual compensation or debt repayment, ...
looking for new life in the overseas colonies. During the 17th century,
indentured servants Indentured servitude is a form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. The contract, called an "indenture", may be entered "voluntarily" for purported eventual compensation or debt repayment, ...
constituted three-quarters of all European immigrants to the
Chesapeake Colonies The Chesapeake Colonies were the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, later the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Province of Maryland, later Maryland, both colonies located in British America and centered on the Chesapeake Bay. Settlements of the Chesa ...
. Most of the indentured servants were teenagers from England with poor economic prospects at home. Their fathers signed the papers that gave them free passage to America and an unpaid job until they became of age. They were given food, clothing, housing and taught farming or household skills. American landowners were in need of laborers and were willing to pay for a laborer's passage to America if they served them for several years. By selling passage for five to seven years worth of work, they could then start on their own in America. Many of the migrants from England died in the first few years. Economic advantage also prompted the
Darien Scheme The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt, backed largely by investors of the Kingdom of Scotland, to gain wealth and influence by establishing ''New Caledonia'', a colony on the Isthmus of Panama, in the late 1690s. The plan was for the co ...
, an ill-fated venture by the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland (; , ) was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a l ...
to settle the Isthmus of Panama in the late 1690s. The Darien Scheme aimed to control trade through that part of the world and thereby promote Scotland into a world trading power. However, it was doomed by poor planning, short provisions, weak leadership, lack of demand for trade goods, and devastating disease. The failure of the Darien Scheme was one of the factors that led the Kingdom of Scotland into the Act of Union 1707 with the
Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England (, ) was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 12 July 927, when it emerged from various History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, until 1 May 1707, when it united with Kingdom of Scotland, ...
creating the united
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain (officially Great Britain) was a Sovereign state, sovereign country in Western Europe from 1 May 1707 to the end of 31 December 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of ...
and giving Scotland commercial access to English, now British, colonies.


Dutch

The Netherlands had been part of the
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its prede ...
, due to the inheritance of
Charles V Charles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1500–1558) * Charles V of Naples (1661–1700), better known as Charles II of Spain * Charles V of France (1338–1380), called the Wise * Charles V, Duke of Lorraine (1643–1690) * Infa ...
of Spain. Many Dutch people converted to
Protestantism Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century against what its followers perceived to b ...
and sought their political independence from Spain. They were a seafaring nation and built a global empire in regions where the Portuguese had originally explored. In the Dutch Golden Age, it sought colonies. In the Americas, the Dutch conquered the northeast of
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At and with over 217 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area ...
in 1630, where the Portuguese had built sugar cane plantations worked by black slave labor from Africa. Prince
Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen John Maurice of Nassau (Dutch: ''Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen''; German: ''Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen''; Portuguese: ''João Maurício de Nassau-Siegen''; 17 June 1604 – 20 December 1679), called "the Brazilian" for his fruitful period a ...
became the administrator of the colony (1637–43), building a capital city and royal palace, fully expecting the Dutch to retain control of this rich area. As the Dutch had in Europe, it tolerated the presence of Jews and other religious groups in the colony. After Maurits departed in 1643, the Dutch West India Company took over the colony, until it was lost to the Portuguese in 1654. The Dutch retained some territory in Dutch Guiana, now Suriname. The Dutch also seized islands in the Caribbean that Spain had originally claimed but had largely abandoned, including
Sint Maarten Sint Maarten () is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. With a population of 41,486 as of January 2019 on an area of , it encompasses the southern 44% of the divided island of Saint Martin, while the nort ...
in 1618, Bonaire in 1634, Curaçao in 1634, Sint Eustatius in 1636, Aruba in 1637, some of which remain in Dutch hands and retain Dutch cultural traditions. On the east coast of North America, the Dutch planted the colony of
New Netherland New Netherland ( nl, Nieuw Nederland; la, Novum Belgium or ) was a 17th-century colonial province of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of what is now the United States. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva P ...
on the lower end of the island of
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City, is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs of New York City. The borough is also coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state ...
, at New Amsterdam starting in 1624. The Dutch sought to protect their investments and purchased the Manhattan from a band of
Canarse The Canarsee (also Canarse and Canarsie) were a band of Munsee-speaking Lenape who inhabited the westernmost end of Long Island at the time the Dutch colonized New Amsterdam in the 1620s and 1630s. They are credited with selling the island of Man ...
from
Brooklyn Brooklyn () is a borough of New York City, coextensive with Kings County, in the U.S. state of New York. Kings County is the most populous county in the State of New York, and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, be ...
who occupied the bottom quarter of Manhattan, known then as the Manhattoes, for 60
guilders Guilder is the English translation of the Dutch and German ''gulden'', originally shortened from Middle High German ''guldin pfenninc'' "gold penny". This was the term that became current in the southern and western parts of the Holy Roman Emp ...
' worth of trade goods. Minuit conducted the transaction with the Canarse chief Seyseys, who accepted valuable merchandise in exchange for an island that was actually mostly controlled by another indigenous group, the
Weckquaesgeek The Wecquaesgeek (also Manhattoe and Manhattan) were a Munsee language, Munsee-speaking band of Wappinger people who once lived along the east bank of the Hudson River in the southwest of today's Westchester County, New York,Their presence on the ...
s. Dutch fur traders set up a network upstream on the
Hudson River The Hudson River is a river that flows from north to south primarily through eastern New York. It originates in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York and flows southward through the Hudson Valley to the New York Harbor between N ...
. There were Jewish settlers from 1654 onward, and they remained following the English capture of New Amsterdam in 1664. The naval capture was despite both nations being at peace with the other.


Russia

Russia came to colonization late compared to Spain or Portugal, or even England.
Siberia Siberia ( ; rus, Сибирь, r=Sibir', p=sʲɪˈbʲirʲ, a=Ru-Сибирь.ogg) is an extensive region, geographical region, constituting all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It has been a ...
was added to the
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended the Great Northern War. ...
and Cossack explorers along rivers sought valuable furs of ermine, sable, and
fox Foxes are small to medium-sized, omnivorous mammals belonging to several genera of the family Canidae. They have a flattened skull, upright, triangular ears, a pointed, slightly upturned snout, and a long bushy tail (or ''brush''). Twelve sp ...
. Cossacks enlisted the aid of indigenous Siberians, who sought protection from nomadic peoples, and those peoples paid tribute in fur to the czar. Thus, prior to the eighteenth century Russian expansion that pushed beyond the Bering Strait dividing Eurasia from North America, Russia had experience with northern indigenous peoples and accumulated wealth from the hunting of fur bearing animals. Siberia had already attracted a core group of scientists, who sought to map and catalogue the flora, fauna, and other aspects of the natural world. A major Russian expedition for exploration was mounted in 1742, contemporaneous with other eighteenth-century European state-sponsored ventures. It was not clear at the time whether Eurasia and North America were completely separate continents. The first voyages were made by
Vitus Bering Vitus Jonassen Bering (baptised 5 August 1681 – 19 December 1741),All dates are here given in the Julian calendar, which was in use throughout Russia at the time. also known as Ivan Ivanovich Bering, was a Danish cartographer and explorer in ...
and
Aleksei Chirikov Aleksei Ilyich Chirikov (russian: Алексе́й Ильи́ч Чи́риков; 1703 – November 14, 1748) was a Russian navigator and captain who, along with Vitus Bering, was the first Russian to reach the northwest coast of North America. ...
, with settlement beginning after 1743. By the 1790s the first permanent settlements were established. Explorations continued down the Pacific coast of North America, and Russia established a settlement in the early nineteenth century at what is now called
Fort Ross, California Fort Ross ( Russian: Форт-Росс, Kashaya ''mé·ṭiʔni''), originally Fortress Ross ( pre-reformed Russian: Крѣпость Россъ, tr. ''Krepostʹ Ross''), is a former Russian establishment on the west coast of North America i ...
. Russian fur traders forced indigenous
Aleut The Aleuts ( ; russian: Алеуты, Aleuty) are the indigenous people of the Aleutian Islands, which are located between the North Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. Both the Aleut people and the islands are politically divided between the ...
men into seasonal labor. Never very profitable, Russia sold its North American holdings to the United States in 1867, called at the time "
Seward's Folly The Alaska Purchase (russian: Продажа Аляски, Prodazha Alyaski, Sale of Alaska) was the United States' acquisition of Alaska from the Russian Empire. Alaska was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867, through a ...
."


Tuscany

Duke Ferdinand I de Medici made the only Italian attempt to create colonies in America. For this purpose the Grand Duke organized in 1608 an expedition to the north of Brazil, under the command of the English captain Robert Thornton. Unfortunately Thornton, on his return from the preparatory trip in 1609 (he had been to the
Amazon Amazon most often refers to: * Amazons, a tribe of female warriors in Greek mythology * Amazon rainforest, a rainforest covering most of the Amazon basin * Amazon River, in South America * Amazon (company), an American multinational technolog ...
), found Ferdinand I dead and all projects were canceled by his successor Cosimo II.


Christianization

Beginning with the
first wave of European colonization The first European colonialism, European colonization wave began with Castilians, Castilian and Portuguese Empire, Portuguese conquests and explorations, and primarily involved the European colonization of the Americas, though it also included t ...
, the
religious discrimination Religious discrimination is treating a person or group differently because of the particular beliefs which they hold about a religion. This includes instances when adherents of different religions, denominations or non-religions are treated u ...
, persecution, and
violence Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy. Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization's definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened ...
toward the Indigenous peoples' native religions was systematically perpetrated by the European Christian colonists and settlers from the 15th–16th centuries onwards. During the
Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery (or the Age of Exploration), also known as the early modern period, was a period largely overlapping with the Age of Sail, approximately from the 15th century to the 17th century in European history, during which seafarin ...
and the following centuries, the
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Can ...
and
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portu ...
colonial empires were the most active in attempting to convert the
Indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the A ...
to the
Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world's largest and most widespread religion with roughly 2.38 billion followers representing one-third of the global popul ...
. Pope
Alexander VI Pope Alexander VI ( it, Alessandro VI, va, Alexandre VI, es, Alejandro VI; born Rodrigo de Borja; ca-valencia, Roderic Llançol i de Borja ; es, Rodrigo Lanzol y de Borja, lang ; 1431 – 18 August 1503) was head of the Catholic Churc ...
issued the ''
Inter caetera ''Inter caetera'' ('Among other orks) was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on the 4 May () 1493, which granted to the Catholic Monarchs King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile all lands to the "west and south" of ...
'' bull in May 1493 that confirmed the lands claimed by the
Kingdom of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
, and mandated in exchange that the Indigenous peoples be converted to Catholic Christianity. During
Columbus Columbus is a Latinized version of the Italian surname "''Colombo''". It most commonly refers to: * Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), the Italian explorer * Columbus, Ohio, capital of the U.S. state of Ohio Columbus may also refer to: Places ...
's second voyage,
Benedictine , image = Medalla San Benito.PNG , caption = Design on the obverse side of the Saint Benedict Medal , abbreviation = OSB , formation = , motto = (English: 'Pray and Work') , foun ...
friars accompanied him, along with twelve other priests. With the
Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, also known as the Conquest of Mexico or the Spanish-Aztec War (1519–21), was one of the primary events in the Spanish colonization of the Americas. There are multiple 16th-century narratives of the eve ...
, evangelization of the dense Indigenous populations was undertaken in what was called the "spiritual conquest." Several mendicant orders were involved in the early campaign to convert the Indigenous peoples.
Franciscans , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 200px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
and Dominicans learned
Indigenous languages of the Americas Over a thousand indigenous languages are spoken by the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. These languages cannot all be demonstrated to be related to each other and are classified into a hundred or so language families (including a large num ...
, such as Nahuatl,
Mixtec The Mixtecs (), or Mixtecos, are indigenous Mesoamerican peoples of Mexico inhabiting the region known as La Mixteca of Oaxaca and Puebla as well as La Montaña Region and Costa Chica Regions of the state of Guerrero. The Mixtec Culture w ...
, and Zapotec. One of the first schools for
Indigenous peoples in Mexico Indigenous peoples of Mexico ( es, gente indígena de México, pueblos indígenas de México), Native Mexicans ( es, nativos mexicanos) or Mexican Native Americans ( es, pueblos originarios de México, lit=Original peoples of Mexico), are those ...
was founded by Pedro de Gante in 1523. The friars aimed at converting Indigenous leaders, with the hope and expectation that their communities would follow suit. In densely populated regions, friars mobilized Indigenous communities to build churches, making the religious change visible; these churches and chapels were often in the same places as old temples, often using the same stones. "Native peoples exhibited a range of responses, from outright hostility to active embrace of the new religion." In central and southern Mexico where there was an existing Indigenous tradition of creating written texts, the friars taught Indigenous scribes to write their own languages in
Latin letters The Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic writing system based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet, derived from a form of the Greek alphabet which was in use in the ancient Greek city of Cumae, in southern Ital ...
. There is significant body of texts in Indigenous languages created by and for Indigenous peoples in their own communities for their own purposes. In frontier areas where there were no settled Indigenous populations, friars and
Jesuits , image = Ihs-logo.svg , image_size = 175px , caption = ChristogramOfficial seal of the Jesuits , abbreviation = SJ , nickname = Jesuits , formation = , founders = ...
often created missions, bringing together dispersed Indigenous populations in communities supervised by the friars in order to more easily preach the gospel and ensure their adherence to the faith. These missions were established throughout
Spanish America Spanish America refers to the Spanish territories in the Americas during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. The term "Spanish America" was specifically used during the territories' imperial era between 15th and 19th centuries. To the e ...
which extended from the southwestern portions of current-day United States through Mexico and to Argentina and Chile. As
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
was prohibited between Christians and could only be imposed upon non-Christian prisoners of war and/or men already sold as slaves, the debate on Christianization was particularly acute during the early 16th century, when Spanish conquerors and settlers sought to mobilize Indigenous labor. Later, two Dominican friars,
Bartolomé de Las Casas Bartolomé de las Casas, OP ( ; ; 11 November 1484 – 18 July 1566) was a 16th-century Spanish landowner, friar, priest, and bishop, famed as a historian and social reformer. He arrived in Hispaniola as a layman then became a Dominican friar ...
and the philosopher
Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda (11 June 1494 – 17 November 1573) was a Spanish Renaissance humanist, philosopher, and theologian. Biography In 1533 and 1534 Sepúlveda wrote to Desiderius Erasmus from Rome concerning differences between Eras ...
, held the
Valladolid debate The Valladolid debate (1550–1551) was the first moral debate in European history to discuss the rights and treatment of an indigenous people by European colonizers. Held in the Colegio de San Gregorio, in the Spanish city of Valladolid, it was ...
, with the former arguing that Native Americans were endowed with
soul In many religious and philosophical traditions, there is a belief that a soul is "the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being". Etymology The Modern English noun '' soul'' is derived from Old English ''sāwol, sāwel''. The earliest atte ...
s like all other human beings, while the latter argued to the contrary to justify their enslavement. In 1537, the papal bull ''
Sublimis Deus ''Sublimis Deus'' (English: ''The sublime God''; erroneously cited as ''Sublimus Dei'' and occasionally as ''Sic Dilexit'') is a bull promulgated by Pope Paul III on June 2, 1537, which forbids the enslavement of the indigenous peoples of the Am ...
'' definitively recognized that Native Americans possessed souls, thus prohibiting their enslavement, without putting an end to the debate. Some claimed that a native who had rebelled and then been captured could be enslaved nonetheless. When the first
Franciscans , image = FrancescoCoA PioM.svg , image_size = 200px , caption = A cross, Christ's arm and Saint Francis's arm, a universal symbol of the Franciscans , abbreviation = OFM , predecessor = , ...
arrived in Mexico in 1524, they burned the sacred places dedicated to the Indigenous peoples' native religions."Espagnols-Indiens: le choc des civilisations", in ''
L'Histoire ''L'Histoire'' is a monthly mainstream French magazine dedicated to historical studies, recognized by peers as the most important historical popular magazine (as opposed to specific university journals or less scientific popular historical magaz ...
'' n°322, July–August 2007, pp. 14–21 (interview with Christian Duverger, teacher at the
EHESS The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (french: École des hautes études en sciences sociales; EHESS) is a graduate ''grande école'' and '' grand établissement'' in Paris focused on academic research in the social sciences. The ...
)
However, in
Pre-Columbian Mexico The pre-Columbian (or prehispanic) history of the territory now making up the country of Mexico is known through the work of archaeologists and epigraphers, and through the accounts of Spanish conquistadores, settlers and clergymen as well as ...
, burning the temple of a conquered group was standard practice, shown in Indigenous manuscripts, such as
Codex Mendoza The Codex Mendoza is an Aztec codex, believed to have been created around the year 1541. It contains a history of both the Aztec rulers and their conquests as well as a description of the daily life of pre-conquest Aztec society. The codex is wr ...
. Conquered Indigenous groups expected to take on the gods of their new overlords, adding them to the existing pantheon. They likely were unaware that their conversion to Christianity entailed the complete and irrevocable renunciation of their ancestral religious beliefs and practices. In 1539, Mexican bishop Juan de Zumárraga oversaw the trial and execution of the Indigenous nobleman Carlos of Texcoco for
apostasy from Christianity Apostasy in Christianity is the repudiation of Christ and the central teachings of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian (Christ-follower). The term apostasy comes from the Greek word ''apostasia'' (" ἀποστασία") meanin ...
. Following that, the Catholic Church removed Indigenous converts from the jurisdiction of the
Inquisition The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy, conducting trials of suspected heretics. Studies of the records have found that the overwhelming majority of sentences consisted of penances, ...
, since it had a chilling effect on evangelization. In creating a protected group of Christians, Indigenous men no longer could aspire to be ordained Christian priests. Throughout the Americas, the
Jesuits , image = Ihs-logo.svg , image_size = 175px , caption = ChristogramOfficial seal of the Jesuits , abbreviation = SJ , nickname = Jesuits , formation = , founders = ...
were active in attempting to convert the Indigenous peoples to Christianity. They had considerable success on the frontiers in
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spa ...
and
Portuguese Brazil Colonial Brazil ( pt, Brasil Colonial) comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to a kingdom in union with Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Duri ...
, most famously with Antonio de Vieira, S.J; and in
Paraguay Paraguay (; ), officially the Republic of Paraguay ( es, República del Paraguay, links=no; gn, Tavakuairetã Paraguái, links=si), is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to th ...
, almost an autonomous state within a state.


Religion and immigration

Roman Catholics were the first major religious group to immigrate to the New World, as settlers in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies of Portugal and Spain, and later, France in
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spa ...
. No other religion was tolerated and there was a concerted effort to convert indigenous peoples and black slaves to Catholicism. The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
established three offices of the
Spanish Inquisition The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition ( es, Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition ( es, Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs, King Ferdinand ...
, in
Mexico City Mexico City ( es, link=no, Ciudad de México, ; abbr.: CDMX; Nahuatl: ''Altepetl Mexico'') is the capital city, capital and primate city, largest city of Mexico, and the List of North American cities by population, most populous city in North Amer ...
; Lima, Peru; and Cartagena de Indias in Colombia to maintain religious orthodoxy and practice. The Portuguese did not establish a permanent office of the
Portuguese Inquisition The Portuguese Inquisition ( Portuguese: ''Inquisição Portuguesa''), officially known as the General Council of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Portugal, was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of its king, John III. ...
in Brazil, but did send visitations of inquistors in the seventeenth century. English and Dutch colonies, on the other hand, tended to be more religiously diverse. Settlers to these colonies included Anglicans, Dutch Calvinists, English
Puritans The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become more Protestant. ...
and other nonconformists, English Catholics, Scottish
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition within Protestantism that broke from the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland by John Knox, who was a priest at St. Giles Cathedral (Church of Scotland). Presbyterian churches derive their nam ...
s, French Protestant
Huguenot The Huguenots ( , also , ) were a religious group of French Protestants who held to the Reformed, or Calvinist, tradition of Protestantism. The term, which may be derived from the name of a Swiss political leader, the Genevan burgomaster Be ...
s, German and Swedish
Lutherans Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying primarily with the theology of Martin Luther, the 16th-century German monk and reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched ...
, as well as
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
,
Quakers Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Members of these movements ("theFriends") are generally united by a belief in each human's abil ...
,
Mennonites Mennonites are groups of Anabaptist Christian church communities of denominations. The name is derived from the founder of the movement, Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings about Reformed Christianity during the Radic ...
,
Amish The Amish (; pdc, Amisch; german: link=no, Amische), formally the Old Order Amish, are a group of traditionalist Anabaptist Christian church fellowships with Swiss German and Alsatian origins. They are closely related to Mennonite churc ...
, and Moravians. Jews fled to the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam when the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions cracked down on their presence.


Disease and indigenous population loss

The European lifestyle included a long history of sharing close quarters with domesticated animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, dogs and various domesticated
fowl Fowl are birds belonging to one of two biological orders, namely the gamefowl or landfowl (Galliformes) and the waterfowl (Anseriformes). Anatomical and molecular similarities suggest these two groups are close evolutionary relatives; together ...
, from which many diseases originally stemmed. In contrast to the indigenous people, the Europeans had developed a richer endowment of antibodies. The large-scale contact with Europeans after 1492 introduced Eurasian germs to the
indigenous people of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the Am ...
. Epidemics of
smallpox Smallpox was an infectious disease caused by variola virus (often called smallpox virus) which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) c ...
(1518, 1521, 1525, 1558, 1589),
typhus Typhus, also known as typhus fever, is a group of infectious diseases that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus. Common symptoms include fever, headache, and a rash. Typically these begin one to two weeks after exposure. ...
(1546), influenza (1558),
diphtheria Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium '' Corynebacterium diphtheriae''. Most infections are asymptomatic or have a mild clinical course, but in some outbreaks more than 10% of those diagnosed with the disease may die. Signs and s ...
(1614) and measles (1618) swept the Americas subsequent to European contact, killing between 10 million and 100 million people, up to 95% of the
indigenous population Indigenous peoples are culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original people ...
of the Americas. The cultural and political instability attending these losses appears to have been of substantial aid in the efforts of various colonists in New England and Massachusetts to acquire control over the great wealth in land and resources of which indigenous societies had customarily made use. Such diseases yielded human mortality of an unquestionably enormous gravity and scale – and this has profoundly confused efforts to determine its full extent with any true precision. Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of the Americas vary tremendously. Others have argued that significant variations in population size over pre-Columbian history are reason to view higher-end estimates with caution. Such estimates may reflect historical population maxima, while indigenous populations may have been at a level somewhat below these maxima or in a moment of decline in the period just prior to contact with Europeans. Indigenous populations hit their ultimate lows in most areas of the Americas in the early 20th century; in a number of cases, growth has returned. According to scientists from
University College London , mottoeng = Let all come who by merit deserve the most reward , established = , type = Public research university , endowment = £143 million (2020) , budget = ...
, the colonization of the Americas by Europeans killed so much of the indigenous population that it resulted in
climate change In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate change in a broader sense also includes previous long-term changes to ...
and
global cooling Global cooling was a conjecture, especially during the 1970s, of imminent cooling of the Earth culminating in a period of extensive glaciation, due to the cooling effects of aerosols or orbital forcing. Some press reports in the 1970s specula ...
. Some contemporary scholars also attribute significant indigenous population losses in the Caribbean to the widespread practice of slavery and deadly forced labor in gold and silver mines. Historian Andrés Reséndez, supports this claim and argues that indigenous populations were smaller previous estimations and "a nexus of slavery, overwork and famine killed more Indians in the Caribbean than smallpox, influenza and malaria."


Slavery

Indigenous population loss following European contact directly led to Spanish explorations beyond the Caribbean islands they initially claimed and settled in the 1490s, since they required a labor force to both produce food and to mine gold. Slavery was not unknown in Indigenous societies. With the arrival of European colonists, enslavement of Indigenous peoples "became commodified, expanded in unexpected ways, and came to resemble the kinds of human trafficking that are recognizable to us today".Reséndez, Andrés. ''The Other Slavery : the Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America / Andrés Reséndez.'' Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. Print. While disease was the main killer of indigenous peoples, the practice of slavery and forced labor was also significant contributor to the indigenous death toll. With the arrival of Europeans other than Spanish, enslavement of native populations increased since there were no prohibitions against slavery until decades later. It is estimated that from Columbus's arrival to the end of the 19th century between 2.5 and 5 million Native Americans were forced into slavery. Indigenous men, women, and children were often forced into labor in sparsely populated frontier settings, in the household, or in the toxic gold and silver mines.Waite, Kevin. "The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America." ''The Journal of Civil War Era'', vol. 7, no. 3, 2017, p. 473+. ''Gale Academic OneFile'', https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A502506898/AONE?u=tel_a_vanderbilt&sid=AONE&xid=0e6d28ed. Accessed 17 Oct. 2020. This practice was known as the ''encomienda'' system and granted free native labor to the Spaniards. Based upon the practice of exacting tribute from Muslims and Jews during the
Reconquista The ' (Spanish, Portuguese and Galician for "reconquest") is a historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula between the Umayyad conquest of Hispania in 711 and the fall of the Nasrid ...
, the Spanish Crown granted a number of native laborers to an ''encomendero'', who was usually a conquistador or other prominent Spanish male. Under the grant, they were theoretically bound to both protecting the natives and converting them to Christianity. In exchange for their
forced conversion to Christianity Forced conversion is the adoption of a different religion or the adoption of irreligion under Coercion, duress. Someone who has been forced to convert to a different religion or irreligion may continue, covertly, to adhere to the beliefs and pract ...
, the natives paid tributes in the form of gold, agricultural products, and labor. The Spanish Crown tried to terminate the system through the
Laws of Burgos The Laws of Burgos ( es, Leyes de Burgos), promulgated on 27 December 1512 in Burgos, Crown of Castile (Spain), was the first codified set of laws governing the behavior of Spaniards in the Americas, particularly with regard to the Indigenous pe ...
(1512–13) and the New Laws of the Indies (1542). However, the encomenderos refused to comply with the new measures and the indigenous people continued to be exploited. Eventually, the encomienda system was replaced by the ''
repartimiento The ''Repartimiento'' () (Spanish, "distribution, partition, or division") was a colonial labor system imposed upon the indigenous population of Spanish America. In concept, it was similar to other tribute-labor systems, such as the ''mit'a'' of t ...
'' system which was not abolished until the late 18th century. In the Caribbean, deposits of gold were quickly exhausted and the precipitous drop in the indigenous population meant a severe labor shortage. Spaniards sought a high value, low bulk export product to make their fortunes.
Cane sugar Sucrose, a disaccharide, is a sugar composed of glucose and fructose subunits. It is produced naturally in plants and is the main constituent of white sugar. It has the molecular formula . For human consumption, sucrose is extracted and refine ...
was the answer. It had been cultivated on the Iberian Atlantic islands. It was a highly desirable, expensive foodstuff. The problem of a labor force was solved by the importation of African slaves, initiating the creation of sugar plantations worked by
chattel slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
. Plantations required a significant work force to be purchased, housed, and fed; capital investment in building sugar mills on-site, since once cane was cut, the sugar content rapidly declined. Plantation owners were linked to creditors and a network of merchants to sell processed sugar in Europe. The whole system was predicated on a huge enslaved population. The Portuguese controlled the African slave trade, since the division of spheres with Spain in the Treaty of Tordesillas, they controlled the African coasts. Black slavery dominated the labor force in tropical zones, particularly where sugar was cultivated, in Portuguese Brazil, the English, French, and Dutch Caribbean islands. On the mainland of North America, the English southern colonies imported black slaves, starting in Virginia in 1619, to cultivate other tropical or semi-tropical crops such as tobacco, rice, and cotton. Although black slavery is most associated with agricultural production, in Spanish America enslaved and free blacks and
mulattoes (, ) is a racial classification to refer to people of mixed African and European ancestry. Its use is considered outdated and offensive in several languages, including English and Dutch, whereas in languages such as Spanish and Portuguese ...
were found in numbers in cities, working as artisans. Most newly transported African slaves were not Christians, but their conversion was a priority. For the Catholic Church, black slavery was not incompatible with Christianity. The
Jesuits , image = Ihs-logo.svg , image_size = 175px , caption = ChristogramOfficial seal of the Jesuits , abbreviation = SJ , nickname = Jesuits , formation = , founders = ...
created hugely profitable agricultural enterprises and held a significant black slave labor force. European whites often justified the practice through the belts of latitude theory, supported by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Peripatetic school of ph ...
and
Ptolemy Claudius Ptolemy (; grc-gre, Πτολεμαῖος, ; la, Claudius Ptolemaeus; AD) was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, and music theorist, who wrote about a dozen scientific treatises, three of which were of importance ...
. In this perspective, belts of latitude wrapped around the earth and corresponded with specific human traits. The peoples from the "cold zone" in Northern Europe were "of lesser prudence", while those of the "hot zone" in sub-Sahara Africa were intelligent but "weaker and less spirited". According to the theory, those of the "
temperate zone In geography, the temperate climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes (23.5° to 66.5° N/S of Equator), which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout t ...
" across the Mediterranean reflected an ideal balance of strength and prudence. Such ideas about latitude and character justified a natural human hierarchy. Africans slaves were a highly valuable commodity, enriching those involved in the trade. Africans were transported to slave ships to the Americas, were primarily obtained from their African homelands by coastal tribes who captured and sold them. Europeans traded for slaves with the local native African tribes who captured them elsewhere in exchange for rum, guns, gunpowder, and other manufactures. The total
slave trade Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
to islands in the Caribbean, Brazil, the Portuguese, Spanish, French, Dutch, and British Empires is estimated to have involved 12 million Africans. The vast majority of these slaves went to sugar colonies in the Caribbean and to Brazil, where life expectancy was short and the numbers had to be continually replenished. At most about 600,000 African slaves were imported into the United States, or 5% of the 12 million slaves brought across from Africa.


Colonization and race

Throughout the South American hemisphere, there were three large regional sources of populations: Native Americans, arriving Europeans, and forcibly transported Africans. The mixture of these cultures impacted the ethnic makeup that predominates in the hemisphere's largely independent states today. The term to describe someone of mixed European and indigenous ancestry is mestizo while the term to describe someone of mixed European and African ancestry is mulatto. The mestizo and mulatto population are specific to Iberian-influenced current-day Latin America because the conquistadors had (often forced) sexual relations with the indigenous and African women. The social interaction of these three groups of people inspired the creation of a caste system based on skin tone. The hierarchy centered around those with the lightest skin tone and ordered from highest to lowest was the
Peninsulares In the context of the Spanish Empire, a ''peninsular'' (, pl. ''peninsulares'') was a Spaniard born in Spain residing in the New World, Spanish East Indies, or Spanish Guinea. Nowadays, the word ''peninsulares'' makes reference to Peninsular ...
,
Criollos In Hispanic America, criollo () is a term used originally to describe people of Spanish descent born in the colonies. In different Latin American countries the word has come to have different meanings, sometimes referring to the local-born majo ...
, mestizos, indigenous, mulatto, then African. Unlike the Iberians, the British men came with families with whom they planned to permanently live in what is now North America. They kept the natives on the margins of colonial society. Because the British colonizers' wives were present, the British men rarely had sexual relations with the native women. While the mestizo and mulatto population make up the majority of people in
Latin America Latin America or * french: Amérique Latine, link=no * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no, name=a, sometimes referred to as LatAm is a large cultural region in the Americas where Romance languages — languages derived f ...
today, there is only a small mestizo population in present-day North America (excluding Central America).


Colonization and gender

By the early to mid 16th century, even the Iberian men began to carry their wives and families to the Americas. Some women even carried out the voyage alone. Later, more studies of the role of women and female migration from Europe to the Americas have been made.


Impact of colonial land ownership on long-term development

Eventually, most of the
Western Hemisphere The Western Hemisphere is the half of the planet Earth that lies west of the prime meridian (which crosses Greenwich, London, United Kingdom) and east of the antimeridian. The other half is called the Eastern Hemisphere. Politically, the te ...
came under the control of Western European governments, leading to changes to its landscape, population, and plant and animal life. In the 19th century over 50 million people left Western Europe for the Americas. The post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian exchange, a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations (including slaves), ideas, and communicable disease between the American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres following Columbus's voyages to the Americas. Most scholars writing at the end of the 19th century estimated that the
pre-Columbian In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization, which began with Christopher Columbus's voyage of 1492. Usually, ...
population was as low as 10 million; by the end of the 20th century most scholars gravitated to a middle estimate of around 50 million, with some historians arguing for an estimate of 100 million or more. A recent estimate is that there were about 60.5 million people living in the Americas immediately before depopulation, of which 90 per cent, mostly in Central and South America, perished from wave after wave of disease, along with war and
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
playing their part. Geographic differences between the colonies played a large determinant in the types of political and economic systems that later developed. In their paper on institutions and long-run growth, economists Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, and James A. Robinson argue that certain natural endowments gave rise to distinct colonial policies promoting either smallholder or coerced labor production. Densely settled populations, for example, were more easily exploitable and profitable as slave labor. In these regions, landowning elites were economically incentivized to develop forced labor arrangements such as the Peru
mit'a Mit'a () was mandatory service in the society of the Inca Empire. Its close relative, the regionally mandatory Minka is still in use in Quechua communities today and known as ''faena'' in Spanish. Historians use the Hispanicized term ''mita'' to ...
system or Argentinian
latifundias A ''latifundium'' (Latin: ''latus'', "spacious" and ''fundus'', "farm, estate") is a very extensive parcel of privately owned land. The latifundia of Roman Empire, Roman history were great landed property, landed estates specializing in agriculture ...
without regard for democratic norms. French and British colonial leaders, conversely, were incentivized to develop
capitalist Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, priva ...
markets,
property rights The right to property, or the right to own property (cf. ownership) is often classified as a human right for natural persons regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to private property is found more rarely and is typically h ...
, and democratic institutions in response to
natural environment The natural environment or natural world encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally, meaning in this case not artificial. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some parts of Earth. This environment encompasses ...
s that supported
smallholder A smallholding or smallholder is a small farm operating under a small-scale agriculture model. Definitions vary widely for what constitutes a smallholder or small-scale farm, including factors such as size, food production technique or technology ...
production over forced labor. James Mahoney proposes that colonial policy choices made at critical junctures regarding land ownership in
coffee Coffee is a drink prepared from roasted coffee beans. Darkly colored, bitter, and slightly acidic, coffee has a stimulating effect on humans, primarily due to its caffeine content. It is the most popular hot drink in the world. Seeds of ...
-rich Central America fostered enduring path dependent institutions. Coffee economies in Guatemala and El Salvador, for example, were centralized around large plantations that operated under coercive labor systems. By the 19th century, their political structures were largely authoritarian and militarized. In Colombia and Costa Rica, conversely, liberal reforms were enacted at critical junctures to expand
commercial agriculture Intensive agriculture, also known as intensive farming (as opposed to extensive farming), conventional, or industrial agriculture, is a type of agriculture, both of crop plants and of animals, with higher levels of input and output per unit of ag ...
, and they ultimately raised the
bargaining power Bargaining power is the relative ability of parties in an argumentative situation (such as bargaining, contract writing, or making an agreement) to exert influence over each other. If both parties are on an equal footing in a debate, then they w ...
of the middle class. Both nations eventually developed more democratic and egalitarian institutions than their highly concentrated landowning counterparts.


List of European colonies in the Americas

There were at least a dozen European countries involved in the colonization of the Americas. The following list indicates those countries and the Western Hemisphere territories they worked to control.


British and (before 1707) English

* British America (1607–1783) **
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th cent ...
(1607–1783) **
Rupert's Land Rupert's Land (french: Terre de Rupert), or Prince Rupert's Land (french: Terre du Prince Rupert, link=no), was a territory in British North America which comprised the Hudson Bay drainage basin; this was further extended from Rupert's Land t ...
(1670–1870) **
British Columbia British Columbia (commonly abbreviated as BC) is the westernmost province of Canada, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. It has a diverse geography, with rugged landscapes that include rocky coastlines, sandy beaches, ...
(1793–1871) **
British North America British North America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire in North America from 1783 onwards. English colonisation of North America began in the 16th century in Newfoundland, then further south at Roanoke and Jamestow ...
(1783–1907) *
British West Indies The British West Indies (BWI) were colonized British territories in the West Indies: Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grena ...
*
Belize Belize (; bzj, Bileez) is a Caribbean and Central American country on the northeastern coast of Central America. It is bordered by Mexico to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and Guatemala to the west and south. It also shares a wate ...


Courland

*
New Courland The Curonian colonization of the Americas was performed by the Duchy of Courland (now Latvia), which was the second-smallest state to colonise the Americas, after the Knights of Malta. It had a colony on the island of Tobago from 1654 to 1659 ...
(
Tobago Tobago () is an List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, island and Regions and municipalities of Trinidad and Tobago, ward within the Trinidad and Tobago, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located northeast of the larger island of Trini ...
) (1654–1689); Courland is now part of Latvia


Danish

* '' Dano-Norwegian West Indies'' (1754–1814) *
Danish West Indies The Danish West Indies ( da, Dansk Vestindien) or Danish Antilles or Danish Virgin Islands were a Danish colony in the Caribbean, consisting of the islands of Saint Thomas with ; Saint John ( da, St. Jan) with ; and Saint Croix with . The ...
(1814–1917) * '' Dano-Norwegian North Greenland'' (1721–1814) * '' Dano-Norwegian South Greenland'' (1728?–1814) *
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an island country in North America that is part of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland i ...
(1814–1953)


Dutch

*
New Netherland New Netherland ( nl, Nieuw Nederland; la, Novum Belgium or ) was a 17th-century colonial province of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of what is now the United States. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva P ...
(1609–1667) * Essequibo (1616–1815) *
Dutch Virgin Islands Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () Dutch may also refer to: Places * Dutch, West Virginia, a community in the United States * Pennsylvania Dutch Country People ...
(1625–1680) * Berbice (1627–1815) * New Walcheren (1628–1677) *
Dutch Brazil Dutch Brazil ( nl, Nederlands-Brazilië), also known as New Holland ( nl, Nieuw-Holland), was a colony of the Dutch Republic in the northeastern portion of modern-day Brazil, controlled from 1630 to 1654 during Dutch colonization of the America ...
(1630–1654) * Pomeroon (1650–1689) * Cayenne (1658–1664) *
Demerara Demerara ( nl, Demerary, ) is a historical region in the Guianas, on the north coast of South America, now part of the country of Guyana. It was a colony of the Dutch West India Company between 1745 and 1792 and a colony of the Dutch state ...
(1745–1815) * Suriname (1667–1954) (Remained within the
Kingdom of the Netherlands , national_anthem = ) , image_map = Kingdom of the Netherlands (orthographic projection).svg , map_width = 250px , image_map2 = File:KonDerNed-10-10-10.png , map_caption2 = Map of the four constituent countries shown to scale , capital = ...
until 1975 as a constituent country) *
Curaçao and Dependencies The Colony of Curaçao and Dependencies ( nl, Kolonie Curaçao en onderhorigheden; pap, Kolonia di Kòrsou i dependensianan) was a Dutch colony in the Caribbean Sea from 1815 until 1828 and from 1845 until 1954. Between 1936 and 1948, the area wa ...
(1634–1954) (Aruba and Curaçao are still in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bonaire; 1634–present) *
Sint Eustatius and Dependencies The SSS islands (), locally also known as the Windward Islands ( or ), is a collective term for the three territories of the Dutch Caribbean (formerly the Netherlands Antilles) that are located within the Leeward Islands group of the Lesser An ...
(1636–1954) (Sint Maarten is still in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sint Eustatius and Saba; 1636–present)


French

*
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France in North America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spa ...
(1604–1763) **
Acadia Acadia (french: link=no, Acadie) was a colony of New France in northeastern North America which included parts of what are now the The Maritimes, Maritime provinces, the Gaspé Peninsula and Maine to the Kennebec River. During much of the 17t ...
(1604–1713) **
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world's second-largest country by tot ...
(1608–1763) **
Louisiana Louisiana , group=pronunciation (French: ''La Louisiane'') is a state in the Deep South and South Central regions of the United States. It is the 20th-smallest by area and the 25th most populous of the 50 U.S. states. Louisiana is borde ...
(1699–1763, 1800–1803) ** Newfoundland (1662–1713) **
Île Royale The Salvation Islands (french: Îles du Salut, so called because the missionaries went there to escape plague on the mainland; sometimes mistakenly called Safety Islands) are a group of small islands of volcano, volcanic origin about off the coa ...
(1713–1763) *
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ; gcr, label=French Guianese Creole, Lagwiyann ) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas. ...
(1763–present) * French West Indies * Saint-Domingue (1659–1804, now Haiti) *
Tobago Tobago () is an List of islands of Trinidad and Tobago, island and Regions and municipalities of Trinidad and Tobago, ward within the Trinidad and Tobago, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It is located northeast of the larger island of Trini ...
* History of the British Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands * France Antarctique (1555–1567) * Equinoctial France (1612–1615) * French Florida (1562–1565)


Knights of Malta

* Saint Barthélemy (1651–1665) * Saint Kitts, Saint Christopher (1651–1665) * Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint Croix (1651–1665) * Collectivity of Saint Martin, Saint Martin (1651–1665)


Norwegian

* Norse colonization of North America#Norse Greenland, Greenland (986–1408) * '' Dano-Norwegian South Greenland'' (1728?–1814) * '' Dano-Norwegian North Greenland'' (1721–1814) * '' Dano-Norwegian West Indies'' (1754–1814) * Cooper Island (British Virgin Islands), Cooper Island (1844–1905) * Sverdrup Islands (1898–1930) * Erik the Red's Land (1931–1933)


Portuguese

* Colonial Brazil (1500–1815) became a Kingdom, United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. * Labrador, Terra do Labrador (1499/1500–?) Claimed region (sporadically settled). * Newfoundland (island), Land of the Corte-Real, also known as Bacalhau, Terra Nova dos Bacalhaus (Land of Codfish) – Terra Nova (Newfoundland) (1501–?) Claimed region (sporadically settled). ** Portugal Cove-St. Philip's (1501–1696) * Nova Scotia (1519?–1520s?) Claimed region (sporadically settled). * Barbados (c.1536–1620) * Colonia del Sacramento, Colonia do Sacramento (1680–1705/1714–1762/1763–1777 (1811–1817)) * Cisplatina (1811–1822, now Uruguay) *
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ; gcr, label=French Guianese Creole, Lagwiyann ) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas. ...
(1809–1817)


Russian

* Russian America (Alaska) (1799–1867) * Fort Ross (Sonoma County, California) * Russian Fort Elizabeth (Hawaii)


Scottish

* Nova Scotia (1622–1632) *
Darien Scheme The Darien scheme was an unsuccessful attempt, backed largely by investors of the Kingdom of Scotland, to gain wealth and influence by establishing ''New Caledonia'', a colony on the Isthmus of Panama, in the late 1690s. The plan was for the co ...
on the Isthmus of Panama (1698–1700) * Scottish colonization of the Americas#Stuarts Town, Carolina (1684), Stuarts Town, Carolina (1684–1686)


Spanish

* Hispaniola (1493–1697); the island currently comprising Haiti and the Dominican Republic, under Spanish rule in whole from 1492 to 1697; under partial rule under the Captaincy General of Santo Domingo (1697–1821), then again as the Dominican Republic (1861–1865). * Puerto Rico (1493–1898); first as the Captaincy General of Puerto Rico * Colony of Santiago (1509–1655); conquered by Britain in 1655, currently Jamaica * Cuba (1607–1898); first as the Captaincy General of Cuba * Viceroyalty of New Granada (1717–1819) ** Captaincy General of Venezuela * New Spain, Viceroyalty of New Spain (1535–1821) ** Nueva Extremadura ** Nueva Galicia ** New Kingdom of León, Nuevo Reino de León ** Nuevo Santander ** Nueva Vizcaya, New Spain, Nueva Vizcaya ** The Californias, Las Californias ** Santa Fe de Nuevo México ** Captaincy General of Guatemala * Louisiana (New Spain) (1769–1801) * Spanish Florida (1565–1763) * Spanish Texas (1716–1802) * Viceroyalty of Peru (1542–1824) * Captaincy General of Chile (1544–1818) * Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata (1776–1814)


Swedish

*
New Sweden New Sweden ( sv, Nya Sverige) was a Swedish colony along the lower reaches of the Delaware River in what is now the United States from 1638 to 1655, established during the Thirty Years' War when Sweden was a great military power. New Sweden f ...
(1638–1655) * Saint Barthélemy (1784–1878) * Guadeloupe (1813–1814)


Failed attempts


German colonization of the Americas, German

* Klein-Venedig (Holy Roman Empire) * Hanauish-Indies * Saint Thomas (Brandenburg colony), Saint Thomas (Brandenburg colony) * German interest in the Caribbean (German Empire)


Italy and the colonization of the Americas, Italian

* Thornton expedition (now
French Guiana French Guiana ( or ; french: link=no, Guyane ; gcr, label=French Guianese Creole, Lagwiyann ) is an overseas department/region and single territorial collectivity of France on the northern Atlantic coast of South America in the Guianas. ...
)


Exhibitions and collections

In 2007, the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History and the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) co-organized a traveling exhibition to recount the strategic alliances and violent conflict between European empires (English, Spanish, French) and the Native people living in North America. The exhibition was presented in three languages and with multiple perspectives. Artifacts on display included rare surviving Native and European artifacts, maps, documents, and ceremonial objects from museums and royal collections on both sides of the Atlantic. The exhibition opened in Richmond, Virginia, Richmond, Virginia on March 17, 2007, and closed at the Smithsonian International Gallery on October 31, 2009. The related online exhibition explores the international origins of the societies of Canada and the United States and commemorates the 400th anniversary of three lasting settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, Jamestown (1607), Quebec City (1608), and Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe (1609). The site is accessible in three languages.


See also

* Atlantic history * Atlantic world * Bandeirantes * Chronology of the colonization of North America * Colonial history of the United States * Colonialism * Columbian Exchange * Conquistador * Hernán Cortés * European colonization of the Southern United States * European emigration * Former colonies and territories in Canada * Guaicaipuro * History of the west coast of North America *
Indigenous peoples of the Americas The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peoples. Many Indigenous peoples of the A ...
* Influx of disease in the Caribbean * Imperialism * List of films featuring colonialism * List of North American cities founded in chronological order *
Norse colonization of the Americas The Norse exploration of North America began in the late 10th century, when Norsemen explored areas of the North Atlantic colonizing Greenland and creating a short term settlement near the northern tip of Newfoundland. This is known now as L'An ...
*
Francisco Pizarro Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess of the Atabillos (; ;  – 26 June 1541) was a Spanish conquistador, best known for his expeditions that led to the Spanish conquest of Peru. Born in Trujillo, Spain to a poor family, Pizarro chose ...
* Population history of indigenous peoples of the Americas * Portuguese Empire * Romanus Pontifex and
Inter caetera ''Inter caetera'' ('Among other orks) was a papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI on the 4 May () 1493, which granted to the Catholic Monarchs King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile all lands to the "west and south" of ...
* Settler colonialism#The Americas * Spanish conquest of Yucatán *
Spanish Empire The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) was a colonial empire governed by Spain and its prede ...
*
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th cent ...
, which became the United States in 1776 * Timeline of the European colonization of North America * Timeline of imperialism#Colonization of North America * Treaty of Alcáçovas * Treaty of Tordesillas


Notes


Bibliography

* Bernard Bailyn, Bailyn, Bernard, ed. ''Atlantic History: Concept and Contours'' (Harvard UP, 2005) * Bannon, John Francis. ''History of the Americas'' (2 vols. 1952), older textbook * Bolton, Herbert E. "The Epic of Greater America," ''American Historical Review'' 38, no. 3 (April 1933): 448–47
in JSTOR
* Davis, Harold E. ''The Americas in History'' (1953), older textbook * Egerton, Douglas R. et al. ''The Atlantic World: A History, 1400–1888'' (2007) * Eltis, David. ''The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas'' (2000). * Hinderaker, Eric; Horn, Rebecca. "Territorial Crossings: Histories and Historiographies of the Early Americas," ''William and Mary Quarterly'', (2010) 67#3 pp. 395–43
in JSTOR
* Lockhart, James, and Stuart B. Schwartz. ''Early Latin America: A History of Colonial Spanish America and Brazil'' (1983). * Merriman, Roger Bigelow. ''The Rise of The Spanish Empire in the Old World and in the New'' (4 vol. 1934) * Samuel Eliot Morison, Morison, Samuel Eliot. ''The European Discovery of America: The northern voyages, A.D. 500–1600'' (1971) * Morison, Samuel Eliot. ''The European Discovery of America: The southern voyages, 1492–1616'' (1971) * Parry, J.H. ''The Age of Reconnaissance: Discovery, Exploration, and Settlement, 1450–1650'' (1982) * Sarson, Steven, and Jack P. Greene, eds. ''The American Colonies and the British Empire, 1607–1783'' (8 vol, 2010); primary sources * Sobecki, Sebastian. "New World Discovery". Oxford Handbooks Online (2015). * Starkey, Armstrong (1998). ''European-Native American Warfare, 1675–1815''. University of Oklahoma Press * Vickers, Daniel, ed. ''A Companion to Colonial America'' (2003)


External links


"The Political Force of Images," Vistas: Visual Culture in Spanish America, 1520–1820.
{{DEFAULTSORT:European Colonization Of The Americas European colonization of the Americas, Age of Discovery Christianization Colonization history of the United States, Europe History of Central America, European History of European colonialism, Americas History of indigenous peoples of the Americas, European History of North America, European History of South America, European History of the Americas, European History of the Caribbean, European History of the United States by topic