English Domination in America

January 7, 2017 General Studies

The English colonies outlasted the Spanish and French colonies in America for many reasons. It could be said that there was a confounding of variables, and not one main factor for English success could be determined.. However in every society there must be at least two things to make the colony thrive, growing population and trade.. The primary factor in making the English the dominant power in America by 1763 is simply because the English established a growing population and secure trade of a profitable and renewable resource  with England.

The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus was no doubt the first explorer to discover the new world. However he didn t venture out in order to take up residence in a foreign land, but more or less was in search of riches. Furthermore, what Columbus discovered was not North America where the English colonist settled, but South America. The same went for the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes who in 1519 went to Mexico in search of nothing but gold. The monarchy gave the conquistadors permission openly loot and raid towns and villages; as long as they received a portion of the takings. However after all the plundering took place the Spaniards worked the Indians in the silver mines as slaves.

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This went on well for a while until European diseases took there toll on the Indians. Soon there numbers were slim and none and without the labor of the Indians the future started to look bleak for the Spaniards. For all they had came there was for riches so when the riches were gone what did they have left? Nothing. The Spanish did set up colonies in Florida and New Mexico, but the colonies had no immigration, little trade, and little farming therefore they could not flourish; as in the case of the English.

The French were not in search of a new land to take up residence either, for they came to the new land in search of furs and cod. They had been fishing in the Atlantic for cod for over a century, and had gone to shore to sun-dry and salt the fish. Indians saw the fishermen's steel knives and copper kettles among other things, and the fishermen saw the beaver and bearskin coats of the Indians, which they could sell in Europe. Trading began, and in 1608 the French founded a settlement at Quebec, primarily a trading post. Soon the French began trapping furs to sell back in Europe.

Only eight of the twenty eight settlers survived the first winter. More settlers came in the springtime, however the settlers that came did not focus on farming but on trapping their own furs instead of trading with the Indians. There were no real reasons for the French to immigrate to Quebec other than to fish or to be apart of the fur trade, thus very few people came and when they did come it was almost always males so a population would be very hard to start. Though a population was hard to start it was far from impossible and in the 1690s the population had swelled in 2,000 in Montreal which had now replaced Quebec has the center of trade and society.

However The French and Indian War made the French give Canada over to England. The wars along with not enough immigration from France were the primary factors in why the French did not dominate America.  The English settlers who came to dominate North America originally came over seeking what the Spanish had found earlier, gold. Investors in England decided to form the Virginia Company whose interest was in gold and trade with the Indians.. In 1607, with the approval of their king, James I, they founded a settlement called Jamestown, England's first permanent colony.

However, to the disappointment of the company, no gold was discovered around their colony. The men that the Virginia Company had sent to Jamestown were not farmers and did not have farming on their mind. Therefore in the winter only trading with the Powhatans for their corn allowed the colonists to survive. The colonists suffered from hunger and disease, and soon they suffered poor relations with the local Indians. In 1610 and 1611 the Virginia Company sent fresh supplies and more colonists to Jamestown, one hundred people, instructing them to concentrate on farming, the Virginia Company s persistence and advice is a major contributing factor in why the English fared better than the Spanish and French.

The new group of people consisted of women, thus a population could start to grow. Also the company told them to farm; which then leads to settling in land. These are the key elements in starting a new society, a source of food and a growing population and the Jamestown colony had both. In 1612 tobacco was grown in the colonies and soon after it became a major cash crop in the region. This boom in tobacco brought many indentured servants from England to North America to work the fields and harvest the crop. With word of the great success in America many English families were leaving to start a new life in America.

Since the resource they were exporting was renewable settlers new they could live a stable life; unlike the Spanish and the French. However, the main boost came when the Chesapeake turned toward a slave labor system based on Africans. Unlike the Indians the Africans were better workers and were more immune to diseases therefore they had a steady work force that didn t end up dying off. Though they were more expensive than indentured servants up front the pay off in the end was substantially bigger; thus maximizing profits for tobacco growers. 

The Chesapeake colonies set some what of a precedence for the other colonies to come. The Puritans when they came, learning from that of the Jamestown settlement came prepared to settle. They brought with them all the necessary people to colonize North America. Unlike the Chesapeake colonies they didn t thrive due to slave labor but more or less on the labor of themselves. The soil wasn t right for growing crops other than wheat; therefore they went into the woods for lumber and to the seas for cod. These two exports brought in sufficient revenue for the Puritans for they were not looking to get rich as some of the Chesapeake region was.

Although immigration was not booming, the population was due to all the children each married women had. Due to the renewable resources used for export and the high birth rate the New England colonies were able to flourish.  All three colonies, the Spanish; French; and English, were all set up primarily for the same reason to raise revenue for the throne back home.

The Spanish did create a population in South America, but the resource they exported was nonrenewable and the labor force died out so they did not flourish in North America. The French did not create a big enough population to dominate North America and the lose of the French and Indian War totally kicked them out of North America. However, the English set up a growing population and a continuos  way of trade therefore they came to dominate North America. 


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