Compare and contrast English, French, and Spanish colonies in the New World.  

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

European colonies in the Americas varied in many important aspects. The only real similarity between the three countries colonial ambitions is that they were all done to make a profit for the motherland. The Spanish, as the first to breach the New World, attempted to loot the continent of its silver and gold. It did this by attempting to enslave the native populations and then conquering them. All three countries were able to weaken the Native Americans with a variety of germs for which the natives had not built up an immunity. After the Spanish conquered the lands from the indigenous people, they worked hard to acculturate and proselytize them to become Spanish. A complete new ethnic group of mixed Spanish-Indian descent emerged in Latin America as a result of this process (mestizo).  

The English attempted to establish colonies in the Americas that produced cash crops. A cash crop is generally a non-food item like cotton or tobacco and is marked by a lack of variety in farming. The English did not attempt to acculturate the Native populations and generally acquired their land and forced the Indians toward the frontiers. The Spanish and English were determined to build permanent colonies in the New World. The French, on the other hand, were not nearly as committed as the other two in building permanent colonies. Their numbers were much smaller and they were committed to trading with the Native Americans and had a much friendlier and symbiotic relationship with the Indians. The French, like the Spanish, had a missionary presence in the New World and attempted to 'Christianize' the native population.