The impact of European expansion—first by the Spanish and French and later by the English—is discussed in this chapter. Following the Portuguese tradition of seafaring exploration, the Spanish began the exploration of the New World in search of new lands to conquer and precious metals. Ultimately, the Spanish New World empire took root in what is now the West Indies, Central America, and Mexico, later extending northward to the American south and southwest. While both the explorer and the sponsoring nation often reaped the benefits of endless resources of the New World such as gold, silver, corn, and tobacco, they also introduced uniquely European commodities—wheat, domesticated animals, and disease, some of which proved disastrous for the Native peoples. Fish and fur played a far more significant role in French interests than silver and gold and, unlike the Spanish and English, their early relationships with natives were rarely based on conquest. Eventually, the English entered the game, seeking to punish their enemy, Spain, and break the Spanish trade monopoly with tropical America.
After reading this chapter you should be able to:
Identify Roanoke and its significance as an example of community in the settlement of North America.
Explain the meaning of the chapter title “When Worlds Collide,” and list the results of the collision.
Discuss the experience of the Spanish in their New World empire.
Explain how events in Europe encouraged the age of exploration and expansion.
Compare the reactions of various Native American groups to European incursions.
Compare the views of various Europeans toward Native Americans.
Explain the difference between the village structure and agricultural societies of Native Americans and Europeans.