Colonialism A European Way To Expand

By: Cristian Sánchez-Bayton Griffith

Introduction (Colonialism a European Way To Expand CRSITIAN)

Definition of Colonialism

A policy by which a nation maintains or extends its control over dependant nations or people.

Colonialism has always been present throughout our history.The Greeks and the Romans both had colonies, which they dominated by establishing military posts in conquered territory.

From the end of the 15th century Spain and Portugal dominated European colonialism. During the Age of Discovery, Spain and Portugal pioneered European exploration of the globe and established large overseas empires.

During the 16th and 17th centuries three European powers (United Provinces-Holland , Great Britain and France) turned their eyes outside their borders and joined Spain and Portugal in their colonial pursuits. Commercial power was the main driving factor in colonialism during this period. As new colonial nations emerged the 1700s saw a brief balance of power in Europe where no nation dominated the other.

But the events of this century would upset this balance so that by the end of the century Great Britain would become the leading naval, commercial and colonial power.

Rivalry and Conflict Resolution

  • War of Spanish Succession (1701-1713) Treaty of Utrecht (1713)
  • War  of Austrian Succession(1740 1748)
  • Seven Years War (1756  1763) Treaty of Paris (1763)

Conflict: The War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713)

Resolution: The Peace of Utrecht (1714) settled the War of the Spanish Succession reestablishing the European balance of power. However, Great Britain gained territories from both France and Spain. In addition, this treaty granted Britain valuable trading rights including monopoly on the lucrative slave trade.

Another European conflict was The War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748). The Conflict was the struggle between the European powers to gain the Austrian throne. The War of the Austrian Succession ended in 1748 with the  Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, after eight years of rivalry almost all possessions went back to where they were in the beginning.

Perhaps the most significant conflict in this century was The Seven Years War (1756-1763)

In 1756 The Seven Years War started when British and French colonial dominions collided. It is considered the first worldwide war because the confrontation between Great Britain and France extended to their colonial dominions in North America and Asia.

Resolution: The Treaty of Paris, in 1763 was signed to settle differences between France, Spain, and Great Britain. Among the terms was the acquisition of almost the entire French Empire in North America by Great Britain. The British also acquired Florida from Spain, and the French retained their possessions in India only under severe military restrictions. The continent of Europe remained free from territorial changes. The consequences of the treaty of Paris directly led to the rise the British Empire.

During the 17th century, the English established colonies in the Caribbean and North America that became the foundations of the British Empire. In the West Indies, the English established sugar plantations. The English established a string of colonies along the eastern seaboard of North America.

Types of Colonialism

It has been said that the three primary motives for establishing colonies were God, gold and glory, but the main incentives were usually economic.

For example the French and the Dutch in North America created trading empires, politics and land weren’t as significant as economic interests. On the other hand, the Spanish had more than just economic interests. They established an authoritárian regime in Mesoamerica and imposed strict controls over the native peoples. A third type is settlement. The English created settler-colonies, which were populated primarily by migrants from Europe and by slaves from Africa. British colonists excluded Native American peoples and pushed them ever further to the west. Throughout the world most European powers established several different types of colonies combining settlement and exploitation.The North American colonies are a perfect example of settlement.

Motives of Colonialism

The English had various motives that compelled them to leave their motherland.

In Britain there was religious persecution, the population was growing and the land was scarce. In the colonies there was religious freedom and abundant land. Land was power. Colonialism gave settlers opportunities they would never have had in England. Property owners actively participated in colonial political systems. They encouraged representative government, religious toleration, economic growth, and cultural diversity.

Colonial Growth in North America

The first colonies in North America were along the eastern coast. Settlers from Spain, France, Sweden, Holland, and England claimed land beginning in the 17th century. The struggle for control of this land would continue for more than a hundred years. In 1650 Multiple European Colonial powers where interested in North America. By 1700 three main European nations remained: Spain, France and Great Britain. Spain was on the decline and France and Great Britain were on the rise.

Colonial Life in North America

British settlement continuously grew over the next 100 years as more and more family units arrived. This increase in population led to the establishment of three very different regions. Each of these regions in turn had unique economies.

  1. The New England Colonies were largely farming and fishing communities. Boston was the major New England port.
  2. The Middle Colonies were part agriculture, part industrial. Trade with England was plentiful in these colonies as well.
  3. The Southern Colonies were almost entirely agricultural. The main feature was the plantation, (A large part of the workforce was African slaves, who first arrived in 1619.)

These three regions formed the thirteen colonies. The final characteristic is politics. One of the most noteworthy characteristics was the widespread political representation.

The Roots of revolution

Conditions changed abruptly in 1763. The Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years War and removed a long-standing threat to the colonies. At the same time a new policy intended to make the colonies pay for their defence. As more and more Americans voiced their concerns over higher taxes, a conflict began to build. Although the English tries to isolate the colonies they were in fact united.

By the middle of the 18th century, differences in life, thought, and interests had developed between the mother country and the growing colonies. Local political institutions and practice diverged significantly from English ways. American colonists resented the British Parliament’s attempts to govern and tax them without their consent. The slogan «No taxation without representation» summarized American sentiment.

Disagreement over the American colonists’ guaranteed Rights as Englishmen turned to violence and, in 1775, the  American War of Independence began. The following year, the colonists declared the independence of the United States and, with assistance from France, Spain and the Netherlands would go on to win the war in 1783.

End of the War

The Treaty of Paris, signed on 3 September 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War and represented a major diplomatic triumph for the young nation.

This colonization ended in independence but the significance of the revolutionary war had widespread effects. The American Revolution had a great influence on liberal thought throughout Europe. The struggles and successes of the youthful democracy were much in the minds of those who brought about the French Revolution, and most assuredly later helped to inspire revolutionists in Spain’s American colonies.

The Shifting Map of Colonialism

In this world map we see a progression of colonialism throughout the world. Colonialism has been an ongoing phenomenon for thousands of years. Here we can see how influences have changed. These influences will probably continue in the future.