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Unit 2

2.1 Context: European Colonization

2 min readmay 28, 2020

James Glackin


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Henry Popple, A map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto, 1733. Library of Congress.

Spanish Colonization

Spain had come to the Americas in the 15th Century in search of gold, God, and glory.  They would continue these motives as they would lay claim to lands in the southwestern and western parts of North America.  Spain would also conquer Florida.
After conquering much of Latin America, they would create the encomienda system of slavery. Because they did not bring many women with them, they would intermarry with the local native women and create a mixed race of mestizos
The Spanish abused the Pueblo people of the Southwest and established New Mexico in 1609 in Santa Fe. Here, they set up Catholic missions and imposed Catholicism on the local Pueblo Indians. The Pueblos would exact revenge on them in Popé’s Rebellion in 1680 by killing priests and hundreds of Spanish settlers, while ruling for the next fifty years until the Spanish reclaimed it.

French Colonization

Under King Louis XIV, France had become a world power.  In 1608, they established a permanent settlement in Quebec and other parts of northeastern New France (Canada).  Explorer Samuel de Champlain created an alliance with the local Huron Indians and would then assist the Hurons in defeating their Iroquois enemies.
The French would control the pivotal Ohio River Valley, which would link their northern holdings in Canada and their southern holdings in the lower Mississippi Valley.  The Iroquois would ally themselves with the British and would fight numerous battles with the French in the Ohio River Valley.

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