exploration and colonial efforts of Spain, France

Compare and contrast the exploration and colonial efforts of Spain, France and England to colonize America. Which country was more successful and why? How do you define "success" in historical terms?

Exploitation or Exploration?

Spain’s interest in exploration was due to the persistence of Columbus, the vision of one man. Columbus’s encounters in 1492 with Ferdinand and Isabella and the Caribbean islands transformed the history of the world and made Spain the most important European power for more than a century. The Spanish monarchs created a distinctively Spanish colonial society that conquered and killed Native Americans, built new institutions, and extracted great wealth.

However the colonial efforts did not always see Spaniards and Indians fighting each other all the time. They had to achieve ways of co-existing in their interactions that produced changes in their daily lives. The Spanish colonial effort produced a dietary revolution in the Old World. Potatoes, corn, tomatoes, squash, etc, unknown in Europe, enriched people’s diets, improving their health and allowing them to live longer. This change is known as the Columbian exchange. (research)

Exploration and colonial efforts

Both England and France hurried to stake their claims to the newly discovered lands. In 1497, King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot to look for a “Northwest Passage” a mythical water route cutting across North America creating a shorter route to Asia and allowing that country to monopolize on the Asian trade.

The French purpose of explorations was to find gold and also to locate the “Northwest Passage” To the early French explorers North America was little more than a barrier to be crossed, not a promising site for settlement or exploitation.

Northwest Passage, a mythical water route that was to cut across North America giving the Europeans a shorter route to China and the Asian trade. France claimed the largest amount of real estate in the New World by searching for the passage even though they never found it.

French efforts to establish settlements in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia failed, because of native resistance and inadequate planning and financing. Not until the 17th century would France and England establish permanent settlements in North America. The most interesting French explorer was Samuel de Champlain, you might want to research and mention him in your second post. France’s success was in the fur trade.

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