Discuss the goals of British, French and Spanish exploration in North America and the means by which each nation attempted to achieve them.”
The Age of Exploration began in the late 15th Century, as European nations, having the ocean technology, began to see the potential of the New World. The massive territories, countless riches, and experienced native peoples, meant that a claim in the Americas could easily boost a nation’s wealth, status and reputation. The European powerhouses; Great Britain, France and Spain each had their goals set for exploration and conquest in the New World. Each set out to create a name for themselves on American soil, and as the competition increased between the nations, violence often broke out.
The Columbus’ voyage in 1492 convinced Spain that it could dominate the New World. The first Spanish explorers, such as Cortes and Balboa, were satisfied with their findings in Central America. However, Ponce de Leon, the governor of Puerto Rico, set his sights on expanding the new Spanish empire to northern America. He sailed to Florida, but was killed by natives in 1521. After several other failed Spanish attempts to colonize North America, Hernan de Soto finally arrived in 1539 with a Cuban army and managed to push through the South. The Spanish monarchs had sent all these and other explorers to the land because they hoped to find riches and land for Spain. They realized that if Spain had claims that other European nations did not, and if they were able to monopolize trade in North America, Spain’s economic and social status would soar above the others. While conquering the land, if any opposition arose from the natives, the Spaniards were willing to resort to violence, massive killings and enslavement to get what they wanted.
Witnessing the success of the Spanish empire in Europe and the Americas, British monarchs and merchants began to seek opportunities of their own. Many hoped that colonization would improve conditions in...